Forget what you know about stir-fry and whip up this quick and easy recipe for Asian Meatballs Stir-Fry with Peppers for dinner tonight!
When we moved into our new place in June, initially I thought I would forgo an office space and just work wherever my laptop allowed. It didn’t take long for me to realize that was a bad idea. Having a designated space for work, and for all the things that come with that, is necessary for me. Having a place where I go, sit and work is both mental and physical. So it wasn’t long before I purchased a tiny desk, hung my office art and chose a small nook in my bedroom for office space.
And sitting there for the first time was like a deep inhale. It just felt right.
The last nearly four months have brought so much change. But the one thing that I wanted to be sure didn’t change was that my family eats well — and I find time to write about it. The second part has been harder than the first, but I am working hard to get into a new flow for blogging, while also working full time, raising two kids and living life. It’s a delicate balance, but every day puts me a little closer.
Back to that part about eating well. Vegetables have always been an important part of our eating life. Without thought, I plan meals that include many varieties of veggies and use them in fun and interesting ways. Why? Because the kids and I genuinely love veggies … is there any better reason?
Bird’s Eye asked me to talk about how you get kids to eat veggies.
That is one of the toughest topics to address, because there is no simple answer. No two children are alike, just like no two palates or people in general.
I wish I had a magic solution that worked for every family. But the truth is that getting kids to get veggies has to do with many factors — from the tone you set at the dinner table to your child’s aversions. If a child doesn’t like the texture of cooked zucchini or avoids butternut squash like the plague, there aren’t many tricks that will change that. As a parent, you can only offer the veggies again and again and hope for the best. And yes, I realize just how fortunate I am that my kids adore veggies. There are so many — both kids and adults — who just don’t. In fact, 9 out of 10 people in the United States don’t eat the proper amount of vegetables, according to The State Of The Plate report.
Although it’s a tough, tough, tough question, I do have a little advice. First, set the tone. Don’t make veggies special or approach them with apprehension — assuming your kids will hate ’em can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, approach them with a simple expectation that everyone eats them — same as any other food. And 2) allow some room for preference. If carrots are preferable to peas, it’s okay to serve more carrots then peas. If broccoli trumps spinach, go for the broccoli. Any veggie is better than no veggie.
Sauces can help too. My uncle Hugo convinced me to try broccoli and cauliflower (and turned me into a fan!) by serving them with a homemade cheese sauce. Or you could do something like this recipe for Asian Meatballs Stir-Fry with Peppers. Who can argue with a rich sauce made with hoisin and soy sauce? My kids totally dig this stir-fry — and I love it too. It’s a delicious way to enjoy veggies with dinner with a lot of flavor.
Best of all, this whole dish is ready in about 30 minutes, which means it’s perfect for weeknight meals too.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pouch Birds Eye® Mixtures & Blends Pepper Stir-Fry
- 1 cup low-sodium or no salt vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp light brown sugar
- In a large bowl, stir together the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Form 12 meatballs.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat on the stove. Brown the meatballs on all sides (about 2 minutes per side). Add the vegetables and stir.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vegetable stock, hoisin, soy sauce and light brown sugar. Pour over the meatball mixture and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
- Serve with rice.
Want your kids to eat more veggies? Food Network personality Melissa D’Arabian has some great tips for how to make this happen in this Birds Eye video. Birds Eye has partnered with d’Arabian, a mom of four and host of FoodNetwork.com’s web series The Picky Eaters Project, to help moms with the dinnertime dilemma of getting kids to eat more veggies. I love her suggestion of using easy ready-to-cook stir-fry veggies in recipes (as I did above) since it makes adding veggies to a meal a cinch. No prep! Can’t beat that.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.