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Always make sure to wash hands well before and after working with any raw meat.
Let kids mix all ingredients for the meatballs together in a bowl, then set up an assembly line and have your helpers roll out the meat balls. Experiment with different sizes, too – just keep them consistent with each batch.
This recipe is great to double. Make extra and freeze them for later use either in soup or in your family’s favorite red sauce.
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Recipe by Tracey Koch. Serves 6.
(The meatballs in this classic soup are made from the recipe of the Koch family’s beloved babysitter and helper, Ms. Therese)
For Ms. Therese’s Meatballs:
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg slightly beaten
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-4 Tbsp. Water
1. In a large mixing bowl combine the ground meat with the egg, onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper.
2. Add in the bread crumbs and cheese and mix until all is incorporated.
3. Using a tablespoon at a time, add in the water so that the meat mixture is soft but still holds its shape. (The water makes these meat balls incredibly tender.)
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
5. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the mini meat balls and place them on to the lined baking sheet.
6. Bake the meat balls for 13 to 15 minutes or until they are cooked all the way through. Remove from the oven and set aside. This will make roughly 24 mini meat balls
For the soup:
1 tbl. olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 quarts (8 cups) low sodium chicken broth
2 cups chopped zucchini
½ cup frozen petite green peas
24 mini meat balls (pre-baked)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups fresh chopped spinach
3 cups cooked bird’s eye or orzo pasta
1. In a 6 quart pot heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery for 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add in the chicken broth and bring it up to a simmer.
3. Simmer the broth for 5 to 10 minutes. This will allow the flavors of the sautéed vegetables to enhance the broth. Next, add in the chopped zucchini and peas.
4. Simmer the soup for an additional 3 to 4 minutes and then drop in the pre baked meat balls.
5. Allow the meat balls to heat all the way through and adjust the seasoning of the soup.
6. Before serving, stir in the fresh chopped spinach. Divided the cooked pasta between 6 bowls, and place 4 meat balls between the bowls as well. Ladle the vegetables and warm broth over each bowl and serve.
Underwriters for Kids Dish: