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Cooking With Your Kids: Monster-Meatball-Masterpieces

Sunday, March 23, 2014 3:11 PM | Deleted user
by Sheri Saperstein Richberg, Certified Personal Trainer, Body by Baby Fitness

Chances are, you’ve heard of the kids feature “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” In the film’s sequel, the main character has to battle with delicious but deadly “food-animal” hybrids, such as the ferocious “taco-diles,” slithering “apple pie-thons,” and vine-swinging “shrimp-anzees.”

With a little creativity and a pound of lean ground protein, you and your own little animals can create fun and tasty meatball “monster-pieces” that are not only healthy and delicious, but can also be a marvelous (not to mention mushy & messy) way to create a conversation-worthy family meal!

Meatballs are a great source of protein for kids to build muscular strength, and this recipe is chock full of veggies too so you can feel good about preparing it for your family. You can roll the meatballs into bite-sized pieces, strike each with a Ninjago spear (aka toothpick), or make gigantic meatball boulders from outer space to heap on top of a steaming volcano (aka spaghetti topped with marinara sauce.)

Here are a few of the ferocious forest creatures that we came up with using steamed baby carrots, celery sticks, grape tomatoes, red peppers, steamed broccoli for trees, mushrooms for rocks and baby spinach for leaves. We even made a meatball slider and squashed it between two monster-sized mushroom caps!

Simple Meatball Recipe You can use lean ground beef, turkey or chicken or you can use store bought, ready-made meatballs, which come in a variety of flavors to please kids’ palates!

This recipe is GLUTEN FREE, but you can add ½ cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs to the mixture for extra texture.

1 lb ground meat
1 small zucchini - grated
1 carrot - grated
1 Tb Olive Oil
2 Tb parsley
½ tsp garlic salt or sea salt
½ tsp pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Form into 12 meatballs or as many as you choose given your sizes, flattening on bottom a bit. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until brown and cooked throughout (you may need to cook larger meatballs longer.) Once cool enough to touch, create your monster-pieces!

Use your imagination for healthy monster and animal add-ons like: crispy chow mein noodle arms and legs, sliced olives eyes, chopped peppers for freckles, shredded cheese for hair, guacamole, wrap it up in a “baby diaper” tortilla or place 2-3 meatballs a lollipop stick for monster meatball pops!

Have Fun and Enjoy!

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