This “Fast and Friendly” recipe is my favorite meatball recipe for kids. Parents will dig them, too. I love it because the end result is tasty but the cooking and prep is a cinch! Leftovers can be frozen and de-thawed later for a quick meal in a pinch. They can be eaten plain, tossed with pasta and spaghetti sauce, or combined with marinara and grated cheese to make meatball subs.
As your children’s taste buds develop, you can experiment with adding other ingredients into the recipe for a more complex flavor. Try seasonings such as salt and pepper, oregano, basil, onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. I like to add parmesan cheese (2-3 tablespoons) and a just a dash of the herbs mentioned above. If you find that they turn out too dry for your tastes, you can also add a bit of milk or olive oil.
My kids like simple dishes, and they aren’t big on multiple items on the same plate. I can’t blame them because I’m in my thirties and still don’t like when my gravy touches my peas. For now we just serve these meatballs up plain. Hopefully we can level-up to meatball subs sometime soon. My son recently started dipping his meatballs in ketchup and barbecue sauce, but now the meatballs are solely a condiment transportation device (CTD) and no longer something to bite into for it’s own sake. Baby steps.
I simplified or skipped a few steps in this recipe to make it as quick and painless as possible. I mixed all of the ingredients and preheated the oven while I was forming the meatballs, using a small ice cream scoop to make uniform balls. I didn’t worry about preheating the tray. Then I sprayed the foil-lined cooking tray with canola baking spray and plopped on the meatballs and baked for the recommended 15 minutes.
These have been a big hit with my kids, so the last time I made them my wife had bought three pounds of meat and we froze a whole bunch. Now we can just take out a couple at a time, nuke them for a a few minutes, and viola – instant meal. Our next step is to convince our kids that the world would not end if we actually eat our meatballs WITH pasta, or, on a bun.
If you try this, we’d love to know what adaptations you made and how they turned out for you!