Friday, May 27, 2011
Porcupine Meatballs & Spinach Rice Bake
Rice is always on hand in my pantry. Rice finds its way along side stir fry, and sweet and sour chicken, can be flavoured with broth as a nice simple side dish, and as a key ingredient in many different casseroles. I just added a large 20 pound bag of my favorite rice to my pantry- our family loves Golden Star Jasmine rice (see above). For years I just bought any brand of plain rice, then I tried Jasmine rice and just love the way it cooks up every time. Jasmine rice is more expensive, but it is worth it, the twenty pound bags are much less per pound.
This week I made two dishes with rice as the key ingredient, and decided to share these old family classic recipes.
The first recipe is for Porcupine Meatballs, my mother made these for dinner when I was young, and her mother made them for her. This is a wonderful very easy recipe that stretches out a pound of hamburger quite well.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
1 lbs hamburger (I use a little over a pound like 1.4)
1/2 c. rice
1 T dried minced onion
30 oz. crushed tomatoes (I like the Italian flavored type)
water (amount varies)
Mix hamburger with egg, onion, and rice until well combined. Form into a dozen meatballs, place in a baking pan, give them a bit of space, as they expand. Pour tomatoes over the meatballs, then add water so that the meatballs are more than half way up in liquid, but not so much water as to thin out tomatoes, if you need to, depending on you dish size, you can also add more tomatoes. Sprinkle in some Italian seasoning, and using a fork, carefully incorporate it into the tomatoes, without damaging the meatballs. Cover pan with foil and bake at 375 F. For about an hour and a half. To check if they are done, the rice will be poking out of the meatballs like little porcupine quills, and the rice should be fully cooked as well as the meat being fully cooked. Wonderful served alongside broccoli and french bread and topped with a little parmesan. Here are the step by step pictures.
The next recipe is another family classic- Spinach Rice Bake, this is a very easy dish to make and is wonderful as a savory side dish and can even be a wonderful vegetarian main dish. Tonight I served this alongside Turkey Kielbasa, in the past as a vegetarian main dish I have served this alongside fruit and muffins.
Spinach Rice Bake
Preheat oven to 350 F.
1 package of frozen spinach thawed and drained
2 cups shredded cheese (Cheddar, Cheddar jack or Mexican blend)
2-3 cups of rice (depending on how much you want to make)
salt and pepper to taste
Steam rice according to package directions. While it is steaming, in a large mixing bowl, beat 3 eggs, add two cups of cheese, thawed & drained spinach, and salt and pepper- mix until combined. Coat a covered casserole dish with pan spray. When rice is done steaming, add it to the spinach mixture, and stir until well combined. Then transfer to casserole dish- cover and bake for about half an hour at 350 F. Just long enough to heat it through and set up the egg mixture.
Rice is a wonderful staple to add to your pantry- and can be used in so many ways. If you cook rice as often as I like to, I would highly suggest a rice steamer- I don't often like a lot of kitchen appliances, they are difficult to store and clean. I like my crock pot and toaster oven and for years that was about it- 2 years ago I was given a rice cooker as a gift, and absolutely love it, it makes rice cooking so simple. I have an inexpensive model, not one of the expensive fancy ones, and it works wonderfully, well worth its space on the counter. For another great rice recipe, check out my blog post recipe for Sausage Rice Casserole http://aprilshomemaking.blogspot.com/2011/04/sausage-rice-casserole.html
Hopefully I have given you some new ways to use rice- or reminded you of some old classic ways. Happy Cooking!