Chimichurri meatballs

I'm writing this from a Starbucks while M is at his first day of drop-off camp. Drop off. As in, I bring him to camp and then leave and go live my life for two hours while he lives his. WWWWHHHAAAATTTT?????? I mean, this is literally the goal while raising kids: You want them to be able to function without you and eat and breathe and play and learn and share and manage their emotions, but oh my god, how can he be able to function without me already?

But I simultaneously feel like this is totally normal. He's such an independent kid that I know he'll be okay without me. And thinking of him going to his own place to do his own thing reminds me that I, too, am a separate person who exists outside of my role as a mother.

If I was a smart person, I would be posting today about nut-free lunch packing because that's one challenge we're encountering for the first time. Buuuut, I'm not. Instead, I'm posting about a good way to get M to eat protein: Fill it with the strong flavors of garlic, lime, and cilantro. Actually, this is a good way to get anyone to eat protein.

A few notes about this recipe: I tried to make this one into a Whole 30/Paleo recipe by using almond meal in place of flour, but the texture never felt totally right. They were delicious, but a little softer than I wanted. However, if I were to do another Whole 30, I would definitely make these with almond meal and just deal with it because the flavor is great. I used homemade bread crumbs here because we had some stale whole grain bread, but store bought would work just fine. I made these meatballs huge because I wanted them to be sliders and a good, hearty meal, but one could absolutely make them smaller. I served them with more chimichurri on the top and bottom and a whole wheat slider bun. These would also be great over some zucchini noodles or with roasted veggies like fennel and potatoes.

Chimichurri meatballs

1.5 lb ground beef, turkey, or bison
½ cup chimichurri
1½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs (3 oz bread)
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Using your hands or a large spoon, form into palm-sized balls (about the size of a lacrosse ball). Bake in any oven-safe pan, but preferably a casserole or pie dish with higher sides to keep the balls in place, for about 40-45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160.

Yield: 9 large meatballs