Enjoy Captain America’s Turkey Veggie Meatballs

Captain America’s Turkey Veggie Meatballs

Background
Captain America is a human with expert military knowledge and skills. Though he does not have any superhuman abilities, he has a Super-Soldier Serum that transforms his strength, stamina, speed, healing and reflexes. Without Super-Soldier Serum, other humans rely on muscle strength.

Materials
One recipe makes about 15 turkey balls.

  • 1 bell pepper (cut into slices, fine chopped by children)
  • 1 cup spinach (fine chopped or shredded by children)
  • 1 small onion (cut into rings, fine chopped by children)
  • 1.5 lb ground turkey
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Hot Plate
  • Skillet
  • Whisk
  • Knife
  • Plastic knives for students
  • Spoon or Spatula
  • Large bowl
  • Paper plates

Vocabulary

  • Involuntary Muscle: muscle controlled by the brain and body
  • Voluntary Muscle: muscle we can control
  • Protein: a substance found in foods like meat, dairy, eggs, beans, and nuts

Lesson

  • Captain America does not have any actual superpowers. He has expert military knowledge and has mastered combat skills to defeat enemies. Without superpowers, Captain America relies on Super-Soldier Serum. This gives him extra strength, stamina, and speed, and helps his body heal from injuries.
  • Since we do not have Super-Soldier Serum, we need muscle strength to keep our bodies healthy. Where do you think your muscles are? (All over) When we think of muscles, we are usually thinking about one type called voluntary muscles. Voluntary muscles are ones you can control and strengthen. They give your body the power to lift, push, throw, and kick. There are a lot of voluntary muscles in the arms, shoulders, legs, back, and even in our face to help us smile, frown, or make silly faces! There are other types of muscles called involuntary muscles which are told what to do by the brain and body automatically without you even thinking about it. For example, your stomach is an involuntary muscle because it digests your food after eating without you thinking about it.
  • Since we control voluntary muscles, we need to keep them strong and healthy by simply using them often. Whenever you jump, run, and play, your muscles are getting stronger. Doing something active every day is a great way for kids to build strong muscle. What do you like to do that keeps your muscles moving?
  • Your muscles also need foods with protein to stay healthy. Protein is important for our diets and is found in foods like meat, dairy, eggs, beans, and nuts. Foods with the most protein come from animals like meat, milk, and eggs. However, there is also protein in foods from plants like beans, nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Protein is like a Super-Soldier Serum for our muscles. It helps them grow and stay strong.
  • Today we will make a snack with lots of protein so we can get strong muscles like Captain America. We are going to make Turkey Veggie meatballs, which include three different types of protein. The main ingredient of the meatballs is turkey but we will also add spinach, peppers, garlic, eggs, cheese and bread crumbs. Which three of those ingredients are the ones that are high in protein? (Turkey, Eggs, and Cheese)

Activity
Students will make their own Captain America’s Turkey Veggie meatballs. One recipe makes about 15 meatballs.

  1. Invite the children to wash their hands and ask them to help with setting up the cooking area.
  2. Place the onion, pepper, and spinach on cutting board. Cut onion into rings. Cut pepper into strips.
  3. Demonstrate to children how they can finely chop the pepper and onion and how the spinach can be cut into small strips. Explain that sometimes onions have a very strong smell that makes our eyes water. This happens to almost everyone.
  4. Once the vegetables are cut, place them into a bowl. Measure out salt and pepper and pour into bowl. Crack egg into bowl and whisk ingredients together.
  5. Measure out breadcrumbs and add to bowl.
  6. Measure out parmesan and add to bowl. Explain to children that the egg, bread crumbs, and cheese act as a natural glue so they help the meat to stick together with the veggies and stay in ball form.
  7. Add the ground turkey to the mixture and combine with spoon or hands. Explain the importance of washing hands thoroughly after touching raw meat.
  8. Place a small amount of mixture (about 2 tbs worth) onto paper plates so each child can make their own meatball. Make sure to tell them that this will not be safe to eat until the meatballs are cooked.
  9. Demonstrate how to form a ball out of the turkey mixture. Have the children form their meatballs with their hands.
  10. Invite children to bring their meatballs to the skillet so they can be cooked. Once the children have dropped off their formed meatballs, ask them to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and warm water.
  11. Place skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 Tbsp. of oil. Cook a tester meatball in the skillet until it is not pink on the inside (check by cutting with a knife) to determine how long the meatballs need to cook.
  12. Cook the kids’ meatballs in the skillet until they are cooked through. You might have to cook in batches depending on size and number of students. Explain to the children that in order to know if they are cooked through you have to check the inside to see if it is still pink. If it is, the meat is not ready.
  13. Once meatballs are cooked, invite children to put one on their plate. Explain that this is an excellent and healthy source of protein that will keep them full and help their muscles grow strong! Explain that they can eat these meatballs in many ways – plain as a snack, with other veggies, or on top of a small serving of spaghetti with tomato sauce.