Friday, March 9, 2012

Sneaking Veggies into "Yummy" Food

My kids are not very good about eating their veggies anymore. For a long time I had them convinced fruit was candy and veggies were yummy. Then S went to school and it all changed. I still try to get them to eat healthy but time and sheer exhaustion win sometimes and they get to eat not so healthy stuff. Lately, however, I have been trying to "sneak" veggies (especially the green ones) into their foods. One of their favorite things I make is meatballs. They love them. S especially cannot get enough of them. They are her #1 request! I am going to share the recipe for how I do it. It is pretty much my own recipe, just inspired by various recipes I have seen over the years, but tweeked to my families tastes.

The recipe I am sharing is a large recipe. It is enough for 60-70 good sized meatballs (more if you make tiny ones - if you do make them tiny be sure to adjust the cooking times though). I usually serve 1/3 - 1/2 of the recipe and freeze the rest to use later. (I have also included instructions for freezing.)

Here it is! Let me know if you try it!

Sneaky Meatballs

This will make about 60-70 meatballs

1 pound Italian sausage

2 pounds lean ground beef

4 eggs

2 cups Italian breadcrumbs (I like the Progresso ones)

2 cups tomato sauce

1 ½ cups grated parmesan

2 cups shredded Italian cheeses blend

½ to 1 cup of very finely chopped spinach

½ to 1 cup very finely chopped broccoli

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in an electric mixer and blend them together well. (You can add just a couple of ingredients at a time to help the machine be able to blend easier. )

Use an ice cream scooper to help form the balls. Place them about a ½ inch apart on parchment paper on a cookie tray.

If you are baking now, bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

Add your favorite sauce and heat till sauce is warmed in a pot on top of the stove. (Medium heat is best)

Add noodles, bread, rice, or whatever you want to do with the meatballs

If freezing – place cookie sheet uncovered flat in a freezer. Let freeze for 1-2 hours. Take the meatballs off the cookie sheet and place them in a freezer safe ziplock type baggie. Keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. When it is time to cook them, take them out and place them frozen on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until heated through.

*Note – if you want to make this healthier, you can substitute ground turkey for the beef and or sausage.*

I suggest the use of parchment paper because the meatballs tend to stick to the pan.

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