Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Friday, July 29, 2011

What's on our plate... Baby Meatballs and Fruit Kebabs

We had this for dinner the other night, and I just thought I would share. I can't link to the recipe. It came from my KIWI magazine, but they don't have it online, so I'm going to post it here. (Side note - I just became a Mom Ambassador via KIWI mag. So excited! Local mamas can look forward to trying out goodies soon, I hope!) We all think it's pretty yummy. Well, all but Aiden. He enjoyed helping to make it, but he doesn't like meat on its own, so...him not liking it doesn't really say anything about how it tastes.

Baby Meatballs
2 small shallots, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
8 fresh small mint leaves (we happen to have two plants on our porch, but you could leave this out, and it would be fine)
1 pound ground chicken (tastes good with ground turkey, too)
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp oregano
1 1/2 cups chicken stock

We also added some spinach that needed to be eaten. Great way to add in some extra greens! You can always throw in some spinach, kale, or other greens to things like this. I would have added a bit more than what we did, but I was just using up the little bit we had left, so I only used a small handful - since that's all we had.

You can easily vary the spices and other add-ins to make this yours. I've only made it a couple times so far, so I haven't messed with it much. And it's just so darn easy!
  • In small food processor, blend shallots, garlic, and mint (and greens, if adding!)
  • Mix together the shallot paste, chicken, and spices.
  • Moisten palms with water and roll mixture into about 35 small balls, about half the size of a golf ball. OR you can do what I do...use a *small* ice cream scoop. This is cleaner, faster, and you get the same size each time. The first time I made these, I used the scoop but still used my hands to smooth the balls. This time, I did not. Just scooped and added to the broth. They don't come out perfectly rounded, but...who cares about that? I don't.
  • In a deep, wide pan, bring the stock to a boil. Add meatballs to the broth; cook for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for about 8 minutes. Remove and cut open one meatball to check for doneness. When cooked through, remove meatballs with slotted spoon. Serve with marinara sauce or other dip. 

Camden liked this with marinara. Ryan and I use another dip, suggested in the magazine. It's really fancy. Use equal parts ketchup and vegenaise (or mayo). See? Fancy. Camden's not a big ketchup or mayo fan, so he didn't like that. Aiden didn't even try it. What's up with that whole "if they help cook it, they're more likely to try/like it"?? That doesn't really work for him. He helped make this entire meal, yet he wouldn't try the sauces and finally tried one tiny bite of a meatball (and spit it right out - I think it's a texture thing with him and meat). He was all talk while cooking, but it did not spill over into the eating part.

We served this with fruit kebabs and peas. I'm not sure why, but I like serving the baby meatballs with other round foods. Just for fun.

The magazine suggests using honeydew, strawberries, grapes, and mozzarella balls on the kebabs with a dip on the side (or poured over the kebabs). We made ours with cantaloupe, grapes, and mozzarella. Honeydew was over $6 for one at the store - no thanks! The sauce...I'm not sure why I made it. I should have known better. We like fruit AS IS, and none of us cared for the fruit with the sauce. We all tried it and then went back to eating the kebabs plain. I won't bother making it again...

But if you are a sauce person and want to try it, here's the recipe. We just used the oj, honey, soy sauce, and olive oil... But you can make it how you want!

1/3 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp peeled gingerroot, minced (optional)
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp soy sauce

Combine ingredients in jar. Close lid and shake. (Great job for the little ones!) Chill for an hour to let flavors meld. Serve with fruit kebabs!

First time making this dish...

And our second time... We'll be keeping this in our meal rotation. It's super yummy! And very versatile, too!

As you can see, the meatballs in the first picture are smoother because I took the time to smooth them out with my hands after using my scoop. I did not in the second. They taste just the same, it was faster to make, and my hands didn't have to get all messy! The bottom ones have more color due to the added spinach - could have used more if I hadn't run out! Our fancy dip is shown in the top bowl, leftover marinara from making lasagna in the bottom bowl.

Aiden helped with all parts of making this dinner, of course. That kid will not let you do one single thing in the kitchen without helping! He brings over the chair himself and just insists on helping, no matter what you are doing. He begs to help cook, he begs to help wash the dishes. And trust me, we are not about to tell him no!! Why would we do that? Sure, it takes longer sometimes. And sometimes (well, often) it means the mess is bigger. But no way are we going to deny his wish to help. One day he won't want to do it, and we would rather encourage his help while he likes it! One morning...he even helped me make my coffee. That's how desperate he was to help! And of course, I let him.

He'll be cooking our dinners before we know it, right?

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