What to make the family for dinner? Try this idea…
Each and every week, I try to vary the meals that we have as a family. I even do meal plans which are usually governed by… what days our 7 year old has school dinners (and what she has), what friends are coming round for tea, what do they like, what have we got in the freezer? Oh yes, the freezer saves the day many a time!
And of course, I try very hard to balance out freshly cooked with frozen. But what I really love is when you find a meal that the family loves, will even ask for (yes, really!) is quick and easy and tastes just as good prepared ahead or cooked fresh … our family favourite is…
Meatballs and spaghetti with the not-so-secret-sauce!
Of course you can’t make meatballs without meat! And the Meat Advisory Panel state that red meat provides a range of important nutrients that are often low in toddlers and children – including iron, zinc, and B vitamins, selenium and potassium. It’s peace of mind knowing that our daughter will eat every last mouthful and take in those essential nutrients. And Dr Emma Derbyshire, a public health nutritionist and mother, says: “Including a small portion of red meat in the diet a few times a week after weaning can help to bridge nutrient gaps and so help to maintain good health through childhood and beyond.” You can’t argue with that.
The ingredients for our family favourite are basic: good quality mince, an egg, [the sauce ~ peeled plum tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic puree, dried mixed herbs] and not forgetting the spaghetti! You can download the recipe at the bottom of the post but here it is for now:
- Pop the mince into a large mixing bowl; crack the unbeaten egg into the bowl with the mince; roughly beat the egg into mince and then scoop out the mixture into small balls, shaping them into balls as you go.
- Put the meatballs on a foil-lined baking tray. Ideally you should cover the tray securely with foil or clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least half a day but if time doesn’t allow, simply put them in the oven (uncovered) for around 30 minutes at around 150 (fan oven). It doesn’t need me to tell you to check them regularly to prevent burning and equally to check they’re hot in the middle and cooked through. But I told you anyway!
- The not-so-secret-sauce:
- Put 2-3 tbsps of tomato puree in a medium pan or wok; add 2-3 peeled plum tomatoes. (This works just as well if you double the mixture for more meatballs/more people. These measurements work well for 2 adults and 1 child.)
- Keep adding boiling water as and when the mixture starts to stick or thickens too much. But you don’t want it too sloppy either. After around 10 minutes, add 1/2 tsp of garlic puree and stir in. At this point you need to be careful the garlic doesn’t ‘burn’. Heat very gently for 1 minute and serve!
Like I say, you can prepare it in advance, even freeze it or you can prepare it and cook it. Job done! As a filling meal that’s full of nutrition, it’s a winning dish for me and my family.
This post is an entry for the BritMums #HealthyRedMeat, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel.
What’s your fail-safe go-to meal? I’d love to hear it. Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere