Fiesta Lime Chicken Meatballs

Like an Applebee’s copycat, but in meatball form! All the flavors and textures of the classic restaurant dish – seasoned chicken (lime, garlic, onion, cumin), transformed into golden brown, mayo-laced meatballs, smothered in cheese, and topped with fresh salsa! One pan, incredibly healthy, ultra-easy, and ready in 30 minutes!

I’m 100% confident that you’re gonna freak out when you try this incredible dinner! Here’s why: When Luke took his first bite, he looked up at me with a huge smile, and said, “Wow, there’s A LOT of flavor in these meatballs!” Music to my ears! And then…

Kyle was out the night I served this dish, so I saved a nice batch of meatballs, some salsa and crushed chips for the next day (I refrigerated the meatballs and salsa separately). I reheated the meatballs with a little more cheese (in the same pan you see above), and then sprinkled them with the reserved salsa and crushed chips. I served those leftovers 24 hours later, and got the SAME reaction. Kyle said, “Luke was right, there’s a lot of flavor here; it’s really good.” Isn’t that what we all strive for when we serve meals to friends and family? I was happy.¬†
That’s why I know you’ll be happy! The meatballs are intensely flavorful, just like the restaurant version, but much healthier because they’re not swimming in fat and calories.

So why brush the meatballs with mayonnaise¬†before roasting? Let me count the ways! First, the mayonnaise keeps the meatballs moist – which is great because ground chicken can dry out if you’re not careful. Second, because it adds the most incredible flavor; slightly caramelized, slightly salty, ultra creamy, and pure perfection. And third, because in many traditional Fiesta Lime chicken recipes, the chicken is finished with a mayo-based cream sauce and cheese. In this version, the mayonnaise is roasted WITH the meatballs, bringing out more of its swag in every bite.

As great as this dish is with chicken, you can substitute ground turkey if you already have that handy!

Fiesta Lime Chicken Meatballs

Cooking spray or olive oil for coating the pan
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (light is OK)
3/4 cup Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese, or more if desired
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup crumbled corn chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking dish or ovenproof skillet with cooking spray or brush with olive oil.
To make the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, lime juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix well and shape the mixture into 12 meatballs (if the mixture is sticky, use water-moistened hands to roll the meatballs; works like a charm). Transfer the meatballs to the prepared pan and brush the mayonnaise all over the top and sides. Roast for 15 minutes. Note: There may be some “juice/liquid” at the bottom of the pan; it’s delicious! Don’t discard it.
Top the meatballs with the cheese and return the pan to the oven. Roast for 5 minutes, until the cheese melts.
In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, green onions and cilantro. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato mixture over the meatballs. Top with the crumbled corn chips and serve.
Serves 4

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