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I don’t want to brag, but we’ve made some pretty great progress in the “I like hotdogs”/tricking-the-kid-to-think-that-everything’s-a-kind-of-hot dog-front. Like, we almost don’t have to lie to him, and we’ve almost got him on board with the idea that meatballs are their own amazing thing.

Plus he eats spinach now! Actual spinach. I don’t want to get too cocky, but at this rate he’ll be eating broccoli by sixth grade. Which is before high school! That’s better than I could have ever imagined. This success is going to my head and I’m starting to think maybe we could do anything, like file our tax return on time, or go jogging, or engage in social interactions with other parents in the neighbourhood.

And I want to take credit for some of this progress, like maybe all this parenting we’ve been doing lately is super good or, at least, better than the rest of our parenting to date, but I think the secret is in the sauce, the sort-of-sweet but looks-like-marinara sauce that adds a hint of variety to the weekly meal rotation without being too much of a stretch, technique- or flavour-wise. Toss it on pasta and it’s a different take on spaghetti and meatballs; throw it on rice and if you squint, it’s almost (almost) butter chicken.

Recipe notes: soy free, nut free; can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs, and dairy-free by replacing butter with oil. If you hate cilantro, use flat-leaf (Italian) parsley.