Beef Enchilada Instant Pot Meatballs

The only thing traditional about my meatballs and sauce is the meat – it’s beef.  While Italian spices are nice, southwestern spices like cumin are ground chipotle pepper are twice as nice. And, rather than slaving away all day in the kitchen with a slow-simmer, I’ve cut the cook time into a tiny fraction of old-school recipes thanks to the Instant Pot.  Check out my recipe for Beef Enchilada Instant Pot Meatballs because, yee-haw, it’s what’s for dinner in 30 minutes.Beef Enchilada Instant Pot Meatballs


You know you need this easy Instant Pot dinner recipe in your life, read on!  Continue reading

Beef, Quinoa and Feta Meatballs – Ground Round Goodness

Beefy Quinoa Meatballs

On top of spaghetti or even nestled in a lettuce wrap, meatballs are a mainstay in my weeknight dinner rotation – the kids love them and so do I!  In fact, there is usually a stampede to kitchen to see who can get served first! These spherical mounds of ground meat goodness can be made from just about anything, but I like to use ground beef – preferably a 90/10 ground sirloin to keep them a bit leaner yet still offer loads of satisfying flavor.

Beef Quinoa Meatballs

I’m expecting a stampede to the dinner table with this beef meatball recipe!

Today, I have a deliciously nutritious recipe for you — Beefy Quinoa Feta Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps. Yup, that’s right – instead of bread crumbs or another filler, I’ve added quinoa to act as the binder in these yummy meatballs – this little swaperoo makes them ideal for folks following gluten-free, Paleo or low carb diets.  Quinoa, an edible seed that is a good source of nutrients including fiber, iron, magnesium, folate and heart-healthy omega 3s, is also considered a complete protein in itself with all the requisite amino acids. What a dynamic duo – a double punch of protein thanks to beef and quinoa, both superfoods!

Beef Quinoa Feta Meatballs

Not only to you kick up the protein with this beef quinoa meatball recipe, it also helps to stretch your food budget – adding the cup of cooked quinoa to ground beef lets you roll up a few more meatballs for hardly any more money (meaning, you can buy that better sirloin grind). And, in my family, more meatballs more happy boys and less arguing over who gets second servings.

Beef Quinoa Meatball Lettuce Wraps

You could serve these Beefy Quinoa Feta Meatballs  over the pasta of your choice or even a sub sandwich. I personally love them wrapped up in “bowls” of Bibb lettuce and drizzled with a tangy Greek yogurt dressing like a tzatzikis sauce – for convenience try OPA by Litehouse™ Feta Dill for the perfect lower-cal pairing.

Lil Critters Beef Meatball Bento BoxAlso, a fun kid-friendly idea for quickly-approaching October lunchbox duty — ‘Lil Critters Beef Meatball Bento Box. I made this happy monster meal in a post on ways to beef up a bag lunch for — please visit to see the other ideas!

How would you serve these meatballs? Have you ever used quinoa for anything other than a side dish? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer





Beef Quinoa Feta Meatballs
Beef Quinoa Feta Meatballs
Print Recipe
Create a hearty meal that will please the whole family. These meatballs are packed with wholesome, nutritious ingredients like lean ground beef and quinoa and can be served over pasta or in lettuce leaves.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings (24 mini meatballs) 10 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings (24 mini meatballs) 10 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Beef Quinoa Feta Meatballs
Beef Quinoa Feta Meatballs
Print Recipe
Create a hearty meal that will please the whole family. These meatballs are packed with wholesome, nutritious ingredients like lean ground beef and quinoa and can be served over pasta or in lettuce leaves.
Servings Prep Time
6 servings (24 mini meatballs) 10 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings (24 mini meatballs) 10 minutes
Cook Time
18 minutes
Servings: servings (24 mini meatballs)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, ground beef, cheese, parseley, salt and peppers until well combined. Using hands or a melon-baller, shape into 24 balls and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Roast in oven until cooked through and golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes (internal temperature should reach 165 F degrees).
  4. Serve as desired -- in lettuce leaves, with pasta or in a sandwich are some ideas to get you started!
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Sweaty with Chance of Meatball (& Wilted Greens) Stew + Tabata WOD

Wilted Greens, Beans & Beef Meatball Stew from

Yes, I realize that I’m opening every blog post this month with “it’s still hot in Austin.”  Even as a huge fan of warm weather, I’m starting to get sick of it too.  So, what do I do? I make soup and stew! Nothing like slurping up a piping hot bowl of my Wilted Greens, Beans & Meatball Stew after a run in near 90 degrees or a no air-conditioning CrossFit WOD.  I’m not being snarky, I’m being serious – I’m not going to let Mother Nature infringe on the length of my soup season. And, good news, the weathermen are predicting a cold front  . . . . we’ll be dipping down into the upper 70s for the high this weekend. HA!

Looking forward to Austin's upcoming "cold front" !!

Looking forward to Austin’s upcoming “cold front” !!

While my Chipotle Squash & Chickpea Soup is always yummy, the soup in my pot this week is a delicious, easy and super healthy Wilted Greens, Beans & Meatball Stew that I first created for Litehouse Foods.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever winter greens you have on hand like spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens or Swiss chard – use a mixture, that’s even better. It’s always sad to say my temporary goodbyes to vine-ripe tomatoes and zucchini as the sun fades out on summer, but the farmer’s market will be brimming with all of these vitamin-packed, nutritious winter greens. According to the USDA, dark leafy vegetables are plentiful in potassium, manganese and iron. Not to mention, they are all a good source for vitamins A, C, K and E as well as calcium, folic acid and fiber. So eat up!

Winter Greens, Beans & Beef Meatball Stew -


Wilted Greens, Beans & Beef Meatball Soup Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped carrot
  • 8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 15-oz can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Garlic (or fresh chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Parsley(or fresh chopped)
  • 1 tablespoons Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Chives (or fresh chopped)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Litehouse Food Instantly Fresh Thyme (or fresh chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Parmesan rind (dry end from wedge optional)
  • 8 cups of coarsely chopped mixed winter greens (spinach kale collards chard)
  • 24 pre-cooked “mini” or “party size” lean beef meatballs
  • Garnish: shaved Parmesan cheese if desired
  1. In 6-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and mushroom and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened and lightly caramelized.
  2. Add broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add beans, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, chives, thyme, pepper, and parmesan rind. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add one half of mixed winter greens to pot; stir for 2 to 3 minutes to allow leaves to “wilt” down thus providing room for remaining greens. Add remaining greens and continue to stir and cook down for approximately 2 minutes.
  4. Cover pot with lid and keep heat on low. Reheat meatballs according to manufacturer’s instructions in microwave or oven. When reheated, drain on paper towels, if needed, and add to stew. Use a spoon to remove any remnant of the parmesan rind.
  5. To serve, ladle among four bowls and top with shaved parmesan cheese if desired.
  6. Serves 4

Please visit the Living Litehouse blog for lots more yummy and convenient recipes that will work with your healthy lifestyle.

Jump, Slam & Squat Tabata Workout from

To help you work up a sweat, I’ve got a Tabata workout that will definitely make you earn that piece of cornbread with your soup. If you’re not familiar with the Tabata concept, it’s basically 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest and then repeat, repeat, repeat for four minutes. Tabata workouts are meant to increase the capacity of both your aerobic and anaerobic systems – do a couple per week and you’ll be a machine! However (disclaimer), my Tabata workout kicks it up from 4 minutes to 15 minutes – I must really like to suffer.  If it’s too much for you, please stop and catch your breath with extra rest in between exercises.

So, would you rather drink a smoothie on a cold day or have soup on a hot day? What is your favorite soup?