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It’s becoming a Thursday tradition to eat dinner at my sister, Chrystal’s house with her family each week.  Last night we enjoyed a Mexican flavor inspired, family style meal around their dinner table.  I came up with a new meatball, and let me tell you they were a hit, especially with my nephew Eli.  Black beans, brown rice, and chipotle spices mingle to form these little bursts of flavor.  These are definitely a must try….. and, did I mention only 35 delicious calories per serving?

Mexican Fiesta Meatball with Chipotle Salsa

My second dish, southwest egg rolls, are a spin-off of the Chilis restaurant’s southwestern egg roll appetizer, but mine are much healthier and just as scrumptious.  One of Chili’s SW egg rolls weighs in at around 275 calories and 17g fat; mine are baked, and a lower 140 calories and 2.5g fat per egg roll.  Topped with a dollop of creamy avocado dip, this southwest twist on an egg roll will fly off any dinner, or cocktail party platter. 

Southwest Egg Rolls with Creamy Avocado Dip

I also served a big bowl of corn tortilla chips and extra salsa. Easy vanilla bean lowfat frozen yogurt and fresh strawberries for dessert. Both recipes are versatile enough to be served as a beautiful appetizer or main dish.

Here is another handy-dandy grocery list for both recipes……

Mexican Fiesta Meal Grocery List

  • 1 lb (16 oz) lean ground turkey (93/7)
  • 14 oz chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
  • Black beans (1 can or 1 bag dried)*
  • 1 can chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1 red onion
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 bag fresh baby spinach
  • 2 heads bibb or iceberg lettuce
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 1 bag corn, frozen or 1 cup fresh
  • Egg roll wrappers (1 pkg)
  • 1 pkg cheddar or pepper jack reduced fat shredded cheese
  • Nonfat plain Greek yogurt or light sour cream (2 tbsp)

Pantry Staples (add to grocery list if not on hand)

  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground chili powder
  • Ground cayenne pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • Fresh garlic
  • Honey
  • Brown rice*
  • Chipotle or regular salsa

*money saving tip: buy black beans and brown rice dry in bags, fix the whole package and freeze 1 cup portions in zip bags in the freezer.  I made around 8 cups of cooked rice and 8 cups of cooked beans for $2.00 total.

MEXICAN FIESTA MEATBALLS

makes 30 meatballs (serve one per lettuce cup as an appetizer or two per cup for main dish)

  • 1 lb LEAN GROUND TURKEY
  • 1 CHIPOTLE CHILE, canned in adobo sauce, plus 2 tsp CHIPOTLE ADOBO SAUCE
  • 3/4 cup BLACK BEANS, cooked or canned
  • 2 tsp FRESH LIME JUICE
  • 1 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 1/3 cup RED OR YELLOW ONION, finely chopped (extra slices for topping)
  • 3/4 cup BROWN RICE, cooked
  • 2 clove GARLIC, minced
  • 1 tsp HONEY
  • 1 tsp CUMIN, GROUND
  • 1/4 tsp OREGANO
  • 1 tsp SALT, SEA
  • 1/4 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND
  • 1 tbsp FRESH CILANTRO (plus extra for topping)
  • 1/2 tbsp PARSLEY, RAW
  • 2/3 cup CHIPOTLE or REGULAR SALSA (optional topping)
  • 2 heads BIBB or ICEBERG LETTUCE LEAVES (optional for serving – I used the smaller, tender bibb leaves)

1. Process chipotle chile (freeze remaining chiles and sauce in small zip top bags), adobo sauce, olive oil, honey, lime juice and beans in a small food processor, or blender, into a paste.

Saute onion and garlic for 2-3 mintues in a small skillet over medium heat. Then add to bean paste.

2.  In a large mixing bowl add chipotle/onion mixture, salt, cumin, oregano, black pepper, cilantro, parsley and brown rice (cooked mine slightly mushy – added a little extra cooking water) to ground turkey. Mix with hands just until incorporated (do not overmix or meat will become tough).

3. Cover meat and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll about one, heaping tablespoonful of meat mixture into a 1-1 1/2 inch round balls (should end up with 30 meatballs). Place on prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

5. To serve, place one (for appetizer) or two meatballs (for dinner) in a leaf of bibb or iceberg lettuce, top with red onion slices and 2 tsp of chipotle or regular salsa.

VARIATION: Great in tortilla or taco soup! Or try on a tortilla chip instead of lettuce leaf.

NUTRITION INFO PER MEATBALL LETTUCE CUP (with 1 meatball): 35 calories, 0.5g fat, 10mg cholesterol, 3g carb, 0g sugar, 4g protein

SOUTHWEST EGG ROLLS with CREAMY AVOCADO DIP

makes 20 egg rolls

  • 14 oz CHICKEN BREASTS, BONELESS, SKINLESS
  • 1 tsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 1/2 cup RED OR YELLOW ONION, chopped fine
  • 1 cup CORN, FRESH OR FROZEN, cooked
  • 2 PLUM TOMATOES, chopped
  • 1 cup BLACK BEANS, cooked fresh or canned
  • 1 JALAPENO PEPPER, finely diced
  • 1 medium GREEN BELL PEPPER, chopped
  • 1 cup FRESH BABY SPINACH, chopped
  • 3 tsp CUMIN, GROUND
  • 3 tsp CHILI POWDER
  • 1/4 tsp CAYENNE PEPPER, GROUND, (optional)
  • 3 cloves GARLIC, minced
  • 1 tsp SALT, SEA
  • 1/2 tsp BLACK PEPPER, GROUND
  • 1 3/4 cup CHEDDAR AND/OR PEPPER JACK SHREDDED, REDUCED FAT
  • 20 EGG ROLL WRAPPERS (1 pkg)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp FRESH CILANTRO, chopped

Creamy Avocado Dip

  • 1 RIPE AVOCADO, pit and peel removed
  • 2 tsp FRESH LIME JUICE
  • 2 tbsp NONFAT PLAIN GREEK YOGURT OR LIGHT SOUR CREAM
  • 1/4 tsp GARLIC POWDER
  • SEA SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken breasts in a cooking sprayed baking dish, covered, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Let cool and dice into small chunks (or use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken and chop).

2. Combine chopped chicken, onion, corn, tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, bell pepper, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper and chili powder in a large mixing bowl.

Saute mixture in a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray for a few minutes (3-5) to bring out the flavors. Add beans and cook another minute or two.  Remove pan from heat.

Add spinach and cilantro.

Let cool for 10-12 minutes, then mix in cheese.

 2. On a hard, working surface place even amounts of filling (about 1/4 cup) in the center of each egg roll wrap.

Pull top corner over mixture and tuck.

 Then fold in each side, one at a time.

Continue to roll up jelly roll style.

Wet corner slightly with water and press down gently to seal.

Place egg rolls seam side up on a lightly sprayed, or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until browned and crispy. Makes 20 egg rolls.

3. Mash all creamy avocado dip ingredients together until desired consistency, smooth or chunky.  Serve alongside hot egg rolls.  Serving size: 1 egg roll.

VARIATIONS: Dip egg rolls in salsa, light sour cream, salsa mixed with light sour cream, or salsa verde.

NUTRITION INFO PER EGG ROLL: 140 calories, 2.5g fat, 20mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 18g carb, 2g fiber, 1g sugar, 10g protein (1/2 tablespoon dip adds 20 calories and 2g fat)

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