This semester, Jordan Ball, a nutrition graduate student at Boston University, is interning with me. What follows is part three of her three-part blog series on Meal Planning 101 and Meal Prepping for Beginners, where she is sharing her recipe for Mediterranean Chicken Meatball Power Bowls.
This recipe for Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs is one of my go-to meal prep favorites. I usually double it to use in power bowls (like the bowl below!) for myself and my fiancé during the week. We’re both busy and enjoy an active lifestyle, so we’re always looking for delicious, nutrient-dense meals that are easy to assemble.
These meatballs were inspired by my love for grabbing lunch from the Mediterranean fast casual chain, CAVA. I first tried it while living in New York City when one had opened right around the corner from my office. They have a few in Boston, but none of the locations is quite that convenient.
When using these Mediterranean chicken meatballs in power bowls (AKA nourish bowls or protein bowls), I typically start with a base of spinach or mixed greens and brown rice. I love topping with all sorts of ingredients (build-your-own style) including tzatziki, humus, harissa, crumbled feta, quick pickled red onion, chopped olives, tomatoes, and diced cucumber. Other ways to eat these chicken meatballs: Toss with marinara sauce over whole wheat pasta; wedge into a sub sandwich; freeze for later.
These Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs are the perfect addition to build-your-own power bowls. Or, serve over pasta, in a sub sandwich, or make a batch and freeze for later #familymealsmovement #mealplanning #mealprepping
Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs
Author: Jordan Ball
- Serves: 18 meatballs (serves 4)
- Serving size: 4 meatballs
- Calories: 150
- Fat: 2.5g
- Saturated fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 7.5g
- Sodium: 220mg
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 31g
Recipe type: Dinner
This recipe makes 18 meatballs, which you can use in a build-your-own Mediterranean power bowl dinner for four. I like to double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for later. If you're not in the mood for power bowls, cook up some pasta (preferably whole grain or one of the bean or lentil varieties) and serve with marinara sauce ... or stuff into sub rolls.
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ small onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (about ⅓ cup)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- ¼ cup panko or regular bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- 1 pound ground white meat chicken
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. You can use aluminum foil, but be sure to spray with cooking spray to avoid sticking.
- Place egg, onion, garlic, panko, oregano, coriander, cumin, pepper, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk or mix until well combined. Add the ground chicken and mix until just combined. You can use your clean hands to do this!
- Form meatballs into golf ball size balls (eighteen, 1-inch balls) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the internal temperature reads 165°F and the meat is no longer pink, 18 to 20 minutes.
- Serve immediately or keep in fridge for up to 4 days
What is the secret to eating well, feeling great, and staying vibrant through midlife and beyond? Don’t we all want to know? On this week’s Liz’s Healthy Table podcast, my guest, cookbook author and all-around foodie, Amanda Haas, joins me for tips, tricks, and recipes aimed at living a vibrant life and boosting your health and vitality … starting today.
Amanda Haas is a bestselling cookbook author, cooking instructor, and mom to two teenage sons. (Oh, how I can relate to that!) And she’s the voice behind the website and blog, Amanda Haas Cooks. She’s a past test kitchen manager at Williams-Sonoma and the author of several cookbooks, including her latest, The Vibrant Life: Eat Well, Be Well. Amanda’s motto is: “I make food that tastes so good, you don’t even realize it’s good for you.” She’s a foodie after my own heart! On the show, we’ll talk about living a vibrant life and share inspiration for cooking up delicious meals for you and your family, including Amanda’s recipe for Fall Quinoa Salad and her Coconut Ginger Sea Bass in Parchment.
“Tarragon is a delicious herb that is underused and under appreciated. It’s one of my favorites.”
– Amanda Haas
Tune in to Liz’s Healthy Table #podcast for my interview w/ @AmandaHaasCooks – We talk abt her book, THE VIBRANT LIFE, share tips for feeling your best a midlife and beyond + serve up recipes for sea bass in parchment + quinoa salad…
We are giving away one copy of The Vibrant Life to one lucky U.S. winner. For a chance to enter to win, post a comment in the Comments section at the end of this post, and tell me about why you want to win the book or the recipe you turn to time and time again that gives you energy and vitality. I’ll pick the winner on April 21st. For extra entries, head to my Instagram page.
Amanda’s sea bass recipe. If you can’t find sea bass at the market, use cod, haddock, or salmon. And if you can’t find trumpet mushrooms, use shiitake or button.
- Amanda’s life in northern CA with two teenage boys, who are BIG eaters
- What family dinner looks like in Amanda’s house
- Amanda’s career journey from cooking school, writing cookbooks and being the culinary director at Williams-Sonoma, to her vibrant blog and platform that she runs today
- Amanda’s go-to Chimichurri sauce made with cilantro, parsley, basil, mint, olive oil, garlic, shallots, lime/lemon juice, and Dijon mustard
- Why Amanda’s book, The Vibrant Life, includes self-care practices for midlife and beyond, along with many other helpful topics to raise awareness about feeling great
- How going gluten-free alleviated chronic health issues and pain
- Amanda’s advice: “Educate yourself and realize that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.”
- Amanda’s Fall Quinoa Salad made with a lemon vinaigrette, arugula, roasted butternut squash, toasted pepitas, golden raisins, and tarragon
- How tarragon is often under appreciated
- Why herbs are a great way to get kids used to “eating green”
- Amanda’s Coconut Ginger Sea Bass in Parchment made with sesame oil, tamari, coconut milk, lime, ginger, garlic, honey, mushrooms, bok choy, green onion, and sesame seeds (You can substitute salmon, halibut, or other firm fish.)
- Amanda’s favorite dessert recipe for panna cotta made with coconut milk, matcha, berries, and sesame seeds
- What’s next for Amanda?
Visit Amanda’s website: www.amandahaascooks.com
The Vibrant Life on Amazon
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This semester, Jordan Ball, a nutrition graduate student at Boston University, is interning with me. What follows is part two of her three-part blog series on meal planning and meal prepping.
I’m back as promised with part two of a three-part series on Meal Planning, Meal Prepping … plus a new recipe for chicken meatballs. This time around, I’m talking all things meal prep along with tips for keeping veggies fresh and stocking a nourishing pantry.
How I Meal Prep:
I like to do the lion’s share of my meal prep on Sundays. On that day, the first thing I do is get a big batch recipe going – things like chili, soups, stews, slow cooked pulled chicken, spaghetti squash casserole. The reason I do this first is because I like to strike while the iron is hot when I’m most motivated to cook.
Once my big batch recipe is on the stove or in the oven, I chop the miscellaneous fruits and veggies that I’ll need that week and those that store well once prepped, including bell peppers, onions, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, etc. But I avoid prepping the more delicate produce including tomatoes, avocados, and apples.
Prep day is also a great time to prepare a few servings of hearty whole grains. I’m a big fan of brown rice, and since it can take 40 minutes to cook, I like to make a few batches in advance.
On a Sunday, I spend 2 to 3 hours shopping and prepping. Not bad! (Since I have an organized grocery list, the shopping is a snap.)
Do you carve out one day a week to do the lion’s share of your food prep? It ultimately saves time and makes good nutrition doable and delicious. Learn more about #MealPrepping on the blog.
A Word on Storage:
Be sure you have adequate storage to keep your diced, sliced, and cooked foods fresh. I recommend glass storage over plastic for longevity, sustainability, and microwave safety, but any set works just fine. If you’re just getting started, you can usually find these in a Costco or some grocery stores. Take advantage of your freezer!
When your big batch recipe is done, for example, let it cool and then freeze a few portions for a future busy night. You’ll thank yourself later.
The Perfect Pantry:
I find it helpful to keep my pantry well-stocked. This allows for more flexibility with recipe selection or last-minute toss-together meals and encourages me to eat more nutrient-dense foods more often.
My idea of a perfect pantry includes whole grains (brown rice, oats, whole wheat pasta), legumes (chickpeas, black beans), oils (avocado, olive), jarred sauces, and a variety of nuts and seeds.
With a well-stocked pantry, I can grab a lean protein like chicken breast and a few veggies from the grocery store and quickly toss together a bowl of zucchini noodles, whole grain pasta, roasted chicken and pasta sauce.
I love being in the kitchen and trying new, interesting recipes. Thanks to meal planning and prepping, I have time set aside each week where I can do just that. I save recipes to Pinterest and on Instagram whenever I’m scrolling, and I often get inspired by meals I eat out at restaurants. When I started meal prepping, I didn’t realize it would be more than the boring containers of rice, steamed broccoli, and baked chicken for every meal. The possibilities really are endless.
This semester, Jordan Ball, a nutrition graduate student at Boston University, is interning with me. What follows is part one of her three-part blog series on meal planning and meal prepping.
I started meal planning for myself shortly after I graduated from Boston College. I had moved from Massachusetts to New York City to start my next chapter working for a catering and events company and quickly realized that the cost of keeping myself well fed and nourished was much higher than what I was used to at home. I did a little googling on how to stick to my food budget without sacrificing nutrition, and the answer that appeared again and again was meal planning.
What is Meal Planning?
For me, meal planning involves selecting meals to cook and eat in advance of the day that I need them and actively deciding to be prepared with healthful meals. It is a strategy we can all use to feed ourselves more nutrient-dense foods more often. As a naturally organized person I thrive on lists, calendars, and sticky notes, so, I thought, how hard could this be?
I’m not going to lie … it was challenging to get started, but I’m still at it almost ten years later. These days, I meal plan for both myself and my fiancé. And since I’m back in school pursuing m master’s in nutrition at Boston University, meal planning often saves the day, especially on busy school weeks.
Want to learn how to become a #MealPlanning pro? This blog post has you covered with tips for getting started … plus learn why it saves time, money, and reduces food waste!
Benefits of Meal Planning:
- Meal planning saves time. By investing a few hours each Sunday, it gives me back those precious hours during the week.It also saves me money.
- Healthy eating has an expensive reputation, but cooking at home certainly costs less than eating out all the time!
- My fiancé is passionate about sustainability, so one benefit I appreciate more these days than I did when I first started my meal planning journey is how much less food waste we generate simply by planning our meals. I make a list before my grocery run so that I’m only buying items we need. The result: fewer items end up in the garbage.
How I Meal Plan:
I block a period on my calendar each week, usually Friday afternoons, to take a look at what’s left in my fridge and to select the next week’s recipes.
This first step ensures I’m using everything I buy – good for the planet and the wallet! I review my schedule for the week ahead and pick my shop/prep day (usually Sundays), and then I lay it all out in an excel spreadsheet. If excel isn’t exactly your jam, there are so many other ways to get organized, including meal planning apps, online and printed calendars, and Liz even has printables available including her 7-day meal planner and aisle-by-aisle supermarket shopping.
My strategy tends to be ingredient based; I select the carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, and veggies that I want to eat. I also choose one big batch recipe.
A sample week might look like this:
As you can see on the spreadsheet above, my “big batch” item this week is turkey chili. (I scheduled it for dinner Tuesday, because I have my Medical Nutrition Therapy class that night, which runs from 5:30-8:15pm.) I know that once class ends, I’ll be too hungry and won’t want to do any serious cooking, so this way I’m not tempted to order out. On the spreadsheet, I also made note of a Thursday virtual cooking class that I’m attending and left Friday night open for whatever we feel like eating because … well, it’s Friday!
Once the schedule is filled out, I make my grocery list so I’m ready for shopping and prepping on Sunday.
Are you a meal planner? What’s your best strategy? What do you see as the benefits?
In my next post, I’ll walk you through what meal prepping looks like in my house (AKA my apartment) and toss in a few storage, chopping, and pantry tips for good measure!
If you’re like me and you’re a recent empty-nester or you’re newly married or just cooking for yourself and a partner, you may be on the lookout for easy ways to cook healthy meals for two. Today’s guest is fellow dietitian and cookbook author, Jenna Braddock, and she joins me with easy recipes, tips for shopping for two (vs. a crowd), and simple advice for reducing food waste. Cooking for two is about to get easy, nutritious, and delicious.
Jenna Braddock is a registered dietitian and certified Sports Dietetics specialist who lives in Florida with her husband and two kids. She hosts the blog, Make Healthy Easy, and her new cookbook, Easy Cooking for Two: 75 Perfectly Portioned Recipes is a hit in my house. On today’s show, you’ll hear Jenna’s advice for stocking a pantry when you’re cooking for two and not a crowd, tips for keeping fresh herbs from spoiling when you buy a big bunch but only need a handful, and lots of recipes including her Adobo Turkey Nachos. We’ve got advice for reducing food waste and making recipes like Warm Quinoa Salad and Mango Salsa Pork Chops with everyday ingredients from your pantry.
“Cooking for two allows you to experiment with new things with a low risk. “
– Jenna Braddock, MSH, RDN, CSSD
[Tweet “Tune in to this wk’s Liz’s Healthy Table #podcast for my interview w/ @JBraddockRD about her new book, EASY COOKING FOR TWO. Get recipes, tips for stocking a pantry for two (vs a crowd), and advice for reducing food waste. PLUS, we’re giving away a copy!]
We are giving away 2 copies of Easy Cooking for Two: 75 Perfectly Portioned Recipes to one lucky U.S. winner. For a chance to enter to win, post a comment in the Comments section at the end of this post and tell me about why you want to win the book or your favorite recipe for two. I’ll pick the winner on April 7th. For extra entries, head to my Instagram page.
- Get to know Jenna and her life in St. Augustine with her football coach husband and two young sons; it’s a football-filled life!
- Tips for feeding teenage athletes (think about salads and fresh fruit)
- What dinner looks like at Jenna’s house
- Why Jenna started her blog, Make Healthy Easy, which is food-focused with do-able and delicious recipes
- How Jenna’s cookbook provides the perfect solution for those who don’t want to cook large meals
- How cooking for two helps eliminate food waste
- The benefits of cooking for two include experimenting with different ingredients and recipes and avoiding the “condiment graveyard” in your refrigerator and pantry
- How Jenna’s cookbook is structured with vegetarian/vegan recipes, lighter fare, seafood, poultry, pork, and beef
- Tips on how to make fresh herbs last longer so they don’t end up in the trash
- One of Jenna’s kids’ favorite recipes: Taco Bowl with refried beans, beef, cheese, tortillas, and toppings
- How we can rethink grocery shopping to accommodate cooking for two
- Jenna’s Adobo Turkey Nachos, which are made with diced onions, broccoli slaw, ground turkey, and adobo seasoning
- Jenna’s recipe for Warm Quinoa Salad, which is made with quinoa, wilted and chopped spinach, frozen edamame, red wine vinegar, and dried cherries
- How Jenna’s Sheet Pan Shrimp Bowls use frozen rice as an ingredient
- Why freezer section fruits, veggies, and grains are perfect for easy and nutritious recipes for two
- Jenna’s recipe for Mango Salsa Pork Chops uses boneless pork loin chops and a salsa made with chopped mango, jalapeño, red onion, and lime juice
- Jenna’s husband’s favorite recipe is Chile Lime Pork Chops, which are seasoned with chipotle chili powder, lime juice, and salt
- Jenna’s favorite family go-to recipe is Apricot Chicken with Spinach Rice; she uses two boneless, skinless thighs from a frozen bag of chicken thighs and makes a pan sauce of apricot preserves and balsamic vinegar
Easy Cooking for Two on Amazon
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