Posted by Nicci | Recipes

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While I give credit to the original recipe of these meatballs to my mom’s Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, this is NOT your mama’s Porcupine Meatballs recipe.

At least once a year I see a post or hear a friend saying they are tired of the three recipes they know how to make with ground beef: hamburgers, meatloaf and chili. By this point these friends are asking for different recipe ideas of what to do with ground beef that their family will enjoy. Our family has a half dozen different go to recipes for ground beef from our homemade Sloppy Joe Bake to Shepard’s Pie. We even have different takes on making the tried and true three. That said the very first recipe I like to share with my friends is one that is often over looked but is so easy to make: Porcupine Meatballs.

This was one of my favorite childhood meals to eat. The only problem I had with this meal as a child was that there was never enough for left overs and my mom only made it once or twice a year. Generally one of those times would be for my birthday as I would beg for this to be my special birthday dish. Yes that is how much I have loved porcupine meatballs. The reason why we had this dish so infrequently was because my mom struggled on what to serve with the meatballs other then rice and either green beans or spinach. Neither of those vegetables were anyone’s favorites but mine so it was always easier to just make meatloaf because everyone enjoyed the vegetables and mashed potatoes she made up.

As an adult I have made this meal so often that I have made my own version of the recipe and have turned it into a meal option everyone loves.

Several years back Branden read an article that said if you combine brown rice with black beans you are creating a super food packed with nutrients that make you feel fuller longer. I am always keen on combining foods I love so trying brown rice with black beans didn’t bother me. At that time we would eat this on taco night as a side dish and add salsa and cheese.

Then one night when I really wanted porcupine meatballs but did not want my green beans or spinach Branden suggested the black beans because I was already cooking up rice as my side dish. It clicked and made perfect sense. Since then the side dish of choice with our meatballs and sauce is brown rice and black beans. Sometimes Branden even adds cheese to his bowl. It is a wonderfully simple meal that the whole family loves. For the kids who are not as fond of rice you can always put the meatballs over pasta or even serve with mashed potatoes and call the meal done.


Gluten Free Meatballs & Rice Recipe

Meatball Ingredients

1 egg (or egg substitute)

1 jar of spaghetti sauce

½ cup of instant white or brown rice

¼ cup plain instant oatmeal (optional)

¼ cup of minced onion

1 to 1 ¼ pounds of lean ground beef

4 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon of basil

½ teaspoon of Italian spices

½ teaspoon of thyme

Salt & pepper to taste


Other Ingredients to finish off the meal:

2 servings of rice

Black beans

Shredded cheese


Meatball Mixture:

Combine egg, ¼ to ½ cup of spaghetti sauce, instant rice, minced onion, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire and spices. Add beef and mix thoroughly. Purchasing exactly one pound of ground beef is always a difficult task so this recipe will need adjustment depending on how much ground beef you purchase. If the mixture is too wet (liquid squeezes out of the meat mixture) either add more instant rice or you may add ¼ cup of instant oatmeal. If the mixture is too dry (hard to form meatballs because the mixture breaks apart too easily) add a little more of the spaghetti sauce (or egg substitute).

Shape into 2” meatballs and place into an unheated skillet. Mix the remaining spaghetti sauce with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Pour the sauce mixture over the meatballs. Let the sauce come to a boil and remain boiling for five minutes before turning each meatball over. Reduce heat to low and cover the pan with a lid letting the meatballs cook on low heat/simmer for about 20 minutes. Check often to stir the sauce and make sure the meatballs are not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

While you are waiting for the meatballs to finish cooking prepare 2 to 4 servings of white or brown rice and mix with 1 can of black beans. When the meatballs are finished serve meatballs and sauce over the rice and bean mixture. Adding shredded cheese over the meatballs is a nice garnishing touch.

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