December 22, 2007

Healthy Meal: Spanakopita Chicken Meatballs with Spicy Cucumber and Yogurt Sauce

Work has been a bit busy the past few days, but it’s finally the weekend and I am on vacation until Wednesday!!! Hurray. I’m heading out to celebrate with a few friends, so I wanted to make a fairly light dinner but something that was still filling so I wouldn’t want as much cider 🙂 This is one of my old favorites that I pulled out. Apologies for the dark pictures; I really need to get some better lighting in my living room.

As you can see, I paired the meatballs/sauce with a nice Greek salad. The ingredients for that can be whatever you want, but I’ll give you a great dressing recipe that’s simple and VERY diet-friendly.

Recipe notes for the meatballs:
I used ground turkey because it was on sale; I find it pretty interchangeable with the chicken. (I actually tend to use ground turkey instead of ground beef a lot too, just because it’s healthier). I used kale instead of spinach (boiled it first to soften it) because I still had some in the fridge to use up. In case you haven’t already noticed, I’m a big fan of finding recipes that can be adapted to use up whatever I have on hand 🙂 I skipped the olive oil (it’s unnecessary, in my opinion, and I have added it before and found that it doesn’t really add anything). Just be sure to spray the bottom of your pan with a bit of Pam so the meatballs don’t stick.

Recipe notes for the sauce:
I used dried dill and low-fat greek yogurt. Otherwise, for once, I left the recipe alone.

Recipe notes for the salad:
In the salad, I put mesclun greens, chopped red onions, sliced cucumber, a tomato, and a little bit of feta (I took it from the 1/4 cup I put in the meatballs). As for the dressing, just blend: 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp basil, 3/8 tsp pepper, 3/8 tsp onion powder
3/8 tsp mustard, 4 tbsp red wine vinegar. That makes about 1/4 cup of dressing, so when I make it I just throw in a few shakes of everything and ignore the proportions, because I don’t really feel like measuring 3/16 of a tsp of anything. I toss it all in a little mini tupperware cup and just shake it up for a minute. And – this is the amazing diet part – no olive oil is needed because the mustard thickens it up! It does come out a bit tangy, so if you’re a sugar-lover, you can sub balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar, and even throw in a little bit of brown sugar.

Nutrition facts:
326 calories for the meatballs (recipe here)
28 calories for the sauce (recipe also here)
83 calories for all the ingredients in the salad
16 calories for the dressing! (recipe above)

Review: 5/5
This is such an awesome recipe, and it’s so easy. Seriously you can’t go wrong. Plus, I’m really full and satisfied right now – yet I ate just over 400 calories. Awesome!!! This one has been a favorite of mine since I started cooking, and I’ll continue keeping it in my repertoire.


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