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I do occasionally feed my children
Jun 6th, 2006

It's been a while since I've posted a kid's recipe around here, so I thought I'd write up these simple turkey meatballs that are our newest addition to the small (but growing) list of foods my boys will eat. I got this recipe from my friend Larisa several years ago when we were first learning how to feed toddlers. These were great because the little kids could use their hands and didn't have to suffer the frustration of maneuvering a fork or spoon. The meatballs fell out of our dinner rotation as Jay grew older and pickier, but he's more open these days and once again adores them.

The original recipe is much stained and has a note from Larisa that indicates we must have tied one on the night before - not that it took much in those days. After having been pregnant for nine months and breastfeeding for another good chunk of time, more than one glass of wine and we were happy campers.

I haven't changed the recipe as much as played around with it some, figuring out how to get the little buggers cooked all the way through but not burned or oily. The key seems to be keeping the heat fairly low and the oil minimal. My large skillet heats up pretty quickly, so I only turn my burner up to medium, and a quick spray of oil is enough to cook a batch. For meatloafs and burgers I like the ground turkey that has a bit more fat in it, but the leanest (I believe it's 99% lean vs. 93% but I could totally be making those numbers up) seems to work best for these meatballs, making them hang together better. I have kept the spices pretty basic so as not to scare off my fledgling eaters, but feel free to substitute something a bit more fun if you want. I've tried them with Za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix, and I bet a bit of Garam Masala would be good as well. You can serve them with spaghetti sauce and melted cheese or mixed into a pot of kidney beans. Or you could serve them as Larisa and I did, no forks, no sauce, just some green beans on the side and lots of napkins for the crumbly bits.


Turkey Meatballs

1 package (about 1.25 lb) leanest ground turkey
1 egg, lightly beaten
scant 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp brown sugar


Add all the seasonings to the flour and mix. Add turkey, egg, and seasoned flour to a big bowl and squoosh it around with your hands until well mixed.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.

Roll about half of the turkey mixture into small balls, I'd say small walnut sized, and add to the hot pan. Roll the other half of the turkey into balls while the first batch cooks. After the first side has browned, turn the meatballs over to brown another side, I like to use long pinchy tongs for this. You'll probably want to turn them one more time to get them good and browned, then you can just stir them around the pan a bit for the final cooking time. My meatballs take about ten minutes total to cook, but pans and meatball size may cause the time to vary. Cut one in half to check that they are cooked all the way through.

Remove the meatballs to a plate lined with paper towels. Spray the pan again with cooking spray and repeat with the last batch of meatballs.

I serve these plain for the kids, but they're also good in spaghetti sauce or mixed with black beans, salsa, melted cheese, and a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

-Kymm, adapted from a friend
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© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com