Apparently it’s “Cloudy With A (very good) Chance of Meatballs” around here. So many blogs and FB posts lately seem to be filled with all things balls! And why not? Mothers aren’t fools. We know that pretty much anything round and squishy is going to get eaten by fussy pants children. And just as we hide all sorts of nutritious goodies in bliss balls, the same goes for our meatballs. Squishy meat is perfect for holding onto little slivers of vegetables!
J4 is great with veggies but Little R2 can be tricky at times so these little ‘grab ’em by the balls’ are a perfect lunch or dinner option.
I make a big batch and use half for dinner then half the following day for lunch.
This worked out perfectly a couple of days ago as we had guests for lunch, an old friend with her delightful 1 year old who is at the “far too busy exploring my world on two feet to sit and eat mum” stage. I knew my balls would be just the tasty treat to hold her interest!
And I was right! She sat at the kids’ table with my boys and had a wonderful time exploring a bowl of colourful shapes, textures and tastes.
Funnily enough, I was never really close to this old friend years ago as I knew her mainly through another friend, so catching up was actually like making a new friend from an old friend! It was really lovely. You know, say what you will about the perils of social media but it has certainly brought me closer to quite a few wonderful people who may not otherwise be in my life.
Anyway, lets talk balls…
GRAB ‘EM BY THE BALLS
1kg minced grass fed beef ( 2lbs ground beef)
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
1/2 red onion finely diced
1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs
A good crack of sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon good quality BBQ or Tomato sauce. (Here in Australia I use the MACRO organic brand bbq sauce from Woolworths which has only real ingredients and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.)
Note: If your food processor is not broken like mine, you can do everything in there.
Makes approximately 60 meatballs
* Preheat oven to 200dc (390df) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
* Using a clean tea towel, squeeze any excess water out of the grated carrot and zucchini.
* Thoroughly combine all other ingredients before adding the meat.
* Add the meat and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or your clean hands.
* Roll into bite sized balls and arrange half of them on the baking tray.
* Bake for 30 minutes
* Store remaining balls on a covered plate or large container in the fridge or freezer.
For dinner, my family and I ate the meatballs on a gently steamed cabbage leaf topped with pumpkin and sweet potato mash with grated cheese, drizzled with olive oil and cracked sea salt and pepper. You could always roll them up in the cabbage leaf like a meatball wrap but my kids eat with their eyes and want to know everything that is on offer!
For lunch, I served them with a simple salad. The key, I find, in getting kids to eat salad is that “you gotta keep ’em separated…” (Who sang that 90’s song again? Offspring?) I didn’t dress the salad but rather left lemon and olive oil available for us adults. Some people think by smothering salad in rich, sugary dressings kids will be more inclined to eat it but I find the opposite. Keep it simple, let them taste the food. If it’s smothered in dressing how do they even know whether or not they like cucumber? If it looks attractive and cheerful on the plate you might be surprised at what they’ll try. And of course lead by example. Let them see you enjoying it with lots of oohing and ahhing, delighting over the crispness and the crunch. Platters are always a great idea too as kids like to share food. More specifically, mum’s food!
These meatballs are so versatile and budget friendly. We’ve also had them for dinner threaded onto skewers with assorted vegetables, brushed with olive oil and oven baked or grilled on the BBQ. (The ones pictured were without the grated veggies as I knew I’d be loading the skewers with plenty of them!)
And why not finish things off with some more round squishy things?
Blueberries, sultanas, strawberries and really healthy chocolate crackles for dessert!
Yeah, I know strawberries aren’t round…
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