What Kids Learn
- The largest meatball ever weighed was an amazing 222.5 pounder.
- Meatballs can be made from a variety of foods, including chicken, turkey, and even veggies!
- Washing hands with soap and running water for 20 seconds before and after cooking helps reduce the risk of spreading germs.
My daughter Mia takes the same lunch to school almost every day: a Thermos stuffed with ziti, farfalle, or linguine, a little olive oil, a pinch of black pepper, and often a few mini turkey meatballs for protein.
This recipe is a family favorite, but only because I persisted until I found the exact combination of ingredients, which meant reducing the number of veggies and boosting the Italian bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.
Kids will love the prep for this dish because it requires squeezing and squishing the ingredients by hand That leads to a lesson about food safety: make sure your helper doesn’t put his hands in his mouth while working and that he washes his hands afterward.
What You’ll Need
- 2 eggs
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
What to Do
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Show your little helper how to line two large (11 x 15- or 11 x 17-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Set these aside.
- Demonstrate how to crack the eggs into a large bowl. If it’s her first time, she may need to scoop out bits of shell with a spoon. Next, let her whisk the eggs for a minute, add the ground turkey to the bowl, and then measure and add the bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, milk, salt, onion powder, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.Teachable Moment: Need-to-Know Food Safety Facts
- Cooking is fun, but it needs to be done safely! Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after cooking to avoid illness-causing bacteria from spreading. Rule of thumb: aim for 20 seconds under running water.
- Keep your cooking zone clean. Wash countertops, cooking surfaces, cutting boards, and utensils to prevent spreading germs around the kitchen.
- Wash fruits and veggies before you cut, peel, cook, or eat them to stop surface bacteria from spreading.
- Place frozen food in the fridge to thaw slowly. If you’re not sure the food smells good once defrosted, stay on the safe side: toss it.
- Once the ingredients are in the bowl, invite your assistant to mix the ingredients thoroughly, using his hands. (As an alternative, you can combine all the ingredients in the work bowl of an electric mixer, then beat on medium until the ingredients are well combined.)Teachable Moment: Oddball Meatball Facts
- Everyone loves meatballs, and just about every culture in the world has its own version—though recipes vary from country to country.
- Meatballs can be made from beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey (like these), a combo, and even your favorite veggies. Your imagination is the limit!
- In parts of the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa, meatballs are called kofta. In some Spanish-speaking countries, they are called albondigas.
- Several big-time meatballs earned the title of the world’s largest in 2009 over a three-month period. In August, a single meatball weighed in at 109 pounds in Mexico. But that one lost the title to a Los Angeles competitor that rolled in at 198.6 pounds a month later. Both, however, were pushed aside in October by a Concord, New Hampshire, contender that weighed in at a whopping 222.5 pounds!
- When the meatball mixture is ready, show your helper how to scoop it out, about 1½ to 2 tablespoons at a time, and roll it into balls between her palms. Place the meatballs an inch or so apart on the baking sheets. Continue to roll the mixture into balls, and when she’s finished, have her wash her hands with plenty of soap and very warm water.
- Place the baking sheets into the preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cut one of the meatballs in half to check for doneness. If they are not done (which is unlikely), return them to the oven for another 2 or 3 minutes and check again. If you make bigger meatballs, plan on a little extra baking time.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven. Cool them for 10 minutes on the baking sheets. You can serve them with your favorite tomato sauce and pasta, or you can freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. When frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe bag. You can then remove as many meatballs as you need for one meal without having them stick together.