Turkey & Cheese Meatballs
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?
Turkey & Cheese Meatballs
- 2 lbs. ground turkey, or other meat
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup quick oats, or breadcrumbs
- 3/4 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!
*You could also shred the carrots on your food processor ** I only used the stalks of the broccoli, but you could definitely use a whole head.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Oh how perfect for my toddler to try! She is so picky lately and would love these for sure! Thanks for such an amazing recipe, love all of the hidden foods in it!
These look so simple and delicious, and I love the veggies in there!! Pinned :)
I´ve heard it from friends and it happened to me too. the day when your toddler, that normaly ate what you gave him/her, decides that they dont like harldy anything you offer them. It´s a tough stage! These meat balls are sure to cure that problem :-) They look amazing!
AWESOME!!! Hugo is such a cutie and I love that these are good for him!
I really like poultry meatballs! These must have been delicious!
Ummmm when did Hugo switch from a baby and become a little BOY? He’s getting so big. I make meatballs for Avery too but she’s getting pretty bored with my version — going to have to try these out next time!
I am in the same boat with my 16 1/2 month old! Though he’s not a big fan of meat I’d love to give these a try. It’s something we could all enjoy eating! However he’s allergic to oats and wheat. Do you think substituting cooked quinoa or rice would work?
I don’t see why not! :)
You’ve brought back memories about that same phase with my daughter and the stress I felt. Life you, I never thought that I’d hide good stuff in food, but it worked and got me through that phase. These phases seem so long when you’re living through them, but so short in hindsight. I’m sure you can already relate to that comment with some of Hugo’s baby phases.
When my daughter (now 2.5) turned one she pretty much stopped eating. I think for about 5 months all she ate was yoghurt, milk, grapes and dry crackers. It was very frustrating! But she has slowly slowly slowly improved.
Meatballs have also been a lifesaver for us! I always have some in the freezer. I haven’t tried turkey though, thanks for the idea :)
Audra, My children are all grown but I can tell you that this is going to be my next go to for lunches at work! They have everything in them that I enjoy. It’s nice to get your protein, veggies and dairy all in one! I really like the fact that I can make them and then freeze. Just take out what I want for lunch and I’m ready to go..
Thanks for the recipe!
I think every mom at some point resorts to stuffing veggies into SOMETHING to get their kids to eat them! It’s just the natural course of things. :P