Easy Peasy Meatballs for Kids (and Grown Ups)

Prep Time:15 mins, Cook Time: 30 mins, Total Time: 45 mins

January 15, 2014

Eat Your Veg | Easy Peasy MeatballsUncle Julian came to stay recently, visiting us from the sunnier climes of Mallorca. Being a bit of an avid foodie and a most accomplished home cook he was keen to make something for dinner with the Terrible Twosome. Brave. Naturally I jumped at the chance of a rare night off. And was more than a little intrigued as to how they’d be cooking with another grown up other than myself. Meatballs were the choice dinner, a bit of a favourite with Jules’s own, considerably older, girls. So J & F and Uncle Julian got down and messy and made me dinner while I clicked away, loving a spot of time out.

Meatballs are a great make for little hands. J and F loved mixing the meatball mixture, combining all the ingredients and squidging it through their fingers. Then shaping into little balls and the odd meatball snail (J’s obsessed with them since the bread rolls). They were actually remarkably well behaved, for that bit anyway!  Even Frannie managed to stick around without her usual scarpering off, but then she does adore her Uncle Jules. Who also happens to be infinitely more fun in the kitchen than Mummy.  Then there’s the lure of all the magic. A budding amateur magician with a new trick quite literally up his sleeve every visit, they’re relentlessly fascinated and enchanted. While I’m just frustrated as I can never work them out! When he unexpectedly stopped over the night before the meatballs Jacques remarked when he saw him in the morning “look Mummy, Uncle Julian’s here, it’s magic”. Cute.

So I humbly thank you for your patience Big Brother. And I should add they were delicious too, meaty, slightly cheesy and bobbing in a divinely rich tomato sauce. Winter comfort food fodder at it’s very best. And delicious without the chilli you were desperate to sneak in. Please do come again (and cook). Incidentally that invite’s open to anyone…..

Eat Your Veg | Easy Peasy Meatballs Recipe

I’m entering Uncle Julian’s Balls to a few challenges. Firstly to Fromage Homage‘s Cheese Please, which I hereby vow (to attempt) to enter each month from now on in! This month the theme’s Comfort Food and Winter Warmers, and these balls certainly concur on both fronts. And secondly to Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays. It’s about time I gave you some bloggie love Mark, it’s been a while!. Finally to Pasta Please, an event run my Jac over at Tinned Tomatoes and this month hosted by Tina at The Spicy Pear, and she’s kindly allowing meaty entries to an otherwise veggie event. January’s theme is garlic.

Meatballs Challenge Logos

Eat Your Veg | Making Meatballs

The Good Stuff:

Lean beef and pork, onion, garlic, tomato



Great For:

Toddlers, Pre-Schoolers, Big Kids, Grown Ups, Family Lunches or Dinners, Making with Kids, Making Ahead, Freezing, Comfort Fodder, Winter Warmer, Week Nights, Week-Ends



Notes:

Makes 30 – 35 small meatballs, enough for a hearty meal for a family of four
Can be made ahead and/or frozen



Special Equipment:

An oven tray, a large saucepan



Easy Peasy Meatballs for Kids (and Grown Ups)

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Ingredients Prep Time:15 mins, Cook Time: 30 mins, Total Time: 45 mins

Makes 30 – 35 small meatballs, enough for a hearty meal for a family of four:
For the Meatballs:
200g lean pork mince
200g lean beef mince
50g Parmesan or Grana Padano, finely grated
1 large handful breadcrumbs
1 egg, free range, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
1 pinch each salt and pepper

For the Tomato Sauce:
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 jar tomato passata (680g)
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon oregano
1 pinch each salt and pepper
50g Parmesan or Grana Padano, finely grated

To Serve:
pasta of your choice, tagliatelle or spaghetti is traditional
grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

1) Preheat your oven to 220ºc/200ºc fan/gas mark 7
2) Chuck all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly together with your hands. Small hands in particularly love to do this, both the chucking in and the mixing
3) Divide into 30 – 35 small pieces and roll each between your hands into a ball, again a good job for the littlies
4) Place on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 10 – 15 minutes until they’ve taken on a little colour and some of the grease from the meat has seeped out
5) Meanwhile prepare the tomato sauce. Place the oil in a large saucepan together with the finely chopped onion and garlic. Heat on a medium heat and saute for 5 minutes
6) Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, including the Parmesan. Bring to a simmer and allow to bubble away on a gentle heat for 15 minutes
7) Once the meatballs have been baked remove from the baking tray (minus any residual oil) and carefully place in the tomato sauce for a further 5 minutes
8) Meanwhile cook your chosen pasta to packet instructions
Serve the meatballs on the pasta with even more Parmesan for a bit of a cheese fest!

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28 thoughts on “Easy Peasy Meatballs for Kids (and Grown Ups)

    1. Louisa

      We actually haven’t had meatballs for ages around here, but they used to be a staple too, and probably will be again now. Good idea on the freezing, I would do if my freezer wasn’t choca full of too many other goodies. Need to stop cooking and start digging in to make way!

      Reply
  1. Javelin Warrior

    Meatballs are one of my favorite comfort foods ever – and they’re really no trouble to make either. I’d be happy with a plate of just about any day! What a great idea for the kids too – it makes perfect sense to involve them in squishing the mixture and rolling out the little balls…

    Reply
    1. Louisa

      Mark, I think meatballs are the ULTIMATE comfort food ever! And really a total whiz to make. Looking forward to making lots more Made with Love Mondays entries!

      Reply
  2. Fiona Maclean

    No kids here, but I love meatballs. I make them with lamb and with turkey mince too and spice them up a bit. And why on earth would you buy the pre-made frozen ones when it’s so easy to make your own. Your kids get cuter every day by the way xx

    Reply
    1. Louisa

      I like a bit of spice in them too, especially with lamb ones. Which is something I’ve not made for years! I’ve no idea why people buy the pre-made frozen ones either, can’t say I’ve ever tried them but I’m sure they must be tasteless bullets! So cheap and easy to make yourself. My kids are trouble Fiona, they might occasionally look cute but they only appear on photos and not video for a reason!!!!

      Reply
  3. Fromage Homage

    Lovely! My two little ones both love meatballs but although I usually cover them in cheese, I’ve never thought to put cheese in them. Lovely idea (I bet a little squidge of mozzarella in the middle would go down well too). I must make them meatballs; it’s been a while! Thanks for sharing this with Cheese, Please! this month. A lovely winter warmer.

    Reply
    1. Louisa

      For some reason I’ve always made my meatballs with cheese in, funny eh!. And that’s a great idea for a little secret squidge of Mozzarella in the middle, so going to do! Hoping to get another entry to Cheese Please this month, all made but just need the time to post!

      Reply
    1. Louisa

      They’ve been cooking with me since they were toddlers! Jacques has a total obsession with all thing food and loves being in the kitchen, stirring, tasting, making, smelling, chopping…. I’m very lucky!

      Reply
  4. Vanesther

    I really shouldn’t be looking at this post when I’m waiting for my lunch to cook – it’s made me soooo hungry! Julian’s meatballs look absolutely delicious – my children love making them, so next time we’ll be giving his recipe a whirl 🙂

    Reply
    1. Louisa

      Thanks Vanesther. I do love a bowl of comfort food fodder meatballs and these are exceptionally child-friendly both in the making and flavour 🙂

      Reply
    1. Louisa

      Thanks Karen, meatballs are rather good aren’t they?! And the perfect January fodder I’d say. It’s at least a year since I last ate any, which is a bit weird considering how much we all love them.

      Reply
  5. Tina @ The Spicy Pear

    Nothing beats a bowl of meatballs and pasta on a cold rainy day! I loved reading about how your kids enjoyed making them and how they found Uncle Julian. It is a great read.

    I will definitely try this out with my niece next time she is over. Feel free to add this to this month’s pasta challenge. The theme is garlic, and I’m accepting veg and non veg dishes. I’m sure many others would love to try recreating your recipe.

    Reply
    1. Louisa

      Thanks Tina, added now! I hadn’t realised Jac ever accepts meaty dishes for Pasta Please so delighted to join in with these. They’re really child-friendly too, so please try with your niece. Most kids seem to love meatballs, grown ups too!

      Reply
  6. Anneli Faiers

    Lovely looking meatballs!!! I think I must have somehow been unsubscribed to your posts as this didn’t arrive in my emails… Anyway, by the by, meatballs are just wonderful for kids and adults alike. Such fun making them with kids and yours are looking so happy to be getting stuck in! xx

    Reply
    1. Louisa

      I’ve had a few problems with email follows, tried so many different versions and finally lost all my original followers a few weeks/months ago. And I STILL haven’t tried your authentic Swedish meatballs, sure to be a big hit around here too.

      Reply

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