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.

MEMORIES OF THAILAND ~ Honey “Thai” Thighs

MEMORIES  OF THAILAND
There are  many recipes for chicken and chicken thighs. I really liked Linda’s “Honey Thigh Recipe” from the Fabulous Fare Sisters. Linda wrote that she would like to see my version of her Honey ~”Thai” Thigh Recipe”  after I commented on Linda’s Yummy honey Thai chicken recipe. . . .from LINDA: Thank you! Hope you give it a try – would love to see your version!  Being a lab rat, I enjoyed experimenting with this chicken recipe;  originating from Thailand.  I prepared Linda’s  wonderfully tasty chicken thigh dish. The selection of spices was too good! I did not adjust the original recipe. The great flavours of Turmeric, chives basil, ginger and soy sauce were so good already. You don’t want to change something that is already spectacular.  The only variation I made was  in the added honey;  used for  sweetness and caramelization.

Memories of Thailand!

Memories of Thailand!

TEST-TUBEMY TEST KITCHEN 
I made 3 versions of this  “dish” by  altering the method of adding sweetness to this dish. I wanted to see if there was any change in the flavour and the caramelization.
I made my first version almost the same as the original Fabulous Fare Sisters recipe. (on March 10, 2016).  In my version I used green onions instead of chives.  I doubled up on the turmeric,  basil and ginger since I am fortunate to live near “St. Lawrence Market” where I am able to get fresh ginger and turmeric along with fresh basil all year round. I grow my basil in the summer. The fresh turmeric is not as common as fresh ginger from local supermarkets here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was very generous with the cilantro. I used 1/4 cup of cilantro instead of a few leaves since I like it so much!
I made the second version  and added  the honey at the end, with one tablespoon of soy sauce glazed on top to see if the flavour and caramelization was affected.  I assumed that the caramelization would be less.
I made a third version with two tablespoons of stevia substituted for the honey and used chicken legs.

All Natural, Healthy Stevia

All Natural, Healthy Stevia read more from godshalingplants.wordpress.com

All versions were marinated for 24 hours. I shared my Thai chicken with my  friends, neighbour and  the concierge in my building.  The concierge is very please that I include him in my test kitchen.
RESULTS
The results surprised me a little.  The first version was good.  I had thought that the second version would have less caramelization. It did not. It was the same as the first. If the caramelization is too much and carbon is formed then this is not very healthy.  The third version with the stevia was just a little too sweet. I would perhaps change it to 1 tablespoon of Stevia instead of two tablespoons.
THE VOTE WAS UNANIMOUS!
All the critics favoured the version that had the honey and soy sauce glazed on top at the very end. The sweetness of the honey was enjoyable but it did not permeate through the entire dish.  This gave a pleasant contrast between the sweet and the savory.  It was the winner with everyone here!
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RECIPE
HONEY THAI THIGHS
INGREDIENTS
6-8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs  ( or bone-in or legs)
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt  fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 limes
1/4 cup honey (or 2 tablespoons stevia)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves.

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Ingredients for the chicken thighs on the left and chicken legs with stevia on the right

INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Season the chicken with the chives, turmeric, basil, ginger, salt, pepper, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce,
2.  Zest the lines and squeeze the lime juice over the chicken.
3.  Drizzle with the honey and add cilantro.
4.  Allow to marinade for 10 minutes(up to 24 hours).
5.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the seasoned thighs 6-10 minutes on each side until cooked through.
6.  If using bone-in or legs cook 2 more minutes on both sides.
7. Test to an internal temperature of 165 degrees away from the bone. Serve and garnish with more cilantro leaves.

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Chicken thighs that had honey glaze on the left and chicken with honey in the marinade on the right

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Chicken legs in stevia marinade cooking

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Chicken thighs and legs garnished with cilantro

I would like to thank the talented Fabulous Fare Sisters for their delicious recipe .  The challenge was truly interesting and made me consider all options to improvise and test this recipe.  The recipe was wonderful.  Everyone enjoyed it. The version that had the same amount of honey as in the original recipe but used as a glaze was the winner with my group of taste testers.  Many thanks to them as well and I hope that everyone keeps cooking happy and healthy.

Chicken Diablo

chicken-diabloThere are many versions of this recipe. For my Chicken Diablo, I will be broiling the chicken breasts instead of using the fry pan. It is a healthier, lower calorie version when you bake or broil your chicken in the oven. If you use homemade mayonnaise for this recipe, you will not have all the preservatives you get in the store bought version. This is easy to make and so tasty!!!

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RECIPE
Ingredients

6 pieces chicken breast
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. mayonnaise or yogurt
1 tbsp. dry white wine or chicken stock or lemon juice or vinegar
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese ( or more Panko or bread crumbs )
1 tbsp. chopped thyme or rosemary or sage or other herbs

Instructions
1. Dry chicken breasts with paper towels
2. Pound the chicken between 2 pieces of parchment or cut in half to make the cutlets thinner.
3. Combine in a deep dish or bowl the Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, wine, Worcestershire (Worcester) sauce, Tabasco and pepper.
4. Combine and then place on a plate the Panko bread crumbs, grated Parmesan and chopped herbs.
5. Dip chicken into the sauce and then coat on both sides with the Panko mixture. Place on a wire rack until ready to cook.
6. Preheat broiler and place baking sheet in the oven.
7. Place a piece of parchment on the baking sheet and then the chicken on top.  Broil 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Turn over after the first 4 minutes.
8. Reduce heat from broil to 350F/180C and bake 5 minutes longer.  Yummy!
chicken_breadingCoated chicken, ready to broil
chicken_breaded_ovenChicken Diablo out of the oven. Tasty and low cal!
chciken_diablo-plateChicken Diablo with roasted asparagus, tomato and sweet potato salad
cottage_tableWelcoming dining room at the picturesque lake house.
HAT2FOOD TIP: Serve warm and then refrigerate any left overs which are great cold sliced on salads or in a sandwich with some oven roasted tomatoes or just lettuce and more ‘homemade’ mayo of course.
You will want to make extra!