As parents, one of the most important tasks we’re responsible for is providing our children with nutritious meals that are also tasty and interesting. Below, you will find three recipes that can be used together in the same meal, or prepared on their own with other dishes.
The first recipe I chose is for an eggplant and chickpea salad, which is an unusual combination of commonly used ingredients. If you’re short on time, you can use a can of chickpeas (just make sure to rinse them well). For this recipe, you fry the eggplant and add tomatoes and pickled cucumbers, which are not commonly used together in salads. Everything is very easy and quick to prepare for this salad, except for the frying of the eggplant slices. If you prefer, you can also cover the eggplant slices with oil and broil them in the oven. Just be aware that this gives the salad a different flavor than using friend eggplant pieces.
The second recipe is for the main dish: meatballs, which are a favorite among most kids. What is a better way of demonstrating your love for your family than serving them nourishing meatballs that are cooked in a tasty tomato sauce?
Whenever I get ready to cook something with fresh ground beef, I hesitate between making hamburgers or meatballs with lots of herbs and other fun additions mixed in and cooked in tomato sauce. Other times, I use ground chicken or ground fish to make tasty dishes.
Alternatively, you can cook meat, chicken or fish patties in the oven. Or they can be fried on the outside and then added to a delicious sauce. In short, there is no limit to the variations you can come up with when you’re preparing meatballs. And when you’re preparing something especially for kids, you can make sure to use ingredients and flavors that even the pickiest eaters will love.
The classic meatball recipe I’ve included below is highly flavored by the spice cumin, which perfectly complements beef. You can use the same mixture to make hamburgers that are grilled on a barbecue.
The third recipe is for homemade bread, which is always a treat to eat. There’s just nothing else like eating fresh bread that is still hot from the oven, and the whole house fills with the aroma of freshly baked bread.
This recipe is extremely easy. It is based on the basic ingredients of flour, water and yeast. All you need to do is knead the dough well, let it rise, shape it however you want and then put the tray in the oven until the bread turns brown and gorgeous. And if you’d like to embellish the loaves of bread a little, you can combine a few different kinds of flour and add all sorts of seeds and herbs to the dough. This is a great opportunity to let your creativity flow and play around with the ingredients until you come up with a recipe that really lets you express yourself. The next step is to brush on eggwash and sprinkle with any or all of your favorite seeds, including sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, flax or poppy.
MEATBALLS WITH CUMIN
Makes 25 to 30 balls.
15 stalks of parsley
20 cloves of garlic, peeled
500 g. ground beef (or chicken or fish)
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 packet baking powder
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 soft medium tomatoes
4 Tbsp. oil
10 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2-2½ cups water
400 g. frozen green broad beans
Chop the parsley or garlic. Mix together with the rest of the ingredients. Make balls that are 3-4 cm. and store in the fridge until the sauce is ready.
To prepare the sauce, cut the tomatoes into small pieces. Heat oil in a large, flat pan and add the celery, garlic, tomatoes, salt, sugar and pepper. Sauté for five minutes. Add the cumin and cinnamon. Dilute the tomato paste with water and then add to pot. Bring to a boil.
Arrange the meatballs in the pot. Cover and cook over medium flame for 30 minutes. Add the frozen broad beans, mix and continue cooking over a medium-low flame for another 1 ¾ hours. Add another ½ cup of water if needed.
Serve meatballs over a bed of white rice, mashed potatoes or spaghetti.
Level of difficulty: Medium
Time: 90 minutes
EGGPLANT SALAD WITH CHICKPEAS
Makes six servings.
1 kg (3-4) eggplants
1 level tsp. salt
Oil for frying
3 pickled cucumbers
3 large tomatoes
100 g. pitted green olives
100 g. pitted black olives
3 scallions, chopped
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice from ½ lemon
Peel the eggplants and cut them into 1 cm-thick pieces or 2cm³ cubes. Sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for an hour. Pat them dry.
Heat oil in a heavy pan and fry the eggplant pieces on both sides until they turn brown. Remove and place on paper towels. Cut up the cucumbers and tomatoes into small pieces. Cut the olives into rings and add them to the cucumbers and tomatoes. Add the scallion, parsley, garlic, eggplant and chickpeas. Mix well. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Level of difficulty: Medium
Time: 75 minutes
HOMEMADE BREADMakes 3-4 thin loaves.
500 g. (3½ cups) white flour (or a mixture of different flours), sifted
25 g. fresh yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. water
Kosher salt, zaatar, black pepper, ground chili pepper, sesame or nigella seeds and chopped rosemary
Using a mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour with the yeast. Add the salt, sugar and oil.
Knead the dough and gradually add the water until the dough falls away from the side of the bowl. You may not need to use all the water since absorption rates depend on what kind of flour you are using, so add the water slowly and stop when the dough has reached desired consistency. Add optional ingredients if desired. Knead dough again.
Cover the dough and let the bowl sit in a warm place for 90 minutes or until it doubles in volume.
Split the dough into three to four sections. Knead the dough and then roll each section out into a 3 cm.-diameter log. Place them on tray that’s covered with baking paper with space in between each one.
Beat the egg with the water and then brush on top of the dough logs. Sprinkle with spices if you desire, cover and let the dough rise another 20 minutes.
Bake for 25 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180° or until a toothpick comes out clean and dry.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Time: 2¼ hours
Translated by Hannah Hochner.