Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

I love to cook, and I love to try new things.  With a toddler, I tend to not be very adventurous with what I make–when we find something he likes, we make it every week! I know I should be more adventurous to help him be a more adventurous eater, but that’s usually a battle I don’t choose. All my toddler moms can relate, right?

I’ve been having a great time during this Whole30 looking for new recipes to try and eating foods that are way outside my norm.  This recipe was the second one I experimented with, and it was an instant hit!  I’ve been steaming or roasting cauliflower and serving myself the meatballs and sauce over the cauliflower, and it is to die for.  Seriously, this recipe rivals curry dishes that I’ve had at restaurants.  And I love the meatball recipe on its own–I really want to figure out a different way to serve the meatballs with a different sauce or in a different dish altogether, because they are so moist and flavorful!

Since I was the only one eating this meal, it made me 4-5 meals.  I used one cup of cauliflower and 3 meatballs as a serving for myself and counted it as 2 teaspoons, one green, and one red for my container system.

Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs (from The Bewitchin Kitchen)

For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped carrots
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsps freeze dried cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsps basil
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce if not Whole30)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and pepper
  • 1 lb ground chicken

 

For the sauce:

  • 1 can coconut milk (unsweetened and full fat–in the Asian foods section of the grocery)
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

 

Preheat oven to 400 F.  To make the meatballs, place all of the ingredients except the chicken in a large food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Move to a large bowl and add the ground chicken.  Mix thoroughly with your hands into 1 inch meatballs (they will be gooey and really wet, but like the original recipe says, that’s okay!  They will cook just fine).

Place meatballs on a large cookie sheet greased OR lined with parchment paper.  Make sure you use a cookie sheet that has lips on all 4 sides–I didn’t and these meatballs dripped all over my oven and made a huge mess!  And don’t just think you can use a drip pan–I ruined a drip pan because the drippings went under the foil on the drip pan and burnt to the pan.  Just use one with 4 lips.

Put in oven and bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through.  Check with an instant-read thermometer–once the meatballs reach 165 in the middle, they are fully cooked.  (The original recipe calls for the meatballs to be cooked for another 20 minutes, but I made mine smaller and they only needed 20 minutes.  Rely on the temperature of the meatballs to ensure that they are fully cooked, not just on the time.)  Once they are cooked, set aside.

To make the sauce, put the full can of coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until heated through and all solids have melted.  Add all other sauce ingredients and stir to combine.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the cooked meatballs and stir, simmering for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve over cauliflower.

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Am I the only one who can’t take good pictures of food?

Whole30 Meal Plan and Update

This week will mark the halfway point of my Whole30 (plus Shakeo)!  I am past the point of feeling yucky from sugar withdrawals and I’m feeling GREAT!  I haven’t suffered from acid reflux at all, I am not experiencing cravings for foods I used to eat, I’m fitting better into my pants, and I’m seeing a big difference in my body composition already.  I’m anticipating cravings hitting me sometime in the next week (according to the Whole30 timeline, days 12-15 are the days people typically start to experience cravings and crazy food dreams.  I’m interested to see if that affects me).

I’ve been really enjoying trying out different recipes during this process.  I am a very adventurous eater, but I love some flavors that my family doesn’t enjoy, so I usually don’t get to cook those more adventurous meals.  Since I’m already eating different meals than my boys, I’m taking advantage of it and making whatever I want!  You’ll see some more adventurous meals in this week’s meal plan—try them out!  They are so tasty and nutritous—and Whole30 compliant!

Monday: Leftover Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs over cauliflower (recipe to come this week)

Tuesday: Taco Bowl (or out—there are a few restaurant meals that I’ve found to be compliant)

Wednesday: Crockpot Pork Carnitas

Thursday: Tandoori Chicken (I’m using the red curry paste I have already for the sauce instead of all the spices in the recipe)

Friday: Leftovers or Taco Bowls

For breakfast, I’m making a Paleo breakfast casserole with sweet potato, bacon, and eggs that I’m looking forward to trying.  If it’s good, I’ll share the recipe for how I’m making it!  I’ve been struggling to get in my potatoes—with the Insanity Max:30 program, I’m supposed to have 2-3 carbs a day, and on Whole30, potatoes are the only carb I can have.  I don’t really like potatoes when they are leftovers, and it’s hard to cook a couple of potatoes fresh every single day.  I’m hopeful that having this casserole with sweet potato will help me keep up with those carb servings to keep me energized for my workouts.

I’ve been doing Whole30 for 12 days, but I’m on day 29 with Insanity Max:30!  My nutrition wasn’t on point for the first half of the program (hence the Whole30), but I’m already seeing some small changes in my body!  The scale hasn’t moved much, but that just goes to show you that the scale isn’t the most reliable way to keep track of your progress.  Take pictures so you can really see what true progress you’re making!

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Why I’m Keeping Shakeology in My Whole30 Plan

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There were a lot of things I was nervous about when I decided to do the Whole30 eating plan–crazy cravings, giving up cheese, not having bread, and having to take the time to read every. single. label.  (By the way, one full week in: not having them, not a big deal, even less of a big deal, and takes a lot of time.)  But the only thing that I truly wrestled with was whether or not to take a break with my Shakeology.

The Whole30 plan calls for absolutely no added sugar of any kind, including honey, maple syrup, or substitute sweeteners like stevia.  All Shakeology flavors contain stevia, so it’s automatically non-compliant.  The creators of Whole30 also don’t love the idea of drinking your foods, and direct Whole30 eaters to abstain from juices or smoothies, too.

I totally understand their reasoning. They have really specific logic for why they include or don’t include foods in their Whole30 protocol, and their argument against Shakeology makes sense.  But all of their experience and book-knowledge doesn’t replace my own experience with Shakeology–and that’s exactly why I ultimately decided to keep my superfoods in my diet for these 30 days.

I’m doing the Whole30 to change my relationship with food.  I want to break my sugar addiction, stop eating as a reaction to stress, and feel better about myself and my choices.  I love my shakes, but I don’t turn to them when I’m stressed.  I don’t rely on my Shakeology to comfort me when I’m overwhelmed or depressed–it makes me feel better, so I keep drinking it!  It gives me energy, helps my depression, and makes me feel generally awesome.  And that is the ultimate goal for the Whole30–to help you feel awesome through what you put in your body!  It didn’t really make sense to me to get rid of something that I know is healthy, makes me feel great, and is something good for my body.  I know Shakeology is good for me because I’ve experienced its benefits, and I’m passionate about that.  It isn’t something I’m willing to stop, even temporarily.

Now, I know that this means I’m not “really” doing a Whole30–I’m knowingly consuming something that isn’t compliant.  And you know what?  I’m okay with that!  One of the goals of the Whole30 is to empower you to make informed decisions about your own food and nutrition, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m still experiencing great changes with the Whole30 eating plan, and I’m excited about it! I’m also still getting my daily superfoods in and I feel great.

I’m excited to see what the rest of these 30 days brings me!

 

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Whole30 Garlic Bacon Avocado Burger

This burger was the first Whole30 recipe that I made for myself, and I am SO GLAD that I found it!  This made 4 burgers for me to eat from all week, and it was just as delicious every time.

The salty bacon and creamy avocado worked really well together, and I love anything with garlic!  It was a little bit of a struggle for me to find Whole30-compliant bacon–the eating plan calls for no nitrates/nitrites and no added sugar, and every single package of bacon I picked up at the store had sugar!  That has been the biggest shock for me in doing this program; there is sugar in EVERYTHING!  I ended up driving across town to Whole Foods to find compliant bacon.  It was so good!  I had it as a whole piece and crumbled up in the burgers, and it was delicious both ways.  It was definitely more expensive than I want to pay for bacon, so it will be a treat in my Whole30 rather than a staple, but I’m glad to know where I can find it.

I had to drive across town to find bacon that didn't have any added sugar.  Totally worth it!

I had to drive across town to find bacon that didn’t have any added sugar. Totally worth it!

 

I made a couple of changes to the original recipe, and I actually made a couple more changes after I made it.  For me, the garlic flavor was too fresh and almost spicy–instead of smashing the cloves as the original recipe calls for, I would either roast the garlic cloves and roughly chop them, or finely mince fresh garlic.  I also added a chopped jalapeno, which added a nice flavor.  I topped my burger with caramelized onion and dipped it in yellow mustard and it was so good!  With the avocado, it was easier to eat it sliced on the side, but you could also mash it and spread it on top of the burger.

These burgers would go great with any veggie and some kind of roasted or mashed potato.  Obviously, I didn’t have mine with any bun, and I would recommend that you skip the bread, too.  With this many flavors in a burger, you don’t want to cover any of them up with bread!  Try it bunless and see how you like it!

 

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Whole30-Approved Garlic Bacon Avocado Burgers (slightly adapted from The Pike Place Kitchen)

1 1/4 lb ground beef

4-6 slices no sugar added bacon, cooked and crumbled

3 cloves garlic, finely minced OR roasted and chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

salt and pepper to taste

1 sweet onion, sliced and caramelized

1 avocado

 

Combine the beef, bacon, garlic, jalapeno, and salt and pepper until well mixed.  Form into equal patties.  Cook on a grill (or stovetop on medium-high heat) until cooked to your liking (I like medium).  Top with caramelized onions and avocado.  Goes well with yellow mustard!