Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs

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Ground chicken breast is one of my favorite ways to build a base for a #Keto meal!  It’s so versatile, mixes well with most of my favorite ingredients, and is easy to meal prep for the week ahead, that it’s become my go-to for creating new #KetoRecipes.  This recipe for #ChickenBaconRanchMeatballs is fun because you can eat them all alone or pop them on a skewer between a piece of lettuce and 1/2 a plum or cherry tomato and drizzle with some ranch dressing for a fun lunch, light dinner, or appetizer.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs

  • 2 Pounds Ground Chicken Breast
  • 4 Pieces Thick Cut Bacon
  • 3 Pieces Thick Cut Peppered Bacon
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 4 TBLS Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 Cup Panko
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • Lettuce or Arugula (if desired)
  • Cherry or Plum Tomatoes (if desired)
  • More Ranch for drizzling

Spray 2 mini muffin pans (24 holes) lightly with olive oil spray or prepare 2 cookies sheets by lining with foil and spraying the foil lightly with the olive oil spray, then set aside.  Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cut the bacon into 1/4″ to 1/2″ chunks and cook in a skillet over medium heat until browned.  Remove bacon to paper towels to cool.  Remove the bacon grease from the pan and quickly wilt the spinach in the same pan.  Put the cooled bacon and spinach into your chopper or vitamix mini cup and pulse until bacon is chopped into small bits & spinach is roughly chopped.

Using your hands (I wear disposable gloves), combine the ground chicken breast, bacon, spinach, egg, 4 TBLS of Ranch Dressing, and Panko in a medium bowl until well mixed.  Form the mixture into about 40 2″ balls and pot into either the mini muffin pan or space out on the baking sheets.  Lightly spray the tops of the meatballs with the olive oil spray.

Bake in 350° F oven for 18 – 22 minutes, or until the meatballs register 165° F on your meat thermometer.

Remove the balls from the pans and lay on a paper towel lined plate to soak up any excess olive oil spray.  Serve with ranch dressing on a bed of lettuce and plum or red tomatoes or thread lettuce, meatball and tomato on a small skewer then drizzle with ranch dressing.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Protein Packed Meatballs

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I am guilty of not getting enough protein in my diet and need to take every chance I can to pack extra grams in where I can.  These #KetoFriendly meatballs can be served as an appetizer, between meal snack, light lunch main with a salad or vegetables, or even added to a sauce with zoodles for a perfect #KetoMeal.  Of course, if you aren’t Keto, feel free to add them to any rice, potato, or pasta dish you choose!

Protein Packed Meatballs

Combine everything except the ground beef in the container for your blender, food processor, or Vitamix.  Set your speed to the lowest, or start with a pulse, to begin chopping your spinach up.  Once the spinach is broken down, turn the speed up to medium to make sure your ingredients are combined but not liquified.  It should only take about 15 – 20 seconds.

Put your ground beef into a medium mixing bowl and pour/scrape the blender contents on top.  I put on rubber gloves at this point and use my hands to mix everything thoroughly.

Give the bottom of the basket of your air fryer a very light, quick spritz with olive oil spray.  Roll balls with about 1 TBLS of the meat mixture (doesn’t have to be exact) and set them into your air fryer basket.  Leave a bit of space between them, you want the air to circulate around them so they cook evenly.

When you’ve filled your basket with 12-15 about 1″ meatballs (that’s how many fit in my Dash Deluxe 6 Qt Air Fryer basket), set your timer for 9 minutes at 375° F.

Shake your basket at about 6 minutes to make sure the bottoms release and get browned.  When they’re lightly browned all over, remove them from the basket and cook the rest of the meatballs.  You should end up with about 30.

If desired, serve with your favorite low-carb / sugar free marinara sauce.  Some good ones are Rao’s, Newman’s Own and Yo Mama’s.  You can see all of them (and their nutrition information) at this link#ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 5 Meatballs)

  • 231 Calories
  • 15 g Fat
  • <1 g Carbs
  • 18 g Protein

 

Salted Lime Sweet Potato Chips

sweetpotatochipsI’m a savory snack girl, but don’t want to completely derail my hard earned Keto gains by cheating with a bag of store bought potato chips.  What’s a snacker to do?  This snacker chooses to spend her carbs on a healthier version of sweet potato chips, without the store bought preservatives and additives.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Salted Lime Sweet Potato Chips

  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes (or yams)
  • 1 TBLS Corn Starch
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • 4 Limes
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425° and place oven safe cooling racks on 2 baking sheets.
  2. Wash sweet potatoes and thinly slice with a very sharp kitchen knife or mandolin.
  3. Place sweet potato slices in a bowl and cover them with warm water and corn starch. Soak for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the water and dry very well with a paper towel.
  5. Lay a single layer of potatoes on each rack and spray each side of the potato slice with olive oil spray.
  6. If you have a small spray bottle, fill it with your lime juice & spritz top side lightly with the lime juice.  If you don’t have a spray bottle, drizzle the lime juice lightly over your potatoes.
  7. Lightly salt the tops then bake for 15 – 25 minutes (depending on thickness of slices), flipping the potato slices half way through the baking process. Check the potato chips frequently, it may take less time if your chips are sliced extra thin, to make sure that they don’t burn! Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1 oz):

  • 24 Calories
  • 0 g Fat
  • 4 g Carbs
  • <1 g Protein

Chicken Bacon Ranch Balls

chickenbaconranchballsAppetizers and small plates are the easiest way to stay on target when I’m trying to lose a few pounds or clean up my diet.  These chicken, bacon, ranch meatballs are perfect with a small salad and a side of cauliflower mash for an easy weeknight dinner and a great way to snack without guilt at tailgate parties!  Low carb, nut free, gluten free, grain free, and, best of all for me, #KetoFriendly!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Balls

  • 1 Pound Ground Chicken
  • 12 Slices Thick Cut Bacon
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Large Egg, Beaten
  • 1 tsp Dried Dill
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F and line baking sheet with foil and baking rack. Lay bacon strips on baking rack in even layer. Bake bacon in oven until crispy, about 15-20 minutes depending on thickness of bacon.  Crumble bacon into small pieces. (Dispose of foil from baking sheet or use second baking sheet.) Decrease oven heat to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To a large mixing bowl, add ground chicken, crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar, egg, and spices. Using hands, mix together until thoroughly combined. Form mixture into equal-sized balls, about 1 1/2 tbsp of mixture per ball, place on prepared baking sheet, and lightly press down to slightly flatten. Bake until golden brown and cooked throughout, 25-30 minutes.
  3. Remove poppers from oven, allow to cool slightly, and serve with low carb ranch dressing drizzled on balls or on the side.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information – Serving 1 Ball (Makes 16 Balls)

  • 116  Calories
  • 9 g   Fat
  • 0 g   Carbs
  • 9 g   Protein

 

Quick Zucchini Pickle Ribbons

zuccpickleribbonsBecause the photo of the recipe isn’t on the same page as this recipe from #EatingWell Magazine, you could blink and miss it.  I’d have been sorry if I did!

Not only was I able to adapt it to make it #KetoFriendly, but it’s quick and easy & makes a perfect compliment for the Keto sandwiches I’m now able to enjoy because of my latest discovery: #Sola, 3g carbs per slice, Sweet Oat Bread!  It’s not cheap, but I can get it on Amazon and get my grilled cheese sandwich fix again!

Quick Zucchini Pickle Ribbons

  • 2 Medium Zucchini
  • 8 Fresh Dill Sprigs
  • 3/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1 TBLS Erythritol (or other Sugar Substitute)
  • 2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Crushed Garlic Clove
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Dried Red Pepper
  1. Cut zucchini into long strips using a vegetable peeler, discarding the inner seeds. (You should have about 12 ounces of strips.) Place in a heatproof jar and add dill.
  2. Combine vinegar, water, sugar substitute, mustard seeds, garlic and crushed red pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Pour into the jar. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Drain and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information per 1/4 Cup Serving

8 calories; 0 g fat; 0 g fiber; 0 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 10 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 99 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C; 8 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 40 mg sodium; 107 mg potassium  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Air Fried Coconut Shrimp

You might be able to tell I’m obsessed with my air fryer.  It’s so stinkin’ easy to use, clean up, and it’s great for healthy cooking!  The best part of having the air fryer is that the possibilities with it are endless.  All I’ve had to do so far is go to Google for recipe inspiration.  Today’s ingredient: raw shrimp.

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Coconut Shrimp with Honey Lime Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 1+1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Large Eggs (I use Eggland’s Best)
  • 2/3 Cup Unsweetened Flaked Coconut
  • 1/3 Cup Panko Crumbs
  • 24 Medium Peeled, Deveined Raw Shrimp, Tail-on
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1 Serrano Chile, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp Chopped Fresh Cilantro (Optional)

Stir together flour and pepper in a shallow dish.  Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow dish.  Stir together coconut and Panko in a third shallow dish.  Holding each shrimp by the tail, dredge shrimp in flour mixture, making sure not to coat tail; shake off excess.  Dip in egg, allowing any excess to drip off.  Dredge in coconut mixture, pressing to adhere.  Coat shrimp well with cooking spray.

Place half of the shrimp in air fryer basket in a single layer, and cook at 400°F until golden, 6 to 8 minutes, turning shrimp over halfway through cooking.  If you have larger shrimp it may take up to 10 minutes.  Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.  Repeat with remaining shrimp and salt.

While shrimp cook, whisk together honey, lime juice, and Serrano chile in small bowl. Sprinkle shrimp with cilantro, if desired.  Serve with sauce.  Note: If you are keeping to a Keto lifestyle, skip the honey based sauce and just squeeze a bit of lime juice on instead.

Serving size 6 shrimp.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information per serving (Shrimp only – no sauce):  Calories 213  Fat 11  CarbsProtein 14

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Ham Wrapped Asparagus

asparaguswithhamaf2Talking to friends, I have heard a lot of them losing hope as the months of their dieting, and slow movements on the scale, drag on.  They’re getting bored with the foods they’re eating, or hate the foods that are promised to be the biggest help in losing weight, particularly eggs, on the #KetoDiet.  As one who suffers occasional food boredom as well, I’ve been sharing some of my favorite #MakeAhead snacks and #GrabAndGo meals that make me less tempted to cheat.

Air Fryer Ham Wrapped Asparagus

  • 8 Spears Fresh Asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 4 Large Thin Slices Ham, sliced in half (I use Columbus Brand Apple wood Smoked Ham)
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • Freshly Ground Salt & Pepper
  1. Lay asparagus spears in the basket of your air fryer and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.  Shake the spears in the basket to make sure the spears are coated.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and shake again before closing the air fryer.
  3. Cook spears for 3 minutes at 400° F, and remove from basket.
  4. Wrap each spear of asparagus with 1/2 piece of ham.
  5. Place back in basket, seam side down and lightly spray again with olive oil spray.
  6. Cook another 5-7 minutes at 400° F, shaking once in the middle of the time, until ham is lightly browned.
  7. Remove spears from basket and serve warm with grained mustard, if desired.

This is a great appetizer, light lunch, or even breakfast.  I love to make some of these and put them into the refrigerator to pack for a midday snack at the office!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat