3 Healthy and Easy Appetizer Recipes with Meatballs

Having friends over to watch the Final Four or hosting a party soon? Here are three ways you can create healthy finger foods with meatballs:

1. Mini Meatball Grinders. Place Mom Made Turkey Meatballs on a small bun with marinara sauce and hold it together with a toothpick. Make them a little fancier by adding a slice of fresh mozzarella and a sprig of fresh basil.


2. Meatball Taco Bites. Heat Mom Made Beef & Cheese Meatballs according to directions. Lay out scoop chips on serving platter and place a pinch of chopped lettuce into each. Add a meatball on top of the lettuce in each chip. Top them with a pinch of shredded cheddar and a bit of salsa. Simple and fast!


3. Asian Meatballs. Combine 2/3 cup hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, 2 garlic cloves (minced), 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 1 tsp. sesame oil. Whisk together all these ingredients. CookMom Made Turkey Meatballs according to directions and dip each meatball individually with a toothpick into the Asian sauce. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top along with fresh chopped chives. (as seen in "gimme me some oven")


….or simply serve a variety of different meatballs and sauces with flag toothpicks themed to match your party. We got crafty last season and made these NFL toothpicks. Or, you can find lots of fun toothpick choices, such as these online.



Ask The Nutritionist: How Much Protein?

How much dairy do toddlers really need? And is meat protein really more efficient than vegetarian protein?

Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese provide essential nutrients that a growing child needs, including bone-building calcium and high-quality protein. Fluid milk is also an excellent source of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium - not to mention a bunch of other health benefits that are still being discovered! (Yogurt and cheese typically don't provide much if any vitamin D, FYI). Toddlers need about 2 cups (16 fl oz) of milk/dairy per day. Now, that doesn't mean 16 ounces of cheese! For USDA recommended "cup equivalents" of dairy products, click here. Between ages 1-2, dairy should be full-fat (or whole milk), since the milkfat is needed for growth and brain development. After the child's second birthday, it's a generally a good idea to switch to lowfat (1%) or nonfat milk.

Regarding protein, meat (or animal-sourced) protein is a more "complete" protein compared to proteins found in vegetables. However, with the right mix of plant proteins, you can still get the "complete" package that you might get from an animal product. For example, eating beans and rice together gives you all the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) for a "complete" protein. Also, don't forget that milk comes from an animal - a cow - so it, too, is a "complete" protein.

Our pediatrician said our daughter needed vegetarian protein in every meal to match meat protein given 3xs/wk. Is that right?

Let me start with the caveat that my comments here are not meant to be medical advice nor displace recommendations or treatments from your personal health care provider. With that aside, I guess I'm not quite understanding the issue. Yes, protein should comprise a portion (about one-quarter) of each meal, but there's no nutritional reason to limit meat as a protein source to 3x/week. In fact, lean meats are a great source not only of protein but of heme iron, or the type of iron that's best absorbed by the body. That said, there are some great vegetarian proteins that are also a good source of iron, such as beans, lentils, spinach, dried fruit, almonds, and iron-fortified cereal. For non-vegan vegetarians, egg yolks are also a great source of iron. Tip: vitamin C helps aid in iron absorption, so if you're taking an iron supplement or eating a plant source of iron such as beans, take it with a cup of orange juice or some strawberries.

If you have a question for our nutritionist, please contact us.

Mumbai Meatballs with Chutney-Yogurt Dipping Sauce

From our friends at The Six O'Clock Scramble

This quick and easy favorite has an Indian twist
Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cook Time: 5 minutes   Total Time: 15 minutes

1 (8 oz) box of Mom Made's antibiotic-free Chicken & Apple Meatball Bites
¼ cup of broth (optional)
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 - 1/2 cup mango chutney or any variety, or use apricot jam and add some red pepper flakes if you can’t find chutney, to taste

Arrange meatballs in a microwave safe dish with water or broth. Cover and heat in microwave on high for 60 seconds, or until hot. Let stand 1 minute before serving.

Mix plain yogurt and chutney, or apricot jam with added red pepper flakes in a small bowl. 

Serve the Mom Made Foods Chicken & Apple meatballs with toothpicks, if desired (don’t give toothpicks to children under 3), and the chutney-yogurt dipping sauce.

Do Ahead or Delegate: Prepare the dipping sauce and refrigerate.

Scramble Flavor Booster: Add both chopped cilantro and lemon juice to the dipping sauce.   

Side Dish Suggestion: Serve with steamed basmati rice and sliced cucumbers.

Hot Meatball Subs

From our friends at The Six O'Clock Scramble

Fun and familiar kid pleasing recipe for the whole family
Prep + Cook Time: 25  minutes

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced into half rings
1 large green or red bell pepper, sliced
26 oz. red pasta sauce or tomato sauce
2 (8 oz) boxes of Mom Made's antibiotic-free Beef & Cheese Meatball Bites
6 small oblong soft French bread sandwich rolls, use whole wheat rolls for added nutrition
4 oz. sliced or shredded provolone or mozzarella cheese

Preheat broiler and line a baking sheet with foil.  In a large heavy skillet, heat oil over medium heat add sliced onions and bell pepper half rings cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and soft, 15 - 20 minutes. Season as needed with salt & pepper. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat sauce over medium to medium-high heat.  Add Mom Made Beef & Cheese Meatball Bites and simmer gently for 10 - 15 minutes. 

Carefully cut along the length of each sandwich roll, trying to avoid slicing all the way through so the halves remain attached.  Put several cooked meatballs and some sauce inside each roll and top with cooked onions, peppers and cheese.  Put the sandwiches on the baking sheet, with fillings facing up, and broil for 2 - 3 minutes until the cheese is melted and the rolls are slightly browned.  Serve them hot.

Do Ahead or Delegate: Slice the onion and the bell pepper.

Scramble Flavor Booster: Sprinkle the baked sandwiches with crushed red pepper flakes or hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, for a spicy bite and sprinkle with grated parmesan for added flavor.