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A Quick & Healthy Meal For Busy Families On A Budget – Peppercorn Extra Lean Meatballs! + {A Cool Competition}

Tuesday, 22nd July 2014

A Quick & Healthy Meal For Busy Families On A Budget – Peppercorn Extra Lean Meatballs! + {A Cool Competition}

Serving up child friendly, healthier, food options on a budget can be extremely daunting sometimes, so when I discovered a twist on our traditional Spaghetti bolognaise, I couldn’t wait to see how it went down.

Introducing the Peppercorn Food Company’s Extra Lean Meatballs!

Peppercorn Extra Lean Meatballs

Now, when we have made Spag Bol in the past, we’ve either just used beef mince or on really time-deprived days, have even whacked together dinner using a canned meat sauce.

Using the canned meat sauce is not one of my proudest achievements…. It basically has the same nutritional value as eating the decayed apple core I discovered in the front pocket of a Monster’s school bag at the end of last term – Ugh….true story!! – but it was the best I could do with a busy schedule and minimal money to spend.

We’ve all been there.

Anyway, now I am aware that there are budget friendly, healthier options out there, that take about as long to prepare as it would take me to load the kids in the car and drive through Macca’s for dinner, I’m doing my best to try new things and get the MonsterSquad eating a greater variety of great tasting meals.

Meatballs 3

The Peppercorn Food Company is an allΒ  Australian company that produces many different meat products that all come with the Heart Foundation tick, have less than 3% saturated fat, made with fresh ingredients and are GLUTEN FREE!

The Extra Lean Meatballs retail for $7.99 a packet and have 20 meatballs in each packet. They look smaller in the packet, than they actually are and they expand to around the size of a ping-pong ball once cooked.

For our family of 8, we purchased 3 packets, but I can assure you that ended up being far too much. 2 packets would have been perfect for us.

Now because of time constraints (yep, mega busy family), I don’t usually go to the effort of making a pasta sauce from scratch during the week (when I do, it’s a bulk cook-up affair on a weekend). For this recipe I have used a ‘Select’ brand tomato & vegetables based pasta sauce but any jar sauce off the supermarket shelf will do the trick.

The packaging on the Extra Lean Meatballs actually suggested using a spicier chilli tomato based sauce which sounds delightful to me but I just know the fussy MonsterSquad would arc up at that. Choose what works best for your family πŸ˜‰

Meatballs 4

I grabbed a couple of packets of Tubular Long Spaghetti, as long spaghetti is quite the novelty here at Chaos HQ, but one packet would have been more than enough.

Meatballs – $7.99

Spaghetti – $1.50 (on special)

Pasta Sauce – $2.50

A family meal that will keep them full for under $12.00. For a large family like ours, I’d just add an extra packet of meatballs.

Meatballs 5

So here’s how we did it:

1. Spray your fry pan with cooking spray or alternatively add a small drop of cooking oil to the pan.

2. On a medium heat, place the meatballs into the frying pan, occasionally mixing them around so they cook evenly.

3. While the Extra Lean Meatballs are cooking away in your frypan, get your pot of water on for your pasta.

4. Once the water is boiled, add your spaghetti and let it bubble away and cook!

5. As you notice the meatballs starting to go brown on the outside, cut one open to make sure they’re cooked through. This whole process on a medium heat on our stove took around 10-12mins.

6. Once the meatballs are brown and cooked through, add your pasta sauce, mix it through and let it simmer until your spaghetti is cooked!

7. Drain your pasta and dinner is ready to be served!

Meatballs 6

Voila’ a meal fit for a MonsterSquad!

All 6 kids enjoyed the Peppercorn Extra Lean Meatballs, they found them filling and the bigger Monsters said they were tasty and not dry to chew on.

Hubby and I enjoyed the meal as well. Admittedly, when faced with an ‘Extra Lean’ product we’ve both been known to expect a dull, tasteless, roll-your-eyes-and-sigh-kind-of-meal but these were really enjoyable and had heaps of flavour.

Meatballs 7

The whole meal took around 20mins to prep and serve up, which really is perfect for those busy nights we have activities like dancing & sports to juggle meals around. The leftovers reheated really well too, so hubby was able to take a bowl of it to work the following day for lunch as well.

On a whole the MonsterSquad were impressed and gave the meatballs the thumbs up, which makes me as the meal planner very very happy.

Next time we have Peppercorn Extra Lean Meatballs for dinner I will do it with a penne or shell pasta so it’s easier (read – less messy) for the younger ones to eat πŸ˜‰

Meatballs 1

Do you think you’d like to give this recipe a try too? Or maybe even try some of Peppercorn’s sausages and burgers too?


Well enter this comp now >>>


A Peppercorn Prize Pack valued at over $100 delivered to your door filled with delicious samples of the Peppercorn range + some cool merchandise…


If you don’t live in a Metropolitan area, a $100 Woolworths Voucher for you to go out and purchase the Peppercorn range for yourself + some cool merchandise! (Please note that this option is only available if delivery of fresh product is not possible to your home address due to location.)

All you have to do is:

LIKE the Peppercorn Facebook Page! It’s full of inspiring meal ideas and a great way to find out about new products.

LIKE the Common Chaos Chronicle Facebook Page! It’s where I will let you all know that a winner has been announced!

Tell me ON THIS BLOG POST, what your favourite quick and healthy, child friendly dinner meal is, and the MonsterSquad will choose the one they think I should add to our meal plan as the winner.

Too easy! You have to be in it to win it, so enter now!


* Competition closes on 31st July 2014 at 7pm est.

* Judges decision is final.

* Peppercorn Food Company will get the prize out to the winner once I have made contact via email. I have no control over the fresh food/voucher option. That is up to their delivery areas.

* PLZ, PLZ, PLZ, use a valid email address and be sure to check your junk mail box too.

* Winner must make contact within 48hrs of email being sent.

* You must like both Facebook Pages as well as leaving a comment on this post.

* This is a sponsored post for Peppercorn Food Company. All opinions are my own and no dollar amount will sway my opinion. These meatballs are GOOD! πŸ˜‰


    Written by:

    1. Helen

      My best homemade 'healthy', 'whole family' friendly & CHEAP-AS-CHIPS go to meal is my own almost fat free pasta carbonara!!! Makes heaps & kids allllllllways come back for a 2nd helping

    2. Kate

      Wow, we do meatballs here too, they are so yummy and we never have bolognaise anymore! We haven't tried the peppercorn meatball brand yet but have had their yummy sausages! I often freeze them, you can cook them straight from frozen if you have forgotten to get something out for dinner. I put them in a large pot with the pasta sauce on the bottom (so don't actually brown them) let them simmer away for about an hour, check they are cooked and dinner is done! I also add a couple of chopped up zucchini's and mushrooms are great too. Meatballs would be my first choice for a child healthy meal too! All my kids eat it even the 2 year old. So my next healthy child friendly meal would have to be chicken schnitzel wraps - you can make it as healthy as you like, BBQ shredded chicken/oven bake frozen chicken schnitzel or pan fry schnitzels etc. We have a small amount of home made mayonaise aioli or shop bought salad dressing, lettuce, cheese, peeled strips of carrot, Spanish onion (anything you like). For the younger kids we use soft wraps and for everyone else we are use Lebanese wraps. They are so quick and easy and we always make some for work lunches the next day (no tomato) just wrap in foil.

    3. Alison Wilson

      That looks so yummy!! Our favourite quick and healthy meal that I know the kids will eat is Fried Rice. I add bacon pieces, mushies, carrots / corn / peas (whatever frozen veg I have in the freezer). Sliced 'omelette' egg on the top, and the kids have a ball trying to use chopsticks! Budget friendly and a winner!

    4. Nikoly Richardson

      Our easiest healthy and quick meal would be chicken wraps. Shred/pull apart a BBQ chicken and fav salad bits and you're done. We have three adults and three kids and find one chicken and two packs of wraps is usually enough. Add various combos of lettuce, tomato, grated carrot, grated cheese, capsicum, cucumber and everyone is happy. The kids can do it themselves which means they are going to eat it and this makes me extra happy!

    5. Rosemary Wilson

      For fifty years I have been known for my memorable home-made spaghetti... Mincemeat, virgin olive oil, garlic, tin of dice tomatoes, sweet basil dried herb, green beans sliced, milled peppercorns, salt, and add boiled dry-pack spagetti and cheese...... No quantities, measuring is by the eye, with enough for second serves, as the men especially come for more... A good pour of Yalumba red wine can be added to the meal as it cooks for the adult table...... And a swig or two for the cook..... Can leave out the beans, if the littlies so desire..... The all Aussie Peppercorn Food Companies meat products are new to me........ There is a saying, 'Don't change what works', and if that was right, we would be still cooking with a wood stove.........Next time I go shopping I will check out the Aussie Peppercorn Companies extra lean meatballs, also see if they have peppercorns to. My pantry cupboard today has 3 different Medallion brand, packed in China peppercorns jars with grinders, containing local and imported ingredients. Thanks for the info. Jac, I can see my spaghetti changing from being memorable to doubly enjoyable, and healthy to..........

    6. Hannah Moran

      Our favourite easy meal is slow cooked chicken casserol. It's cheap and easy to cook with three kids under 4 in toe. Best part is left overs can be added to pastry the next night for a yummy pie

    7. Amanda Matthews

      Our favourite go to cheap kid friendly meal is home-made baked beans they are quick, easy and cheap to make but are packed full of flavour great for any night of the week and goes down perfectly with some yummy crusty bread!!

    8. Kim

      We all love home made pizza's. I use lebanese bread for the base, tomato sauce and then a mixture of ham, pineapple, olives, tomatoes, onion, chicken, capsicum etc on them. I put each thing in a small dish and each person does their own topping. I use low fat cheese which still tastes great. The kids love making pizza's, (my daughter is doing this with her friends when they come overr for her birthday party soon. We could cut up some of the left over meatballs and put them on, they would taste great!

    9. Kim

      I've liked both facebook pages

    10. Nicole kent

      My quick and easy mid week is a chorizo and tomato oven baked risotto. Once I've fried off the chorizo, I chuck all the ingredients in the oven for 35 mins and dinner is done. Healthy, nutritious and plenty of leftovers for work!!!!!!

    11. Terri Todd

      Easy and healthy, cold meat and salad, something I grew up with. If it's a cold day have warm potato and pasta salad.

    12. karina l

      I love making a simple fried rice! It's easy and has plenty of chopped up ingredients in it to keep the kids healthy and full!

    13. Linda

      Hoki fillets on a bed of sweet potato mash. We call it " Chicken surprise". So easy and so healthy. Plates licked clean

    14. MischiefMaker

      Our family favourite is apricot chicken with rice or creamy mashed potato. I always have the ingredients I need on hand in case we have 'one of those days.' Miss 4 loves to help tip all the ingredients in and stir it. And because shes been able to help make it, there's no fuss when it comes to eating. Winner, winner chicken dinner :D

    15. Sonya N.

      Our standard go-to meal is beef strips fried in Select Hoi Sin sauce with jasmine rice and tinned baby corn spears. We have two children who are notoriously fussy but this meal always works, I think because the beef ends up really sweet. And it takes about 15 minutes from go to wo so all is good!

    16. Your meatballs look terrific! They remind me of the meal for Lady and the Tramp. I love to cook up a Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake for my kids, I can do the super easy prep the night before (chop and lightly cook the chicken, cook the pasta tubes, and put everything else in the casserole dish) then put the whole lot in the oven when I get home from work the next day. They normally won't touch a salad, but when its beside the creamy chicken sauce they love to swirl the tomato or lettuce around before eating it. Creamy chicken pasta is just behind tomato based chicken pasta for my kids. Elise @mummy hearts money recently posted...Saving Money on Takeaway with Menulog: Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    17. Jemma Hansen

      My Nanna's recipe called Golden Casserole is a big hit with the kids and a family favourite. Quick, easy and contains lots of veg. Cook 500g beef mince, a diced onion and a carrot until browned. Add one tin of tomato soup and one packet of french onion soup mix ( I use salt reduced). Add half a soup tin of water along with one cup of frozen peas and corn. Cook for 5 minutes and its done. We serve with mashed potato/sweet potato or noodles.

    18. Nikki Montague

      Our go to meal is crispy chicken burrito. All you need is chicken crumbed in crushed up cornflakes, tortillas and whatever salad ingredients the monsters will eat. Cut chicken breasts into strips, flour, egg and then cornflake crumb them. Little olive oil for browning and cook through. You can use sweet chilli sauce as an added extra.

    19. My go to cheap and easy meal is surprise mince. 1kg of mince some diced potatoes, carrot, a onion, peas and corn, pretty much what ever veg you want. Brown the onion and then the mince, throw in the diced veg a can of tomatoes some french onion or chicken noodle soup and a can or two of water simmer until the veg are almost cooked then throw in any of the faster cooking veg and some risoni finish cooking. The brilliant thing about this meal is the leftovers make a great pie the next day or some savory puff pasty triangles. Under $20 for dinner for to days. win for me.

    20. Jane McPherson

      My dons favourite is Mum's (me) savoury meatballs, it gives him muscles.

    21. Mrs B

      My son's favourite quick meal is tandoori chicken (mix yoghurt with tandoori paste and mix in the chicken strips), cook, and serve in wraps with cucumber, lettuce, red and yellow capsicum, lettuce and a little light sour cream.

    22. Nic T

      I've been blessed with a family who like simple food so if we're really pushed for time I boil some wholemeal pasta then simply add sliced black olives, feta and cucumber slices and that is it! Easy, quick and healthy!

    23. Stacey Shailer

      Our quick, child-friendly, go-to meal is Spanish Frittata, cooked in the frying pan! Peel and slice 4 large potatoes and 1 onion, place in a microwave proof dish with a lid, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Microwave on high for 15 mins (give it a stir every now and then to break it up a bit). Meanwhile coat a frying pan (one that can be put under the grill) generously with olive oil, and beat 4 eggs in a jug with salt and pepper to taste. Once the potato mixture is done, toss it in the frying pan for a few minutes until it starts to colour, turn to low and pour over the egg mixture. Once egg starts to set through, pop the pan under the grill for a few minutes to cook and brown the top. Slice and serve with salad, bread or steam vegies. You can add whatever other ingredients you like to the filling (half potato, half sweet potato is nice, handful of mushrooms or spinach leaves, diced ham, etc).

    24. Cheryl Moulton

      There is always pita bread in the cupboard, add chicken, avocado a little sliced lettuce and tomato and we have a quick and healthy meal for everyone

    25. Jo

      Fish has to be the easiest and most nutritious child-friendly meal. Sauteed in a little butter, and served with thick cut potato chips and a small amount of greens, the plate is usually cleaned in no time.

    26. Cassie Baber

      Cheap mince and a taco kit with a few salads on it. The kids love to make there own taco's and seem to eat the whole lot never a complaint.

    27. Jody Buhagiar

      Chicken pasta bake is the winner here! Tasty, healthy , quick and the only meal where the kids dont fight and bicker. They are too busy going yum!!

    28. Teena Lewis

      Thai Green Curry & Rice - on the stove within 10 minutes and cooked within 30, great for those weekday meals after working all day! My girls absolutely love it!

    29. Jennifer B.

      We love CHICKEN BIRYANI! Jamie Oliver does a smashing take on it using left-over lamb but mine love diced chicken, no chillies and a little less spinach. You could use Peppercorn Meatballs too! It cooks itself while it's bath time - plus anything smothered with rice is a certain winner!

    30. sonia cattley

      Chicken and mushroom pie...with no base, just a filo pastry top. Takes no time at all and can be eaten with or without veges on the side

    31. Karlene

      Cold rolls which are rice paper sheets wrapped around cold vermicelli noodles with a slice of cheese, mayo and some cold meat. (mum and dad also have salad ingredients but kids are fussy!)

    32. mellie jane

      My kids love my noodle omelette 3 ingredients quick and tasty 6 eggs 1 packet of chicken noodles your choice which brand thinly sliced cabbage cook noodles when almost done throw in cabbage to blanch then drain whisk eggs with the chicken seasoning from the noodles then mix in noodles and cabbage put the mix in frypan and cook dinners ready.

    33. Charlotte

      Our healthy, easy family favourite is a taco bar... serve yourself, create your own tacos with meat or tomato sauce (super easy, just cooked tinned tomatoes with a little oil!), shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and plenty of cheese! And sometimes, since we've had a light and healthy meal, we follow it with a make your own sundae bar ;)

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