Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Super Easy Kind-Of Healthy Dinner Idea for Toddlers

Finished dish in a bowl
Mom's Busy Squash and Meatballs

Sometimes I just don't have the energy to make dinner. But, baby has gotta eat. So what do you do?

I am guilty of grabbing that box of Annie's Mac & Cheese too often because it's easy. But last night I accidentally made a super fast, and healthy-ish meal that my son actually ate! So I thought I would share it in case you were looking for something just as easy as Annies, but with possibly a bit more nutritional value (no promises, I am not an expert).

First off, I want you to know that I am going to add in a few extra steps here, but if you are literally looking for a meal as easy as boxed Mac & Cheese, you don't need to get fancy: Combine cooked spaghetti squash, a jar of pasta sauce, and frozen meatballs in a pan and cook for 10 minutes. That's it. Meal done.

Below is the recipe I made, but I wont blame you if you just go with the basic plan above.

Mom's Busy Squash and Meatballs

1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Jar Pasta Sauce
12 Frozen meatballs (pre-cooked)

1 Onion, diced
1 Pepper (any colour) Diced
Any other veggies you want to get rid of from your fridge, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Onion powder
1 tsp Oregano
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus some extra for on top
Salt & Pepper to taste
Wine, to drink while cooking (because, why not)

spaghetti squash
Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds from the centre, place cut side down in a microwave safe dish with about 1 inch of water in it. Microwave for 12 minutes or until the inside easily pulls out with a fork. Let cool until you can grab it, then scoop out insides with a fork into a dish and set aside. You can do this step the day before or in the morning if you want.
Meatballs and Veg in pan
Dice onion, peppers, and whatever other veggies you want to use/your toddler will eat, and fry in olive oil until soft. You can skip this step if you don't have time. No one is watching.

Add in frozen meatballs to your hot pan (if you wanted to be healthier and avoid added salt you could make your own meatballs... but then why would you be reading this recipe). Cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

Add in jar of pasta sauce to pan with meatballs/veggies (if you want to be healthier you could just use a can of crushed tomatoes). Stir to combine. Let simmer for as long as you can/want to.

pasta sauce added to pan

Add in Spaghetti Squash

Stir in parmesan cheese and spices. Or not. Whatever. Add in your shredded spaghetti squash and stir well to combine. Stir occasionally until squash is hot.

Finished meal

Serve with cheese on top and some garlic bread (or toast with butter and garlic powder).

Don't forget to sip your wine throughout the cooking process, as it makes things much easier.

There you have it - Super easy kind-of healthy dinner. Do as much or as little as you want with it.

In it's most basic form - Squash, Sauce, Meatballs - It will take under 20 minutes to put all together, and 12 of those minutes is the squash cooking in the microwave.

Let me know how it goes. Enjoy!

Baby Eating Squash and Meatballs

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