New England residents know that a grinder is another name for a big sandwich. Other parts of the country call it everything from a sub sandwich to a hero to a hoagie. In Connecticut, where Kevin grew up, grinders come in many varieties but a longtime favorite of ours has always been the meatball grinder. This recipe is a smaller healthier version of the grinders we used to eat, using ground chicken and whole wheat buns. The chart below shows the calories and fat of a traditional New England meatball grinder compared to one made in Kevin’s Healthy Kitchen.
Our version saves 817 calories, 57 grams of fat and 25 grams of saturated fat! The combination of a single serve meatball and the wheat bun makes portion control really easy too.
1 lbs. ground Chicken Breast
½ cup Onion, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Egg Whites
2 tbsp. dry Italian Seasoning
¼ cup reduced fat Parmesan cheese
¼ cup fat free Croutons, ground
4 Whole wheat mini buns (dinner roll size)
¼ cup of reduced fat Parmesan Cheese
- Using a large pot over medium heat, warm the marinara sauce.
- In a large mixing bowl add the ground chicken, onion, garlic, egg whites, Italian seasoning, reduced fat parmesan and ground fat-free croutons.
- Using your hands, mix everything together incorporating all the ingredients thoroughly.
- Pulling small amounts of meat from the mixture, roll up the meatballs with your hands. You want them to be a little smaller than a golf ball yielding 12 to 15 meatballs in total.
- Add the meatballs to the sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally for one hour.
- Turn the broiler on to low
- Place the bun open face on a baking sheet.
- Using a large spoon spread a good amount of the sauce on the bottom and top halves of the bun.
- Add the provolone cheese to top half, place under the broiler 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted, and remove from oven,
- Carefully place the meatball on the bun and enjoy.
Kevin’s tip: Although we don’t show it in our photo, cutting the meatball into 2 or 3 slices and layering it onto the bun, makes for an easier grinder eating experience and no meatballs rolling on the ground!
Serves 12 (serving size is 1 sandwich)
Calories 169 | Fat 3g | Saturated Fat 0 | Carbs 21g | Fiber 2g | Sugars 2 | Protein 15g