Eating for life — Nothing is lost in translation with these Mexican-style meatballs

10/29/2013 3:42 PM

10/29/2013 3:43 PM

Long before the meatball rolled off of spaghetti, the plump little darling had become a globetrotter.

Various food encyclopedias list the Danish fikadeller, the German Klopse, the Greek kéftedes and the Spanish albóndiga as prime examples of meatball cuisine.

But regardless of the originating country, most recipes — typically a combination of ground meat, a filler (such as breadcrumbs) and a binder (such as beaten egg or sour cream) — are loaded with fat, calories and cholesterol.

The Star’s Spicy Mexican Meatballs combines 93-percent lean beef with ground turkey breast to cut down on fat. Baked tortilla chips instead of breadcrumbs and egg whites instead of whole egg make a difference. We roll the meatballs into bite-size portions so they can be eaten with a toothpick. Finally, the mini meatballs are baked not fried.

And what makes Mexican-style meatballs taste different from their international cousins?

The addition of pickled jalapeño bits adds a nice kick, one just hot enough to keep you from overindulging. Pour a store-bought enchilada sauce over all to keep the lean meat moist while serving.

Shopping tip:

Be sure to choose ground turkey breast, not ground turkey, which may contain fattier dark meat as well.

Serving tips: To make a quick, easy family meal, serve meatballs with brown Spanish rice and fresh fruit. For another variation: make low-fat flour tortilla Mexican meatball wraps with a sprinkling of reduced-fat cheese.

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