How to Prep Chicken Meatballs

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

There are some recipes that are what I like to call “meal prep powerhouses” and these Chicken Meatballs & Tomato Sauce from Manitoba Chicken Producers is one of them. They’re easy to batch cook and versatile so you can serve them in different ways once you’ve made the meatballs.

Making the Chicken Meatballs

Personally, when I make these, I make a quadruple batch. You’re already doing the work and have all the ingredients, so it doesn’t take too much extra effort to roll out more meatballs.  This is a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen too! Simple tasks like measuring, mixing and rolling can be great for young ones, while older kids could likely complete this whole recipe on their own.

To portion out the meatballs, I love using a triggered cookie scoop. This gives you a perfectly sized meatball every time. Use a larger scoop for jumbo meatballs and smaller scoop for bite-sized ones.

When rolling out the meatballs, it helps to oil your hands with cooking spray or olive oil to prevent the mixture from sticking to your fingers as you roll.

Freezing Raw Chicken Meatballs

You can freeze raw or cooked meatballs. When freezing raw meatballs, space them out on a parchment-covered sheet pan and pop them in the freezer. This step prevents them from clumping together, so you can take out as many or as little as you want for each meal.  Once they’re frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag.

Freezing Cooked Chicken Meatballs

If you prefer to freeze cooked meatballs (this makes for a quick reheated meal), bake them on a parchment-covered sheet pan in the oven or air-fryer. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your meatballs. To ensure they are fully cooked, use a digital meat thermometer. Ground chicken is perfectly cooked at 165⁰F.  Let them cool completely, then spread them out on another parchment-covered sheet pan, again, separated so they don’t clump together. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.

Sauces to Use for the Meatballs

I love that this recipe is neutrally seasoned with garlic, onion and parsley, so you can serve them with a variety of sauces and in different ways.

You can make the tomato sauce in large batches using my Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce recipe, but you can also use a store-bought shortcut jarred tomato sauce.

The best part about this recipe is that once you make the meatballs, you could serve them every week in a different sauce. Try them in alfredo or pesto sauce over pasta, or sweet & sour, teriyaki sauce or gravy over rice or your favorite grain.

Other Ways to Serve Chicken Meatballs & Tomato Sauce

If you wanted to reconstruct this recipe, try a chicken meatball sandwich. Serve the meatballs and tomato sauce on toasted garlic buttered buns with melty mozzarella and parmesan.

Alternatively, try serving them “naked” in a sheet pan meal with roasted veggies or add them to this Sheet Pan Gnocchi recipe and drizzle them with balsamic reduction.

Don’t forget to consider these for an easy appetizer. Serve bite-sized meatballs with toothpicks and your favorite dipping sauce.

Meal Prepping Chicken Meatballs

The key here is to do the work once, do the dishes once and have enough meatballs for several meals. Work smarter, not harder!

Let’s recap all the ways you can serve these chicken meatballs.

  • Simmered in tomato sauce
  • Tossed in fettucine alfredo
  • Drizzled with pesto and pasta
  • Served as a meatball sandwich with tomato sauce & mozzarella
  • Baked in a sheet pan meal with roasted vegetables
  • Added to sheet pan gnocchi and drizzled with balsamic reduction
  • Dipped in your favorite sauce as an appetizer

One recipe, 6 ways. Take the guesswork out of planning your meals and think of new ways that you can serve the same meal component, like we did here today. Now you have 6 new meal ideas! Which one will you try first?

Moroccan Chicken Kofta

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

Summer is fast-approaching and that means dining outside, weekends at the cottage and maybe a few camping excursions. I love the simplicity of this Moroccan Chicken Kofta recipe for all those activities.  It’s easy to prep in advance and batch cook plus, you can cook it and serve it in a few different ways.

How to prep chicken kofta in advance

This recipe comes together in two steps: Mix and shape.  Since the assembly is so quick, I would double, triple, or even quadruple this recipe since it’s easy to freeze. 

The seasonings are like those used in falafel: garlic, onion, parsley, cumin and coriander.  Other spices you will need are likely already in your pantry: cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, salt & pepper. The addition of a bit of fresh mint really adds a punch of flavor.

Once you have mixed and shaped the ingredients you can freeze the kofta individually on a sheet pan. It will be a lot easier to store the kofta if they aren’t on the skewers, so you might want to consider freezing the logs without skewers or shaping the kofta mixture into patties or meatballs.

Once the kofta is frozen, transfer it to a freezer bag to use at your convenience.

How to cook chicken kofta

Depending on how you decide to shape the kofta, you can make it on the grill, bake it in the oven or cook it in a skillet on the stove. You can also cook it over a campfire!

Food safety tip: To ensure that chicken is cooked to a safe temperature, use a meat thermometer.  Cook ground chicken to 165°F (74°C). It’s important to note that cooking times will vary depending on the cooking method and the size of the pieces.

Download a Cooking Perfect Chicken is Easy Reference Card here!

Serving suggestions

Depending on how you shape the Moroccan Chicken Kofta, you have a few options for serving it:

  • Serve patties in mini naan rounds, topped with hummus, pickled banana peppers, lettuce, tomato and onions.
  • Serve meatballs with tzatziki and grilled vegetables or on a mezze platter with a few dips, crudités and tabouleh.  You’ll likely have some fresh mint, parsley and garlic leftover from making the kofta, so tabouleh is the perfect side to maximize those ingredients.
  • Stuff logs into pita pockets with hummus or tahini sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and olives and cilantro.

Meal prep tips for Moroccan Chicken Kofta

Let’s recap some of the great meal prep tips you can apply to this recipe:

  • Low prep, in two easy steps
  • Double, triple or quadruple the batch.
  • Freeze prepped kofta raw or cooked
  • Cook it in a skillet, in the oven, on the grill or over a campfire.
  • Make it in advance.
  • Use the same ingredients in your side dishes and/or condiments.
  • Shape it in different ways.
  • Serve it in different ways.

Make sure you add this to your summer menu!

Stir-fried Chicken with Cashews – Cooking with Kids

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

September is National Chicken Month so I wanted to share Manitoba Chicken’s Stir-fried Chicken with Cashews recipe. It is flexible, quick and easy to prepare and that your kids can even help prepare it.

a bowl of rice topped with stir-fried chicken, cashews and vegetables.

Prepping this stir-fry

There are so many meal prep strategies that you can apply to this meal, to get it on the table in 15 minutes or less. A great tip for when you bring chicken home from the grocery store is to slice it up before you freeze it. This saves you a step on a busy weeknight and you can simply take the bag of sliced chicken out of the freezer the night before, thaw in the fridge and start cooking! Sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be used in stir-fries like this one, sheet pan meals or fajitas.

Recipe tip: Did you know that you can find recipes for any cut of chicken you have, at Click the link and select the cut you’d like under the CUT menu.

This stir-fry recipe calls for carrots, snap peas, peppers and onions. You can swap them for other vegetables that you prefer. Snap peas are what I like to call a no-prep veggie, so they don’t require chopping. Other no-prep vegetables you can use to serve this stir-fry up quickly are frozen vegetables or pre-cut carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and cauliflower from the grocery store.

Did you know that you can cook and freeze rice? You can! This is one of my favorite meal prep tips for reducing the cooking time of my weeknight meals. I always make a double batch and freeze half for a future meal. You can reheat frozen rice in the microwave in two minutes. You can also serve this stir-fry over noodles.

a child pouring cooked rice from a bag into a dish
Cooking with kids can be a bit messy but it’s all in the name of connection and skill development!

Preparing the stir-fry sauce

I love this sauce because it contains ingredients that I usually have on hand, like chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar and red chili flakes. Other ingredients like oyster sauce and Chinese hot sauce can be used in many other recipes like these Ginger Chicken Wonton Cups and this Sesame Chicken with Black Bean and Ginger Stir-Fry. Once you have the sauce ingredients, you can use them in a variety of recipes for weeks to come.

a child mixing ingredients in a bowl

Cooking with kids

Depending on how old your kids are, they can help prepare this recipe! Some kids might be reluctant to try a stir-fry because it is saucy and different ingredients are touching. Getting the kids to help prepare the stir-fry with you provides exposure to new foods and teaches them valuable cooking skills. Here are a few things they can do to help:

  • Measure out rice
  • Fill a pot with water
  • Pour cashews in a bowl for garnish
  • Wash vegetables
  • Slice chicken and vegetables (older kids)
  • Combine the sauce ingredients
  • Set the table

There is a complete list of ways that kids can help out in the kitchen on page 32 of the Ultimate Guide.

a child's hand picking up a snap pea from a plate of vegetables.
Setting aside some of the vegetables raw or serving the chicken without sauce is an easy way to ease kids into eventually enjoying a stir-fry.

Deconstructing this stir-fry

Some of my kids are reluctant to try stir-fry for a few reasons: different ingredients are touching, vegetables are cooked and there is a sauce! Here’s how I handle it without making them a separate meal. Serve the same vegetables on the side, raw, if they’re not into cooked vegetables. Before adding the sauce, you can set some stir-fry aside so they can enjoy the chicken and vegetables plain. Serve the cashews on the side as a garnish. My kids love adding toppings to their meals and self-serving helps them eat intuitively and develop their independence. We always serve meals family style so kids can practice good manners and interact as they pass and share dishes around the table.

a bowl of rice topped with chicken, cashews and vegetables

Try this stir-fry and let us know how you (and your kids) enjoyed it on our Instagram pages @manitobachicken @toobusylivin204.