Skillet Swedish Meatballs are a one pot comfort meal, perfect for the littlest fingers or biggest forks in your family. Made with the ease of a simple skillet sauce and frozen beef meatballs.
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored in partnership with the Michigan Beef Industry Commission on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. Thank you for America’s farmers and ranchers for providing my family with a nutritious and delicious product!
It is no secret, I love beef. I grew up eating beef at the center of my plate and continue to do so when it comes to feeding my family nutritious and delicious meals. The best part? When I add beef to my weekly meal plan, like these Skillet Swedish Meatballs, everyone in my family eats it. Yes, that means all 4 of my children.
I believe my children became beef lovers in-utero, but I have no scientific evidence to prove that. However, I can tell you that by offering my children beef as a first food as infants and toddlers, they are adventurous carnivores today. And don’t worry, today’s recipe for skillet Swedish meatballs is one for both babies and adults- I’m tailoring to everyone’s food preferences these days! And no, there’s no Serbinski baby in-utero. Don’t worry Dad!
I talk more about red meat and my babies in this post– one of the last posts I drafted when Michael was in the baby, baby stage!
Here’s Why I Fed Beef to My Babies, and Continue To Do So Beyond the Baby Stage:
Every bite counts in the first 1,000 days of life and the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognized that animal source foods, such as beef, are a fundamental food for healthy growth in the early years. The inclusion of lean meat, eggs, and seafood is noted as an important strategy for getting critical nutrients, including often under-consumed at this age, like iron, zinc, protein, and choline. Health authorities like the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend animal source foods, like beef, to ensure nutrient needs – such as iron and zinc – are met.
Around 6 months of age, it is important to introduce nutrient-rich solid foods along with breastmilk or formula. The introduction of these first foods, also known as complementary foods, provides babies with the opportunity to experience new tastes, textures, colors and also teaches them how to enjoy food. Beef is an important complementary food for infants and toddlers during the first few years of life when rapid growth and development occur.
Proper nutrition is critical during this time, particularly since by 6 months of age, iron stores are depleted, and breastmilk alone can no longer meet all of the infant’s nutrient requirements. Focusing on nourishing, iron-rich foods, like beef, during the introduction of solid foods, can help ensure infants are getting the nutrition they need.
How to Safely Feed Beef to Babies:
Introducing meats, like beef, has a purpose beyond simply meeting essential nutrient needs. Beef offers new and different flavors and textures which not only supports oral and motor development, but also enhances discovery and learning, helping them to be more accepting of new and healthy foods as they grow and develop healthy eating habits. Serving nutritious foods babies and toddlers love to eat, like beef, is simple and easy—puree, mash, chop or shred meat at various stages to meet their changing feeding needs.
Don’t worry, I’m getting to the recipe. Before you decide whether or not these Skillet Swedish Meatballs are for your baby, consider also referencing these resources:
- My Complete Guide to Starting Solids with Babies
- Baby Feeding Tips: What and How Much
- Feeding Tips for Healthy Infant Growth
- Eating Tips for Healthy Toddler Growth
- Nutrition Through the Lifecycle
- Every Bite Counts: Feeding Beef to Your Babies
These Skillet Swedish Meatballs are a really great option for those babies picking up food themselves and bringing it to their own little mouths. If you have any questions or concerns starting solids, be sure to consult your physician or health care, provider.
You could easily use this basic meatball recipe with marinara sauce, cheese sauce, or in a soup, but definitely give this Swedish meatball sauce recipe a try! It’s simple, light, and creamy! And the cooked dairy is definitely safe for those little tummies too!
Looking for more recipes to feed your little carnivores? Try these!
Beef In the Early Years Recipes
And again, don’t forget to consult a registered dietitian nutritionist and your healthcare provider before starting solids. Feel free to email me with any questions, and refer to my complete guide for starting solids [linked above and shown below].
- For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound of lean ground beef [93% lean or leaner]
- 1 cup of fresh spinach, chopped
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
- For the Sauce:
- 5 tbsp butter
- ⅓ cup flour
- 2 ½ - 3 cups beef broth
- ¾ cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp finely minced parsley, divided
- Heat your oven to 375. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Using a small cookie scoop [pictured in post], shaped into 1-inch meatballs. Place on a broiler pan or baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Add 5 tbsp of butter in a pan. Once it's melted gradually whisk in the flour until it's thick and somewhat crumbly.
- Slowly pour in the beef broth while whisking constantly until it's all added, making sure to scrap any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Start with 2 ½ cups and if you want a thinner gravy add in the remaining ½ cup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add in the sour cream and whisk to combine. Season with salt, pepper and half of the parsley.
- Add the meatballs to the gravy and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes, or until meatballs are heated through. Enjoy!
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