Taste and nutrition the two most important cooking factors for ‘mom’

Deep in the internet’s bowels you can find statistics to back up just about any argument or theory. Babycenter.com has collected a bizarre range of survey results on a huge range of parenting subjects. Access them here. There’s facts about everything from brands of breast pumps to life insurance policies, but of course it’s the nutrition and food topics that pique my interest.

One survey asked 4000 moms to rate the importance of several factors when cooking for their families. The two most important factors were taste and nutrition. Yay! Congratulations to all of you mums who don’t want to compromise on flavour, even when faced with fussy feeders.

Another interesting result was that 51% of mothers were prepared to cook two dinners each night just to keep the peace. I understand how this situation evolves, but I just refuse to do it! I try to make all my recipes healthy and packed with vegetables, so we feel good about feeding them to the kids but with the addition of a couple of ingredients, the adults can enjoy a delicious meal too.

A good example is these lamb meatballs – the feta makes them very more-ish and they can be adapted to suit everyone. Plus, they cook in the oven, avoiding a big revolting mess, because cleaning up more than I have to is also something I refuse to do.

Lastly from the surveys, 39% of mothers find going online to be the most peaceful part of their day…

Lamb and feta meatballs

Don\’t cook two dinners, these lamb & feta meatballs will please everyone.

Lamb & feta meatballs with pasta salad

Both the cooked meatballs and salad can be kept in the fridge for up to two days

500g lamb mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp chopped parsley, basil or oregano
100g feta, crumbled
1 carrot, peeled, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
Canola oil cooking spray

Pasta salad
200g wholemeal pasta spirals
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 vine tomato, finely diced (or ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved)
½ cup basil leaves, chopped (optional but recommended)

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a large oven tray with baking paper.

For the meatballs, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Use your hands to mix well, then roll into bite-sized balls and place on an oven tray. Spray meatballs lightly with cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes. Use tongs to carefully turn over, spray with more cooking spray and bake for another 5-10 minutes until cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water according to packet directions, then drain. While still warm, toss through the remaining ingredients.
Serve the pasta in bowls, topped with meatballs. Sprinkle with basil leaves.


FOR THE ADULTS Add extra ingredients to the pasta salad. Try olives, chopped anchovies, spinach leaves, toasted pine nuts and dried chilli.



Like this recipe? Check out my cookbooks to find a bunch more meals that your family will love.

18 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Tes said,

    I am one of those who go online trying to solve problems. I tried to make food taste good and healty at the same time. And really these online recipes seem to work really well in my family…just like this recipe sounds so delicious. My family will love this.

  2. 2

    Big hit last night 🙂 Before dinner Mr4 was complaining, saying he didn’t like them and didn’t want to eat them. But when he saw it had tomato which he likes and pasta which he also likes, well he gobbled it up, no meatballs left at all and very little pasta and he had picked out and eaten all the tomato and I also put in half a capsicum and that was gone too.,

    Loving this site very much, thank you.

  3. 4

    kelly said,

    We had this for dinner on monday night it was delicious and really easy to make, loved it cant wait tot have it again, thanks so much for your recipies 🙂

  4. 6

    […] have been successful to some extent and would be worth going back to.  Tonight’s was the lamb and feta meatballs with pasta salad.  And can I say, delicious!  The meatballs were so moreish I had to hide the leftovers so I could […]

  5. 7

    We made these a while back, the meatballs were good but the pasta salad didn’t go down so well with the family. But I’ll make the meatballs again and put into wraps with salad 🙂

  6. 9

    Emma said,

    Hi Wendy, I’ve adapted the meatball recipe into burger patties using beef mince, and my kids love them! All those vegies devoured… Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. 11

    becky mcclure said,

    Wondering what to make for dinner tomorrow…this will do nicely! Thanks!!!

  8. 12

    Made these tonight. They taste great. Little one having them on their own with some vegies and I’ll have them with a tomato passata sauce and wholemeal pasta.

  9. 13

    Jennifer said,

    Can the meatballs be frozen?

  10. 15

    Lulu said,

    I must admit I am one of those “restaurant” Mums e.g cook 4 meals a night to keep the peace.
    I am vegetarian, my husband is carniverous, Miss 7 has sensory and muscle tone issues and Misses 6a and 6b are extremely suss of anything green or slightly vegetable-y!
    So am giving this a go tonight in the hopes that it will appease my husbands love of meat, my twins love of pasta and my Miss7’s love of anything pureed (will mash up the meatballs for her). Plus I am planning on using the feta and basil in a pasta dish for me 🙂

    • 16

      wendyblume said,

      you’re a good woman to be that dedicated to your family! Hope it goes well!

      • 17

        Lulu said,

        Great recipe Wendy! My hubs devoured them for dinner, took more for lunch and then whined when he came home and the twins had eaten what was left for afternoon tea lol. It was probably the most versatile dish I’ve ever cooked that everyone could eat or eat most of!
        Is this in your thermie cookbook? As I was making them last night I was thinking it could work in the thermie but I am a thermie beginner so didn’t feel confident in converting it 🙂

  11. 18

    […] The full recipe is available in the Vegie Smugglers Kitchen Collection cookbook and online here. […]

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