Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Family Friendly Lunch: {Mini Meatball Sammies; Veggies with Mint; and Oatmeal, Cranberry, and Chocolate Chunk Cookies}

Are you familiar with The Incredible Hulk? If so then you are likely picturing images of The Hulk busting out of his clothing and screaming at the top of his lungs. That is what my children turn into when they are hungry and wanting to eat. It's as if they need to convey their intense hunger to everyone within a 500 miles radius.     

Now I love having my kiddos home with me in the summertime, but feeding them is a real issue.  There are two constant battles.  The first issue being that they are always hungry.  The second being that they crave junk constantly.  It is a constant battle to keep enough healthy food in the house that they are willing to eat.

This is definitely a family friendly meal that worked for us.  The kids were tricked into eating the meatballs because they were placed inside a fluffy, soft, sweet little roll.  Plus, ketchup and kids just go together.  Put a little ketchup on that meatball and you're good to go.  Zucchini and summer squash are somewhat mild in flavor and I can almost always get my kiddos to eat them.  It helps that they love the yellow and green color. Of course, if for any reason they refuse the veggies, then I go ahead and bribe them with the cookies.  At least the cookies have oats and dried fruit and don't come from a package or the ice cream truck. It's all about compromise!

Mini Meatball Sammies
Adapted from Weeknights With Giada
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4

1/4 cup finely crushed corn flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons ketchup, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese
8 ounces ground beef, lean 90%
salt and pepper, to taste
12 (2-1/2 inch) sweet dinner rolls, such as King's Hawaiian, halved

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 375F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together the corn flakes, parsley, egg, oil, 2 tablespoons ketchup, the romano cheese, salt and pepper.  Add the ground beef and gently stir to combine.  With damp hands, roll the mixture into 12 mini meatballs.  Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly.  Bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through.  Cool for 10 minutes.

Make an indentation in the center of the bottom halves of the rolls.  Slice the meatballs in half and place two halves in each indentation.  Add about 1 teaspoon of ketchup to each one and place the top half of the roll on top.  Arrange sandwiches on a platter and serve. 

Roasted Zucchini and Summer Squash with Mint
Adapted from Weeknights with Giada
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4

Vegetable Oil Cooking Spray
3 medium zucchini
3 medium yellow summer squash
1 leek, sliced into rings or 1 onion, quartered and sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves

Preheat the oven to 425F.  Place an oven rack in the upper third of the oven.  Spray a heavy baking sheet with vegetable oil. 

Trim the zucchini and squash, and then cut each one in half lengthwise.  Cut the halves crosswise into 1-inch half moons.

Arrange the zucchini, squash, leek/onion, and garlic in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Turn the vegetables over and continue to bake for 5 minutes longer.  (Be careful not to roast for too long or the veggies will become very soft).

Transfer the vegetables to a platter.  Add the mint, toss to combine, and serve.

Oatmeal, Cranberry, and Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from Weeknights with Giada
by Giada De Laurentiis
Makes 12 cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temp
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 (4-ounce) 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate bar*

*Notes: I used regular semisweet chocolate and bought Ghiradelli 

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.  With the machine running, gradually add the flour mixture.  Add the oats, cranberries, and chocolate chunks.  Mix until just incorporated; it will be stiff.

Using a 4-ounce cookie scoop or 1/4-cup measure, scoop 12 (2-inch) slightly rounded mounds of the dough.  Place 6 balls of dough, spaced evenly apart, on each baking sheet.  Using the back of a spoon, flatten the tops slightly.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the cookies are slightly golden on the edges.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
June Potluck at I Heart Cooking Clubs!

Souper Sundays every Sunday at Kahakai Kitchen


  1. This looks like a fabulous meal--who can resist a meatball slider and roasted summer squash?! ;-) I really want one of those cookies right now too-they look so soft and chewy.

    Thanks for sharing your sliders with Souper Sundays this week.

  2. Giada really came through for you this week! The whole plate looks fantastic, but I have a certain weakness for dark chocolate and cranberries.

    Good timing on your post. My son and I just had it out over his summertime junk food binges earlier this afternoon. Sigh.

  3. Terrific lunch menu! I love the little slider-like sammies! ANDI love the idea of boosting lunch with vegetables and fiber and fruit! Good job, Mom!

  4. I agree, this is definitely family friendly! This looks great and sounds tasty!

  5. Wow, what a beautiful meal! I like everything on the plate, and that cookies looks wonderful! My kids love junk food as well, but they love almost all veggies too, so it is easier for me to plan for meals!

  6. My family would dig into that plate with relish! It looks delicious and the cookies, so scrumptious!

  7. I could a bunch of meatballs, let me tell you. Oh, as the kids get older they will want even more! I mean, they will be hungrier if you can even imagine that! My 26 year old can still eat half a cow.

    Bet you are having fun this summer with the kids.

  8. What a feast you brought us this week, Kim. I love the idea of putting meat balls into little bread rolls - great way of getting the kiddos to eat them. Actually I know a big kid around here who would love these too. I'm always up for anything with zucchini - I grow them during the summer, and they are always so prolific that I'm always looking for inspiration. Now if I could just have one of those cookies for my supper right now :-)

  9. I think I will just come eat at our house!! All of these look great. Have to make those meatballs for Subs!!

  10. Every single thing looks good!!! I remember trying to have food my kids all summer long - it was an ordeal!

  11. I love that you're posting a complete meal! Dessert included. It all sounds so tasty!! Heck, it might even get my boy to eat his veggies! :P


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