There’s just something irresistible about meatballs in tomato sauce. Chef Anja Bands turns this loved comfort food into a flavour-packed feast for the lunch box. “An interesting lunch box banishes back-to-school-blues and entice kids away from tempting fast food,” says Anja.
Chalmar matriarch Pat Wethmar’s grandsons – 8 year old JR (the dinosaur expert) and super sportsman Angus (11) – help with the cooking. They enjoy forming the spaghetti nests in the muffin pan and filling it with the meatballs and sauce.
A popular family dish such as meatballs is a great way to disguise healthy vegetables and get around picky eaters. Add grated zucchini, carrot and celery or fried diced aubergine to the mince mixture or the sauce.
Fry onions in oil until just tender and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to boil and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool down
To make the meatballs
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Lightly mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Shape the mixture in small meatballs (easier if you roll with damp palms) and place in an oven dish in one layer. Cover with tomato sauce and bake for 15 minutes.
To make muffins
Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray two 12-hole muffin trays with cooking spray
Mix spaghetti, cheese and eggs together in a bowl. Divide the mixture between the
Muffin cups, twirling the spaghetti to make a nest.
Top each nest with 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce, 2-3 meatballs and another tablespoon pasta sauce. Sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese.
Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted. Garnish with
chopped or torn basil before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge
Chalmar’s mince options vary in fat content. 90/10 mince refers to 90% meat and 10% fat (ideal for meatballs), while 80/20 mince makes for the juiciest burgers. For a leaner option choose 95/5 mince. You can also replace Chalmar Beef mince with Chalmar lamb mince.
Get the kids to give a hand.