So like every toddler in America, sometimes our kids just don’t want to eat. I don’t ever beg Jack to eat and we constantly hear that he’s a good eater so on the days that he refuses everything I know that he’s aware of his own limits and if he’s hungry he’ll eat. Sure, some days he asks for pancakes all day but if we don’t do it as adults, we’re not gonna let him do it. I wish I could eat pancakes all day but alas my plump and voluptuous figure can’t take the extra pancakes! So we do what we can and I know that one of Jack’s favorite foods is meatballs. I don’t know why. I make them in so many different ways and he always ends up eating them. I’m particularly proud of this recipe because it’s filled with good healthy stuff, high fiber, and he ate two of them – which is amazing because so did me and the dad before we were super full!
Try these with your kiddos. I’ll also include my recipe for homemade sauce that’s really delicious.
What you’ll need: Meatballs
- 1 lb ground turkey breast
- 1 cup of cooked lentils and brown rice (I know this seems difficult to find but they even sell them on Amazon. I got ours at Whole Foods but I’ve used leftovers before)
- 2/3 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup of milk (I used 2%)
- 1 egg
- 1 t. Frontier Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
What you’ll need: Pasta and Sauce
- 1 package of whole wheat pasta of choice (we used spirals)
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 can of tomato paste
- 1.5 cups of water and then another 1 cup
- 1 T. Frontier Italian Seasoning
- 1 bouillon cube
- 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup of heavy cream
- Set oven to 350 degrees and oil up a cupcake pan – either 12 or 24.
- Combine all of your ingredients in a bowl. It’s best to use your hands to combine it.
- Once combined make 1.5 to 2 inch balls using your hands in order to make 12 normal sized meatballs or use a cookie scoop like one from OXO to scoop out 24 into your mini muffin/cupcake tin.
- When you’re done place them in the oven for 18-20 minutes for 12 and 15 to 18 minutes for 24. Don’t be afraid to cut one open to make sure it’s cooked through. You can feed that one to the toddler! They’ll be pretty dense but delicious!
- Set aside while you make your sauce.
Sauce and pasta
- Using a medium saucepan and on medium heat combine the can of tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Stir until combined. It will seem very watery.
- Add the seasoning and bouillon cube and stir again until combined.
- Finally add the cream and cheese and this is where it may or may not get tricky.
- It’s best to use an immersion blender like this but if you don’t use a blender or food processor. While your sauce is still pretty hot use the immersion blender to make it into more of a sauce. If it seems really runny add a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch.
- When it’s combined and only slightly chunky (definitely more sauce than tomato chunk) put back into saucepan and low/medium heat.
- Add the box of pasta and the last cup of water and then cook for the length of time that the box calls for OR until your pasta is done. If it seems like you’re running out of liquid and your pasta is still not done add water in 1/2 cup amounts.
- Ultimately, if this all seems like too much just buy a jar of your favorite organic sauce and cook the separately from the pasta.
Finally, serve by adding meatballs then the pasta and sauce on top. Hope you all had a great weekend!
XOXO Jack’s Mom In Austin