I'm not going to complain about having a little time off in the middle of the week. It has been great to putz around the house and get some things done that I normally would put off until another break. What I am going to complain about is shoveling snow, crummy street conditions, and cabin fever. I attempted to venture out today to grab some lunch, but had to shovel my way out AGAIN. Through the power of positive thought, I made it out of our neighborhood. Through more positive thought, I bypassed many a crappy winter driver and made it to Whole Foods. It was the least busy I have ever seen Whole Foods. So, I spent a good hour just wondering around the store. Something I normally don't get to do because it is insanely crowded. After my mini adventure, I made it home safely and decided to take a nap. I had a nice dream about green grass, daffodils, and spring. I appreciate you old man winter, but plan on totally embracing spring's arrival.
Dinner tonight had many spring time flavors such as cucumber and mint. The timing was perfect for this meal as a reminder that spring is only a few short days away. To pack in additional legumes and veggies, I used a combination of mushrooms and edamame in the meatballs and served them with a side of garlicky hummus and a light cucumber salad. Since I have yet to find a good gluten-free pita bread to dip in my hummus, I sliced a Sandwich Petal wrap and baked it in the oven while the meatballs finished cooking. Light, healthy, and bursting with fresh flavor, these feta stuffed meatballs with cucumber salad are the perfect cure for anyone suffering from cabin fever.
Feta Stuffed Chicken Meatballs with Cucumber Salad
inspired by Groumet & my Baked Chicken Meatbballs with Peperonata
For the cucumber salad:
1-2 cucumbers, chopped (I used English cucumbers)
1 tablespoon red onion, thinnly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1/4 cup fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Salt & pepper to taste
For the Meatballs:
2 slices center cut bacon, cut into bits
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/4 cup portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 lb. ground chicken
2 egg whites, beaten
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon corn meal
1/2 cup feta cheese, cut into 1' pieces
To make the cucumber salad: Toss the cucumber, red onion, parsley, and mint together in a bowl. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour over the cucumber mixture. Toss together and cover with plastic wrap. Let the mixture marinate for 30 minutes or store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
To make the Meatballs: Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the bacon, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and edamame. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions soften. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Place in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until the mixture forms a paste. Seta side.
In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, onion and edmamae mixture, egg whites, parsley, mint, basil, ketchup, and corn meal. Cover and let the mixture stand in the fridge for 15-20 minutes or overnight to allow the corn meal to bind the mixture together. Remove from the fridge. Begin forming the meatballs in your hands using approximately 1/4 cup servings. With your thumb, make an indentation in the meatball and stuff the cheese in the meatball. Cover the indentation by rolling the meatball in your hands so the meat fills in the whole. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all of the meat is used. At this point you can store the meatballs in the refrigerator or freezer in a resealable container until you are ready to bake them. When you are ready to bake them, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large baking or casserole dish with non-stick spray. Place the meatballs in the dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the meatballs measure 165 degrees with a meat thermometer Remove from the oven and let the meatballs cool slightly before serving. Serve with the cucumber salad.
Roasted Garlic Hummus
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 15 oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wrap garlic cloves in foil, place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Place the chickpeas, garlic, water, tahini paste, and olive oil in your food processor or blender. Blend or process until creamy and smooth. Add the salt and pepper to your taste.