With my son flat out boycotting meals of all forms that have required spoon-feeding over the last few weeks, I knew I was taking a chance making him this dish. The inspiration (or should I call it “borderline concern“) came as a result of seeing my child consume the same finger-foods day in and day out. I couldn’t watch him eat another cheese wedge, meat ball or rice cracker any longer… I knew I had to get cooking.
Sometimes the most scrumptious dishes are the ones we grew up with and the ones with no fancy frills, just good old hearty deliciousness. This recipe packs in extra nutrients with the added veggies and it freezes beautifully. Although I used beef mince, you could use any type of mince (ostrich, lamb, chicken or even soy). Get creative by adding in other veggies you have in your fridge: frozen peas, baby marrow or butternut to name a few.
My son absolutely loves eating long spaghetti noodles – slurping them up theatrically with every bite – but go ahead and make whichever noodle type your child prefers. I generally prefer to use wholewheat noodles for some added nutrients but you can make use of whatever you have available at home.
I opted to use xylitol in this recipe for additional sweetness. Xylitol is safe for children (provided it is isn’t eaten in enormous quantities) and it provides a number of additional health benefits to your little one: it prevents dental cavities and tooth decay, and has been linked to preventing ear infections. If you would prefer to use sugar, then go ahead and do so, the two teaspoons in this entire mixture won’t send your child into early onset diabetes!
You can use this mince to create a number of other hearty dishes that your hungry little monkey would absolutely love: cottage pie, lasagne or sloppy joe to name some old classics.
What you’ll need:
- 500g beef mince
- 1/2 tsp garlic
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced finely
- 1 medium red onion, diced finely
- 2 medium-large carrots, peeled and sliced finely
- 1 baby red or yellow pepper, de-seeded and diced finely
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 cup Passata sauce
- 3 Tbs water
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 Tbs oregano
- pinch of nutmeg
- 2 cracks black pepper
- 2 tsp xylitol
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- Heat up the olive oil on a medium-high heat in a frying pan
- Add the onions and garlic and fry for about one minute or until the onions are glassy
- Add the peppers and carrots and fry for another 2-3 minutes (turn down the heat if the mixture starts catching)
- Add the mince meat and brown (around 3-4 minutes)
- Add the tomato paste, Passata sauce, oregano, basil, nutmeg water, black pepper and xylitol
- Adjust the heat setting to a medium heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes and to reduce slightly. Add more water if needed – you want the consistency to be saucy!
- Once the meat is totally cooked through and you have a delicious saucy consistency you can set the mixture aside.
- In the meantime get your choice of noodles cooking according to the package instructions.
- Serve the mince mixture on some noodles and sprinkle with parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese.
Needless to say my son is now the greatest fan of spag bol!