Rice Balls

This recipe came from Deceptively Delicious, the first cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld which incorporates vegetable purees into food. There was a time when I had many purees in my freezer, ready to go, but now that my boys are older and capable of eating vegetables, I find that now I only prepare the recipes that I really love, and consequently, make only the purees I need.

These rice balls are great because they are super tasty and fun, and they pack 1/2 cup of sweet potato puree and broccoli (you can also choose to use spinach or butternut squash). This recipe does call for chicken, but it can easily be left out for a vegetarian alternative.

*My pictures were horrible. Proof that I’m still not good at frying, forming balls of anything that remain balls, and especially frying any food that comes in the form of a ball. I realize this has nothing to do with the overall taste, but still it is no fun when I don’t have an awesome picture to share. So here’s a picture of the pre-breaded and fried balls 🙂

 

Rice Balls

1/2 cup short grain brown rice (or 1 cup cooked leftover rice)

Nonstick cooking spray

3 tsp. EVOO

1/4 lb. chicken cutlets, rinsed and dried

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1/2 cup sweet potato *puree

1/4 cup grated *cheddar cheese

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup spinach or broccoli or butternut squash *puree

 1/2 cups whole wheat cracker crumbs or *breadcrumbs

1. Cook rice if starting from scratch. Meanwhile, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tsp oil. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 tsp salt and the pepper, and cook until no longer pink in the center, 4 to 5 minutes per side. {I simply put the chicken pieces in chicken broth and poach until done.}

2. Cut the chicken into chunks and place them in a food processor or blender. Add the sweet potato, cheese, 1 tsp salt, and the buttermilk, and blend until smooth. *For the cheese  I used raw organic sharp white cheddar. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the cooked rice. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on a sheet of waxed paper or foil.

3. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg and vegetable puree of your choice with a fork. Put the crumbs into a separate bowl. One at a time, dip the rice balls in the egg mixture, then roll them in the crumbs to make an even coating.

4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the remaining 2 tsp of EVOO. Add the rice balls and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally and spraying with cooking spray, until browned and crisp all over. Serve warm.

*If you are not familiar with pureeing vegetables you can use these simple tricks. For the sweet potato I simply forked a spud and microwaved it until done. Half of a large potato should equal 1/2 cup. Just throw it in the food processor until smooth. The same for the broccoli: cook until done, drain and puree. I then measured out the 1/2 cup amount, but it was approx 1 cup broccoli florets, cooked down in some chicken broth.

Here is what they should look like, courtesy of Food Network, depending on the puree you choose for the egg mixture. Using spinach or broccoli will give the rice balls a bit of a green hue, but otherwise undetectable in taste. 

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