A lighter take on meatballs


Sauteed mushrooms, celery and garlic add flavor to this easy Buffalo chicken meatball recipe. Serve them as an appetizer with carrot and celery sticks and blue cheese or ranch-style dressing for dipping, or make them into a Buffalo chicken sandwich. To make ahead: Freeze baked, cooled meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet; then transfer to an airtight container. Freeze for up to three months. Reheat from frozen in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

8 ounces mushrooms, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, sliced

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs

1/2 cup very finely chopped carrot

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 pound lean ground chicken

Finely chop mushrooms, onion, celery and garlic in a food processor. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.

Add breadcrumbs, carrot, cheese, hot sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper to the cooled vegetables; stir until combined. Add chicken and mix gently to combine (do not overmix). Form into 30 meatballs (a scant 2 tablespoons each) and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees, about 15 minutes. Serves 6.

Per serving: 207 calories; 11 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 47 percent calories from fat); 11 g carbohydrates; 0 g sugar; 69 mg cholesterol; 523 mg sodium; 17 g protein; 1 g fiber.