Although my own son is only four months old, I know how hard it can be to find healthy meals that are kid-friendly. My three little sisters come over to my house quite often and it is challenging to come up with nutritious snacks and lunches that they will eat! When I saw this recipe I thought I would give it a try the next time they came over for lunch.
You will need:
1 pound ground chicken – (ground turkey would be a good choice as well and a bit more economical)
3/4 Tablespoon grill seasoning
Small handful sundried tomatoes
3/4 cup fresh basil (about 15 leaves or so)
Extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes – (if you or your kids don’t like spicy things, you could just leave this out)
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion or 4-5 green onions, chopped
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound pasta of your choice – (I used mini bowtie pasta – it seemed like a ‘kid-friendly’ option!)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
First, pre-heat your oven to 400°F and start a pot of water heating on the stove for the pasta.
Place the ground chicken in a mixing bowl and sprinkle the grill seasoning over top. Coarsely chop the sundried tomatoes. Add the pieces to the bowl with the ground chicken.
Next, wash and chop the basil. Hopefully you are better with a knife than I am… I felt like such a klutz as I was trying to chop the tomatoes and basil!
Add the basil to the ground chicken mix and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top.
Mix the ingredients together. I used my hands but, man, raw chicken feels nasty. So I would suggest maybe using a spoon for this part! Shape into meatballs. I used a cookie scoop for this part and that made it so easy to form the mixture into meatballs.
Place on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are cooked through and lightly browned on top.
While the meatballs are in the oven, drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the minced garlic, onion, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. You can also add extra basil to the sauce if you want. I love basil, so I added a small handful to the sauce.
Once your pot of water has come to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
You’re ready to go! Serve up a helping of pasta, top with the tomato sauce, and add a few meatballs. Garnish with a little Parmesan and you have a beautiful meal to serve to your family.
This meal seemed to go over well with my little sisters! I wasn’t sure if they would like the basil and sundried tomatoes in the meatballs, but they ate them without a complaint! If your family doesn’t like a lot of ‘chunks’ in the sauce, you can try blending it after all the ingredients have been mixed together. The basil and sundried tomatoes could also be put in a food processor or chopped finely so they aren’t as noticeable for pickier eaters.
I loved the flavors of tomato and basil in this recipe. I bought both fresh from the farmer’s market the day I made this meal and was so excited to use them right away. Serve the pasta with a side of salad and you have a tasty, nutritious meal to add to your family cookbook!