Recipe Redo (Guilt-Free): John Currence’s Spicy Chicken Meatballs

03/03/2014 at 06:05 PM ET

Low-Fat, Light Meatballs Recipe
Courtesy Hungry Girl

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating.

She is also the author of eight Hungry Girl cookbooks, five of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

When it comes to food, folks from the South just know what they’re doing. My husband, Dan, is from Memphis, so I’ve developed quite an appreciation for dishes from south of the Mason-Dixon line.

New-Orleans-born John Currence, chef and restaurateur behind the City Grocery Restaurant Group, created a tasty recipe for Spicy Chicken Meatballs for Nashville’s inaugural Music City Eats food festival.

But I’ve got some downer news: You may think ground chicken is a lean option, but it’s typically very high in fat. A much better alternative is lean ground turkey. I swapped the poultry and used a few other key substitutions to make over John’s recipe. The results are super delicious. So get in the kitchen and have a ball!

‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!

HG’s Spicy Bacon-Stuffed Meatballs
Serves 6

4 slices center-cut bacon or turkey bacon
1 lb. raw lean ground turkey (7% fat or less)
2 tbsp. fat-free liquid egg substitute
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. dried parsley
¼ tsp. each salt and black pepper
3/4 cup low-fat marinara sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. Cook bacon until crispy, either in a large skillet over medium heat or on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave. (See package for cook time.) Once cool enough to handle, finely chop.

3. In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients except marinara sauce. Add chopped bacon, and thoroughly mix.

4. Firmly and evenly form mixture into 24 meatballs and place them on the baking sheet, evenly spaced.

5. Bake for 10 minutes. Gently flip meatballs and bake until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, microwave marinara sauce until hot, about 2 minutes. Toss meatballs with sauce or serve with sauce on the side.

In 1 serving (4 meatballs with 2 tbsp. sauce): 149 calories, 7g fat, 365mg sodium, 3.5g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 2g sugars, 18g protein

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