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GREEK CHICKEN* MEATBALLS WITH TZATZIKI SAUCE**

It’s June, and that means there are picnics and barbecues on our calendars. When I have to bring food to an event, I usually bring something that fits into my food plan, but is tasty enough for others to enjoy. These Greek Chicken Meatballs work well. 
They are a lean protein source made with whole food ingredients. I can make them ahead and freeze them, eliminating last minute panic preparations. 
Meatballs don’t have to be high in fat and sodium to be tasty. This recipe uses ground chicken breast as a lean protein source. The combination of vegetables and herbs, and the yogurt-based Tzatziki sauce definitely ups the flavor game!

This recipe serves 5 (3 meatballs = 1 serving) and each serving packs in 28 grams of protein, 187 calories (awesome protein to calorie ratio!!), 4 grams of fat and 9 grams of carbs.

Let’s get started –

INGREDIENTS:
Meatballs -
• ¼ medium red bell pepper
• ¼ medium red onion
• 3 cloves of garlic
• 1 lb ground chicken breast*
• 1 TBLSP red wine vinegar
• ¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs***
• 1 egg
• 2 tsp dried oregano (Or 1 TBLSP fresh)
• 1 tsp dried parsley (Or 2 tsp fresh)
• ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tsp dried dill (Or 2 tsp fresh)

Tzatziki Sauce – 
• ¼ cucumber
• 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 TBLSP chopped fresh dill
• Juice of ½ lemon
• Pinch of pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:
• Heat oven to 350F. 
• Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking sheet.
• In a food processor, pulse bell pepper, onion, and garlic until finely diced. 
• Add to a bowl with remaining meatball ingredients - chicken and dried dill. Stir, or use your hands, to mix well.
• Roll mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, placing them one inch apart on prepared baking sheet. 
• Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 165F.

While meatballs are baking, make tzatziki sauce.

• Grate cucumber onto a mesh strainer or paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. 
• Add to a bowl with remaining ingredients.
• Stir to combine and refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Substitute ground lamb, turkey, or lean ground beef instead for chicken.
**The sauce can either be spooned on top of the meatballs just before serving, or used as a dipping sauce if the meatballs are being served as an appetizer. 
***If you can’t find whole wheat bread crumbs, make your own by toasting whole wheat bread, and grinding in a food processor or blender. You can also use lightly ground oats.

These meatballs are super flexible, and can be served with whatever you have handy. Try steamed vegetables such as asparagus or broccoli, your favorite whole grain, or a salad. (I tossed mine onto a bed of dark leafy greens to create a salad meal!)

Thanks to Kaleigh McMordie at verywellfit.com for this amazingly tasty recipe!