Whilst chatting via email with Rach over the weekend, on a topic we have been over before…. how to sneak veggies into her Dads diet, I promised a post on how to do more. Sort of backwards as usually the parent wants to get the child to eat veggies. There is no reason to question the love of a daughter for her Dad though, and the desire to see him eat a more healthy diet.
But when he fights it tooth and nail… hmmm another expression I need to look up, sounds sort of snarly lol… It becomes a challenge. We have probably all heard someone look at a salad and say they are not a rabbit. Sheish but how do you explain the long floppy ears and fuzzy tail?
So lets take this farther, first, we need to cook more meals where veggies are introduced. But, the recipient can’t know he is getting them or he won’t eat them. Or have a pre-determined idea that he won’t like the meal as there are veggies in it…. parents are hard to raise you know. 😉
I can’t believe I am teaching Rach to be sneaky. eeeeps.
Following a suggestion, Rach snuck some carrots into a spaghetti sauce. They mush up quite well and the thick sauce covers them, then people discover that they add tons of flavour that is liked too. but shhhhhhh.
Carrots are good for us, we need to sneak in more veggies though, one day, perhaps then, after lots of sneaking…. we can say hey dad why don’t you just eat them not hidden?.. you like them….
but that will take some time.
It is no secret that many guys are meat and potato only people.
so today, we can mess with that. But don’t tell them.
Meatballs are a versatile item to store in your freezer. You can make them one day, freeze them and then use them in various dishes when you are in a hurry. They are a great place to hide veggies too.
I make up meatballs and then put them on a cookie sheet, stick it in the freezer, then when they are frozen you can put them into a freezer bag and they won’t stick together. Then you can pull out as many as you want, for what ever you are cooking. Handy huh?
I like to bake them on a cookie sheet, rather than fry them. They are more tender this way and less greasy. If we are adding veggies.. I guess this is more a healthy post so we need to avoid grease too right?
With meatballs, you can add them to a pasta, simmer them in the tomato sauce, or an Alfredo sauce. With a pesto over pasta, adding some yummy meatballs makes it a meal.
But, simmering the meatballs for a few minutes in a gravy and serving with mashed potatoes… well a meat and potato guy.. will look for seconds.. and thirds, and daughter Rach will be grinning, because the meatballs will have veggies in them, so will the potatoes. shhhhhhh.
You can even take a bun, smear a bit of tomato sauce on it, add a few meatballs.. and presto, a grinning dad. pssst give him a napkin.
Ok, so how to do it.
Katie used to give me heck because my recipe posts were vague, I never follow a recipe, so creating them was hard. I just cook.
You can make meatballs with ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey or ground chicken. You can mix pork and beef together too, and get a nice flavour.
Lets go simple though and use ground beef, hamburger.
We can sneak in any veggie, but if it shows and is noticed.. then it may not be eaten.
What do you need: (pssst read the method too before you shop)
one pound of ground beef
three slices of bacon, cooked with the fat drained off, chopped fine. (don’t burn it or cook it too crisp)
one or two carrots (about 1/2 a cup)
one tablespoon of dry Basil, Oregano. & or Thyme
one half a cup of dry bread crumbs.
Parmesan cheese (optional, but adds great flavour) You can also use any cheese.
one teaspoon of salt and a couple shakes of pepper
a few shakes of worcestershire sauce or any bbq sauce or steak sauce, (perhaps 4 table spoons if using the bbq sauces).
Grate the carrot or chop fine with a blender or food processor. psst you can add a parsnip too.
Do the same with the onion. you can also add a garlic bud or two if you wish.
In a large bowl, mix the egg and add the chopped onion and carrot.
Mix them together and then add the ground beef and bacon, mix it up well. (wash your hands and get in there)
Add the dry spices now.
If you have fresh herbs like basil you can chop them up and use them instead. Now if Dad is ok with seeing the green in the meatballs, thinking it is herbs.. then you can sneak in fresh spinach too. If you chop it up very fine, you could add a quarter of a cup of it. mmmmm, really sneaky lol, but it tastes great.
Mix in the bread crumbs and the cheese, salt and pepper, make sure it is mixed well.
pre heat oven to 350
Form the meatballs into… balls, not too large, about golf ball size. It is good to have them all the same size so they cook the same.
Place them on a pre greased baking sheet (cookie sheet) and place them in the oven.
Bake them about one hour. Ground meats should be cooked to 165 degrees if you want to test with a thermometer.
Take them out and remove from the tray, you can use them now or freeze them. If you put them on a clean baking sheet or even plates you can freeze them. Let them cool a bit before putting them in the freezer, but not too long, you don’t want to leave meat out. It is ok to put them in the freezer when still warm.
Mashed potatoes.. with hidden cauliflower.
What you need:
Three medium to largish potatoes, peel and chop into cubes (try to get them close to the same size so they cook evenly)
One cup chopped cauliflower (later you can try adding more, lets start small)
Three cloves of garlic
One half cup of Parmesan cheese
One third cup of warm milk
Three tables spoons of butter or margarine.
Three tables spoons of chopped parsley
One teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
How to do it:
In a large pot, place the potatoes, cauliflower and garlic. Cover with warm salted (just enough salt so you can taste it, not too much) water and bring to boil. When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat, cook until the potatoes are soft. Smooth mashed potatoes are made when the potatoes are cooked very soft, then they don’t lump.
Drain off the water, add the warm milk (cold milk makes the potatoes go sort of glue like) the butter, cheese, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Mash them well with a potato squisher or mix them with a hand mixer until they are very, very smooth.
You can serve this with the meatballs, make a salad for yourself, guilt dad into taking a few bites again too. If you get a yummy dressing for the salad he may start to like it. Something with bacon in it. 😉
I like to make a gravy with those packaged gravies. They are quick and easy.
What I like about these packages, is you add a cup of water, well for this one, but I don’t use water. Sometimes wine, but also I keep the water that I boil veggies in, so I add that. Then tons of flavour is added.
So for the meatballs, use a gravy like this or a canned one, warm it on the stove with the meatballs, this allows the meatballs to warm up and soak in some gravy. When you serve the meal, cover the potatoes with the gravy too. If you are serving a lot of meatballs you may want two packages of the gravy.
Next time a yummy pasta sauce that you can also freeze.