Chicken Zucchini Poppers

A few years ago, my husband and I were going on a two-month trip. We wanted to drop some weight before we left, but didn’t know which way to go. He heard from somebody at work about Whole 30, anybody heard of that? I’m sure you have, it’s become pretty popular over the years.  If not, I’ll fill you in.  It’s a not carbs, no dairy, no sugar plan.  He tried it for a month and along with a lot of walking, he dropped weight quickly and felt a lot better. I joined him for the second month.  The hardest part for me was the no wine (waaaaaaa) and no cheese.  I was so used to having a snack every day of diet coke and a cheese stick.  I would go to the refrigerator without even thinking the first few days like a robot and open the door, only to remember both of those items were not on my food list.  Insert sad face here.

But after a few days I got into it and the challenge of making good meals within my guidelines.  It was easy to cut some things out, but not others.  But I sure did feel better.  And I didn’t cheat for a month! The first meal we had after was a hamburger …. On a bun with red wine.  The carbs were great, the wine was even better.  And the best thing? I kicked my nasty diet coke habit.  The first time I tasted it after a month it tasted like metal in my mouth.  My husband was thrilled I kicked my two diet coke a day habit.

I made these poppers for lunch one day and I was thrilled with the outcome.  The rest of my family put them into a pita and covered them with onions and tomatoes and ate them gyros style. We just ate them as is with a Whole 30 approved sauce and loved them just the same.  I made a few tweeks.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken breast
  • 2c grated zucchini (leave peel on and squeeze out some of the liquid with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel)
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 3-4 Tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • (optional: ¾ tsp cumin)
  • olive oil, for cooking (or coconut oil, avocado oil, or ghee)

DIRECTIONS:

Toss chicken with zucchini, green onion, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper (and cumin, if using). Mixture will be quite wet.

To cook on the stove-top:  Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Use a small scoop or a heaped tablespoon to scoop meatballs into the pan. Cook 8-10 at a time for about 5-6 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown and the centers are cooked through.

To bake:  Drizzle a bit of olive or avocado oil onto a baking sheet. Scoop meatballs onto the greased pan. Drizzle a bit of additional oil over the meatballs. Bake at 400 degrees 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through. If desired, place under the broiler for an additional 2-3 minutes or until browned on top.

Serve with guacamole, salsa, or your favorite dip.

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