Healthy Beef and Cabbage Stew

Healthy Beef & Cabbage Stew | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Yawwwwnnnn.  You may have noticed it’s been a little quieter around these parts lately.  Part of it is thanks to the dreaded four month sleep regression.  My sweet baby boy has never been the stellar sleeper that his sister was, and so all of this waking up every hour nonsense is foreign to me.  I’m hoping we’ll get back to normal soon, but in the mean time, coffee.  And delivery because mama just doesn’t have the patience to cook sometimes.

I’ve also been working on a fun new creative endeavor that I’m so excited to share with you guys soon.  I’m thisclose to being ready, but for now, I’ll leave you guessing.  But it’s been taking up some of the extra time that I’d usually spend here, so I apologize for the sparse posting both now and potentially in the future as I put in some overtime to get it off the ground.  But oh em gee you guys  I am so excited about it.  I can’t wait to share!

Healthy Beef & Cabbage Stew | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Ok, onto the food.  I really wanted to try this in the slow cooker and I was going to and then it was lunch time and then it was 4pm and I hadn’t put it in yet so into the dutch oven it went instead.  And it was still delicious.  The big one is getting big enough that she can watch me cook on the stove top from a few feet and be content with the occasional raw vegetable being thrown her way to snack on without me worrying that she’s going to dive headfirst into the fire.  It really warms my heart how much she loves watching me cook and participating and trying new foods as she grows.  She’s pretty awesome.

This one’s for all you East Coasters shivering over there.  We’ve been lucky enough to have some warm weather so it’s not essential here, but this is the kind of warm, delicious food with a kick of spice to it that’s really going to make you feel warm and cozy through the winter.  Oh and did I mention it’s pretty darn healthy too?  So that’s a win.  Because it’s February already and I still haven’t started eating totally healthy like I was supposed to last month…

Healthy Beef & Cabbage Stew | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Beef & Cabbage Stew
Author: 
Recipe type: Stew
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb lean beef
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 bag shredded green cabbage (4-5 cups)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • 3 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 T Worcestershire
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t basil
  • ½ t chili powder
  • 1 cup dry white rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes
  3. Add beef and cook until browned, separating with a wooden spoon as you cook
  4. Add green cabbage and cook for an additional 3 minutes
  5. Add broth, tomato sauce, tomatoes, brown sugar, Worcestershire, oregano, basil, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in and allow to come to a simmer.
  6. Add white rice, cover, and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, or until rice is cooked.
  7. Serve hot.

Healthy Beef & Cabbage Stew | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

 

Taco Cornbread Casserole | Semi-Slow Cooker

Taco Cornbread Casserole | Semi-Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

File this one under “yum,” mmmk?  I’m earmarking this recipe and using it over and over and over again through the rest of the winter.  There’s nothing like the combination of the spicy tacos and the hot, soft cornbread to fill you with warmth and happiness when it’s chilly outside.

Taco Cornbread Casserole | Semi-Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Does this have to be a slow cooker recipe?  Probably not.  You could put everything together in a pan beforehand and just toss it in the casserole dish to finish it off.  But you guys know how I feel about my slow cooker.  And how I feel about keeping it easy in the evenings…I’d always rather get dinner mostly done around lunch time or while the kids are napping and be able to throw things together and enjoy family time at night.  And I’m a firm believer that using the slow cooker really coaxes the extra flavor out of your dish, especially in this case where you want to get that zesty taco seasoning deep into every single bite.

taco cornbread8

I always like to include little S in the cooking process when I can, and for this one it was great to have her “help” with the cornbread…which was basically just stirring up the mix and scooping it on top of the casserole.  When cooking with toddlers, my favorite piece of advice is to keep the tasks quick and simple. They don’t have to do much to get the satisfaction from helping.

Taco Cornbread Casserole | Semi-Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Just a note…I browned the meat ahead of time, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have time.  The meat will just have more of a grey-brown color if you go straight from raw into the slow cooker.  And you should cook it on high for an hour or two to get it cooked if you do it this way.

Taco Cornbread Casserole | Semi-Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Taco Cornbread Casserole | Semi-Slow Cooker
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef, browned
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • 1 small can green chiles
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 cup salsa
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, plus more to top
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus more to top
  • 1 box cornbread mix, plus ingredients on box to make cornbread
  • Additional cheese, red onions and cilantro, and/or sour cream, bbq sauce or avocados to top
Instructions
  1. Brown beef and place beef, beans, corn, olives, chiles, onion, taco seasoning and salsa in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  4. Add cilantro and 1 cup cheese and cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and combined.
  5. Drain excess cooking liquid and turn mixture into greased 9x11 pan
  6. Mix together cornbread mix and pour over the top of the beef mixture. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until cornbread is cooked through and turning a golden brown.
  8. Enjoy hot and top as desired

Taco Cornbread Casserole | Semi-Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Taco Cornbread Casserole | Semi-Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Taco Cornbread Casserole | Semi-Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Easy Orzo and Meatball Alfredo | Semi-Homemade

Easy Orzo and Meatball Alfredo | Semi-Homemade | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Tis the season to have sixty bajilion things on your to do list, amiright??  And I kept seeing scrumptious orzo and meatball recipes popping up on Pinterest and they sounded like they would totally hit the spot on a cool winter night.  But then there was meatball making and sauce making and as much as all of that is spectacular, I just don’t have the time or the energy some days.  So I thought I’d simplify things.  A lot.

Easy Orzo and Meatball Alfredo | Semi-Homemade | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

You’ve heard the phrase semi-homemade right?  I usually try to be a good little food blogger and make my own sauces, slave over my own meatballs, etc.  I really do enjoy my time in the kitchen when I have time to enjoy time in the kitchen.  But when I don’t have time and it still sounds yummy I settle for semi-homemade.  And honestly, with a few little simple additions here and there, the whole meal was just perfect.  Hot, creamy, filling, and with leftovers for days.

Easy Orzo and Meatball Alfredo | Semi-Homemade | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

On top of all that, here’s a fun fact, if you chop up cauliflower enough and put it in a white sauce with orzo, no one will even realize it was there.  I honestly think that both Hubby and the toddler inhaled it without even having a clue.  Not that this was a healthy dish by any means, but at least I got some veggies in there somewhere.  #mommyforthewin

Easy Orzo and Meatball Alfredo | Semi-Homemade | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

 

Easy Orzo & Meatball Alfredo | Semi-Homemade
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb orzo, cooked according to package
  • 1 bag precooked Italian meatballs, cooked according to package
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • 1½ cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup cauliflower, chopped finely
  • 2 t basil
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 jar of your favorite alfredo sauce
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, plus more to top
Instructions
  1. Cook orzo and meatballs according to package instructions.
  2. While they are cooking, heat olive oil on medium high heat in a large skillet.
  3. Add onion and garlic and heat for about 5 minutes or until fragrant
  4. Add peas, cauliflower, basil and pepper and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes, until beginning to soften.
  5. Stir in alfredo sauce and milk and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until combined.
  6. Add cooked orzo and meatballs and stir until combined.
  7. Stir in parmesan cheese until melted and all is combined.
  8. Serve hot and top with additional parmesan cheese.

Easy Orzo and Meatball Alfredo | Semi-Homemade | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Easy Orzo and Meatball Alfredo | Semi-Homemade | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Easy Orzo and Meatball Alfredo | Semi-Homemade | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

 

12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals

12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

When I was pregnant with my toddler, I put together some freezer meals for the slow cooker for those first few weeks of parenthood from recipes that I found on my blog and online.  And, boy, was I glad that I did it.  The first few weeks were such an adjustment with sleep deprivation and getting into a schedule…I honestly barely remember a lot of it, but I do remember being happy that I had food in the freezer that I could pop in the crock pot, throw over some rice at the end of the day and be done with.

12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So naturally, with baby #2 right around the corner, I went back through my recipes and came up with some favorites for this time around.  Some I used last time and loved so much that I wanted to do them again.  Others are some of my new recipes that are freezer friendly and are perfect for our little family {the pics throughout this post are the finished product from some of my favorites that are included on the list}.

12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals | Little Kitchen, Big Bites I made sure that all of them would be happily eaten by my toddler this time around too.  And that, for the most part, they’re relatively healthy or at least well rounded with protein and veggies to keep her going in the midst of this transition too.

12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

In terms of modifying the linked recipes to become freezer friendly, I put everything in the freezer bag that would normally go into the pot at the beginning of cooking time.  Then, I put a note on each bag listing what I needed to finish it off, which is what was added in the last hour of cooking or what the dish was served over…most of the time this is dairy, more delicate produce like cilantro, and rice or quinoa.

12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

This way I can either plan ahead, go to the market, and grab the extras for a couple recipes for the week, or can pop the food into the crock pot in the morning and make a quick stop at the grocery store for whatever I need through the day to top it off at night.

12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

The best part about this time around?  I’ve got mom friends who were totally into this idea too and due around the same time.  I may have looked like a little bit of a nut in the Target line {see the below picture of my kitchen pre-assembly…} buying enough cans of beans for each of us, but it was worth it.  They came over, the kids played {i.e. created complete chaos in our house}, and we put our bags together.  They all came together in less than two hours, which was a major accomplishment.  It was a total blast and I’ve got some more fun brewing about the freezer meals and parties coming soon!  But for now, here’s a list of some of the recipes that were easily converted to freezer meals this round.

12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals For New Moms

Cheddar, Potato & Asparagus Soup
Chicken Taco Soup
Jalapeño Black & White Bean Chicken Chili
Russian Chicken
Honey Balsamic Chicken Sliders
BBQ Buffalo Meatballs
Coconut Vegetable Curry
Sweet & Sour Meatballs
Veggie Quinoa Tacos
Thai Peanut Butter Cashew Chicken
Beef Lettuce Wraps
Italian Veggie & Sausage Soup 12 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Sausage & Pepper Tortellini

Sausage & Pepper Tortellini | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

My husband is…how do I put this delicately…well he’s slightly…he’s kind of….not the best most imaginative eater?  He’s picky.  There, I feel better.  He’s sometimes pickier than the two year old.  But he puts up with a lot from me in the kitchen in the name of “trying new things.”  There aren’t a lot of repeat meals around here as we explore the culinary world.

Sausage & Pepper Tortellini | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

So this one was kind of for him.  My man is a pasta lover and a sausage lover, so I married the two together on his behalf for what turned out to be quite the spectacular dish.  There was a grand battle over who got to eat the leftovers for lunch for the next few days.  All three of us were big fans, and I loved that the little one was happily getting in bell peppers, tomatoes, chicken sausage and cheese in one bite.  The most wholesome meal in the world it is not, but it’s well rounded and delicious.

Sausage & Pepper Tortellini | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

This was a relatively simple recipe {but you’re making your own sauce which makes it feel a little more special to me} and you could easily be made with a box of regular pasta instead of tortellini for just as delicious of a meal.  We already had the frozen chicken apple sausages in our freezer {Costco for the win}, but you could use spicy Italian sausage and it would be spectacular too.  Any sausage that you prefer will do.

Sausage & Pepper Tortellini | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

As much as I hate to repeat, this one may be on the menu again sometime soon.  Especially if my professional taste testers have anything to say about it.

Sausage & Pepper Tortellini | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Sausage & Pepper Tortellini
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 5 sausages, cooked and cut into half moons {I used the precooked chicken apple sausages, but feel free to use your favorite}
  • 2 bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 package refrigerated cheese tortellini, cooked according to package
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes in juices
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • 1 T basil
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 T parsley
  • 1 t red pepper flakes {more or less if you prefer it more or less spicy}
  • 2 t black pepper
  • 1 T garlic salt
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat
  2. Add onion and garlic and let cook for 3-5 minutes
  3. Add sausages and let them begin to brown, approximately 5-7 minutes
  4. Add bell peppers and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes
  5. Add tomatoes {in juice} and all spices and let simmer for 8-10 minutes
  6. Stir in cooked tortellini and cheese and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until combined and cheese is melted
  7. Serve immediately, and garnish with additional cheese, parsley, and red pepper flakes

Sausage & Pepper Tortellini | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Jambalaya Pasta

Jambalaya Pasta | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Alternate Title: That Time That Everyone Went Back For Seconds

…and wanted to go back for thirds.

Our family usually eats our portion and finishes up {other than little miss “more”…mostly with her fruit and snacks rather than her zucchini…}.  We don’t do a lot of seconds of things unless they’re so good that we’re willing to stuff ourselves with them.  This recipe was that good.  And then some.

Jambalaya Pasta | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Jambalaya Pasta | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Jambalya was one of the first meals that Hubby and I ever made together.  And when I say “made,” I mean mixed together a box of Zatarain’s with some precooked sausage and were ridiculously proud of our “cooking skills.”  In a dirty little apartment in Los Angeles.  We probably ate it off of paper plates.  But we both loved it.

This variation uses pasta to bulk up the meal a bit and throws in some good ol’ bell peppers so the kid is getting a little bit of veggie mixed in.  And, mostly because I realized we were out of cajun seasoning when I went to make it, it features a homemade cajun blend.  If you’ve got a shaker of the premixed stuff, feel free to use that in place of the listed spices.

Jambalaya Pasta | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Jambalaya Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Cajun
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lb spicy sausage {or go with a sweet sausage if you're more sensitive to heat}
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t garlic salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 2 t paprika
  • 1½ t cayenne pepper {less if you're sensitive to spiciness}
  • 1½ t thyme
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1 box penne pasta, cooked
Instructions
  1. Prepare hot water and cook pasta according to the box. When finished, drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add sausages and cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove and chop into bite sized pieces and return to skillet to brown.
  4. Add onion and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add bell peppers and spices and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in milk and pepper jack cheese until cheese is melted.
  7. Stir in cooked pasta and combine until everything is coated with sauce and cheese.
  8. Enjoy immediately.

Jambalaya Pasta | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Sweet & Sour Meatballs | Slow Cooker

Sweet & Sour Meatballs | Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

What do you make when you’re so busy preparing for the end of the year party and your kid’s birthday and the multiple workout classes that you’re teaching that you can’t think straight?  Something easy and quick that everyone will like, that’s what.  And that’s exactly what this recipe is.

It’s another one of those where you pretty much throw everything in the crock pot and let it be.  Add some pineapple towards the end {it gets kind of gross and mushy in my experience if you leave it in there the whole time{, throw it over some rice {or quinoa if you’re feelin kinda healthy} and call it a day.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs | Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

It’s got delicious takeout flavor without all of the calories and the guessing game of *who knows what they put in there* and you can add all of the yummy veggies that you want.  So it may not be healthy, but at least it’s better than what you would have gotten from the place down the street.  And honestly, sometimes going out to pick up the takeout {and putting on something other than sweat pants just in case you run into someone you know} {yoga pants count as better than sweat pants} {can I hear an amen mamas} is a bigger pain than doing a little chopping during lunch time and finishing it off when the kid goes down for a nap or throwing it together before you leave for work in the morning.

Want to make it healthier?  Put together your own veggie packed turkey meatballs and then use them for your dish.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Sweet & Sour Asian Meatballs | Slow Cooker
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bag frozen meatballs (chicken or beef, depending on your preference)
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • ¾ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 t ginger
  • 1 t sriracha
  • 1½ cups chopped pineapple
  • Cooked rice or quinoa for serving
  • Additional sriracha, chopped green onions, and/or sesame seeds for garnish as desired
Instructions
  1. Put everything except for pineapple in the crock pot and cook on low for at least 4-6 hours.
  2. Add pineapple and cook for an additional hour.
  3. Serve over cooked rice or quinoa, garnish as desired.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs | Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Sweet & Sour Meatballs | Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Mexican Lasagna | Semi Slow Cooker

Mexican Lasagna | Semi Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I’m not going to lie, most of what I do in the kitchen now in some way revolves around the slow cooker.  I’ve always loved my crock pot, but now hubby usually gets home with less than 45 minutes until dinner time, which means anything that you have to prep and cook for more than half an hour is usually out.  If we have to push back dinner, we push back bath time, and then push back bed time which means for a crabby…everyone.

So clearly, I prefer recipes that I can make most of {if not entirely} in the crock pot while the little one naps and just run through the last few steps right before dinner time if necessary.  This is one of those glorious recipes.  I put most of it together while she napped {you could also do this before work} so I just had to assemble and throw it in the oven at night.

Mexican Lasagna | Semi Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

This is one of those delicious Mexican tortilla filled delights that is really not so healthy at all.  But I did make sure to stuff it with tons of veggies, and you could add even more or different types if you want to.  So at least I don’t feel too bad about inhaling it for dinner.  And for leftovers the next three days.

Mexican Lasagna | Semi Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Mexican Lasagna || Semi Slow Cooker
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef {or turkey if you prefer}
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 - 4 oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 - 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • 2-3 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • Avocados and cilantro to top
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil over medium high heat. Brown the meat in the skillet with salt and pepper.
  2. Put browned beef into the slow cooker.
  3. Add bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, cabbage, onion, beans, green chiles and enchilada sauce.
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3-4 hours, then switch to warm. The beans may dissolve a bit and it may look soupy but this is fine!
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with two tortillas.
  7. Spread a layer of the beef and veggie mix from the crock pot over the bottom.
  8. Sprinkle a layer of cheese over the top
  9. Add two tortillas. Repeat.
  10. On the top layer, you shouldn't have much left. Spread some sauce over the top of the tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  11. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbling.
  12. Top with avocados and cilantro, or your favorite toppings, and enjoy hot.

Mexican Lasagna | Semi Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Mexican Lasagna | Semi Slow Cooker | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Baked Turkey & Vegetable Meatballs {Healthy & Toddler Friendly!}

Baked Turkey & Vegetable Meatballs {Healthy & Toddler Friendly!} | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I know what you’re thinking.
“Girl, it’s the week of Thanksgiving…where’s my stuffing recipe??”
First of all, I use the boxed stuffing from Trader Joe’s and it is incredible.  Second of all, I have a hungry toddler to feed for the next three days before turkey day.  And these are turkey meatballs, so technically, they’re totally appropriate.

Everyone used to tell me that toddlers were picky eaters, and I would look at my deliciously chunky baby and laugh.  “This child will never refuse a meal,” I would say.  They were right.  I was wrong.  Gone are the days when she would demolish a plate full of steamed vegetables and slow cooked chicken breast like it was a cheeseburger and fries.  My little darling has decided that she wants to eat whatever we’re eating.  Period.  End of story.  Which, really, has been a great thing because it’s forced us to be more healthy.  Instead of pizza and burgers, we bake up some vegetable packed meatballs.

Baked Turkey & Vegetable Meatballs {Healthy & Toddler Friendly!} | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

One of my friends mentioned that she had used meatballs to hide loads of veggies in a delicious little toddler-friendly package.  So I went to work with some leftover vegetables and these meatballs were born.  The recipe below lists what I used, but really you can throw in any vegetables that you have laying around.  Like the ones left over from your Thanksgiving dinner on Friday morning.

I cook up a big batch of these suckers, throw them in the fridge, and heat them up with some marinara sauce and a little bit of cheese right before meal time.  They’re a huge hit.  You can also cook up some pasta and throw them on top with the sauce and the cheese and the hubby will be eating his vegetables too.  Because the toddler isn’t the only one who’s picking about eating veggies.

Baked Turkey & Vegetable Meatballs {Healthy & Toddler Friendly!} | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

 

Turkey & Vegetable Meatballs {Healthy & Toddler Friendly!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 25-30 meatballs
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cups chopped vegetables {I used 2 zucchini, 2 bell peppers, 1 cup of mushrooms, and 2 cups of spinach}
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t preminced garlic
  • 1 T basil
  • 1 t oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 - 1.5 lbs ground turkey {sub ground beef if desired}
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Marinara sauce, parmesan or mozzarella cheese, and/or cooked pasta to serve with, as desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat
  3. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes
  4. Add other veggies (except spinach) and cook for an additional 5 - 10 minutes, or until softened. Add spinach for an additional 2-3 or until wilted.
  5. Remove veggies from heat and let cool in the refrigerator
  6. While the veggies are cooling, mix ground turkey, egg and panko bread crumbs in a small bowl
  7. Once veggies are cool, add turkey mixture to veggie mixture and use your hands to fully combine
  8. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper
  9. Roll meatballs from approximately 2-3 T of the turkey veggie mixture and place on cookie sheet
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes
  11. Serve as desired, with marinara, cheese, and/or pasta, or as is

Baked Turkey & Vegetable Meatballs {Healthy & Toddler Friendly!} | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Baked Turkey & Vegetable Meatballs {Healthy & Toddler Friendly!} | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Sesame Meatballs

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Sesame Meatballs | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I know I keep saying I’m going to post some healthy recipes to go along with my fun, active lifestyle/new awesome “job.”  I feel the need to put it in quotes because it totally doesn’t feel like a job for me.  It’s so much fun to plan workouts for these amazing mamas and watch them improve and enjoy themselves just like I do every day.  It’s such a huge compliment to hear that someone felt great after a workout or was sore {in a good way} or that they see their bodies changing and getting stronger as the weeks and months pass.  I just feel so lucky to have found such an amazing group!

Anyway, should I be eating healthy every day?  Obviously.  Do I usually?  Yes.  But do I sometimes just pull a bunch of things that look yummy off the wall at Trader Joe’s and throw them together into something that’s ridiculously easy and fantastically delicious?  Definitely.

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Sesame Meatballs | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

And can we talk for sec about my love affair with Trader Joe’s?  I’m seriously obsessed.  My mama talked me into driving an extra five minutes to go there instead of the Ralphs across the way a while ago and I haven’t looked back.  I don’t think a trip goes by without us finding something new, cheap and amazing that we have to have.  Trader Joe’s does not sponsor this blog…but TJ’s if you’re reading this and you want to, I’ll sell my soul for a can of dark chocolate sea salt brownies.  Or chocolate sea salt covered almonds.  Or just a bottle of $6 chardonnay.

Back to the recipe!  Focus!  I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that this one is healthy.  But boy is it easy and fabulously yummy.  You know I love me a good thr0w-it-in-the-pot-and-forget-it recipe.  It would make a major wow appetizer too…just skip the rice and stick them on toothpicks instead.  They meatballs end up being just the right amount of sticky sweet and the right amount of spicy kick to make it so you don’t want to stop eating.  And the veggies kind of dissolve in with the meatballs and the sauce so you {and your veggie hating husband} don’t even realize you’re eating them.  You could probably even add more if you need to hide them.  And then it’s healthy, right?  Well regardless, if not healthy, this one is just delish!

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Sesame Meatballs | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Sesame Meatballs
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 bags frozen precooked meatballs
  • 2 zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 bottle Trader Joe's sweet and spicy chili sauce
  • 1 cup General Tso's sauce
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 t lime juice
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 t sriracha, optional
  • 1 T sesame seeds, plus more to garnish
  • 4 cups cooked white rice
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except sesame seeds and rice in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  3. Stir in sesame seeds.
  4. Place white rice in the bottom of a bowl and top with meatballs and desired amount of sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and enjoy hot.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...