Pineapple Ginger Meatballs

We’ve been fortunate for the past few days to enjoy some unseasonably beautiful weather here in the Pacific Northwest.  During yesterday’s exceptionally sunny day I happened past an intoxicating smell of fresh pineapple in the produce section.  I knew I had to take it home with me so I could keep alive the dream of me relaxing on a beach somewhere warm.

Unfortunately the dream came crashing down as I got home and realized now I had to chop it.  Am I the only one that HATES chopping pineapples?!?!  Such work to get to the fruit, and then even more to make sure you don’t get any of the core or the eyes (is that what they’re called?!) in your pieces.  Apparently I wasn’t successful because my daughter promptly spit her first bite back in the bowl.  Whoops!

Since I still have a pile of fresh ginger from all the Chinese New Year partying, I thought it would be good to make this recipe from a Comfort Food special edition of Clean Eating.  Somehow this yummy recipe is not on the internet so I have to post my own ghetto picture…

Pineapple Ginger Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef (or pork, chicken, or turkey)
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP plus 1 tsp fresh grated ginger root, divided
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp sea salt, divided
  • 1 TBSP safflower oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 3 TBSP dried unsweetened apricots
  • 1 ½ TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 3 packets stevia
  • 2 cups cooked whole-wheat couscous
  • 1 oz slivered unsalted almonds
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine meat, oats, jalapeno, 1 TBSP ginger, egg whites, black pepper, and 1/8 tsp salt. Shape into 24 meatballs. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add meatballs and cook until browned, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
  2. Coat a slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add red onion to cover bottom, top with meatballs, cover and cook on high for 2 hours or until no longer pink in center.
  3. In a small bowl combine pineapple, apricots, vinegar, ¼ cup water, stevia, and remaining 1 tsp ginger. Pour over top of meatballs and cook for 15 more minutes.
  4. In a large bowl toss couscous with almonds and green onion. Divide couscous mixture among serving bowls. Gently stir meatball mixture and spoon over top of couscous. Sprinkle with remaining salt and cilantro.
  5. Serves 4 (1 cup meatball pineapple mixture and ½ cup couscous mixture)

NUTRITION: Calories 381 / Fat 12 g / Carbs 38g / Sugars 10 g / Protein 30 g / Fiber 4 g

Becca’s thoughts:

To make it healthier I used turkey, only 1/2 TBSP oil, and no salt and it still tasted great.  I also don’t own Stevia so I just used some cane sugar, but I wonder if it even needs that.  Next time I’ll try it without.  Also the meatballs were VERY soft and broke apart easily while browning.  I would suggest baking them instead or making them with just one egg white.

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