Dinner Time and Mini Spinach Arancini

It’s the first full week of the New Year and I’m not messing around. I woke up with so much energy, feeling motivated and refreshed. It’s Monday, the holiday season is officially behind us, and I am doing my part to get back into “the routine”… hopefully it doesn’t take too long. 

Part of getting back into “the routine” is our dinner time and the weekly menu. It’s been awhile since I made one…we’ve been flying of the seem of our pants but it just didn’t work for us. If I don’t have it in place, it seems like everything else falls apart.  It takes a little time to plan out but when I do it saves me so much time, money and stress in so many ways. What’s even more important it gives us time together at the table, time to share laughter, time to share the favorite thing about our day. 

Kiki loves dinner time…she loves helping in the kitchen; she is eager to set the table, always adds some more salt to everything; and rub her belly and says “Yummy in my tummy”!

So with a little effort, and a lot of input from Kiki, we got ourselves a weekly menu and the official dinner time is back on the schedule.

MONDAY: Baked Mini Spinach Arancini

TUESDAY: Greek Marinated Chicken & Quinoa

WEDNESDAY: Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad

THURSDAY: Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli

FRIDAY: night out!

SATURDAY: definitely a night out 🙂

So for Meatless Monday I tried to recreate something that Kiki absolutely loved when we went to the opening of the Via Verde restaurant couple of weeks ago – the arancini!  The arancini are usually made with meat (ragu or sausage), but since it is meatless Monday I made the vegetarian version!

Arancini are usually fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs filled with ragu, tomato sauce, mozzarella and peas…. well, it wouldn’t be a fauxfoodie culinary touch if I didn’t change something about the menu. So instead of meat and frying these little rice balls, I opted out of meat, added tons of spinach, forgot the peas, and mixed pecorino and mozzarella and baked them in the oven. All I need to say …after the first bite, Kiki said “Yummy in my Tummy”!

Another win for a weeknight dinner – easy, healthy, delicious, fast and Kiki approved! I think I need a stamp that says “Kiki Approved”!

Baked Mini Spinach Arancini


  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice, hot
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3 tbsp Pecorino Romano
  • 2 tbsp marinara sauce, plus more for serving

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Place the flour, beaten egg and egg white, and bread crumbs in separate bowls.

In a medium bowl, combine the rice, sausage, mozzarella, spinach, egg white, pecorino romano cheese, and 2 tbsp marinara sauce mixing well. Roll about 1 heaping tablespoon of the rice mixture into a round ball.

Roll the ball in the flour, then the egg, and then the bread crumbs, shaking off any excess at each step.  Place the breaded rice ball on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining rice mixture until it has all been used up. 

Bake the balls for 8 minutes, turn over, and bake for another 8 minutes, until they are a crisp golden brown.  Let the rice balls cool before serving, and serve with hot marinara sauce for dipping.


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