Cooking with Kiddos: Asian Turkey Meatballs

I have been waiting for this day, the day that I get to involve Big Sis in the kitchen. I have always loved to cook, but having a kiddo under foot makes the experience less than enjoyable. I don’t know about your kiddos, but dinner time is when my babies are most needy. Including Big Sis took a lot longer but she enjoyed it so much that it was worth it.

We began by getting out all of our ingredients. She watched as I pulled things from cupboards and the fridge. As I placed each thing on the counter we talked about what each item was. Then it was time to prepare the ingredients. While I minced the garlic and ginger, she played with the head of garlic, peeling some of the paper off and smelling it. She loved smelling each ingredient we chopped.

Cooking with Kiddos-Asian Turkey Meatballs | A delicious, healthy recipe to cook with kiddos.

When she was done with that, I had her throw away all of the trash leftover from the garlic and ginger. She loves throwing things away right now, so this was a huge hit.

Cooking with Kiddos-Asian Turkey Meatballs | A delicious, healthy recipe to cook with kiddos.

Then while I finished chopping the rest of the ingredients, she helped chop the cilantro with a plastic knife.

Cooking with Kiddos-Asian Turkey Meatballs | A delicious, healthy recipe to cook with kiddos.

When all of the ingredients were prepped she dumped it all into the bowl.

Cooking with Kiddos-Asian Turkey Meatballs | A delicious, healthy recipe to cook with kiddos.

And I let her mush it all up. I was super nervous about letting her touch the raw meat but I made sure to explain that she couldn’t touch anything, especially her face. She did great! After we mushed up the ingredients, I helped her make the meatballs. Our hands were covered in the meat so we don’t have pics of those. :)

Once the meatballs were done, we popped them in the oven and made the sauce. She held the measuring spoon as I poured the liquid ingredients in and then she dumped them in the bowl. She stuck her tiny finger in the sauce after each addition, tasting as she went. We also made Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice and some teriyaki carrots. We had so much fun together and she was so proud of herself. When Dirk came home from work she told him, “Daddy I am being a big helper for Mommy!”

Here’s her finished result:

Cooking with Kiddos-Asian Turkey Meatballs | A delicious, healthy recipe to cook with kiddos.

Big Sis had so much fun.

Want to try this recipe with your kiddos? Here it is!

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce
barely adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything


1/4 cup Panko crumbs
1-1/4 lbs (20 ounces) 93% lean ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Lime Dipping Sauce
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1 chopped fresh scallion


Preheat oven to 500°F.

Mix ground turkey, panko, egg, salt, scallions, ginger, cilantro, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp oil and mix with your hands until combined well. Shape 1/4 cup meat mixture into a ball and transfer to a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining mixture. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

For the dipping sauce mix together lime juice, water, soy sauce, and remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in a bowl. Add scallions.

Transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Stir sauce, then drizzle meatballs with 1 tablespoon sauce.

Serve meatballs with remaining sauce, about 1 tbsp per person. You probably won’t use all the dipping sauce.

Makes 12 meatballs.

Portuguese Kale Soup

So, one thing you probably don’t know about me is that I’m half Portuguese. Yep, this blonde-haired, green-eyed girl is half Portuguese. Both of my dad’s parents were full Portuguese.

Here’s my Portuguese dad

and my blonde-haired, green-eyed mom(this is a picture my dad took of my mom as they were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in Maui!)

and so here I am, not looking a bit Portuguese.

My grandma’s cooking was pure Portuguese, or at least what I remember of her cooking it was. She was an amazing woman with so many amazing qualities, one of which was the ability to cook some yummy food! She lived with us off and on during my childhood, and again during my teen years when her health started to deteriorate. She and my mom were the antithesis of the stereotypical mother/daughter-in-law, they were very close and my grandma taught my mom much of what she knows now. One thing I am so thankful for is that my grandma taught my mom a lot of her Portuguese recipes. My favorite meal all year is Christmas breakfast; sweet bread, linguica, eggs, fried potatoes and portuguese beans. Mmmmm!

Another favorite meal of mine, is what we call sopas (say it like soupish). As I did some research I found that this is more of a combination between Caldo Verde (green soup) and sopas. It sounds like every family has their own take on how to make it and what they prefer to go into it. I typically rely on my mom when I have a Portuguese food craving but since she and my dad were out of town, it was up to me. My grandma’s sister gave me a recipe and I kinda went off of that and what resulted was pure deliciousness.

Portuguese Kale Soup

1 med/large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 cups beef broth
1-15 oz can tomato sauce (I did this to taste using a 28 oz. can so this is approximate)
kosher salt
1/2 Tablespoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon cumin
2 bay leaves
About 1/2 lb of kale, more or less as you wish
2 large (or 3 or 4 med/small) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into about 2 inch chunks

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high in a large pot until shimmering. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Watch them carefully you don’t want them to burn! Using a slotted spoon remove the onions and garlic to a plate and set aside.

If needed, add in more olive oil, turn heat to high. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper and quickly brown on all sides. You don’t want to cook them, you just want to give the pieces a quick sear.

Add the onions and garlic back in the pan, along with the beef broth, tomato sauce, allspice, cumin and bay leaves. At this point, depending on what beef broth you use, you may want to add in some water. The broth should be a fairly clear, reddish-brown color. If it’s a murky red, add some water to water down the tomato sauce. The soup should be pretty brothy. If you feel like you want/need more broth add in some more, this recipe is very forgiving. Bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover for about 1 hour.

After the 1 hour the meat should be pretty tender, if not, let it cook a bit longer. When the meat is ready, add the potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Then, add the kale. Cook until the kale is cooked through, about another 10 minutes. At this point I needed to add a little more salt but I waited until the end to see how it tasted.

Serve hot with buttered French Bread and enjoy. Mmmmm…