Get Swedish Meatballs on Your Dinner Table Tonight

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Krisha

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Maria

Dinner for the Kids in Less Than 10 Minutes

by Maria on August 22, 2010 

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On tonight's menu: Swedish meatballs, peas, and pasta

We all have days when we come home right at dinner time and the kids are famished and tired. Younger kids, especially, have a hard time waiting for dinner when they are hungry. On most days I serve my kids a healthy appetizer such as veggie crudites or low sodium multigrain chips with salsa to stave off hunger while I cook. But I always keep the supplies needed for an ultra-quick, healthy, and home cooked dinner for days when dinner simply needs to be ready ASAP. 

One such meal stars Swedish meatballs, often with pasta and peas on the side. My kids adore this meal, and it's so convenient to have on hand since it lets you get dinner on table in less than 10 minutes. The meatballs I make ahead of time and keep on hand in the freezer. They take just a couple of minutes in the microwave to reheat. Frozen peas can be cooked in less than a couple of minutes in the microwave or on the stove. And while I usually use a whole grain pasta, I like to keep quicker cooking pastas, such as the Barilla mini series, on hand for convenience.

My kids like their pasta plain, with just a drizzling of olive oil and a dash of Kosher salt, but many kids would probably enjoy dipping their meatballs and pasta in a marina sauce or ketchup. Keep your own, homemade marinara sauce on hand in the freezer, in small 4-ounce servings that quickly thaw and reheat. A back-up jar of your favorite store-bought sauce is also a good pantry staple for nights like this.

I try to complete all my meals with some type of garnish, perhaps a sprig of parsley or a few strands of chives. My kids seem to like it when the garnish is on the side and not chopped up on top of their meals. And of course, you don't have use fresh herbs for garnish--it could even be a few ketchup dots or some lemon wedges, something that adds color and decoration (and preferably isn't candy!). Just remember, looks count a lot when it comes to kids, so get creative with your food presentation.

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