Spanikopita Chicken Meatballs

 

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Guys, meatballs are kinda my thing.  As much as I love good old fashioned Italian-style meatballs in “gravy” (if you don’t call red sauce with meat gravy in Philly you just don’t belong here), the kind of meatballs I like to make are not what your Nonna might expect.  I’ve made meatballs that are stuffed with cheese, meatballs that taste like Chinese orange chicken, and most famously, my Raspberry Chipotle Meatballs– those bad boys won me a meatball contest at work last year.  Not kidding.  I even got a trophy!

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Photo Cred: Krissy Iaci 

There are so many different types and so much you can do with meatballs.  This recipe that I’m sharing with you today was inspired by an appetizer dish from Rachael Ray.  Instead of serving them as an app, I updated the recipe a bit, added a serving of rice, and voila it was our dinner!

These Spanikopita chicken meatballs are so delish, and they are not bad for you at all!  They are jam packed with spinach and using ground chicken breast limits the fat in the meatballs too.  When I originally tried this recipe, I used real (whole fat) feta cheese, but I recommend if you’re trying to be “good” to use fat free or reduced fat feta.  The feta texture and flavor is still there, but won’t cost you as many calories (or points if you’re on Weight Watchers like me!).

Spanikopita Chicken Meatballs

Recipe Adapted from:  Rachael Ray 
Serves: 3 (18 meatballs total plus sauce)
WW Smart Points (with real feta): 7
WW Smart Points (with fat free feta):  3 (omg right)

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
  • 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry (I use cheesecloth)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese *see note*
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
  • 3/4 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons, cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons, coriander
  • Salt

Directions

  1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Prepare a cookie sheet with foil and spray liberally with Non-Stick Cooking Spray to make sure the meatballs don’t stick.
  2. In a bowl combine onion and 3 cloves of garlic. Separate the drained, dry spinach as you add it to garlic and onion. Add feta, chicken and grill seasoning to the bowl and a drizzle of the olive oil. Mix the meat with veggies and feta and form 18 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Place the meatballs on your cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until they are golden and juices run clear.
  3. Mix yogurt, remaining clove of garlic, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, cumin, coriander and a little salt in a small bowl.  Adjust seasonings to taste and transfer to a serving bowl.
  4.  Serve meatballs alongside sauce.  Serve with brown rice or couscous if you’d like.

*Note* I have made these with real feta and fat free feta.  If you’re trying to be good, using the fat free feta cuts down on points by a TON!  It still tastes great.  But if you’re making for company or can afford the extra calories, use real feta.  Up to you!

Please try these and enjoy!  Let me know how you like them.

If you’d like to make these into an appetizer- I’d recommend making them a bit smaller.  Double the sauce and blend in a food processor before serving with toothpicks.

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