Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Porcupine Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy

For years, I've been fascinated by the idea of porcupine meatballs.  A mixture of ground meat and rice, when it cooks supposedly the rice sticks out all over, making the meatball look like it has quills.  Yesterday, I finally got off my tail and made some.

I started with this recipe but, as you've probably noticed by now, I'm not capable of leaving a recipe as is.  Besides, we just had spaghetti and meatballs late last week, so I knew I didn't want the tomato-based sauce.  I was really just looking for a meatball recipe.  I made a few tweaks, and here's where we landed.   I served it over brown rice.  Hubby said it tastes just like salisbury steak.  Daughter tried to convince me she doesn't like gravy, but one bite and she was asking for more.  It was good.

Porcupine Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy
Serves 8 (6 meatballs per serving)

2 pounds lean ground beef (I used 93/7)
2/3 cups raw white rice
1 medium onion, minced (divided)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 envelope brown gravy mix (I like McCormicks, no MSG)
1 cup water
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I like the Pacific Natural brand in the little boxes)
1 can sliced mushrooms (or you could use 1 cup fresh, I only had canned on hand)
Hot cooked brown rice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, thoroughly combine beef, rice, half of the onion, milk, eggs, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Form into 48 meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (I use my cookie scoop for this).  Place them on a parchment-lined (or well greased) baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, until well browned.

At this point, you can divide the batch in half and freeze some for later, which is what I do (the rice won't be fully cooked yet, so I put a note on the bag that it requires simmering).

Put the meatballs in a large deep-sided skillet or a slow cooker. 

To make the gravy, combine the gravy mix, water, soup, the remaining onion, and mushrooms. Pour over the meatballs.  In the slow cooker, cook on low for 6 - 8 hours.  In a pan, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rice in the meatballs is cooked through.

Serve over hot cooked brown rice.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Holiday Recipe Wrap-Up

It's New Year's Day...and all I want is a giant salad.  Apparently, I'm not as young as I used to be, because my digestive system can't handle all the wonderful party food that it used to.  I don't regret making (or eating) any of it, though, because everything was wonderful.

For Christmas Eve, I was assigned appetizers and dessert.  I made:

Caprese Skewers, but without the balsamic drizzle.  I must have overreduced the vinegar because it just tasted overcooked and gross.  It was delicious without it!

Spiced pecans, but I'm not linking the recipe here.  The one I tried was a disaster that called for cooking them too long at too high a temperature, resulting in almost $10 worth of pecans in the garbage the first time I made it.  Still looking for the recipe I used last year, which was wonderful!

Cheese Straws - totally rich, totally decadent.  The straw tip on my cookie press was way too big so I used the flat ridged tip instead, making crackers instead of straws.  Loved them.

Turron de Navidad - which will rip your fillings out but tastes delicious!

Soft caramels

Churro Chex Mix - made with butterscotch chips because I couldn't find cinnamon.  Delicious and I will definitely be making these again!

Lemon Crinkle Cookies - DELICIOUS!!!

Homemade Twix bars - as good as they sound.

And, of course, the requisite sugar cookies with sprinkles.  I use a friend's old family recipe.

I split most of what I made in two and saved half for Christmas Day.  I make Christmas dinner each year for my family, my parents and my uncle.  We eat at my parents' house, so I always make something I can put together at home and cook when I get to Mom and Dad's.  One year it was manicotti, last year it was Swedish meatballs.  This year, I made Chicken Cordon Bleu, with the white wine cream sauce left in the reviews by Krysia73. It was delicious!

We were also supposed to have Duchess Potatoes but I ran out of time so we had plain old mashed potatoes instead.  Still great.  Mom made green beans with bacon and the cranberry jello salad that I love every year.

New Year's Eve, we always go to my husband's sister's house.  We usually just have snacks, but this year we decided to have appetizers for dinner so I went a little bigger than usual.  I made:

Skinny Taco Dip - I added a layer of refried beans to the bottom of the pan to add a little more flavor and fiber.  It was REALLY good.

Bacon Cheese Balls, but without the pecans because my nephews don't like nuts (I don't think they ate any anyway, but oh well).  A little too rich, but still good.

Pepperoni Puffs.  These would make a great quick lunch sometime!

Loaded Baked Potato Dip - I made a half batch and it still made a ton.  Delicious but very rich!

Homemade Peppermint Oreos - mine weren't so pepperminty because I discovered my peppermint extract bottle only had about four drops left in it (who knew it could evaporate out of a closed bottle???), but I swished some vanilla around in the bottle and it came out with a nice hint of mint.

And a last minute addition, bought on the way to the party, was clam dip.  My husband's family tradition.  Just take 8 ounces of cream cheese, and a can of minced clams.  Drain the clams but save the juice, and mix them in with the cream cheese.  Add enough of the juice to make it a dippable consistency.  Serve with Chicken in a Biskit crackers.

And that, my friends, is my holiday recipe roundup.  And the reason why I'm getting my fat butt to a Weight Watchers meeting at my earliest opportunity!