veggie chicken rice balls

This is another recipe that I adapted from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious Cookbook. I will warn you that this is a time-consuming dish, but it is one that can be made ahead and reheated quite nicely. They also make fabulous leftovers and work great in a thermos for a school lunch too! You cannot taste the veggies or the chicken in them, so if you have picky eaters that do like rice, they should be pretty happy with these.

Veggie Chicken Rice Balls (Nick Rating = 10 Thumbs Up!)

1 c short-grain brown rice

Nonstick canola cooking spray

6 Tbsp coconut oil

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and dried

1 c butternut squash puree (see instructions below for how to make puree)

1/4 c soy-based cheddar-style cheese

1 tsp salt

1/4 c rice milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 c gluten-free panko-style breadcrumbs

Put 1 cup of brown rice and 2 cups of water in saucepan on stove and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until rice is tender, approximately 30-40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400. Spray cookie sheet with canola cooking spray and set aside. Trim chicken breasts of any unnecessary fat. Bake chicken breasts for 20 minutes in 400 degree oven.

Cut cooked chicken into chunks and put in food processor or blender. Add butternut squash puree and cheese, 1 tsp salt, and the rice milk, and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the cooked rice. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on a plate.

In a shallow bowl, beat egg with a fork. Put crumbs in second bowl. One at a time, dip rice balls into the egg mixture, then roll them in the crumbs to coat them evenly.

Spray large skillet with canola cooking spray and then melt the coconut oil in it over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add rice balls and cook for 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally and adding more coconut oil as you continue to cook the rice balls.  If needed, have a serving dish in oven at 200 degrees to transfer rice balls to so they will stay warm prior to serving.

Butternut Squash Puree Instructions: cut off the stem, cut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Roast halves on cookie sheet, flesh-side down, at 400 for 45-50 minutes. Scoop out the flesh and puree in food processor or blender for about 2 minutes.