Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Recipe Tuesday - Meatballs

I have learned a new trick to get my kids to eat meat and that is meatballs. If I brown ground meat and put it in spaghetti sauce, they hate it and refuse to touch it. If I throw it into meatloaf.. same thing.   If I take that meat, roll it into a little ball and cook it.. they eat it. WHY? I have no idea. They do like things that are small and interesting though so maybe that's it.

The tricky thing is to make sure the meatballs are not too dry. I hate dry meatballs myself even if they are covered in a sauce. I learned a great tip off one of those Food Network shows and so here is how I make my meatballs.

You will need:
1 pound ground meat (I prefer ground chicken or turkey, moister and tastier to the kids)
1 egg
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbs parsley flakes

and for today's recipe I added 1/4 cup chopped spinach leaves so I could get a little extra iron into them. It's easher to chop and disguise if you wilt the spinach first in hot water but I find so much of the nutrients leach into the water even in that quick dip and blot procedure so I just go with raw.

and/or really any other seasonings like garlic that you'd prefer.

Mix together really well.

Fill a medium saucepan with water, set on high to boil. For extra flavour try using chicken or beef broth.

When the water is boiling, start rolling meatballs in your hands. You can use an ice cream scoop to do this as well, but I like making really small meatballs. Firstly, it cooks faster and secondly smaller portions for smaller mouths equals good sense. Wet your hands first as it will keep the meat from sticking to your fingers.  Then simply drop each meatball into the water/broth.  Go ahead and fill the pot up.  I like to let them cook for at least 10 minutes to make sure it cooks all the way through. 

Now if you're going to add this to spaghetti sauce, it's absolutely perfect.  Pile a couple on top of their spaghetti and cover with sauce.  My kids will eat this without sauce though.  They just love it and they didn't even bat an eye at the fact that it has green bits in it. 

Now I have to admit that this is probably a plain tasting meatball without sauce for us grownups but kids don't seem to like a lot of spice.  At least mine don't.  To that end, you could divide up the ground meat after you've added the oatmeal and egg and then spice your batch up with extra seasonings and diced onions etc. 

A lovely extra touch to these meatballs is to throw a little shredded cheddar into them.  Also, if we are eating them plain, I like to add extra flavour browning them in a little butter in a frying pan.  The great thing is that because they already cooked, I don't have to worry about how long they are cooking for and get just let them brown nice and evenly.  I don't know about you but I tend to get paranoid about sausages etc and so they end up a little crispy.  *L*


  1. I never thought about making them so small...

  2. What a great idea! I use ground turkey in place of beef for most things as well.

  3. Yummy.. My boys love meatballs. I love to sneek some veggies into them sometimes and they never know..

  4. Those look yummy. I would never had been able to get away with it. My kids won't eat green things in the meat!

  5. I never thought of boiling meatballs. I either bake them or cook them over the stove. When I use turkey, I throw in some cauloflower puree to make them more moist. No one can taste the difference because I also add parmesian too. I can't wait to try this.

  6. good idea on the cauliflower puree.

    I like boiling because they tend to stay rounder that way. :)

  7. Kids are funny like that! My teen will not eat spaghetti if I make it with regular spaghetti noodles. If I make it with any other noodle, he loves it. LOL

  8. What a terrific idea!!! I love the idea of doing them in water


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