Game Day Spicy Meatballs

These are a healthier alternative to the typical  game day feast of nachos, chips, wings and pizza. They are so tasty and will not last long.  Delicious and nutritious snacks!

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INGREDIENTS
img_42491 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, whisked
3 tablespoons unseasoned whole-wheat bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Hungarian or hot paprika
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves, about 1 small sprig or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, about 5 sprigs or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon sugar substitute
1 lemon, zest only
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:
1) In a large bowl thoroughly mix the chicken, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, Worcestershire, paprika, onion powder, oregano, thyme, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a bowl.
2) Gently mix in the chicken (to avoid any toughness in the meatballs) and form into mini meatballs, slightly smaller than a golf ball; it should make 28 to 30 meatballs.
3) Warm the butter and oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
4) Transfer the meatballs to the pan and do not disturb for 3 minutes to brown well.
5) Turn, cooking another 3 minutes without disturbing.
6) Keep cooking until browned and cooked on all sides, but still juicy and plump with a spring to the touch.
7) Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Serve with cocktail skewers or toothpicks for game day!

img_4258Both chicken and turkey are a great alternative to beef when making meatballs and these meatballs are healthier than pizza, wings or chips for that game day snack!  These are also great for those who want to build their muscles to compete with or become  football players or just build a little bit of muscle like myself.

While turkey has a slight edge from a nutritional standpoint, the price of chicken is more stable year-round, and boneless, skinless cuts of turkey breast can be found easily at most grocery stores.  A 1-lb. serving of skinless, boneless chicken breast contains 135 calories per serving, which is 12 calories higher than the same serving of turkey. The ratio of protein to fat is also slightly lower than turkey with 25 g of protein and 3 g of fat per serving.

Amino Acid Profiles
Another important consideration is the amino acid profiles or each meat. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and different amino acids have different effects on muscle gain. Specifically, the branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs — isoleucine, leucine and valine — are linked to optimal muscular growth and repair. Again, turkey is slightly superior to chicken in its content of BCAAs. One serving of turkey contains 1,420 mg of isoleucine, 2,176 mg of leucine and 1,451 mg of valine. A serving of chicken contains 1,230 mg of isoleucine, 2,073 mg of leucine and 1,297 mg of valine.

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