Chicken zucchini poppers with creamy garlic dip

This is the first recipe I ever published on this blog. I went to edit it the other day and somehow got lost in a foreign and scary editing world from which I could not return. The post had to be trashed and I had to start all over again. So here we go.

A few years ago, our family planned a two month road trip through Canada and the USA. My husband and I wanted to drop some weight before we left so that we could eat our way through two months without worrying too much about our buttons popping off.

Someone at work told him about Whole 30 which was new to us at the time. If you’re not familiar with the program, it’s a no carbs, no dairy, no sugar plan. They suggest you do it for 30 days straight more for health than for weight loss. Of course, we were doing for both.

As men do, he dropped a lot of weight that first month. I was jealous of how good he looked that when he decided to do it again, I joined him. The hardest part for me was no cheese and no wine. I was so used to snacking on a cheese string and a diet coke every single day that I realized it was an ingrained habit. Every day about 11 AM I would find myself staring in the fridge about to grab my mid-morning snack before realizing that neither of those items were on my food list.

After a week or so though, I started to get into it. The challenge for me was to make healthy meals taste great so that my kids and my parents (who at the time were living with us) would also enjoy them. Some things were easy to cut out, others were not. But let me tell you, I sure did feel better. I didn’t cheat once during the month! Quite an accomplishment for me. The best outcome besides the weight loss was that I kicked my two diet cokes a day habit. After 30 days, the taste of diet coke was like metal in my mouth. My husband was thrilled I kicked this habit, he loathes aspartame.

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.  

This was the very first recipe I ever blogged so of course when I made it again this week, I had to make a few tweeks and add a nice little garlic sauce on the side. It’s still delicious and good for you! Enjoy guilt free!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 cups grated zucchini, grated and liquid squeeze out
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TAB sriracha
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • sesame oil for frying

GARLIC SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 TAB mayonnaise
  • 1 TAB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Poppers: Combine all ingredients except sesame oil in a large bowl. Stir to combine well. Make small patties with your hand, flattening slightly.

To cook on the stove-top:  Heat a drizzle of sesame oil in a large pan over medium heat. Without crowding, fry on each side about 4 minutes or until golden brown and the centers are cooked through.

To bake:  Drizzle a bit of sesame oil onto a baking sheet. Place poppers on sheet, not over-crowding. 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.

Creamy garlic dip: Combine all ingredients in small bowl and mix well.

Serves 4.

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