Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dinner Muffins

It is nearly impossible to get Joe, the two-year-old wonder, to eat dinner. He apparently eats very well at his preschool during the day, and I usually get a fresh fruit smoothie in him on the way to school in the morning, but in the evenings he is all go-go-go. It's fine--I don't want to force him to eat when he's not hungry, and he will always have some milk and a healthy snack--but I'd still like to find SOMETHING that I know he'll eat.

Enter muffins. Baked goods of most kinds will get Joe's attention and he focuses all of his boundless energy into getting his hands on them. I read about meatloaf muffins in a newsletter I subscribe to and gave the idea a try. The basic idea is meatloaf that is scooped into a muffin tin instead of shaped into a loaf.

Pretty adorable, huh? Topped with BBQ sauce, this recipe also gave me the chance to use up some of my CSA goodies. It was very easy to freeze the leftovers, which is a necessity for all of my cooking. Here's what I used:

Baby eggplant, sweet peppers, and onion--all organic from my CSA share and diced finely. Another interesting addition was whole wheat pearl couscous instead of traditional breadcrumbs (I used 1/3 cup). Combined with a pound of ground turkey*, an egg, and seasonings, it's a very healthy, veggie-heavy dinner. I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the mixture into my muffin pan, which is how I always dole out muffin innards, actually.

The recipe yielded about 8 "muffins," but Joe, unfortunately, did not get past his obligatory "Please try one bite for Mama" taste before he demanded yogurt. He was really excited to have a muffin for dinner before he realized it was meat, so maybe next time.

*Let's talk turkey for a second. Over the summer there were several major turkey recalls all over the country, and I suspect there will be more to come. As Americans try to eat healthier as a nation, they are swapping ground beef for turkey in many dishes like this one. While it is great that people are making an effort to be healthy, industrial poultry producers are simply applying their polluting, inhumane, and dirty chicken production practices to turkey in order to meet the increased demand.

In order to avoid being affected by turkey recalls from the major producers, it is very important to shop for poultry directly from farmers through farmers markets and local co-ops, or by buying free-range, pasture-fed, minimally processed meat from your local grocer (I bought mine at Whole Foods on sale). You may end up paying a few dollars more, but you can be sure that your family will not get sick from contaminants. Worth it, right?

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