Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rice Balls

3.5 Stars

I got this recipe from the book Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. I've had this book for a few years now and have made a handful of recipes.  They have all been "okay" to "good".  The one thing that is deceptive about this cookbook is the time involved.  Her whole basis is to "hide" vegetables and fruit in dishes and desserts.  So, you need to factor in the time to cook/puree/store the ingredients needed for each recipe.

Yesterday, I spent basically the entire day doing the cook/puree/store part of the recipes.  It took me a little bit longer than average because I was taking care of my children (preschool/shopping/lunches/naps).  I would say to put at least an afternoon aside and get this done ahead of time so you don't have to prepare each puree right before you cook/bake.

Prep Time: She says 30 minutes, but it took me around 50.
Total:  She says 40, but it took me around 1 hour, 15 minutes
Serves 6 to 8, makes about 40 rice balls.  My version made about 20, so I guess my proportions were a bit off.

Rice Balls

1/2 c. short -grain brown rice (I made this the night before for our stir fry, so this was ready for lunch) or 1 c. leftover cooked rice
Cooking Spray
3 t. olive oil
1/4 lb. chicken cutlets, rinsed and dried
1 1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 c. sweet potato puree
1/4 c. shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
1/4 c. lowfat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. spinach, broccoli, or butternut squash puree (I used broccoli)
1 1/2 c. whole-wheat cracker crumbs or breadcrumbs. (I used regular breadcrumbs)

Cook the rice according to package directions.  Like I said, we had stir fry the night before so I just made more than usual and stored it overnight in the fridge.

While the rice is cooking, spray skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add 1 t. oil.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink in center. I went ahead and cut my chicken into strips before cooking to cut down on cooking time.

Cut chicken into small chunks and place them in a food processor or blender. Add the sweet potato puree, cheese, 1 t. salt, and buttermilk.  Blend until smooth.  Remove blade and mix in rice.  Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on a sheet of waxed paper or aluminum foil.

In a shallow bowl, beat the egg and vegetable puree of your choice (I used broccoli) with a fork.  Put the crumbs in another bowl.  One at a time, dip the rice balls in the egg mixture, then roll them in the crumbs to make an even coating.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the remaining 2 t. of oil.  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.

This recipe has the potential to be very good. Next time I'm going to use less chicken (I used 1 medium chicken breast), more cheese, and some red pepper flakes to add a bit of a "kick".  I'm also going to use some sort of dip. Maybe ranch dressing? Any ideas?

If you try this one, please let me know your thoughts or changes you would make.


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