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Mamas, how hard is it to get your kiddos to eat their veggies? Believe me, I feel your pain. 🙁 Little Red can be such a picky eater. He must take after his mama. 😉 That’s why I started playing with kids food and making bears out of mac n cheese. Even now at 9, if I add veggies to a plate decorated like a fish, it’s gobbled up in 2 seconds flat! Sometimes, though, when I forget to defrost meat or wash my son’s karate uniform because my husband is out of town … (and did I pick up the dry cleaning?)… Creativity goes out the window and someone get mama some of her “special juice” STAT! Recipes for kids can’t be this hard. I mean, they have to eat, right? Sneaking veggies into their food is good for them like washing their clothes or never setting up a playdate with that friend. One of the easiest dishes to sneak in veggies is spaghetti and meatballs. Besides, what kid (or adult) doesn’t love to slurp up a plate of noodles?
Here’s the deal with frozen spinach. It’s mild and once you blend it up, you can’t tell if it’s basil or spinach. No spinach in your teeth. Just a belly full of veggies. Not only that, but do you know how much fresh spinach it takes to make a package of frozen spinach? A LOT!
Recipes for kids don’t get any better than this. I suggest making an extra batch of the veggie meatballs and freezing them in a large freezer bag. Take them out as you need them. They taste great with BBQ sauce or for quick meals because your little one didn’t want to leave the library. I still have that problem… (rolling eyes)… The sauce is sweet and not too tangy. Picky palates won’t know the difference. Hope you enjoy!
Sneaky Veggie Spaghetti and Meatballs
- For Meatballs:
- 1 garlic minced
- ½ cup frozen spinach finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pea puree
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ cup shredded parmesan
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- dash of ground oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- For Sauce:
- 2 8- ounce cans of tomato sauce
- 2 carrots shredded
- 1 slice onion finely diced
- 1 garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon ground oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs.
- If it's too wet, add more breadcrumbs.
- Gently roll between your hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs.
- Continue until all the meat is used.
- Heat oil in a deep stock pot.
- Brown the meatballs.
- You want to sear all the sides to lock in flavor.
- Don’t try to move the meatballs until they are completely brown, or you will break them.
- Remove from the pan and drain excess fat.
- When you do this, try not to remove the bottom brown crumbs. That’s delicious goodness.
- To pot, add onion. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add all the remaining sauce ingredients.
- The tomato sauce can splatter up. Add it slowly.
- Return the meatballs to the pot and cover. Let simmer slowly for 1 hour.
- Serve over spaghetti. Enjoy!