If you asked my coworkers, they would tell you I eat all day long – I’m a snacker.
While there’s a grain of truth to their observations, the fact is that I eat small meals every few hours because it’s a healthy eating style that works for me. I’m never hungry, I never have low blood sugar crashes, and I’ve been able to keep my weight within a few pounds of my goal.
I think that’s why I find appetizer recipes so appealing. I can turn an appetizer into a mini meal with the addition of a veggie on the side, or sometimes the appetizer is my veggie.
I’m a big fan of creamy protein packed spreads like this salmon and cream cheese. They work perfectly with rounds of cucumber or zucchini.
One evening, Mike and I ate this whole plate of mini quinoa stuffed peppers in one sitting.
But last Friday I was craving meatballs. There isn’t a dinner party we attend that doesn’t have a slow cooker filled with meatballs swimming in a sweet or savory sauce. The problem is those delicious meatballs my friends purchase by the bag at Costco are packed with sodium, fat, and a ton of calories.
In contrast, I used extra lean beef with mushrooms, panko and low fat Ranch dressing to bind my meatballs together.
Then I baked them instead of frying them, or giving them a bath in high calorie sauces.
I served my beefy meatball appetizer with a creamy low calorie Ranch dressing I’d “dressed up” with Dijon mustard, horseradish, low fat sour cream and parsley. It was very tasty, and when I served it on the side, I chose how much I wanted.
So you decide.
Are my meatballs an appetizer, or a meal? I’m sure you’ve guessed my answer.
Enjoy your weekend!
Serves 20 meatballs
- 1 ½ cups sliced mushrooms
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- ¼ cup low fat Ranch Dressing
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ? teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup low fat sour cream
- 4 tablespoons low fat Ranch Dressing
- 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- 1 teaspoon horseradish
- 1 handful parsley, minced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with foil, and spray a cookie cooling rack with cooking spray.
- In a blender (I used my Magic Bullet), combine the sliced mushrooms, onion and 1/4 cup Ranch dressing. Blend well.
- Add Panko and ground beef to a bowl, them mix in the mushroom mixture. Combine well.
- Take a small ice-cream scoop and scoop out a level scoop of the meat mixture and mold into a ball. Place on the cookie rack. Continue until the beef is gone.
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
- While meatballs bake, combine the sour cream, remaining Ranch dressing, Dijon mustard, horseradish and parsley in a bowl. Chill.
- Serve meatballs with sauce.
Calories: 67kcal per meatball Weight Watchers Points Plus 2 Saturated fatty acids: 1.50g Monounsaturated fatty acids: 1.05g Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 0.32g Total fat: 2.86g Calories from fat: 25 Cholesterol: 19mg Carbohydrate, by difference: 3.79g Total dietary fiber: 0.37g Protein: 5.92g
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