Simple, fast and healthy: Italian turkey nuggets to make with your kids

Cooking from scratch can be quick and easy – it’s just about knowing where to start

Jolene Cox with her daughter Lily-Mae

Jolene Cox with her daughter Lily-Mae

 

Knowing where to start can sometimes be the hardest part of feeding your family well. Every week we are bombarded with conflicting information and new findings of scientific food studies. To add to the confusion you just have to look at the health and fitness frenzy over on Instagram. My own Instagram feed is filled with food fads that are just plain unrealistic.

January is Health Month in The Irish Times. You can find articles, columns, advice and tips at irishtimes.com/health, as well as in print every Tuesday in the Health & Family Supplement.

As a homecook and an advocate of getting kids into the kitchen (oneyummymummy.com), I believe the key to better family health and well-being is as simple as a good old-fashioned, home-cooked meal. Real food with simple ingredients that the whole family can sit around the table to enjoy – time to put away the screens and get sociable with each other.

By preparing a well-rounded meal you take back control of the fat and sugar content and you know exactly what your family is eating. We all have busy lives and the thoughts of cooking an entire meal from scratch can seem like a lot of time and effort. But most of my family recipes contain simple ingredients, involve little effort and take exactly the same time to cook as a frozen pizza.

But why stop there?

What if the answer to overall better family health and wellbeing is staring us in the face – as it is in my house in the form of Lily-Mae (5) asking, “What’s for dinner, mam?”.

Cooking with kids can be so much more than just making cupcakes and licking the bowl. Getting them involved in the food prep of everyday meals from a young age not only teaches them about ingredients and where our food comes from, it also gives them life skills that they will have forever.

In my experience, putting the tablets and the phones away (mine included!) and cooking together is just as much about building a bond by having those one-on-one chats as it is about the final creation. Entrusting our kids with little cooking tasks gives them freedom of self-expression, a sense of responsibility and self-worth.

It’s just as much about making the memories as making the meal.

Golden Italian turkey nuggets
Golden Italian turkey nuggets

Golden Italian turkey nuggets

The kids can get involved in this easy recipe by getting their hands into the mix and mould the nuggets. I’ve been told by a few little ones that these are the best nuggets on the planet – and who am I to argue with that?

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
400g turkey mince
1 onion, grated
200g breadcrumbs
50g cheddar, grated
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
Salt & pepper to season

Method:
1. Blend together the breadcrumbs, onion and cheeses then add these to the turkey mince along with the oregano, garlic powder and stock cube. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Get your hands stuck in and mix thoroughly then mould the mince into little nuggets.

3. Oven bake at 180 degrees/gas mark 4 for 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can pan fry the nuggets in a little olive oil over a medium heat for 8 minutes on each side.

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