Cooking the Books: Les Petits Chefs in The Smitten Kitchen

One of the first things I thought as I leafed through my copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook was how much my Petits Chefs would enjoy many of the dishes. Uncomplicated in their preparation, yet sophisticated and delicious in taste, the dishes in this cookbook form part of a very very long “want to make” list for me and I immediately wondered whether I might be able to work my way through a few of them with the boys – in just an hour, it’s not much time you know.

This week’s guest chef was unable to make it at the last minute so I pulled out the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and leafed through, looking for something do-able in around an hour. I finally settled on Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes (p 187-188).  I knew that it might be ambitious (especially the brown butter mashed potatoes) but hey, you never know unless you try, right? In the book, Deb professes her love for meatballs in the head note on this recipe so with just an hour to do all this in from scratch, I figured she wouldn’t mind if we didn’t make mini meatloaves but rather meatballs 😉

It was a bit of a crazy day for me yesterday and I only finished teaching 15 minutes before club started so it wasn’t much time to do my usual mise en place setup for the guys. It wasn’t my usual uber-organisation on a Monday afternoon but sending the guys off just over an hour later with tupperwares of mashed potatoes (yup, sans the brown butter) made me realise what you CAN do in a short period of time in less than ideal circumstances.  So we set to chopping….

Not as many process photos this week – none of the glaze, none of the potatoes (we just made regular mashed potatoes – brown butter ones next time for me and Mr Neil!), and barely any of the meatballs. Whilst this wasn’t particularly difficult, it did require being on the ball and being at 10 stations at once 😉


Oh this was REALLY good. I mean, when you make your way to the pick up area and see a little boy sitting on the wall digging into his container before his mum has even arrived, you KNOW it’s gotta be scrumptious!

Neil and I enjoyed these for dinner last night – with both rice and a little mashed potato.  And even though I left the glaze at school, they were incredibly moist. So, so good. Just like your favourite meatloaf, only miniature!

You can find the recipe online here but better yet, do yourself a favour and buy a copy of the book: on, or for free worldwide shipping, try The Book Depository.


21 thoughts on “Cooking the Books: Les Petits Chefs in The Smitten Kitchen”

  1. Congratulations to Kelly who won the book !!! These do sound very good & will do check out the recipe online Mardi. Amazing what you do with those guys in so little time on any given day. Wow.

  2. Boys, you knocked it out of park for this one – and provided me with sustenance on a *perfect* day when it was needed.

    Congratulations. I loved these…so much more flavourful than many simple ground chuck balls.

    For the record, and because I’ve been absent for a while, I had a small glass of Douro to accompany this (mainly Touriga Nacional grape varietal). A simple wine, quite fruity. Something with a little more acid would have been preferred – but since there was no glaze, thought it would do. And I had it at hand. 🙂

  3. Each time I receive an e-mail notification from your bog about Les Petits Chefs, I rush to my computer to see it (my phone doesn’t show pictures from blogs). I just love what you do with those little chefs, they have such a great experience, and following them is so much fun. I wish you could show their face impression from time to time: it is totally priceless. When my teenager cooks something, he is so-so proud! 🙂

  4. These look so good! And what a great idea and perfect recipe to make with your kids! I just got the SK cookbook and have the spaghetti squash tacos on tap for this week. These mini-meatloaves will definitely have to make an appearance soon!

  5. I made these yesterday and they are fantastic. So far my favourite of the recipes in her book.

    There’s a problem with the Boston Globe recipe, though — it leaves out the second page of meatball ingredients. The book has somewhat unfortunate formatting, I’ve noticed, and in this case it orphaned the milk and eggs, which are pretty important. They didn’t make it into the Boston Globe reprint.

  6. Hi Mardi, I just made this recipe tonight for dinner. I was happy to see your blog show up when I was looking for reviews. I love this Smitten Kitchen cookbook and I am trying to get through a few more recipes. Hope everything is going well with your cookbook:)


Leave a Reply to Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.