Veggie Meatballs and Homemade Spaghetti

Rumor has it growing up I was a bit of a picky eater. Put spaghetti in front of me though, and I could eat a plateful. I still love spaghetti today as an adult and my kids love it too. In fact, I don’t know one kid who doesn’t like it.  Okay, I know one of you begs to differ and says, mine doesn’t! Okay, I digress.

My goal to make foods as healthy as I possible continues with this recipe. I have a secret ingredient though that makes my meatballs super moist and not dry. I mean if I don’t like a dry meatball, my kids probably won’t either. Best of all, this recipe is loaded with veggies and fruit! Yes, you heard me right, fruit.

veggie-meatballs-final

Also, I wanted to share these super cute, but practical utensils. I always try to reduce my transitioning when introducing anything to my kids. For example, I use this spoon and fork, because it is the closest thing to ones they would use as an adult. That said, it’s the perfect size for little fingers. There are two types, one for older kiddos that includes a fork, spoon and a butter knife.  It’s also available in a slightly smaller version, that’s perfect for early toddlers and babies. In fact my little seven month old has started using it. We do baby led weaning, and you can load a spoon up and let them have at it.  It comes in a fire truck, little princess, and robot pattern. Just subtle enough for little kiddos to enjoy and see.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT CODE FOR MY FOLLOWERS: ETMEAL20 for  20% off discount on the robot set until October 9, 2016.

kiddo-bloom-set-toddlerkiddo-bloom-baby

Without further ado here’s the recipe! P.S. feel free to add more salt, I just made this super baby friendly so my 7 month old can try. In fact, I separated his sauce before creating the seasoned sauce. Nothing wrong with salt, I just try to reduce it greatly with babies.

Veggie Meatballs and Homemade Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey/chicken
  • 1 large apple, grated
  • 1/4 c. green onion, chopped
  • 3/4 c. spinach, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/4 tsp salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • Homemade sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. For meatballs -Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Prepare all ingredients. Grate and chop.
  3. In a bowl, mix all ingredients until well incorporated.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, set aside (internal temperature 165F)
  5. For sauce - In a small sauce pan, mix in all ingredients
  6. For pasta - Cook pasta according to box instructions
  7. Top pasta with sauce and meatballs and enjoy!
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/10/veggie-meatballs-homemade-spaghetti/

Tip: We used two different kinds of pasta here, because kids love it!

Thank you for sponsoring this post Kiddo Bloom. Ps: I bought this and used this with my first 3 years ago!

 

Chicken Veggie Patties

I’ve tried several times to make chicken nuggets taste like the nuggets most kids associate with.  This comes pretty close!  I’m well aware store-bought nuggets definitely have its time in place, but I wanted to give you a homemade option to try!   Best of all, it’s all great ingredients and not processed! Furthermore, I know many of you have children who are really picky about texture. This chicken veggie patties recipe is soft and juicy and super tasty.

Chicken Veggie Patties (3)

Chicken Veggie Patties

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. green zucchini (one small zucchini), grated
  • 3 broccoli florets, grated (optional)
  • 2 extra small bell peppers, chopped finely
  • 1/4 c. cooked chicken, chopped finely (I use rotiserrie chicken)
  • 1/4 c. green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Wash and grate zucchini and dry with paper towel
  2. Chop all vegetables and set aside
  3. In a bowl, mix all ingredients until well incorporated
  4. In a pan add 1 tbs of olive oil on medium high heat
  5. Using a spoon or ice cream scooper, scoop about a tablespoon of batter onto the pan for each pattie. Use a spoon to flatten the scoop into a patty form. Cook until golden brown and flip on the other side for a few minutes.
  6. Serve with chives and sour cream if desired
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/09/chicken-veggie-patties/

Chicken Veggie Patty How To

Delicious One Pan Apple Chicken

My oldest son’s two favorite foods are chicken and apples. So I thought to myself, why not cook them together?! I was pleasantly surprised with this delicious one pan apple chicken recipe and this is now in our weekly rotation.

The apples add a light sweetness to the dish and it this takes less than half an hour to make. This time I didn’t use any butter like I normally would to cut back on fat for my husband and I. It still tasted great!

Note: You’ll see that I wrote “to taste” on the herbs. My husband and I like a lighter flavor, but if you prefer you can always add a little more! Remember, if you use fresh herbs its a lot less potent than dried.

Delicious Apple Chicken

Delicious Apple Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs, skinless, boneless
  • 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano dried, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary dried, to taste
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 apples, sliced thinly
  • 1 small red onion , sliced thinly (optional)
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add 1 tbs. olive oil
  2. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the chicken
  3. Add chicken to skillet and brown, about 5 minutes each side or until brown
  4. Set aside
  5. In a bowl, whisk broth and mustard
  6. Add remaining oil to pan and all ingredients (broth and mustard mixture, remaining salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano, apple, and onion)
  7. Cook for another 4 minutes or until cooked
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/08/one-pan-apple-chicken/

 

Asian Beef

My husband recently bought me an Instapot and I I’m a huge fan! First off, let me just say that this is not a sponsored post.  I just wanted to share how awesome it is, because it truly cuts my cooking time dramatically.  As a mother of two kids under two, I need every shortcut I can get. Instant Pot is a seven-in-one multi-cooker that works as an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, warmer, and sauté pan all in one. I’ve made several stews and meals in it, but this Asian Beef recipe is my first official instapot post. You can definitely use a dutch oven or a regular deep pot to make this, maybe even a slow cooker, but I’ve never tried.

I was hesitant to use it let alone buy it. It sat in my Amazon cart for weeks before my husband bought it. Frankly, he probably bought it on accident ha-ha. When it first arrived, it sat in my kitchen for several weeks unopened, because I was anxious and scared to use a pressure cooker. I remember my dad using the old-fashioned one and that steam release scared me! But I’m so glad I finally gave it a try.

I basically used my regular on-the-stove Asian Beef recipe in the Instapot and bam! It only took 30 minutes from start to finish. It would normally take a longer time to simmer the beef to achieve tender meat. If you use another type of meat like rib eye or sirloin or maybe even flank, it will take probably only take 12-15 minutes!

Asian Beef 2 (3)

Asian Beef

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs flank steak, rib eye, or chuck (takes longer), slice into small strips
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbs. sesame oil
  • 2 tbs. cornstarch
  • 3 tbs. water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Instapot Version (scroll down for over the stove version)
  2. Lightly salt and pepper beef
  3. Select the sautee button on the Instapot
  4. Add 2 tbs of vegetable oil and add minced garlic
  5. Brown beef in batches, set aside
  6. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and 3 tbs of water, set aside
  7. In the pot, add soy sauce, honey, ginger, onion powder, sesame oil
  8. Return beef in the instapot with the sauce mixture
  9. Add cornstarch mixture and mix
  10. On manual, cook for 20-25 minutes (note: this will vary with type of beef cut)
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/08/asian-beef/

Stove Top Version
Lightly salt and pepper beef
In a dutch oven or deep cooking pan, add oil and garlic
Brown beef slices and set aside
In a bowl, mix soy sauce, honey, ginger, onion powder, sesame oil, until well combined
In another bowl, mix cornstarch and water
Add beef, sauce mixture and cornstarch in the dutch oven and simmer on medium low until desired beef tenderness is achieved.

*If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

 

4 Ingredient Mini Chicken Pot Pies

“A toddler friendly twist to a hometown classic recipe”

Chicken pot pie is a comfort meal that almost everyone loves. Since I haven’t ventured into cooking homemade pies, I created this easier and faster recipe for busy parents. This pie is a slight variation to one of my most popular recipes, Mini Turkey Pot Pies. Frankly, why wait until Thanksgiving to have this yummy meal?

Chicken Pot Pie

All you need is 30 minutes, four ingredients, and some self control. That’s because you’ll want to eat more than one. A plus side, there’s lots of veggies in it.

Chicken Pot PIe Hand

P.S. This recipe is highly recommended by my toddler. See food review below in the video 😉

4 Ingredient Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 6 mini pies

Ingredients

  • Ingredients:
  • Crescent dough – Store bought
  • 1 c. cooked chopped cooked chicken
  • 3/4 c. canned cream of chicken
  • thawed garden vegetables
  • chicken seasoning or salt and pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400f
  2. In a bowl, mix chicken, cream of chicken and sprinkle a little chicken seasoning or salt and pepper. Set aside
  3. Using a glass or cookie cutter, carve out circles of crescent dough
  4. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray and carefully place dough in each circle
  5. Add chicken mixture into each circle
  6. Using the leftover dough, cut strips and place it on top as shown in video
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, check at 15 minutes for desired browness
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/07/4-ingredient-mini-chicken-pot-pies/

P.S. That’s a dry erase marker I used on our oogaa baby bowls!

Music credit: www.bradbyrdofficial.com

Broccoli Cheddar Muffins

Have you ever had a savory muffin? While I do love sweet muffin varieties,  sometimes a little change is a good thing. Plus, when it comes to breakfast, I’d prefer savory. I’m always trying to create fast on the go meals that include as many of the food groups as possible. This broccoli cheddar muffins recipe is tasty and packed with all kinds of goodness!

Broccoli Cheddar Muffins 1 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In case I haven’t persuaded you to go make this yet.. check out what it looks like on the inside!

Broccoli Cheddar Muffins Closeup

Without further due.. here’s the recipe (actually, my second son who used to sleep 12 hours is going through a sleep regression, and well, I can’t keep writing, because he just woke up!)

Okay, I digress, here it is!

P.S. this is SUPER toddler approved by my almost “threenager”

Broccoli Cheddar Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 24 Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C. flour
  • 1tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 c. grated or blended broccoli florets, raw
  • 3 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 stick of melted unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In a bowl, mix first 6 incredients until well combined (flour, baking powder, sugar, broccoli, and cheese)
  3. In another bowl mix milk, egg, and melted butter
  4. Mix flour mixture and milk mixture until well combined (don't overmix!)
  5. Grease muffin tin or use these for easy cleaning silicone liners
  6. Fill tin or liners 3/4 of the way (enough to leave for rising)
  7. Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/07/broccoli-cheddar-muffins/

If you decide to make a purchase through the  affiliate link, Amazon will pay me a very small commission for it. This does not cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. Thank you!

Summer Chicken Skewers

Every time I go to the grocery store, I get tempted to buy chicken breast. But then I think about the many times I’ve cooked it unsuccessfully. Unless stewed, the healthy white meat is so dry. I’ve recently found a fix! In just 10 to 15 minutes your meat of choice will be incredibly juicy or tender. These summer chicken skewers are healthy and delicious!

All thanks to Zespri Kiwifruit.! That’s right.. FRUIT. No chemicals additives or weird powders to add to your meat.  I’ve recently had the opportunity to work with Zespri Kiwifruit and found out it has some incredible uses.

Kiwi Kabob Vertical

There is an enzyme called actinidin found in green kiwifruit which makes for a wonderful natural meat tenderizer. Simply peel and mash or blend a kiwi, and spread the pulp on a tough cut of meat. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes and lightly scrape off the kiwi.

Kiwi Kabob

This is a simple kabob recipe I came up with. You can also use kiwi for any foods that you wish to fry. It’s simply a great tenderizer.

Kiwi Kabob

Summer Chicken Kabobs

Ingredients

  • 2 bpneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch size pieces
  • 2 kiwis (green)
  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbs. dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme, or 1 tsp if desired
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Skewers, metal preferred

Instructions

  1. Mash or blend kiwi (note: stop blending before the seeds get crushed, or it will turn bitter)
  2. In a small bowl, mix blended kiwi marinade and all ingredients
  3. Cut up chicken into 1 inch size pieces
  4. In another bowl, pour marinade onto chicken breast
  5. Place in refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes
  6. Add chicken onto metal skewers, alternating between chicken and vegetables
  7. Bbq until internal temp is 165F
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/07/summer-chicken-skewers/

Some tips for cooking with Kiwi

Source: Zespri Kiwifruit

  • Some important things to keep in mind while creating your own delicious meals and recipes.
  • The skin is edible on both varieties. The SunGold Kiwi has no hair which makes it easier to bite into like an apple. Be sure to rinse your kiwi first.
  • If you insist on peeling, a serrated peeler works best.
  • The actinidin in Green also prevents gelatin from setting and breaks down proteins in dairy products which can cause curdling. If serving Green Kiwifruit with ice cream, yogurt or otherdairy products, serve immediately after you add to your dish. SunGold kiwis do not have this enzyme.
  • When puréeing be sure to stop processing before the seeds are crushed. Crushed seeds may lend a slightly bitter flavor to your dish. Seeds can be removed by passing the pulp through a strainer.
  • When using kiwifruit in hot dishes, add it at the very last minute so that it will retain its bright color. Kiwi flesh is soft so it is recommended that you add later when cooking certain dishes like a stir-fry.

Thanks Zespri Kiwifruit for sponsoring this post! It’s our new go-to kiwi fruit. The sun gold variety is hairless and has a delectable tropical sweet taste. We can’t get enough of it!

Turkey Swiss Rolls

“A super easy recipe, that’s so delicious”

Turkey Swiss Roll Ups 3 (2)

I always have store-bought dough of some sort in my refrigerator. For fast meals I often use crescent rolls. These rolls are so incredibly tasty, I couldn’t stop eating it. For the sake of my waistline I won’t make these turkey Swiss rolls again for a few months. It’s THAT good.  I did however, sneak in some spinach in it so the meal included more food groups.

TIp: I used crescent rolls, but a sheet of dough will work better like crescent dough sheet or pizza crust.

Turkey Swiss Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 tube crescent dough sheet
  • 8-10 turkey deli slices
  • 6 swiss cheese squares
  • 1/2 c. buttter, melted
  • 1 tbs. yellow mustard
  • 1/2 c. spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a bowl, mix melted butter, worcestershire sauce, mustard and sugar, set aside
  3. Roll out crescent dough and top with turkey and cheese
  4. Sprinkle chopped spinach
  5. Roll the dough starting on the long side into a tube
  6. Cut into pieces
  7. Place rollups into a baking dish
  8. Add sauce mixture on top of each rollup
  9. Bake, uncovered, for 25 mintues until lightly browned
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/06/turkey-swiss-rolls/

Recipe adapted from Kevin and Amanda

Sweet Potato Tater Tots

“The better for you tater tot! These tasty sweet potato tater tots are packed with nutrients!”

I recently bought a package of frozen sweet potato tater tots and wasn’t impressed with the flavor.  I was hoping it would taste like a sweet potato, but it tasted very artificial. Even my toddler only ate one or two. That’s kind of a world record.

Since I have sweet potatoes on hand all the time, I tried making my own. This orange veggie is  one of my oldest’s first foods and he still loves it to this day.

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Don’t forget to check out how to peel a sweet potato video if you want to learn the easy way to do it.

Sweet Potato Tater Tots

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 white potato (optional)
  • 2 tbs. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Olive oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, boil sweet potatoes and white potatoes until you can pierce a fork through it. Depending on size it should take 15 minutes or so. You can also cut it up so it will cook faster or steam it.
  2. In a bowl, mash the potatoes
  3. Add flour, garlic and salt
  4. With clean hands, form tater tots and set aside
  5. In a pan, add about 2 tbs. of olive oil
  6. Brown tater tots on each side
  7. Serve with ketchup or plain
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/06/sweet-potato-tater-tots/

 

Veggie Fritters

Eating steamed vegetables can get a little boring. Why not jazz it up by making these veggie fritters? From the start of our son’s eating journey we would always serve veggies in its natural state. If I made a “hide the veggies” dish, I’d also offer the real vegetable. I believe it’s one of the reasons he’s not super picky. As he is getting older though, he does like some vegetables more than others.

These yummy fritters contain a garden medley of corn, carrots, peas and green beans. I made these twice in a day, because I didn’t want to think of what to cook.  He ate six of them the first time, then only two for dinner. He only left his mother, his servant/chef aka me, 1.5 patties *wink

Veggie Fritters First you prep your ingredients. I usually like to measure it all out in small bowls and spoons before cooking. For this one however, you can pretty much prepare everything in the same container since you will be mixing it all, except for the egg.Veggie Fritters Prep

 

In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Then mix all ingredients until well combined. Then I like to use an ice cream scooper to shape each patty. It makes it so much easier.  No messy fingers!

Then add some olive oil in a pan and cook on medium. You can also use a wet spoon to flatten each mound if you like flatter patties. Cook until brown and crispy and enjoy!Veggie fritters Pan

 

 

 

 

 

Veggie Fritters

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1 c. steamed garden vegetable medley (peas, corn, green beans, and carrots)
  • 2 tbs. green onions, chopped finely (less if desired(
  • 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • Salt to taste if desired

Instructions

  1. Steam frozen garden vegetables until soft (except green onions)
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg lightly
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, cooked vegetables, and green onions
  4. In the same bowl, add in all the remaining ingredients until combined
  5. In a large pan add about 3 tbs of olive oil
  6. Using an ice cream scooper scoop out veggie mixture and carefully adding each one to the pan
  7. Cook on medium heat until browned, flip
  8. Serve with ketchup or ranch dressing
  9. Makes 8 Fritters
http://easytoddlermeals.com/2016/05/veggie-fritters/
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Veggie Fritters