GLUTEN FREE MEATBALLS
A new staple in our freezer is Gluten Free Meatballs. A few years ago when I asked my boys what they wanted for dinner, my oldest son said “Spaghetti and Meatballs”. I had to ask him what cartoon he had just watched because Davis had never eaten spaghetti and meatballs before. He had to have heard about meatballs somewhere else. It was not a dish that was in my repertoire. I frequently make spaghetti, but I make it bolognese style with the meat cooked into the sauce. So I wondered where Davis had learned of meatballs. He surprises me on a regular basis.
So, I did it. I made the meatballs. I had to make them gluten free and dairy free AND egg free to accommodate his diet. I did not have high hopes for the end result. I had no gluten free bread on hand, so I used finely crushed, gluten free crackers and egg replacer for binders. The meatballs held together, so I was quite proud of my first attempt at making Davis a new recipe that I thought he was going to eat. His diet is very limited and he is not very open to trying new dishes. Well, I was wrong. He would have nothing to do with the meatballs. Neither would my husband. Sure, they were made with ground beef, but were very bland. Plus, the texture was not that of a typical meatball.
Moving on. Now I can go back to just cooking the ground beef and adding the sauce to the meat as I had before. Easy enough, although I was disappointed that Davis did not have a new meal to add to his limited, pre-approved list of foods.
Months later, Davis asked me for meatloaf. Did I learn from my first lesson? Of course I didn’t. Same attempt, same results. I had an entire meatloaf that no one would eat. OK, NOW I have learned my lesson.
Two years later. I have learned that my youngest son is allergic to beef, which is one of the only meats I could get him to eat. Jackson has always turned his nose up to turkey, which could be a good alternative to beef. He is also not a big fan of chicken. So now for my next challenge. How am I going to get protein into a child that is allergic to dairy, beef and WILL NOT eat beans, fish or eggs? I decided that I would have to use ground meats and hope I can trick him. Nice, huh?
Jackson will eat rice spaghetti and rice. These are two foods that he actually loves to eat. I needed a way to incorporate additional foods into the rice and spaghetti. He surprised me and adjusted to eating eating these foods with baked or roasted chicken. But, the third day in a row that I tried to feed him chicken and rice he asked “Do I have to eat the same thing everyday?” He then fell to the floor and demanded he get his old diet back. Oh boy! Jackson had a very valid point. I was just at my wit’s end trying to accommodate two very different special diets for two very different boys.
Jackson would eat hamburger patties if we went to a restaurant. So, to duplicate a food that he would eat, I bought some ground turkey, formed patties and cooked them on a grill pan. Fortunately for me Jackson likes to add ketchup, mustard and mayonaise to his hamburgers. Jackson has named his creation “The Jackson Patty” and has asked me to put it on my website. I added the condiments to some gluten free bread, slapped on a “Jackson Patty” and voila, disguised!! Success! I have now managed to get my son to eat turkey. Hmmm, maybe I can disguise turkey in other ways and incorporate more protein into his diet.
Back to the meatball drawing board. No more crushed crackers and egg replacer this time. Only Davis is allergic to egg, so I can used eggs in Jackson’s food. Plus, these meatballs must be dairy free. I have created a simple meatball recipe that is good enough to receive approval from my once non-turkey eating son. Any type of ground meat would work as well. I am using turkey for my sons restricted diet. Ground beef, pork or even sausage would work great.
GLUTEN FREE MEATBALLS (Also Dairy Free)
2 Slices Gluten Free Bread
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk (I like coconut because of the thick consistency)
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 1/2 Lb Ground Turkey (or beef, pork, etc.)
Salt and Pepper
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg until frothy. Finely crumble the bread into the egg and mix. Add coconut milk, salt, pepper and oregano. Mix well and let soak for 5 minutes. Add the ground meat to the bread mixture. Add additional salt and pepper to taste then mix together well with your hands. Form 2 inch round meatballs and place onto greased broiler pan. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 25 minutes. Meatballs should be partially browned on the outside.
I use some of the meatballs for the meal I am making for that evening and then I freeze the rest. For lunches, I can send rice or spaghetti with meatballs in a thermos to school. To reheat meatballs, place 3-4 meatballs on a microwave safe plate for one minute.