This chicken meatballs post is sponsored by Juicy Juice. All thoughts and opinions however, are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.
It’s the dead of winter, there’s no denying it, and even though I reside in extraordinarily temperate Southern California, I’ve lived in some very dreary winter locals (ahem, North Dakota anybody?) So I get it. The struggle is real.
Good news is we can fight the blahs with food! I’m not talking about drowning our sorrows in a vat of macaroni and cheese but reaching for colorful fruits and vegetables to boost our moods. When the skies offer nothing but gray we need to combat it with creating a rainbow on our plates. Give it a try and let me know what you think. You’ll be amazed at what a difference this makes, I’d love to hear your thoughts so make sure to leave me a comment.
Dinner the Whole Family Will Love
The obvious first step in getting more feel-good food into our bodies is to make sure it tastes amazing. These chicken meatballs made with 100% Orange Tangerine Juicy Juice, cilantro, garlic, and green chili are tender and perfectly-sized for little hands. They aren’t spicy at all but have a nice zing. Because Juicy Juice is made with only juice and no added sugar the pure flavor shines through and gives these meatballs a nice citrus kick, plus extra vitamin C, which we all need this time of year.
The Tangerine Dipping Sauce does double duty as a salad dressing for the tangle of cucumber, carrot, mango, and pepper strips as well as a sour orange and slightly sweet drizzle to pour over or dip into. Armando was dunking his meatballs directly into the mason jar of sauce last night—it’s just that good.
Our favorite way to make this into dinner is to serve the meatballs and salad over steamed rice then spoon the dipping sauce over everything. You could also do rice noodles, or a different kind of grain like quinoa.
Leftovers Make Lunchbox Magic
This chicken meatballs recipe makes a lot (on purpose) because what you’re going to do next is pile the salad (I like to leave some vegetables undressed so they don’t get soggy) into lettuce leaves and add a couple meatballs on top for tomorrow’s lunch.
By January my kids are tired of eating turkey sandwiches, and I’m tired of making them so these meatballs are a great alternative. They taste just as good cold (think meatloaf sandwich) and you get another opportunity to fill up on crunchy, vitamin-packed fruits and veggies. Don’t forget to pack a small container of the dipping sauce on the side!
How to Cut Julienne Vegetables
It always amazes me how simply cutting a fruit or vegetable in a different way completely changes my kid’s attitudes. For some reason anything cut into a long, thin strip makes it edible. For example (in our particular case), a quartered radish won’t get touched, but a strip of radish is loved—and inhaled. Same goes for mango and red pepper.
To cut just about anything into this shape, peel the fruit or vegetable. Remove the stem and seeds and core if necessary, then slice into 1/4-inch thick slices that are roughly as long as your pinky finger. Stack the slices on top of each other (maybe just two or three at a time so they don’t slide around too much) and cut into 1/4-inch thick strips.
Green Chili Chicken Meatballs
- 1 cup Orange Tangerine 100% Juicy Juice
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 3 large tomatillos, husks removed and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- baking spray
Tangerine Dipping Sauce
- 1 cup Orange Tangerine 100% Juicy Juice
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large watermelon radish, julienned
- 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and julienned
- 1 small Japanese cucumber, julienned
- 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- 10-12 small Butter lettuce or Romaine hearts for lettuce cups ((optional))
For the Green Chili Chicken Meatballs
- Heat oven to 425°F.
- Bring Orange Tangerine Juicy Juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until juice is reduced to 1/4 cup. Let cool.
- Combine onion, tomatillo, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
- Place chicken, tomatillo mixture, egg, panko, salt, cumin, and cooled juice in a large bowl. Mix with your hands until combined. Mixture will be soft.
- Spray a large baking sheet with baking spray. Scoop meatball mixture into 2-inch balls onto baking sheet. Roll with your hands to make round shapes. You don't need to space them out if you don't have a lot of room. You should have around 50 meatballs.
- Bake meatballs in oven until firm and lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately with steamed rice, Mango-Radish salad and Tangerine Dipping Sauce or in lettuce cups.
For the Tangerine Dipping Sauce
- Combine Orange Tangerine Juicy Juice, brown sugar, vinegar, jalapeño, garlic, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve sugar and salt. Remove from heat and let cool.
For the Mango-Radish Salad
- Combine mango and vegetables in a bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the Tangerine Dipping Sauce
To Make Lunch Box Lettuce Cups
- Layer Mango-Radish salad into lettuce leaves and top with meatballs. Pace Tangerine Dipping Sauce on the side.