June 24, 2013
I recently met up with an entrepreneur who I admire—who you just might see more of here thanks to her passion for helping parents pack quick and healthy school lunches—and we got to talking about the challenges of being work-from-home entrepreneur moms. She mentioned that as her business has grown, she’s been increasingly relying on One Hungry Mama for fast, healthy family meals. I was honored that aside from our mutual admiration for each other’s businesses, she found practical value in my work. Then she went on to joke that I make a lot of tacos.
Did I mention that she has a wicked sense of humor?
I couldn’t stop laughing because, well, she’s right. If you search One Hungry Mama for “tacos” there are a lot of results. And, as it turns out, there are also a lot of recipes for meatballs. I love me a good meatball as much as I do a great taco. And both make fast, healthy family meals
So, Laura, these Thai Chicken Meatballs are for you, and also for all the rest of you who are crazy about meatballs, too.
It’s hard to come up with something deep to say about these. I could carry on about how meatballs are the ultimate family food, but I’ve done that already. (Want a refresher? They’re quick, easy to make, versatile, can be dressed up or down, are loved by all, make an excellent early finger food, can be made in big batches, freeze easily and defrost even more easily.) I could wax philosophic about the tangy and sweet Thai flavors that make these so delicious, but that’s not really what these meatballs are about.
These are about being able to turn out a healthy meal with big flavor in little time. They are about bringing a bit of global spice to the table in a way that even your littlest ones will appreciate. They are about keeping weeknight meals fast, easy and also interesting. And, really, that’s what I love about all great meatball recipes. Taco recipes, too.
I served these over rice with my quick Thai Peanut Sauce, which made the meal feel a bit like meatball satay. You can also serve them with this other all-purpose peanut sauce which is just as quick, but doesn’t require any stovetop cooking.
Thai Chicken Meatballs
(Can be shared with kids 10+ mos)*
1 1/2 lbs ground chicken
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (or, if you can’t find any, substitute 1 tablespoon supermarket red curry paste)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons grape seed or other neutral oil, plus more for greasing a baking sheet (or use cooking spray)
Thai Peanut Sauce, for serving (optional; this recipe will make double what you’ll need)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix first 9 ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Shape mixture into meatballs. I like to make them 1 1/2-inch round.
2. Heat oil in a large oven proof skillet; swirl to coat bottom. Add meatballs, leaving at least 1/2″ around each meatball to avoid overcrowding, and brown on all sides; you may have to do this in batches. Transfer browned meatballs to a cookie sheet coated with a thin slick of grape seed oil or cooking spray and, once they are all on the sheet, transfer them to the oven. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through.
3. If serving with Thai Peanut Sauce, prepare it while meatballs are in the oven.
*Note: Meatballs are a wonderful early finger food. Crumble or cut meatballs into age appropriate bite sizes and serve with or without peanut sauce. That’s right: it’s possible to safely share peanut sauce with your little one! Read more about early introductions to high allergen foods here.