Baby Friendly Meatballs

Baby Friendly Meatballs

Since Poppy has started proper eating I’ve found that I spend a lot of time obsessing over her diet and kind of forget about mine and Mr UFM’s. For example, the fridge is currently stacked full with blueberries, strawberries, avocados, cucumbers and other such fresh treats and they are strictly for Pops. If Mr UFM tries to nick even one of her beloved blueberries he generally gets a slapped wrist.

Anyway, last week I took it upon myself to cook up a feast that would be suitable for the entire family. I was very proud of myself as:

1. I’m an awful cook

2. I’m generally too tired to properly cook

3. I find cooking and watching Poppy at the same time quite stressful. I am NOT a good multi-tasker.

Luckily, Poppy was in a very good mood and was finding her toy eggs particularly fascinating (Have you seen these toy egg thingys by the way? Babies bloody love them. Here’s a link) so I plonked her on a play mat in the kitchen while I whipped up some amazing, baby friendly meatballs. Brimming with lemon zest and herbs, these meatballs are delicious and so easy to make. Poppy devoured them as did Mr UFM and I.

The recipe is inspired by one of my favourite ever websites ‘My Lovely Little Lunchbox’. It is full of inspiration for great recipes for the little ones and is particularly good if you’re an advocate of baby led weaning. I’ve adapted it very slightly and added a few naughty cheats.

Here’s what you’ll need:

500 grams beef mince (I went for very lean mince)

1 cup fresh bread crumbs (Ocado do a great pre-crumbed bag if you’re naughty like me)

1 tablespoon dried basil/mixed herbs

1 garlic clove, minced (I bought ready minced garlic from Tesco…woops)

zest of a lemon

1 egg

700 ml passata

400 gram tin diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

500 grams pasta

And here’s what you need to do:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place the mince, bread crumbs, dried basil/herbs, naughty garlic, lemon zest and egg in a large bowl and mix to combine. Take heaped tablespoon amounts of the mince mix and with wet clean hands shape into balls. Set aside. Pour the passata, diced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar into a large oven proof casserole dish and mix to combine. Add meatballs, cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil, add pasta and cook according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside. Add the pasta to the cooked meatballs and mix to combine.

This was SO yummy and the lemon and herbs meant that Mr UFM and I felt no need to add salt.

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