Porcupine Meatballs

I had meatballs on the menu for the other night, but was tired of the BBQ meatballs that I usually make, so I went with these porcupine meatballs.  They are made with uncooked rice that puffs during the baking time, making them look like the spikes of a porcupines.

Porcupine Meatballs

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice

1/3 cup milk {maybe less}

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 jar {approx 26 oz} spaghetti sauce

1/2 cup water

Combine the ground beef, rice, Parmesan, and seasonings together in a large bowl.  Slowly add the milk, adding just enough to bring the mixture together.  Form into golf ball sized meatballs and place in a casserole dish that has a lid.  Pour on the spaghetti sauce and water.  Cover with the lid and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes about 18 meatballs.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

This meal was heavenly!  It really hit the spot for us on a chilly fall night.  I absolutely loved it and will dream about when I can make it again!  Although it is a very common meal, I had never made a version where the meatballs are cooked right in the sauce.    It was definitely worth the extra time too.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Source:  adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, also seen at Annie’s Eats


For the sauce:

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped {I used a white onion}

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28 oz.) can tomato puree {I used whole tomatoes}

1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce

1 small can of tomato paste

2 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or to taste

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup of water (or more)

For the meatballs:

1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided

1/4 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp. dried parsley

1/2 cup grated Romano cheese {I used Parm}

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

1 lb. lean ground beef

For serving:
Freshly cooked spaghetti
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Minced fresh basil

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion to the pot and saute until tender, 5-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, stirring, about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, paste, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and sugar.  Add water to thin the sauce out to your desired consistency.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.  Let simmer for as long as possible {I went with about 1 hour}.  Since I used canned whole tomatoes, I needed to puree my sauce with my immersion blender right before adding the meatballs.

To make the meatballs, in a medium mixing bowl combine 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs with the milk.  Let the bread crumbs soak for 10 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly.  Form the mixture into meatballs {I had 21 meatballs).  Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce about 45 minutes before the sauce will be finished cooking.  Cover and let simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 45 minutes.

So, my sauce simmered for 1 hour before I added the meatballs and then another 45 minutes with the meatballs.

Transfer freshly cooked pasta to serving dishes.  Top each serving with sauce and meatballs.  Garnish with shredded Parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.

BBQ Meatballs

Update 7/10/10:  We now make this with 1/2 chili sauce and 1/2 ketchup. 🙂

This was a yummy meal I made the other night.   It comes from PW’s new cookbook and was the first recipe I made from the book.  I’ve made several recipes from her website, but I wanted to use the pretty cookbook this time.

Tim thought they were a little too sweet, so I might adjust the sauce just a little bit next time.  I thought they were prefect though.  She recommends serving them over mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles and I went with the noodles.

BBQ Meatballs

{Source: The Pioneer Woman}

  • 1-½ pound Ground Beef {I used 1 pound}
  • ¾ cups Oats
  • 1 cup Milk {I used less since I used less ground beef}
  • 3 Tablespoons Very Finely Minced Onion
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • Plenty Of Ground Black Pepper (to Taste)
  • _____
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour for dredging
  • Canola Oil
  • _____
  • 1/2 cup Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Chili Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 4 Tablespoons (to 6 Tablespoons) Onion – very finely chopped
  • dash of Tabasco – to taste
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes.  {I placed them in the fridge for 24 hours.}

After 5 minutes {or overnight}, remove meatballs from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour.

Quickly brown the meatballs in canola oil until just brown.  Place into a baking dish.

Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with buttered egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty French bread.

Swedish Meatballs

The other day I was talking about IKEA with some friends and they mentioned the wonderful Swedish Meatballs that they have eaten there.  Well, I’ve only been to IKEA once and didn’t eat anything while I was there, but it sounded like a meal that I would enjoy so I decided to give them a try.  It sounded perfectly comforting on a harsh (-17 degree) winter night.

I adapted this recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens Special Breast Cancer Edition cookbook (page 362) and this blog.

Swedish Meatballs

2 beaten eggs

1/4 cup milk

3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used plain store bought)

1 medium onion (1/2 cup), very finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, or 1/4 tsp allspice and 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used all nutmeg)

a few pinches of salt

1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped. Plus more for garnish. I omitted all together because I didn’t have any, but I think it was missed so I wouldn’t skip it in the future.

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups beef broth

1/2 cup cream (I used milk)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a medium saute pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until onion is soft.

In a large bowl, mix ground beef, 1/4 cup of milk, 2 eggs, bread crumbs, sauteed onions, nutmeg, black pepper, another pinch of salt and  parsley.  Once mixed, form into small balls and place on baking sheets.  Bake for 12-15 minutes. (I tried to brown them in batches in a skillet first, but they started to fall apart and it didn’t really work out so I just baked them off.)

While the meatballs bake, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk until light brown, about 2 minutes.  Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until it starts to thicken.  Add cream or milk and continue to cook until it reaches the desired consistency.  (Like Ally, I had to add a slurry of cornstarch and cold water to thicken it more.) 

Reduce heat to simmer and add the cooked meatballs to the sauce while you prepare the egg noodles. Once noodles are done, stir in a little butter so they don’t stick together, plate them and serve meatballs and sauce over the top.  Garnish with parsley. Enjoy!

I would say that this turned out pretty well but not fantastic.  I thought the sauce was a little bland and like I said above, the parsley was definitely missed.  Next time, I will add more seasoning (salt, pepper, and allspice), use cream or half and half instead of the milk at the end, and possibly use a combo of beef and pork for more flavor.  I also had a problem with the sauce being lumpy.  I don’t know how to fix that but I don’t think it affected the taste.  Any suggestions would be appreciated!