I never thought I’d be one of those moms who hides healthy ingredients in her child’s food but here I am. It has happened. My sweet, fickle toddler is normally a great, non-picky eater, but it seems like every other day he decides he hates all food and how dare I even offer. I try to take these days in stride, knowing he’s getting what he needs and that he’ll come around, but I still wish I could sometimes just get a couple nutritious bites into his mouth. I’d feel so much better about the whole day you know? Pair that with my bad menu planing and the fact that Andy & I often don’t eat dinner ourselves until 9/10 pm, and I needed something to have on the back burner to help me in a bind.
These meatballs are a lifesaver. A different recipe was actually planned for today, but got such an excited response when I asked if I should share the recipe on Instagram I figured what the heck. This concept is going to make my life so much easier you don’t even know. I feel so good about what’s in these that if Hugo refuses to eat nothing but a couple of these a day, I’ll breathe easy knowing that he’s getting meat, dairy, vegetables and whole grain in each bite.
These meatballs were made with lean turkey, but of course any ground meat would do. Meatballs really are so adaptable and you can pretty much use whatever you have on hand. To these I added eggs, oatmeal (as a binder instead of bread crumbs, though those would work well too,) grated carrots, and grated broccoli stems (Hugo actually loves broccoli florets so I figured I’d leave those out to give him on the side.) These also are full of freshly grated parmesan cheese and little bits of mozzarella cheese that melt and ooze in the most delicious way. Herbs and spices can of course be added, whatever you like really. I kept it simple and added garlic, paprika, a little chili powder and salt & pepper.
I found these delicious but the main question is whether or not Hugo did. He tends to love burgers and sausages so I felt pretty confidant. Thank goodness he loved them and scarfed 4 down in one sitting! He’s been learning to use his utensils lately and these are the perfect consistency for toddler fork-stabbing. (The spoon in the pics didn’t work as well.)
I hope you find these as much of a blessing for your family as I do. You can certainly eat them too- these would be fabulous with pasta or even on their own with just a veggie, but I’m saving these for Hugo. I froze them and plan to heat up a few whenever I have nothing else planned and need something fast. What other flavor combos can I come up with? I think grated sweet potato and cheddar would be great don’t you?
- 2 lbs. ground turkey (or other meat)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup quick oats (or breadcrumbs)
- ¾ cup grated parmesean cheese
- 2 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, broken into small bits.
- 2 large carrots, finely grated*
- 2 broccoli stalks, finely grated**
- smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and dash of chili powder (I just eyeballed these, sprinkled a little bit of each. I under-salted thinking I could always add more after but it was plenty.)
- Preheat oven to 375F. Drizzle a cookie sheet lightly with olive oil. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Use a small scoop or a spoon to portion 1-inch meatballs, rolling them with your hands and placing in rows on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Let cool slightly and then serve as is, or freeze!
* I only used the stalks of the broccoli, but you could definitely use a whole head.