Thursday, September 25, 2008

Porcupine balls

Porcupine Meatballs that is.

I had some tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes. And zucchini. No idea what to do with either. So I thought of rice. No inspiration. So, I wandered off thinking of meatballs. Yes, this is how my brain works.. random thoughts flying around until they land, flutter a bit, and settle in to preen, nest, and lay eggs. Eventually I thought of combining the rice, meatball, and eggs into that old home economics classic: porcupine meatballs. But, most recipes call for frying or other stove top method. meh... I've fried recently and don't enjoy the process.

I decided to bake, oven preheated to 350F. mix the following:
1 lb ground beef
1 cup rice
3 eggs
diced onion
mystery leafy things obtained from the Veg Box (pretty sure it was celery sprouts), diced
Form into meatballs and place in baking dish.

Diced up 8-9 fresh tomatoes into a saucepan. I probably could have blanched and peeled them first, but am against going through all that effort to throw the skin away - don't they say that there are a lot of nutrients lost that way in many foods? I suppose it would make the sauce 'prettier', but it tastes fine with the skins.

I heated the tomatoes with a bit of sugar, few tablespoons of BBQ sauce, and a couple teaspoons of molasses. A bit of salt and pepper too as the tomatoes were a little bland this week. I added a couple cloves of diced garlic, and a red bell pepper - just because it was sitting in the crisper looking bored. Cooked the tomatoes until they were mush. Maybe 15 minutes. Add a few dried herbs - a bit of basil and oregano.

I poured the sauce over the raw meatballs, and baked for one hour. Don't you just love how you can cook just about anything in the oven at 350F for one hour and get good results? It's a magic combination.

So. Zucchini. This is a vegetable my kids do not like. I think I've tried it every way except bread and they refuse it eat it. They're good for trying veg too. I am that mom you heard in the grocery store saying "Don't eat the broccoli! It's NOT washed yet!" Seriously. They will even ask for asparagus. But zucchini - no. My husband and I like it though, so I keep trying. Feeling starchy, I chopped the zucchini into little bites, and mixed it up with a corn bread mix, a can of corn, a couple teaspoons of sourcream, and a couple handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese. By then, there was 40 minutes left for the meatballs. I added the zucchini casserole to the oven. 40 minutes at 350F works darn good for non-meat dishes... another magic combo.

Brad and I think both dishes turned out great. The kids were not as impressed. I think Brian was biased against the meatballs because the rice made them fairly solid, not hard, but they didn't crumble at a touch - and he has two verrrry loose teeth! He liked the zucchini ok though. Honor was thumbs down to both. Today, when offered leftovers, she begged for chicken soup... (there's a creamy chicken chowder with potatoes, chicken chunks, carrots, etc. in a can that she enjoys) ... ok, more of the good stuff for us!


Tobi said...

Oh, A recipe! I thought that this post was going to be about something else! What a relief, sounds delish.

Simple Answer said...

I remember porcupine balls!

Cairo Typ0 said...

Sounds yummy! I hope you brought enough to share with the entire class! :D :D

Greetekees said...

Have you ever tried making meatballs with shredded apricots, onion and garlic, tsp of mustard, pepper and salt coated with breadcrumbs and a bit of parsley?

Connie said...

Hmm? Apricot? Sounds good. I enjoy experimenting with fruit in cooking. I don't bake much, but I like to try new entrees.

Lynda said...

I made some chicken & pumpkin risotto - then last night turned that into Italian Rice balls.. with a little cheese tucked inside - crumbed and fried... Miss 6 thought she had died and gone to heaven.. yum!

Blacktating said...

I can't experiment with recipes because I am not a good enough cook yet, but those balls sound good! I make really good meatballs. I am also currently addicted to my crock pot!