Making meatballs from scratch teaches kids how to prepare food safely

My mission to spend less time in the kitchen is going well.

It’s a good thing, because by the time we get inside to consider dinner, it is quite late.

When I bring up bedtime approaching, Clay responds the same way daily by saying that it is still light out. What would he think if we went to Alaska where the sun never sets during the summer months?

For a recent sleepover at our house, Clay requested pasta with meatballs for dinner. Easy enough. I figured Emma, 12, would spearhead that one.

Time disappeared, as it does, and it came to Molly, 10, and Clay, 8, being my sous chefs. They were more than happy to assist. I do not know what the appeal is for raw meat, but Clay is fascinated by it.

We collected our ingredients, donned some aprons and set to work. We had a good fraction lesson with the cup measurers and took turns measuring and adding the few ingredients to the meat.

I used dried panko bread crumbs, though I would have preferred fresh bread crumbs, but that wasn’t an option on this particular day.

With very clean hands, the kids squeezed and mashed the mixture until it was well combined.

I cooked a mini burger for us to taste before we rolled out all of that meat, only to decide it needed more seasoning. For us, it was just right.

We rolled the meat into small balls and arranged them on the sheet pan. They are quick to cook.

I made a simple tomato sauce, cooked some pasta and we were ready for a delicious meal. Everyone enjoyed our Italian night, and I especially enjoyed my kids’ help and the ease of this meal.

These meatballs are really easy and fun for the kids to help with. Make sure they do lots of hand-washing, which seems to need constant reminding around my house, even if they are covered in raw meat.

mpoitras@discoveryspeed.com. Margery Reed Poitras is a former professional chef who now cooks for her kids and occasionally for the more mature palate.

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