This kid-friendly veggie-loaded meat sauce with ground beef and medley of vegetables is hearty, filling, and nutritious! It’s super simple to make and versatile. Serve over pasta, grains, various vegetables like sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash…endless possibilities!
Thanks to Beef Loving Texans for sponsoring this post!
You might just know me as a registered dietitian and toddler mom who shares nutrition and feeding tips as well as nourishing meal ideas/recipes for the entire family with special attention to the dietary needs and feeding skills of babies and toddlers. Well, that was a mouthful. In short, I’m the lady with meal ideas.
But today, I want to share a little bit about the place I’ve called home for most of my life – Texas. I was born and raised in S. Korea and moved here during my elementary years. I then moved to Georgia for college (any Emory alumni here?) and stayed there for several years after graduating. But the Lord knew I’d end up right back in Texas when He gave me a husband whose heart bleeds burnt orange (go Longhorns!).
In the same way that we get attached to all the special people that we do life with, isn’t it so true that we develop a deep sense of connectedness to the place we call home? I’m a Texan, and it has no doubt become a significant part of my personal history and self. Texas truly has been good to me.
I’d much rather say y’all instead of you guys or you all (why so formal, yo?). I love this slower-paced life and living in a neighborhood with space between the houses. I’ve gotten used to the two seasons and rocking the flip-flop look year round. Come spring, I love to squat and take these pics. Gotta love traditions!
I don’t have a southern accent nor do I desire to have everything bigger except when it comes to my Blue Bell ice cream (notice it’s first on the list?), Tex-Mex, barbeque, breakfast tacos, kolaches….wait these are all foods! Texas has some great food, y’all!
Speaking of food, it sure is one of the greatest joys in life, isn’t it? I personally love preparing it, talking about it, and of course savoring it. But what I cherish most is how it can bring people from all walks of life together in the most natural and loving way. Whether it’s enjoyed with family, neighbors, friends, or new acquaintances, put some food on the table and let the conversations flow!
That’s why I’m thrilled to take part in the “For all plates of life” campaign initiated by Beef Loving Texans to bring more Texans to the table with delicious and balanced, beef inspired recipes. I actually didn’t know that we have the most beef producers/ranchers and that we’re the largest cattle producing State in the country. It doesn’t surprise me, though. Beef is well loved here, and many special memories are made surrounding it whether it’s around the dinner table, on the porch, at the park, school, workplace… So let’s celebrate food and eat in the company of others as often as possible!
While there are so many benefits to enjoying meals together with loved ones, I want to highlight specifically those regarding children. Research shows that children who eat with their families have more healthful dietary patterns (e.g. consuming more fruits and vegetables), thus having a lower risk for being overweight and less risk of engaging in disordered eating (1,2,3). Family meals also provide great opportunities to help young children learn new words and build conversation skills (4). They also help increase a child’s sense of security and improve well-being by providing structure and routine to their day. But the best part, in my opinion, is the strong bond that forms as a result. It becomes an essential part of a family’s tradition when fostered early and continuously.
If you’re in need of recipes (including kid-friendly ones), cooking tips, and ways to incorporate beef into a well-balanced diet, most definitely check out the Beef Loving Texans website. I love that the Texas Beef Council is funded by the beef farmers and ranchers living in my state.
Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite recipes from the website – farm fresh meat sauce. It’s super simple to make and versatile! You can serve over pasta, grains, various vegetables like spaghetti squash…
If your little one is hesitant about certain foods, like vegetables, serving them with a delicious sauce like this one can help encourage him/her to give them a try! And remember not to give up if your child refuses. Constant exposure leads to familiarity which leads to acceptance.
Kid-Friendly Farm Fresh Meat Sauce
- 2 pounds ground Beef (at least 90% lean)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 carrot grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms sliced then chopped
- 1 cup zucchini grated
- 2 cups low-sodium beef stock
- 1 can 28 oz. no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt see note
- Heat nonstick skillet over MEDIUM heat until hot. Add Ground Beef and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add carrots and garlic. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, breaking beef into small crumbles and stirring occasionally.
- Add remaining ingredients.
- Turn heat to LOW, cover and cook at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes. Uncover, adjust salt and pepper and simmer another 10-15 minutes or until sauce thickens.