One of the first things I vowed to do as a mother was to make baby foods from scratch. No expensive jars that would just get wasted and no extra additives. As I began looking more into different ways to do this, I discovered what is now called Baby-Led Weaning (BLW). This is a practice that was done long ago and is beginning to come back into sight, just with a fancy name attached. I instantly knew this would be the best way for my baby to eat. Essentially, BLW is a practice that skips the mushy, bland purees and begins the baby eating “real” foods right away. It is still necessary to prepare the foods in such a way that the baby can chew/gum everything, however, it comes without the stress of playing airplane games with a spoon full of green stuff that even we wouldn’t want to eat. As my daughter gets older and is beginning to eat more food that is offered to her, I wanted to find ways to incorporate meats into her meals. A common way that parents do this is to create baby-friendly meatballs. I began brainstorming and created the following recipe with what we had on hand. Not only is it good for feeding a youngster, but they are delicious for the whole family (including our Shih Tzu Hank)!
Although many people use beef or turkey for their meatballs, I used venison. You can easily substitute your meat of choice, change up the vegetables, spices, sauces, etc. Cooking is an art, use whatever your family likes or has on hand!
Sticking to the basics seemed like the best idea when feeding these meatballs to a youngster who is still discovering new flavors and textures.
For the dry ingredients, I used breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Wet ingredients are an egg, carrots, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, liquid aminos (or soy sauce), and avocado oil (or your favorite cooking oil). A small amount of avocado oil was added to help with texture since venison is typically dryer due to how lean the meat is. Adding a dish of water into the oven while the meat cooks helps retain moisture as well.
After mixing all these ingredients, forming balls, and adding a dish of water, you're ready to get them cooking! When finished, the meat should be brown in color all the way through or has an internal temperature of 165ºF. This took around 35 minutes, however, I forgot to set a timer so this is only an estimate. Keep an eye on them!
YIELD: approx. 30 meatballs
1 Large Egg
1 cup Breadcrumbs
¾ cup Grated (or Shredded) Carrots
½ cup Diced Bell Pepper
2 Tbs Liquid Aminos
2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
½ tsp Garlic Powder
¼ tsp Onion Powder
¼ tsp Salt
1 Tbs Avocado Oil
1) Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
2) Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands.
3) Form balls using your hands or a muffin scooper and place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
4) Using an oven-safe dish, place a dish of water on the baking sheet with the meatballs, this aids in retaining moisture.
5) Bake until thoroughly cooked and reaches 165º in the center.
6) Serve plain or in any dish of your choice!