Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grandma Wade's Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I recently reorganized my cupboards.  I threw out a lot of spices and other things that were expired.  They look really pretty now.  That has nothing to do with the rest of this post.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Lots of Healthy Yummy Vegetables

There are only a few cookbooks that I use regularly.  One of them is the Watson Family Recipes cookbook, with recipes from ladies (and a gentleman or two) who I'm related to on my Mother's side.

This one is my most used.  Sweet and Sour meatballs.

I make the meatballs a few different ways, depending on how I feel and if I'm using up some frozen ones from the last pasta night I had.  Grandma's recipe is much simpler.  Bread crumbs, milk, salt and pepper.  Delicious!

I do a couple of things differently than Grandma, I hope she won't take offense (the chances of her ever finding out by Blog are seriously slim.)

The recipe calls for the vegetables to be stir-fried or sauted first, then simmered again with the liquid and meatballs for 20 minutes.  I like my peppers to have more of a crunch to them, so I will saute them, and then set aside and only add them back into the mixture in the last five minutes, when I add the cornstarch and water.  That and sometimes using a different meatball are my only real changes.

This is great served over white rice with a side of spring rolls or egg rolls.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs - by Grandma Wade (pg. 67 of the Watson Family Recipes)

1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
2 slices day old bread
1/2 c. milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1 medium can pineapple chunks, cut each in half (or use tidbits) RESERVE JUICE
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion (or 1 tsp. onion powder)
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into chunks
1/4 c. vinegar (I use Apple Cider vinegar)
1 c. pineapple juice (which you saved from earlier)
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cold water

Soak bread in milk.  Mix well with ground meat, egg, salt, and pepper.  Roll into one inch balls.  Brown meatballs in 1 tablespoon oil or butter in large pan.  Remove from pan and keep warm.  (I usually use breadcrumbs, and just toss them in with the milk and meat mixture.  I use a potato masher to mix it all together without touching it, because touching raw meat is gross.  Then a melon baller with a release lever - like an ice cream scoop - to shape the meatballs.)

*Side note:  If you double or triple the recipe, you can cook all the meatballs and then freeze them in Ziploc freezer bags for up to a month.  The meatballs reheat well in the microwave or on the stovetop and make a nice addition to pasta or for when you make this recipe again.*

In same pan, saute pineapple, green pepper, onion and carrots for 5-10 minutes.  Return meatballs to pan and add all remaining ingredients except cornstarch and water.  Simmer 20 minutes. (At this point I start my rice cooking in my rice cooker, or I'll forget and wait an extra twenty minutes after the meatball dish is cooked.)  Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons cold water.  Stir into meatball mixture.  Simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes.  Serve with rice.  If seasonings warrant, adjust to your taste. 

Enjoy!  I always do.

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