Grain-free meatballs (paleo)

When I was growing up, my mom was known for her delicious meatball recipe. She took it to potlucks and it was requested for birthday meals. Everyone raved about her meatballs.

When I became an adult and moved out, the recipe was handed down to me, and I figured it would become one of my go-to recipes too.

But…fast forward several years, and I have two children who can’t eat grains. Mom’s recipe has bread crumbs in it, and my children can’t eat bread, so for a long time we did without meatballs. But, oh, how I missed this childhood comfort food! So, I took matters into my own hands, and developed my own grain-free version that tastes pretty similar to moms. Maybe not quite as good, but an excellent substitute.

So first preheat your oven to 350, and just mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

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3 lb ground beef or turkey

2 eggs

1/2 t. dried basil

1 t. dried garlic powder

2 t. dried oregano

1/2 t. pepper

1/2 t. dried onion powder

1 t. salt

1/2 cup coconut flour

A spoon doesn’t usually work for mixing these. You’ve got to get messy with your hands. Mash it all together. Smash, smush, squeeze, until it’s all uniformly mixed.

Now take a nice little chunk of it and shape into a ball. Whatever size you feel like making. Preciseness is of no importance here. I usually get about 20-25 balls out of this recipe.

Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. You like my stained pan? My unsolicited advice – don’t trust a cook with spotless shiny baking pans. IMG_6323

After they’re done baking, place them all in a crockpot and cover with your sauce of choice (my simple marinara is at the end of this post). Keep on low for about 4 -5 hours. If you don’t have time for the slow crockpot, then just put all the balls in a big saucepan, cover with sauce and simmer for 30 minutes or so.

And then, yay for meatballs!

Be fruitful, healthy, happy. And eat more meatballs!

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Simple marinara sauce recipe:

Mix all in a bowl: 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 14 oz can diced tomatoes, 6 oz. can tomato paste, 2-4 t. chopped garlic (depending on how much you like garlic), 2 t. dried oregano, 1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper, 1 t. sweetener if desired.

(If you want plenty of sauce for the meatballs and also for pasta or zoodles, then double the recipe of sauce. One batch is sufficient for just the meatballs though.)

Grain-free (paleo) granola

Have you heard the saying that you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a peasant? Basically this means you should eat a huge breakfast, a little smaller lunch, and a light dinner. It’s supposed to be the healthier way of splitting our daily food intake to maximize our metabolism, keeping us feeling more satisfied through the day and giving us more energy.

We definitely eat breakfast like a king at our house. My children load up every morning on fruit, 2 eggs, roasted vegetables (see here for recipe), and some yogurt (see here for recipe) with this grain free granola. I know it sounds like a lot, but remember, breakfast like a king! By eating this big breakfast, my children easily stay full until lunchtime, with no morning snack or meltdowns because of hunger.

I tried a few different recipes for grain free granola that I found online, but we had complaints about each one – not sweet enough, too salty, too chewy, etc. We finally just developed our own and we’re all happy with it!

It is a little chewy, a little crunchy, just the right amount of sweetness. The great thing about it being grain-free (even if you do eat grains) is that it has a lot of protein, fiber, and will keep you full much longer than a traditional oat based granola.

We typically double this recipe and it lasts us a couple weeks. We do have 8 people eating it though! Also, as a side note, in our experience Amazon or Aldi usually has the best prices on nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Paleo, grain-free eating can get expensive, but remember too, you’ll eat less volume than with grain based foods because paleo, grain free foods keep you feeling satisfied for longer. (no morning snacks needed for your children!)

(wondering why we’re grain free? See here.)

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Here’s the recipe. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s so easy that my 10 year old daughter usually handles making this one on her own!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almonds
  • 2 cups walnuts or pecans
  • 10-12 medjool dates (if you have smaller regular dates, use 14-16)
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 3 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

 

  1. First, chop the first 3 ingredients in a food processor – not too long or it will be powder – just pulse until the nuts are about the size of the seeds.
  2. Pour into a big bowl and then add the next three ingredients (seeds and coconut) and mix.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup over low heat.
  4. Pour liquid over the nuts and seeds and mix well.
  5. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 300 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, stirring about halfway through. Cool completely and then store in an air tight container.

 

Enjoy friends! Eat like a king every morning. And be fruitful, happy, healthy!