Porcupine Balls

I know such a weird name for them, and my dad picked it out, never asked him if it was an inside joke.  Too Late now, so the name sticks.

This is the Larrick recipe I was taught watching my dad.  He is the one who really taught me about spices.  I never forget him telling me everything can do with just a little bit of thyme.  Yes, he loved puns, and it stuck in my head.

So I clearly remember him the day he came up with this recipe.  He was tired of me not eating the green peppers.  But he knew I loved the flavor of them, so he stared at me thinking.  And yes my dad could cook!  His mother taught him.

He thought, and then told me to get the stuff out for stuffed peppers.  I pulled out the rice, and got it cooking, (If you are wondering, he was teaching me Russian cooking, though I think this is the closest I ever got to it!) and pulled out the meat, eggs, green peppers and onions.

He told me to cut up the onions, and he started the meat.  Raw, (2.5 lbs) but he added 2 eggs (I am going to use the measurements I used today) Added some Italian spices (A good amount of pinch, he always told me to rub dry spices together, releasing their scent.  Now I use Italian spices blended by HEB, but he would make his own.  I am not that patient.) And I cut up 2 onions.  He then started cutting up the green peppers, and we mixed the stuff together until it look right.

He made the sauce and poured it over the little balls, and voila! a family recipe emerges.

Now I know I skipped a few steps, and it is because over time, I played with the recipe.  Hey, it’s my family recipe, and made for me even!   My mother in law uses uncooked minute rice, to help soak up the juices and stuff.  And when I mix it, depends on what is going on.  If I need it to stretch longer, I add more rice, if it is a normal dinner, I make it until the balls feel prickly.  It really is to your preferences, which is why the thing was made.  Below is the recipe:

2 1/2 lbs of ground Turkey meat

Minute rice (And I forgot to measure, but making it until it feels prickly is a good judge.  Its not a little amount, I pour it out from the big box for a couple seconds, and then added  more when the consistency was not right)

2 onions chopped

3 green peppers chopped

Natures Seasoning Salt For flavour

Italian seasonings for the same thing.

2 eggs

Mix all and form balls about baseball to softball size The larger the balls, the longer it takes to cook.

The sauce:

Easiest thing in the world.  From My grandmother on the Larrick side: One can of tomato sauce to one can of tomato soup.  Mix together.  That is it. Pour over the balls.

Cook in 350 degrees for 45 minutes, check if done in the middle.

Now, for the stuff I have done over the years,  I tried brown gravy over the balls.  Good, but I prefer the original sauce.  My step dad hates sauce, so I usually make a pan with just the balls.  I cover both pans, like today, I made dinner, then hit the warm feature on the oven.  They will still bake, but I made the balls largish, so this will work.

Now why did I make them so early?  I’ve been sick all last week and then when I get better, I go and reorganize my mom’s office, and promptly sent me back to bed until today.  No meals.  None.  So I made this in case I feel like shit again, they can eat.   LOL

Enjoy!!!

Wendy

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Bi weekly Menu 3

Yikes am I late doing this.  Family drama and family emergencies just tired you out.

Ok.  This time for shopping I had a quandary.   No sales on anything I could use!   So this time, I had to use my brain for things.  But I had some breaks.  I don’t know about you guys, there are some days I just don’t feel like cooking, or it was declared Pizza day.  Something came up so I could recycle 3 meals.  I had the roast pulled out, the chicken for the soup still around, and the frozen family Stouffers.

So the menu became:

(the above mentioned recycled meals)

Stroganoff

Rigatoni

Peirogies

Meatloaf

Tacos

Beef Bourgandy

Grilled Cheese

Pulled Pork

Now you might be wondering what Peirogies are.  they are from the Slavic areas (Poland and Russia) but they have dough pockets filled with stuff.  I say stuff cause traditionally, they can be filled with Potato and cheese (the ones we eat here, since it is my favorite), sauerkraut, fruit or anything your heart desires.   I grew up on the Catholic & Russian Orthodox churches making the  peirogies to raise money for them, and they would be a bunch of old ladies in the back talking as they made them in huge amounts.  My Bubba loved to make them, then she would take the leftovers to make a wonderful other dish.  Sadly, she passed away with no recipe, but with the fact I can still taste the dish to this day.  Normally you boil the peirogies in water, then you sauté onions in butter and eat it that way (my way).  Or fry them in the butter and onions, or whatever you want.  I buy Mrs. T version.  There are rumors of making them again.  When this is done, we do them in a large group to make it fun and easier.   Once we do that, I will let you guys know the recipe and so on.

Meatloaf, I made that yesterday.  I took 2.5 lbs of turkey meat ground, added two green peppers diced up and a half a LARGE onion then added two eggs, and Italian bread crumbs.  My mom, old pro at meatloaf, cause normally I avoid the stuff like the plague, helped out.   I used Season Salt and that is it folks.  I added to a loaf pan (not my good pampered chef one, I make a lot of bread in that and am protective of it) then I added ketchup on the top.  Now for me, I hate the taste of ketchup in meatloaf.  But… It is time honored tradition.  After more than an hour in the oven, I pulled it out.  We had mashed potatoes (secret for those that don’t know.. one potato for each and one for the pot.  Never fails.) and corn with it.  Good stuff.

I made the Roast on Sunday after shopping.  I made a traditional roast.  Make a rack of veggies for it to sit on made out of chunky onions, celery and garlic cloves.  I had a small head left after the previous week so I used it up in there.  Marty browned the roast, and I cut up potatoes.  We put the roast in the Covered Baker, surrounded it with potatoes, carrots and put ALOT of thyme in it (I accidently spilled it. It turned out well!) Beef broth to make sure there is moisture in the baker.  I ended up adding water to make the potatoes have some on it.  Baked for 3 hours, (LARGE roast) and then made gravy out of the juices left, and served.  Gone…

For the Beef Bourgandy and Stroganoff, we have Rachel Ray altered recipes for those that are sent in.

And for those that wonder, Yes I came in under the $300 budget.  By $30.  So proud of that one.

enjoy!

Wendy

Tonight’s Dinner – Homemade Mac and Cheese

Yep!  I finally got to make the dinner, and wanted to embed the recipe in here.  Hopefully Megan still has the pics for it, since I am not sure.

So I am taking a break from writing, and here you go:

Original recipe amounts:

1 T Butter

1 C Dried Elbow Macaroni

1 1/4 C Milk

1 T All Purpose Flour

1/4 C Diced onions

Dash of Pepper

*6 Ounces Cheese

Ok here is the deal.  The original Better Homes and Gardens recipe did a suggestion, to make it half American Cheese.  I took this and altered it more (anyone surprised?)  that 6 ozs of cheese is as follows.  1 1/2 C Mild Cheddar, 1 1/2 Sharp Cheddar, and 3 ounces of Velveeta Cheese.

Now, I make this for a dinner for the family.  And I make it in batches.  Batches to me is whatever times the original amount.  This time is was a 6 batch, cause all I had was 6 C of elbow macaroni.  So this made the recipe this:

6 T Butter

6 C Dried Elbow Macaroni

7 1/2 C 2% Milk

6T Flour

1 1/2 C onions Diced

Dash of pepper, done a couple of times.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make this stuff, it is easy peasy.  Heat your water.  When it boils, cook your macaroni for 10 minutes.  Yes, even if it says longer, there is a reason for this.  It soaks the extra moisture into the noodles.

2013-10-17 19.44.30Then in a large saucepot, or even a large pot altogether, melt the butter.

Now I like browning my butter, its just the way I am.  You don’t have to, but make sure it is melted, then pour your onions into it.

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Cook until they are completely done, then you pour the flour.

2013-10-17 19.53.21The Flour is going to thicken the sauce for you, it should also soak up all that butter.

2013-10-17 19.53.50When it is mixed well, I go then to pour my milk into the measuring container, allowing the flour to cook a little.  Do not burn it!  This will make it taste burned no matter what. (Since I have been making this since I learned to cook, yeah it has happened to me.)

2013-10-17 19.54.24Then pour the milk in ALL AT ONCE.  Mix it with the flour mixture, making no clumps.

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You heat the mixture until right before it boils.  You can tell this since you need to stir it often, it will bubble on the bottom.  Make sure you stir often, again the flour will burn with the milk.  awful taste.

Then when it gets to this almost boil, add in your cheeses.  I do Velveeta then cheddar, but that is because I always end up measuring the cheddar.  The Velveeta I normally cut up before hand.  Do not use the shredded stuff, there is more flour added to it, and it doesn’t taste nor does the texture of this feel right afterwards.

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Drain the macaroni and put in a pre-Pam’d container, (I use a pampered chef baking 9×13 pan, but glass containers work as well.)  Pour noodles in, then cheese sauce until it is full.  I ended up with more cheese than noodles, and no more room for the cheese.  Marty promises he will figure out what to do with the sauce, since this is a huge favorite.

When done, it should be lightly browned on top.  Serve.

Cookin oven for 30 minutes

Menu #2

I am so sorry.  I seem to be saying that so much, but if you are interested in why I am saying it, then visit my blog.  But I did make a menu for the next two weeks, and even sent in the recipes.  Well some of them.  Chili will need to be written after I make it, since it was one of those, oh crap, I need to make dinner… And since I cannot make my dad’s chili that is soupy, I made what my grandma calls Friday Night Chili.  Very meaty based, and is chock full of flavor.  I also ended up switching out meals, as whole chickens were on sale at Sam’s club and I got two of them.  And Marty found the fish fillet’s for sandwiches, and told me about it pointedly after we bought fish, so I guess we are having sandwiches this week!

The menu:

Chili

Macaroni and Cheese (I had forgotten the Velveeta that makes this Better Homes and Garden recipe more like Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese)

Cheese Lasagna from Stouffers (On sale at HEB, buy one, get stuff for free thing.)

Rigatoni

Roast

Stew

Pork Tenderloin

Roasted Chicken

1

Chicken Noodle Soup

Fried Fish

Fish sandwiches

Chicken Bolognese

This menu came with revisions on the spot in the stores, as I had planned to make something with chicken skinless boneless chicken but when the difference is $10 from buying a package, and buying two whole chickens?  yeah I bought the chickens.  At the worst scenario, is that Marty would have to cut up the chicken for me to use, as he used to do this at Grandy’s, not so hard for us.  But I make Chicken Noodle soup with whole chickens, since the bones and skins and all that seem to add to the flavor.  I will have to write that one up, since I make that one as I go.

I also perused the local HEB ad before shopping.  Now HEB is a local Texas thing, but it often offers free items if you buy something else.  They are also awesome with having coupons on site that they gather from the makers of the products they carry.  Now they may not get every single one of them, but they try!  Right now, they are still working to go from your phone, but they are working towards it.  they also price match, and with Kroger’s, Super Target and Super Wal-Mart in a five mile radius from them, they do the price matching themselves.   They also carry hard to find things, like the brand of Fire Roasted Tomatoes I use is Muir.  I never can find them at Kroger’s, Walmart or even Super Target. Their meat and produce is also really good.  So when I shop ads, I shop theirs.  Sorry everyone outside Texas, but hey, no guarantee that my ads would have matched yours anyways.

The first thing you normally see is meat.  I wrote down the meals I could make, made note of the pricing, and since we go to Sam’s Club first, I compared prices there.  I also make decisions based on what the free stuff is.  Ground Turkey meat had a special, but it cost more for the meat there than the Sam’s, the difference being that I could buy everything free and still come out cheaper.  Smart shopping.  I did it today, and to feed a family of 4, with starving people, and my hubby feeding his poor coworkers (I just found that out when I wondered how the leftovers were disappearing so fast.) I spent $310.   This counts for snacks, paper goods and so on.  The deal we made with my parents, is that we paid for food and made it, and that was our contribution.  For the last month (Counting todays shopping) I spent over $600 in food alone.  And because of the redecorating, the Chicken fajita went to waste, because I was plain too tired to make them.  I fell into bed only waking to realize I only ate breakfast the day before.  I pushed myself in ways my family can tell is unreal, but I do when I want something done.  Almost torn ligament in my knee from exercising, then rearranged the house on it anyone?  That is when my hubby gets involved, and part of the reason he stayed home today.  To make sure I don’t push myself.  I had mentioned cleaning the house and grocery shopping.  With the last few days, he was slightly alarmed.

So since this is our major cost, since what we pay for food excels what we used to pay for our share of the house and electric, I try to save money.   That is what I am trying to share.  LOL  While being wordy.

So after I picked the meat, I made dinners, and thankfully, like my hubby and mom say, I am a walking cookbook.  Since I learned what makes what taste like, I can see something for sale, and figure out how to use it.  But, you guys can use the Food blog.  I am putting recipes out here as fast as I think of them, and the other ladies are doing the same!  We are trying what we can to make it easier for you, so let us know.

See you guys soon!!

Oh yeah, since I made the Rigatoni tonight, let me lift the description of what I told the ladies, then what it really was:

What I said: Rigatoni with mozzarella layered on top, and hot fresh sauce and hot fresh bread with butter…

What it really is: I had rigatoni with mozzarella with ragu sauce and store bought French bread heated back up.   Amazing what words can do to change what something sounds like..

Wendy!

Dancing in the kitchen Party Deux

taco-time-

Yep, I hijacked the food blog again.   Why?  No responses.  None.  So now you have to suffer through me making tacos, and making it an easy clean up process.  Told you to review….

And yes, I used French for a Mexican food blog.  Why?  Because I can.  LOL  And cause they sound the same, while Dos looks like a deer, a female deer, and that song gets stuck in my head.  <sighs>  And I did it to myself.

Why am I in a good mood?  Cause I REALLY love Tacos.  I can get sick eating them, the ones I make.  But I usually have to leave some for others to eat.  What makes what I make so different, well I will tell you.  (And one of the awesome ladies can take this and put in as a recipe, I would appreciate it!)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Lbs of Turkey Meat

1/2 C of Onions (Hey remember all those onions I cut up last week and put in the freezer??  Hint!)

2 Packets of Taco Bell Seasoning (Because when I came up with this, I used the Taco Bell Kits.  Now I just don’t mess with perfection)

1 1/2 Cups Water

A double handful of chopped cilantro

18 Hard shells

Soft shells

Lettuce

Cheese

Sour cream (I had it left over, so yeah otherwise…)

Pace or your favorite brand of salsa.

Optional: Garlic for health reasons (I put about a clove and a half in, I use coarsely chopped tube stuff.  Hey don’t know it, try it before you do!)

First I throw the meat, onions, (yes even frozen, the onions can be just tossed in there.) and the cilantro in. Then I preheat the oven to the 300 degrees for the hard shells. I brown it all up, then drain the meat.

Since this is a dance, I usually shred the lettuce, putting it in one bowl, and take the other half of the lettuce and cuts it up for salad.  I worked at Grandy’s as the salad bar maker for so long, that I don’t even THINK of how I cut the salad, into cubes.  I also usually pull everything out, and have it out on the counter, so I spend the time cleaning up any messes at this time, storing it in the dishwasher.

Then I dump in the packets into the water, mix it there, (cause for some reason this just makes sense to me.  If I am out of time, I do as I did this time).  I dump about two packets of salsa in the meat mixture.  About, 3/4 cup or a cup, depending how saucy you like your tacos.  This adds so much flavor, and drastically cuts the cooking time so much, plus ever since I started to do this, my family raves about my tacos.

While the mixture is cooking into the meat, I put the hard shells on the cookie sheet (Without the raised sides, if you have one).  Now my hubby, when I asked him one time to do this, he stood them up on the open ends.  when I looks at him funny and asked why, he said they would heat better.  And yes, they actually did.   So yep, I did that since then.  See?  Even I can learn something!

When the stuff is getting close to finishing, I start organizing the buffet.  Cause let’s face it, there is no better way to do tacos than a buffet.  But think when you do it.  I put the plates (paper, cause why make more work?), then the soft shells. (I normally leave the hard shells on the oven, cause I like them and I try to discourage people from eating them.  What can I say?  I admitted to the whole loving Tacos thing already?!?!) Then I actually spoon the meat into a serving dish, piled higher than will fit, put they will eat it, with the lettuce next, cheese, sour cream and salsa.  Spoons out, (the small ones work best to fit into the shells).  Then I scrub out the pan, and put everything in the dishwasher.

So what is left?  Other than to chow down?  Putting lids on the bowls I used for the lettuce (since I will be personally using the shredded one later for the Freebird Burritos.) And the other let them know that it is out there and they can make salads with it.  Which is actually well liked in my house with the taco meat.  Put a lid on the meat, and put it all away. Spoons to be put in the dishwasher, but easy peasy.

There is a reason why I love this dinner, it makes a lot of food, for 4 people.  and with all the lettuce and stuff, it helps fill bellies, and makes it a balanced meal.  And it all reheats awesomely.

I am going off to put this as a pending, to allow the ladies to look over it and make any changes they need to.  I am enjoying myself, and going back to editing.  <grins>

Wendy