Cooking with kids is an experience for the brave and patient. Preparing anything will take twice as long when little hands are involved and spills are bound to happen. So, I have to be honest and say that for the most part I keep them out of my cooking space. (I am one of those anal cooks that likes to have the kitchen to themselves…it’s pretty bad.)
The one thing that we do cook together are pancakes, the room for errors is slim and they love tasting the batter. Plus, cooking helps build children’s self-esteem and is a great way for pre-schoolers to explore with their senses.
But cooking only pancakes gets old and by now they’ve mastered the beating part so we’ve moved on to grander things: Spaghetti & Meatballs.
If you are feeling brave or just want to enjoy a delicious plate of spaghetti here is a recipe I adapted from the cookbook “How To Boil Water.”
What you will need:
We started with the meatballs.
Chop half an onion and two cloves of garlic, while a little helper beats the egg.
In a bowl place the egg, turkey meat, onion, parsley, garlic, parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, egg, milk ,Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper. Mix until combined, but don’t over mix.
Out of the mixture form about 18 meatballs (slightly larger than golf balls). Since I had a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old helping ours are all uneven, no big deal.
Place all of the meat balls on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. Later you will cook them in olive oil and combine them with the marinara sauce.
While the meatballs rested in the fridge we moved on to the marinara sauce.
First, chop the onion and peel and smash the garlic. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium fire.
Add the onion, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt to the saucepan. Cook until lightly brown, about 5 minutes.
Once the onion is browned squeeze the tomatoes through your hands (have the sous chef help you) and add them into the pan with their juices, the parsley and the thyme.
Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove and discard herb sprigs. Taste and stir in the remaining salt if needed. Season to taste with pepper and save covered until the meatballs are ready.
Now back to the meatballs.
Bring the meatballs out of the fridge. Heat half the oil (1/8 of a cup) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add about half of the meatballs and cook turning sides occasionally. Once all the sides are well browned (about 6-8 minutes) transfer them to a plate and repeat with the remaining oil and meatballs.
Once all the meatballs are ready, drain off the oil and wipe out the skillet. Return the meatballs and pour in the marinara sauce. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Boil your spaghetti and drain. Then serve one or two meatballs and some sauce on top of the spaghetti. Sprinkle some parmesan. Voilà: A delicious plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
It was certainly yummy in our tummy 🙂
*All photos were taken by me.