Around about now all the what I and others call ‘beige buffet’ or appetiser food starts to appear at drinks parties and other Christmas and holiday gatherings. Now I’m not going to pretend I haven’t been partial to a sausage roll or vol-au-vent in the past (because I have) but I am so over it now! Plus they don’t fit into my good food game plan post-op to stay on track and be accountable.
No, these days I want an indulgent but high protein morsel that brings a burst of flavour, satiety and good nutritious value with it’s very bite and these little meatball appetisers bring all that and more to the table.
These mini meatball bites are what I now choose to serve as appetisers. They are a mini version of a Slimming World meatball or burger I used to make where the meatball or burger patty has a hidden cheesy centre that oozes seductively when cooked. They are much lower in carbs and fat but have a whopping 8g per meatball (canny WLS cooks might like to add a little unflavoured protein powder to boost this further – I scoop per recipe is a good guide).
I like to spear with a piece of dill pickle or a mini whole one, lettuce leaf and cherry tomato (like a Rudolph’s nose) but you may wish to add an olive, tomato wedge, mini pickled onion or piece of roasted pepper/capsicum for example. But you can of course serve plain.
I make these in bulk and freeze until the day they are required then defrost to cook. I find they taste better cooked this way rather than freezing after cooking but they do work both ways.
BARIATRIC-FRIENDLY MINI MEATBALL APPETISERS
900 g/2 lb lean minced/ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
50 g/½ cup dried breadcrumbs (I used Progresso plain)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp garlic powder
pinch dried mixed herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
100 g/4 oz hard block reduced-fat cheese
dill pickles, lettuce leaves and baby cherry tomatoes, to garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F/gas 5.
- Mix the beef with the eggs, breadcrumbs, tomato paste, garlic powder, herbs and salt and pepper to taste until well combined.
- Cut the cheese into 30 cubes about 1.25 cm/½ inch square.
- To assemble the meatballs, surround each cube of cheese with some of the beef mixture to completely enclose and place on a baking tray.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Serve at once, speared with dill, lettuce and tomato if liked.
WLS PORTION: 1-2
CALORIES PER MEATBALL (without topping): 53
Image courtesy of General Foods