one of the biggest hurdles for me on our clean-eating journey has been coming up with healthy meals that are kid-friendly.
my kids aren't picky eaters by most standards. but still, they are kids.
where i could eat bacon-roasted brussels sprouts and a fried egg or two for dinner two or three nights a week, that's not going to fly for multiple meals with them.
they love anything "taco"...tacos, fajitas, taco salad...those are all good with them. thankfully we have a very reasonably-priced organic beef source, so i have no qualms about feeding them beef a couple nights a week.
still, though, one can only fix taco-stuff and egg dishes (thank goodness they like eggs, too) so many times...and then i'm left scrambling for ideas again.
think about it...
when you eliminate all of the unhealthy foods that usually cater to children--
chicken nuggets, frozen/refrigerated/take-out pizza, fish sticks, hot dogs, corn dogs, tater tots,
and on the list goes--you're not left with a whole lot of "convenience food" options to serve.
thus, i've been going through my mental list of all-time kid favorites, and searching for nutritious,
from-scratch recipes for these menu staples.
i'm thrilled to report that this recipe is such a thing.
no, sorry, it doesn't taste like Manwich.
it's only about a hundred times better.
my husband (which, aren't all men just big kids at heart?) couldn't get over how yummy it was.
my son (who is my pickiest eater) wanted fourths...as in a fourth helping.
i doubled this recipe (and adapted it quite a bit) and still didn't have enough left over to freeze.
next time, i'll triple or quadruple the recipe--it's that good (and i really, really like to have leftovers to freeze--the only thing better than a healthy meal is a convenient healthy meal).
and since it's all dignified...you know, loaded with veggies, made-from-scratch and all, "joe" just wouldn't suffice.
no, sireeee. these are sloppy josephs, my dear.
2 pounds ground beef (or other ground meat of your choice--i used beef)
2 medium shredded carrots (i whizzed mine in the food processor)
1 whole red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ large red onion, diced
2 8oz. cans tomato sauce
1 6oz. can tomato paste
¼ cup ketchup (mine is from Whole Foods and doesn't have bad stuff in it)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1-2 Tbsp. minced garlic (to taste)
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground all spice¹⁄₈ tsp. ground cloves
brown and drain meat. put meat back into pot with all other ingredients. heat until bubbling. reduce to simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until flavors have melded.
i served this to my kids on regular hamburger buns (i know, i know...so not healthy. but it's all about baby steps, right?) and my hubs and i ate it on romaine leaves, lettuce-wrap-style.
oh. and i know all those spices sound odd. i even considered omitting the all spice and cloves...those just did not sound right to me. i'm so glad i trusted the recipe this time...all the spices are SO good, even the two vinegars. just trust me...use them. you won't be sorry.
i'm so glad i have this to tuck into my healthy kid's foods "arsenal!" if you try it, please let me know what you think!