These Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Chicken Meatballs with Creamy Parmesan Rice are a result of what can only be explained as a freak accident on mother nature’s behalf: I’ve managed to keep a basil plant alive in my kitchen for months now. Not only is it alive, it’s flourishing. New leaves are coming in. Nothing is wilting. It’s survived the chill of the snow storms, days upon days of me forgetting to water it, and the issue that I have never, ever had a basil plant that didn’t shrivel up and die at the mere thought of me bringing it home. Oh, and the fact that it’s only the beginning of March. What is going on here?!
Honestly, I’m really attached to this dang plant now… I’m even thinking about naming it. Currently taking suggestions, if you have any.
I was originally going to say that I love this basil plant as if it was my own little pet, but then I considered that I did, in the end, decide to pluck off its leaves and use them to make dinner. And with that tidbit in mind, I feel that I probably shouldn’t draw those types of comparisons, right? I mean, it seems kind of weird.
So I don’t love the basil plant that much. But it’s supplied me with some killer herbage, and for that, I am very grateful.
I’ll eat basil in just about anything. I love it in a fresh caprese salad, or processed into a homemade pesto, or layered with watermelon and feta, or in a pizza sauce, or in a box, or with a fox, or in a house, or with a mouse*, but my favorite combination is basil with sun-dried tomatoes and near-excessive amounts of garlic. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top and ohhhh yea. You’re golden.
*It’s Dr. Seuss Day, I couldn’t resist.
And that’s exactly what I did– I mixed all of those ingredients into tender chicken meatballs, and served them over a bed of creamy rice, which of course was also loaded with garlic and parmesan. (I never miss an opportunity to crank up the flavor, guys.)
Oh man oh man oh man, it was all so good. James, Mike, and I ate until we couldn’t take another bite, and even still I found myself sneaking to the fridge to pop some leftover meatballs as the night went on. I’m pretty sure one of them did as well, because when I went to heat a few up for lunch the next day, there was only one lonely meatball waiting for me. I swear, I didn’t eat that many.
There’s no questioning the fact that Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Chicken Meatballs with Creamy Parmesan Rice was a hit in my house. The big question, actually, is how long my basil plant will survive after I add these babies to the regular rotation. Place your bets, people.
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ cups uncooked rice
- 1½ cups water
- 1½ cups milk, plus more, if necessary
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded or grated, plus more to top
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped, plus more to top
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus more to top
- ¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Start by preparing the rice. Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the rice, making sure all of the rice gets coated in the butter. Slowly pour in the water and milk, and then bring the pot to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute, then reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the parmesan cheese, as well as salt and pepper to taste. If the rice is too dry, add milk, a bit at a time, until it reaches the correct consistency. Recover and set aside until the meatballs are ready.
- As the rice cooks, make the meatballs. In a large bowl, mix together the ground chicken, egg, 3 cloves of garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, seasoned breadcrumbs, onion powder, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper. Once well-combined, form into about 30 small meatballs.
- Melt the butter with the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan and let cook until well-browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes, without turning. Then, turn the meatballs and repeat until all sides are browned and the meatballs are cooked through.
- Serve the rice and meatballs warm, with extra sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and parmesan on top.
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