Hey dudes, with it being Half term and all I thought you might have a little bit more time for cooking with the littlies- these meatballs and tomato sauce are something we’ve enjoyed making. They’re healthy, cheap and not too tricky…Let me know what you reckon. I initially wrote this post for International Blog Swap day but, now that’s long gone I thought I’d share it with you lovely people.
So, without further ado, here is the Jamie Oliver Meatball recipe we tried last week (I had to review a supermarket chain and this is what we made with our purchases). We were inspired by the family film of the moment, Lady and the Tramp! Ingredients:
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 12 Jacob’s cream crackers
- 2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 500 g quality minced beef, higher-welfare pork, or a mixture of the two
- 1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 large free-range egg
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ fresh or dried red chilli
- 2×400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 400 g dried spaghetti or penne
- Parmesan cheese, for grating
Finally chop the rosemary whilst your toddler enjoys smashing the crackers to bits with a rolling pin. It’s best if you put them in a sandwich bag or something first to prevent them from going everywhere and a shard nearly blinding you, just saying!
Add to a mixing bowl with the mustard, minced meat, chopped rosemary and oregano. Crack in the egg and add a good pinch of salt and pepper.
With clean hands scrunch and mix up well. Divide into 4 large balls. With wet hands, divide each ball into 6 and roll into little meatballs – you should end up with 24. Drizzle them with olive oil and jiggle them about so they all get coated. Put them on a plate, cover and place in the fridge until needed.
On to the sauce- now, I don’t know what you guys are like for feeding your kids different flavours and things but I am all for just giving them smaller portions of your food. I have absolutely no time for all of this “they only like beans and fish fingers” sort of thing. I have no intention of cooking more than one meal a night so they need to get comfortable with flavours! Having said that, you are obviously welcome to omit the chilli, garlic etc if you think it might be too much for smaller tums.
Pick the basil leaves, keeping any smaller ones to one side for later. Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic (to be honest, I usually use the lazy garlic) Finely slice the chilli (use more or less depending on who you’re feeding). Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Next, heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add 2 lugs of olive oil. Add your onion to the frying pan and stir for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden.
Add your garlic and chilli, and as soon as they start to get some colour add the large basil leaves. Add the tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and season to taste. Meanwhile, heat another large frying pan and add a lug of olive oil and your meatballs. Stir them around and cook for 8–10 minutes until golden (check they’re cooked by opening one up – there should be no sign of pink).
Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until the pasta is ready, then remove from the heat.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. Saving some of the cooking water, drain the pasta in a colander. Return the pasta to the pan. Spoon half the tomato sauce into the pasta, adding a little splash of your reserved water to loosen. Sprinkle over the small basil leaves and some grated Parmesan I didn’t do this bit- putting excess green on the top is a sure fire way to get an ‘I don’t like it’ before it’s even touched the lips. Don’t bother!!
Now, I want it to be known that I am a hideous housewife and even worse cook but even I was able to make these work…with the help of my glamorous assistant so, don’t be shy, give them a try. They freeze really well and, as they are fairly small defrost quickly for a meal in a moment dinner.
Add spaghetti and salad and you’re basically super mum!!
So, there you have it. Let me know what you think.
You can check out my blog for more fantastic recipes (you won’t find many!) you will mainly find examples of me being an epic fail of a mother but trying my best anyway. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.
With lots of love,