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  • Difficulty Easy
February 6, 2012

154 Comments

If there’s a universal truth for 98% of mums, it is that it is our responsibility to feed our children.  Not just feed our children, but feed them well.

The Kitchen Is Never Closed!

The trouble is ticking all the boxes in terms of including 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit each day often takes quite a bit of effort.  One child will eat carrot, the other won’t, the youngest can’t eat a plate of meat and 3 veg so you end up finding yourself on the merry-go-round of providing different meals for different members of the family … and you feel like your kitchen is never closed.

I found myself in this situation a few years back and to be honest, felt completely out of control.  I slid down the slippery slope of trying to please everyone and ended up serving up random selections of often less than healthy meal options. I needed easy dinners that suited the whole family.

Add to that my life kept getting busier between new babies, toddlers hanging onto my legs, new kindy children home from school “STARVING MUM!!” and a new business and I quite nearly lost the plot!

It wasn’t until I set about finding easy dinners that I embraced the idea of making many of my meals ONE POT WONDERS.  Yes, figuring out how to include all that makes a meal ‘healthy’ in the one pot.

The beauty of One Pot Wonder Meals is threefold: 

  1. The forethought & preparation required ahead of time is minimal
  2. My One Pot Wonders are very, very slow cooker and freezer friendly
  3. There is far less washing up before and after dinner (just one pot!)
  4. Oh sorry there’s four – most of my kids can serve themselves when it’s One Pot Wonder night

So what exactly do I mean by One Pot Wonders?

Easy.  Everything on the list of what makes up a healthy meal goes into one pot and it all gets cooked together.

I have meals in my repertoire (in fact, it’s worth it’s own mini series) of One Pot Wonders but thought today, I’d share our  Meal in a Meatball recipe.

What you’ll need for Meal in a Meatballs:

  • 1kg of premium beef mince (substitute for chicken, lamb, pork or veal mince if you like)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large brown onion finely diced
  • 2 large carrots either finely diced or grated
  • 2 medium zucchinis either finely diced or grated
  • 2 cups mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 – 2 cups of uncooked brown rice (depending on how far you want to stretch this meal)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • a roughly chopped combination of basil, flat leaf parsley & chives (any fresh herbs really)
  • 1 750mL bottle of pasta sauce
  • 1 400mL can of diced tomato or a tin of condensed spicy tomato soup
  • 750mL water (I fill the pasta sauce bottle once it’s empty to get all the last bits of sauce out)

You could also add a half cup of frozen peas or corn, diced capsicum – it’s totally up to you how far you can push the vege component!

Putting it all together:

This is the easy part!  Simply combine everything in one big bowl and mix together really well (I wash my hands well, take off my rings and then mix, mix, mix).

Then roll the mixture into golf ball sized balls and fill the bottom of your slow cooker or a large deep oven dish.

Once all the meatballs are rolled and in place, pour over the mixture of pasta sauce, diced tomato/tomato soup and water.

If you’re cooking in the slow cooker, cover and either cook for 3 hours on high or all day on low.  If you’re cooking in the oven, cover with foil (or lid of oven dish), set in the middle of the oven and cook for 2 – 3 hours on 160˚C (fan forced) – checking throughout cooking.

The great thing about these Meal in a Meatballs is that they are just that – meat, veggies and a healthy carbohydrate!  So if you can’t be bothered additional salad or veggies, there’s no need.  Make it a super quick easy dinner.

They are such a quick, easy dinner for the entire family – yes even bubba who’s still up to mush.  Simply add an extra scoop of the sauce and smoosh the meatball into tiny pieces.  If they’re at finger food stage, chop it up into bite sized pieces.  For Mum, Dad or the older kids who like a bit of spice, sprinkle with some chilli flakes, some Sumac or a little dukkah.

These meatballs also freeze beautifully – in fact, we’re having the other half of last nights meatballs tonight!

What are your tips for Quick Easy Dinners?  Got any one pot wonders that make your life easier?

  • Used to make similar recipe when my children were growing up – don’t do it now, but thanks for bringing back all those wonderful memories. Great recipe and easy to do

    Reply

  • We used to have these all the time as kids on mash, but mum added rice

    Reply

  • Oh this makes my mouth water. What a great family friendly recipe with good ingredients

    Reply

  • Everyone love meatballs in my family.Thank you for sharing this healthy meal.

    Reply

  • This looks delicious. I just love the thought of using one pot instead of 3 – 4 of them. Definitely going to try this recipe and freeze what’s left over for another night.

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  • Your meatballs look delicious,a fantastic recipe! Thanks!

    Reply

  • Spag Bol is always my go to. I can put many vegies in my sauce and make enough in a meal for leftovers for lunch or dinner again. And Zucchini Slice is something that I can always load with vegies and serve with salad, rice, etc.

    Reply

  • Yum! Amazing use of veg and they won’t even know!

    Reply

  • Oh yummo! I’ve been strapped for easy recipes so thank you for sharing. Will be making this next week after I’ve done my grocery shopping.

    Reply

  • Everyone loves meatballs…easy and tasty

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  • Looks so satisfying and hearty, lovely.

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  • I make something similar – and they are a family favourite

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  • Your meatballs look amazing and l bet tastes delicious!

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  • This sounds really nice

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  • Great article, recipe and tips. My kids will eat all fruits and are good with dairy and meat but when it comes to veggies it’s a daily struggle with the middle two. My daughter will not eat any veggies besides carrots and corn and my 3 year old son will only eat carrots so I always grate as much veggies I can into my pasta sauces.

    Reply

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