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Cheese Stuffed Kentucky Chicken Ballies

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I find smaller meals or snacks throughout the day easier for me some days. It feels like less of a chore to eat and on days like this, smaller meals often means I do reach my macros. There’s plenty of schools of thought around eating windows and fasting periods, while they’re entirely valid for people wanting to loose weight and needing to be mindful of specific metabolic issues, for me getting adequate nutrient intake from whole food sources trumps the eating windows debate.

Aside from the fact that protein and fats keep you fuller for longer, they also support my body to better manage my baseline pain with CRPS. I went keto in 2020 and haven’t looked back. There’s a growing body of research that is showing what I know to be true from my own experience–high protein, high fat and low carb diets help chronic pain.

Stock your freezer

One of the things I keep a stash of all the time is various meatballs. They are little bit sized protein bombs and somedays I find mince easier on my guts than biltong or sliced steak. A girlfriend of mine calls these types of bite sized snackies her goblin food because she grabs them straight out the fridge 🙂

Meatballs are also great because you can eat them hot or cold. And they make a great protein add-in for a salad. I’ve also been known to have them with some cauli mash for a fast feed when I have zero spoons to cook. The sauce over the creamy mash is delicious and from the freezer stash is no more than five minutes from getting the bowl into the microwave and to the table.

Meatball hacks

I do not roll my meatballs. Pffft I don’t have the spoons to stand there are roll them ballie by ballie (or attention span if I’m being honest). I squish my mince mix into silicon mini muffin trays and bake in the trays. It’s less effort, less mess and is way quicker. Are they perfect round meatballs, nope. But they are equally portioned and more importantly quick!

Cheese Stuffed Kentucky Chicken Ballies ingredients

Make them cheese stuffed

Aside from cheese being delicious, adding cheese is an easy way to add some extra fat to a meal. I simply cube up the cheese and push it into the center of the meatballs. Simples 🙂

My favourite munching cheese at the moment in the Coastal Aged Cheddar from Costco 🙂

Using Hemp Seed

If you’ve been following No Spoons to Cook for any amount of time, you would have noticed that Kerry and I add hemp seeds to a lot of our recipes. Aside from being delicious, and in this case helping keep the meatballs juicy, hemp seeds are an easy way to boost the protein in a meal.

Hemp seeds pack a serious nutrient punch, particularly considering the small amount you tend to use in recipes. It is a complete protein meaning it naturally contains all nine essential amino acids and is high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are a major source of my dietary Omega 3 because I can’t get it from fish due to allergies. They also have variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and zinc.

One teaspoon of hemp seeds has 1.7-2g protein and about the same of ‘good’ fat. I used two tablespoons in this recipe instead of breadcrumbs which bumps the protein to 16g-ish grams of both protein and fat. It keeps the meatballs really nice and juicy as wells as helps bind and bulk the mince.

And to preempt the questions we will inevitably get: Hemp seeds do not get you high. Hemp seeds are not marijuana and has different qualities. It is from the same family as marijuana. It’s the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) chemical from marijuana that makes you feel “high”.  There are trace (teeny teeny tiny) amounts of THC in hemp seeds and it is usually well below the threshold that would cause any psychoactive effects or show up in blood tests.

How to avoid the stodgy meatball

Another hack I use to give the meatballs a lighter texture is to add baking powder. It’s a trick I learned from Vietnamese cooking. I always use Bob’s Red Mill Double Acting Baking Powder for a lovely light texture. Bob’s Red Mill is also aluminum free and gluten free which is a bonus when you’re wanting to avoid additives in your homecooked goodness. Double acting means it activates twice, the first when you add it to liquid and a second rise when it’s cooked. It’s amazingly handy for any keto cooking and is a staple in my pantry.

Use inflammatory fighting spices

Aside from adding a major flavour bomb, meatballs are a great way to add anti-inflammatory ingredients into a meal or snack. I used the Gourmet Spice Kits Kentucky Chicken because it’s delicious and easy. This blend has bay leaves, celery seed, mustard, cumin, chilli, black pepper, white pepper, ginger, allspice (pimento), mace, paprika, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic, onion, herbs, pure sea salt.

In the western world we don’t think about food as medicine or the medicinal properties of things we cook with. But the spices in our pantry are very literally nature’s pharmacy and an incredible tasty way to help reduce inflammation.

  • Bay Leaves: Contain compounds like parthenolide, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Celery Seed: Rich in antioxidants such as apigenin and luteolin, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Mustard: Contains compounds like glucosinolates, which have shown anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cumin: Contains antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic acids, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Chili Peppers: Contain capsaicin, which has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Black Pepper: Contains piperine, which may have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • White Pepper: Similar to black pepper, white pepper contains piperine, contributing to its potential anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Ginger: Contains gingerol, which has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Allspice (Pimento): Contains eugenol, which exhibits anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Mace: Contains compounds like myristicin, which may have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Paprika: Rich in antioxidants like carotenoids, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Cardamom: Contains compounds like cineole and limonene, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cinnamon: Contains cinnamaldehyde and other compounds that exhibit anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Garlic: Rich in organosulfur compounds like allicin, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Onion: Contains flavonoids like quercetin, which have been studied for their anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Pure Sea Salt contains minerals like magnesium and potassium which make up electrolytes.

Which sauces to use to make the sauce

I mostly use the Celebrate Health keto sauces or the Good Sauce brand from Yo Keto. They are reasonably clean and taste like they should, not like the watered down tasteless sauces you sometimes get with other keto brands. I tend to buy mine with my online orders at Yo Keto but Celebrate Health are now available at some Coles and Woolworths.

I add sriracha because I enjoy the spice. It is however completely optional. I have heaps of different hot sauces in my fridge. It’s a guilty pleasure and I tend to collect them as I go to different delis and farmers markets. But the commercial one I use the most is the Tabasco brand. It does have a small amount of sugar but it otherwise clean and uses real ingredients. Like everything, it’s about personal preference and you can realisitically use whatever you want. Even adding some chili powder to the BBQ sauce will give you a similar kick.

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Cheese Stuffed Kentucky Chicken Ballies

Try these mouthwatering Cheese Stuffed Kentucky Chicken Meatballs. A delicious and keto-friendly option for smaller meals or snacks throughout the day.
Servings 24 Meatballs
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

Chicken Ballies

Sauce

Instructions

Chicken Meatballs

  • Cut the cheddar cheese into cubes to stuff the meatballs with.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients and mix well to combine.
  • Spoon the meatball mix in the mini muffin tin. It's about a heaped teaspoons per muffin cup.
  • Push a cheese cube into each meatball and smooth over mince to cover.
  • Bake on 200°℃ for 10 minutes.

Sauce

  • Add the butter to a small microwave proof jug and melt (about 30 seconds on high).
  • Add BBQ Sauce and Sriracha to melted butter and mix to combine.
  • In a clean bowl, add the cooked meatballs and cover in the sauce. If you're prepping for the freezer, let the meatball cool to room temperature and put the cooled meatballs and sauce straight into a zip lock bag to pop in the freezer.

Notes

While the baking powder overall is optional, it does give the meatballs a lighter texture. Double acting baking powder gives you a lovely light meatball because it activates when it's added to the mixture and again when it's cooked.
You can use any type of mince for this. I like using chicken because it's a change from beef or pork mince.
If you don't have the Gourmet Spice Kits Kentucky Chicken, you could substitute for our No Spoons Keto BBQ Spice Blend
If you're batching for the freezer, let the ballies cool off completely before bagging. If they get bagged while they're still warm they will sweat which will create ice crystals when you freeze them which can make them soggy when you defrost them. 
Calories: 1175kcal

Nutrition

Serving: 3Balls | Calories: 1175kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 23g
Disclaimer: No Spoons to Cook is based on our own experience and research, and what we know works best for us. It is not medical advice. Our recipes focus on low inflammatory ingredients, whole foods and are founded in ketogenic and low carb ways of eating. We encourage spoonies to stay curious, ask questions, do your own research, listen to your body and to work with a Registered Dietitian or Medical Professional when appropriate to tailor your nutritional needs to support your care plan and goals.

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