It’s that time of year! Back to School!

school bus

Some folks cheer as they send their little ones back to school–others cry.

I do a little of both. I am glad to have some routine back in our lives. However, I miss my kids when they go back.

When I dropped them off on the first day, I told them it was a very sad day for me–no one to talk to–no one to eat lunch with. My oldest felt really sad for me and sent me a text on her lunch break. THEN the tears came!!!

With regularly scheduled chaos back in play, I decided to do a little preparedness cooking.

This meatball recipe comes from a good old Taste of Home magazine.

Taste of Home

I picked up a large package of hamburger patties from the clearance bin last week. It seems like the patties go on sale more often than the by-the-pound packages. Nobody said I had to keep them as patties though! I didn’t really have a plan for 4 pounds of meat at the time. I just couldn’t resist the $2.97/pound bargain!

bargain meat

As the “best by” date approached, I figured I had better do something with all this meat–either cook it or freeze it. I gathered the rest of the ingredients and went to town! I just so happened that my meatball recipe called for 4 pounds of lean ground beef. You can easily cut this recipe in half if you don’t wan to make as many as I made.

meatball ingredients

Beat 4 eggs in a large bowl. LARGE BOWL. You are dealing with 4 pounds of meat here!

four eggs

I have a large bag of bread crumbs that I keep in my freezer. These are actually left over from this event. When I have leftover bread from dinner or heals that nobody wants to eat, etc. I dry them out in the oven. Then I whirr them around in the food processor. I leave them unseasoned so that they can be used in anything. Seasoning can always be added later.

You will need 2 cups.

breadcrumbs

Add the breadcrumbs, onion, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to the eggs. Mix it all around really well.

breading mixture

Add your meat.

meatball mixtures

This is where it gets messy, at least it did for me. Pull off your rings and start squishing everything together. I guess you could use a spoon. It just seems that hands do better for me. I can feel where the breadcrumb mixture is still in a clump. Squishing the meatball mixture together was rather therapeutic. It reminded me of making mud pies when I was little.

Once everything was mixed up, it was time to make the meatballs.

recycled styrofoam

I had what I thought was a good idea. Reuse the meat tray as my prep board! One less thing to wash!

I took half of the meat mixture on pressed it evenly into the tray.

tray of meat

Then, using a knife, I scored the meat into 36 equal portions. (I wish I could take credit for that idea. It came from the Taste of Home folks.) Roll each portion into a ball. Of course you could use a kitchen scoop if you would rather.

scored meat

rolled meatballs

After rolling a few meatballs, I decided they were too big. I went back and divided them in two.

Repeat the process with other half of the mixture.

My “equal” radar must have been a little off. I ended up with 153 meatballs.

prepared meatballs

At this point you can either cook them or freeze them.

I chose to cook them all. (400˚ for 10-15 minutes) You are supposed to cook them in batches so they aren’t so crowded on the pan. My crowded pan took a little longer than the pan with more space.

cooked meatballs

Use about 30 meatballs to make something yummy like Sweet and Sour Meatballs. Enjoy your dish while the rest of the meatballs cool completely.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

After dinner, package up the rest of the meatballs and put them in the freezer. Now when that school schedule gets a little on the crazy side, you have something easy to fix for dinner. (Meatball Subs, Spaghetti and Meatballs, party appetizers, the list goes on and on!)

freezer meatballs

I ended up with 9 dozen meatballs for the freezer!

Keep your eyes on the clearance bin and have a great school year!

Back to School Meatballs

4 eggs

2 cups dry bread crumbs

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

4 pounds lean ground beef

-Beat eggs

-Add everything but the meat

-Add the meat

-Shape into meatballs

-Bake on an ungreased baking sheet with sides at 400˚ for 10-15 minutes, turning often,  until no longer pink.

-Drain

-Cool before freezing.

While sitting in the orthodontist’s waiting room with my daughter for what seemed like forever, we flipped through every magazine they had!

Our orthodontist’s office selection of magazines is much better than our dentist’s office. At least the choices are less than a year old!

Megan and I scrutinized the glossy pages for a scrap of something interesting to bide our time.

I believe it was magazine #5 that held our interest. Sorry, I looked at so many, I don’t remember the specific copy.

recipe

If you have been around Pork Chop Tuesday for a while, you have read about our experiences with quinoa. If you are new, you can catch up here and here.

Megan was beyond excited about trying Quinoa Meatballs and asked if we could have them for dinner. Fortunately, I had just picked up some ground pork on sale for $1.81 a pound!

I snapped the picture of the recipe with my iPad.

We finally made it out of the orthodontist’s office and headed home.

Quinoa Meatballs-raw

I had to tweak the recipe a little, not too much though. I used yellow onion rather than shallots. I will be amazed if my little Walmart ever carries shallots. I had my hesitations about the cinnamon. I am ANTI Cincinnati Chili, which uses pumpkin pie spice-yuck! I used the cinnamon anyway. I think I may leave it out next time. Although, the cinnamon gives the meatballs an exotic flavor. I also think it helps mask some of the garlic.

I used my small scoop to form the meatballs. I didn’t round them out in my hand. I just scooped them onto the parchment. Next time I will take time to form them a little better.

I think they look a little weird.

Quinoa Meatballs-cooked

Part of the strange appearance is the quinoa! It looks like my meatballs have the measles or something!

The whole crew was anxious to try this new dish. Check out their comments in the Critics’ Corner.

Quinoa Meatballs for supper

Hopefully, this blog post will serve as your inspiration, and you won’t have to pour over magazines in the orthodontist’s office.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: These are better than good but less than great. I’d certainly eat and enjoy them again.

Megan: I didn’t expect them to be kinda spicy, but they were delish!

Katie: LOVE them! : )

Sometimes I just get tired of “normal” food. This soup recipe is not your regular run-of-the-mill soup. It has meatballs in it! I tend to think of meatballs with spaghetti or as a party food, not in soup!

I saw this recipe it the October issue of Southern Living. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but I think it turned out delicious!

soup

First, make the meatballs.

Chicken Meatballs

1 pound ground chicken

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 tsp. rosemary

Combine these ingredients and shape into approximately 30 meatballs. Sauté meatballs in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until browned.  Remove meatballs and set aside. You’ll want to do this in a couple of batches. Just use a Dutch oven so you don’t have to wash a skillet.

Next, make the soup.

Lemony Soup

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

3 carrots, sliced thinly

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (32 ounce) containers chicken broth

5-6 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp. rosemary

3/4 cup orzo pasta (I didn’t have any orzo. I substituted broken spaghetti for the orzo, and it was still yummy.)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

Sauté onion, carrots, and garlic in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until tender.

Stir in broth, lemon juice, lemon zest and rosemary. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Add orzo (or spaghetti). Reduce to a simmer for 7-9 minutes, or until pasta is almost tender.

Stir in the meatballs. Simmer another 5-7 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Top with cheese and parsley.

Meatball soup

This soup was so yummy and fresh tasting! I reminded me of this recipe a little.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: This may be the first time I’ve ever had a lemon-flavored soup, but it was fantastic. All of the ingredients worked together well for a unique flavor that was really good.

Megan: It was too lemony for my taste.

Katie: It was rather yummy, but it just had too much of something.

My grandmother had a love of cookbooks! She always liked to buy those little ones at the checkout stand. She had a gazillion!

She also had quite a collection of pamphlets from the county extension office. You can still get info from your local agency. However, with computers these days, getting little pamphlets is kinda “old school”.

I don’t know where she got this little cookbook. (As you can see, it is a Riceland Rice cookbook. There is no date or publication information on it. My guess is late 1950s-early 1960s.) Since my grandparents had rice on their farm, maybe they sold to Riceland and they sent her a cookbook. Maybe she got it at the Extension office. Who knows! Stuttgart, AR, the home of Riceland Foods, is not far from here.

One day I was thumbing through it and came across this recipe.

Riceland Rice Porcupines

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup uncooked Riceland Rice

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Dash of chili powder

1 tablespoon fat

1/2 medium onion, sliced thin

1/2 green pepper, sliced thin

2 1/2 cups tomato juice

Mix ground beef and uncooked Riceland Rice, the salt and pepper together. Add  dash of chili powder and mix well. Form into small balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place in a covered baking dish

In a skillet, melt the 1 tablespoon of fat (or drippings). Saute in this the onion and green pepper. Pour the onion, green pepper, tomato juice over the porcupines-to-be and place in a 350˚F oven. Cook from 1 to 1 1/4 hours. They’re done when the visible rice is tender. Serve with additional tomato sauce if desired. This recipe makes 8 Riceland Rice porcupines.

I have made these before, but it has been a while.

Mine were a little smaller that 1 1/2 inches. I ended up with 17! They were not too small though.

I don’t put the whole 1/2 of a green pepper in my version. The Critics are not too in to peppers. I did buy some green peppers not too long ago. They were 3/$1, so I thought I’d chopped them up and freeze them for when I needed them. Life got in the way. When I was making my meatballs, I noticed I had some withered RED peppers! I salvaged what I could. Most of it was put in the freezer. I put just a tiny amount in the meatballs.

I sautéed my peppers and onions in bacon fat. Duh!

I was missing a key ingredient…tomato juice. Ugh! There was no time to go to the store. I had to improvise! I had some canned tomatoes in juice. I drained off the juice. It was a little more than 1 cup. I chopped up the tomatoes even finer and added them in there too. I also added a little tomato paste and water.

Since the meatballs weren’t the size called for in the recipe, I cut the cooking time to about an hour, I think.

Porcupines!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Who knew porcupines tasted so good?

Megan: I prefer the other kind, but these are very tasty! (I imagine she is referring to the time I made them with actual tomato juice.)

Katie: Porcupine Meatballs are one of my favorite things to eat, and this  batch was no exception. Delicious! I enjoyed them to the last bite!