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Sonoma Market

Sonoma, CA 95476
6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
(707) 996-3411

Teens in the Kitchen! Cooking up some love with Lovin’ Oven

In February, Sonoma Market and Lovin’ Oven teamed up to prepare and serve appetizers at the annual Sweetheart Gala, a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley that is the most important fundraiser of the year for our local Club.

Lovin’ Oven, part of Teen Services Sonoma, employs 35 teens annually – kids who create and sell delicious food and provide event services at parties and special events in the Valley. Lovin’ Oven operates out of an on-site commercial kitchen, and each week they prepare 700 cookies to be served in the No Name Café at Sonoma Valley High School.

We know that teens who have good high school work experiences are more likely to be inspired to stay in school, graduate and adopt ambitious goals. And besides, cooking is fun! It allows for creative expression, experimentation and can help grow a child or teen’s math and science skills.

Here’s the recipe for their BBQ Meatballs – maybe your kids would like to make them, too!


5 lbs ground beef

½ cup water

5 eggs

2 T Italian Herb Seasoning

1 cup breadcrumbs

2T + 2t salt

1T + 1t red pepper flakes

1/3 of a whole onion

1 clove garlic

Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil, add the onions and bring to a medium­high heat. ?Add salt and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. ?The onions should be very soft and aromatic but have no color. ?Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl combine the meats, eggs, red pepper flakes and breadcrumbs. ?It works well to squish the mixture with your hands. ?Add the onion mixture and season generously with salt and squish some more. ? Add the water and do 1 final really good squish. ?The mixture should be quite wet.

Test the seasoning of the mix by making a mini hamburger size patty and cooking it. The mixture should taste really good! If it doesn't it is probably missing salt. Add more.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Shape the meat into desired size. Some people like 'em big some people like 'em small. The size of a golf ball is about right.

Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring to a medium­high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides. ?Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes (if they are the large size) ?or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through. If using right away, add them to your big pot of your favorite sauce. ?If not using right away, they can be frozen for later use.