Monday, July 9, 2012

Kid-Friendly Meal (Unless You're My Kid)

So, I've cracked the code!  It has been made very clear by my darling toddler that if I actually spend time cooking a meal from scratch and pour my heart and soul into it, AND get super excited for him to eat it... he will turn up his nose and proclaim very emphatically, "NO."  But if I microwave a turkey hot dog, I'm Super Mommy!  Oh well.  I'm going to keep trying because A) I love to cook and B) this child can't eat only turkey hot dogs every. single. day. 

I thought I'd share a great recipe that I tried over the weekend.  It is super healthy and delicious for the little ones (that is, if your little one is actually going to eat it instead of turning up their nose) and it is a meal the grown ups will enjoy too. 

First things first.  I found the recipe in this little gem of a cookbook:

My parents gave this to me for Mother's Day this year because they know how much I enjoy cooking for my fam.  I know this gift was the brainchild of my mom's because she is probably one of the best gift givers I know!  Her gifts are always super thoughtful and tailored specifically for the recipient.  It's a true talent of hers.  Thanks, Mom! :)

Back to the recipe!  Here is what I chose to make:

Mini Meatballs & Couscous with Five-Veg Sauce

  • 4oz lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tlbs fresh bread crumbs (I used store bought italian)
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 tsps vegetable oil (I only had EVOO on hand)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 3 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
Five-veg sauce:
  • 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 2 1/2 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp  dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar

Mix the beef, onion, mushrooms, garlic, bread crumbs, parsley, vegetable oil, egg yolk, and seasoning in a bowl.  Shape into 12 mini-meatballs.  Refrigerate while you make the sauce.

To make the five-veg sauce, heat the olive in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add the carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms and cook for about 15 minutes, or until softened.

Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, oregano, and brown sugar, season to taste and simmer for 10 minutes.  Puree with a stick blender, then leave over low heat to keep warm.

Put the couscous in a large bowl and pour in the hot broth.  Cover and leave for 5 minutes.  Fluff up the grains with a fork.

Lightly dust the mini-meatballs with flour.  Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick, heavy skillet and cook the mini-meatballs for 8-10 minutes, turning frequently, until cooked through.  Serve with the couscous and sauce.

I served ours with roasted broccoli with lemon and parmesan and a nice piece of garlic toast.  None of my plated shots turned out so I took another pic of the cook book version to show you how it should look:

The flavors in this dish were awesome and being that Hubby and I aren't huge carrot or zucchini fans, unless I'm devouring zucchini bread, it was nice that they were pureed into the sauce.  I also finished my meatballs in the oven after getting a nice brown carmelization on the outside.  This meal was relatively easy to make, but I wouldn't recommend it for a quick weeknight meal.  Enjoy!


  1. Oh man Landon LOVES meatballs. Thanks!

    1. I hope you all like this! My little guy didn't care for it the day of, but I served him some pasta with the five-veg sauce and cut up a meatball and put it on the side and he seemed to like that pretty well. :)