Friday, August 26, 2011

Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Baked Brown Rice and Peas

This meal has become a true family favorite!  One of my favorite recipe blogs is Mel's Kitchen Cafe and she did not let me down!

This recipe is truly the prefect combination of flavors - my husband said it reminded him more of the Bourbon chicken flavor than a true sweet and sour (which made him like it even more!)  The leftovers are even better!  I used peas as the veggie because it was quick and easy but afterwards realized how will it went with the rice - it made it more like a fried rice :-)  As the recipe states - I did actually double the sauce and I was very glad that I did otherwise I wouldn' t have had any sauce to use with my leftover meatballs and rice.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Serves 4-6
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (you don’t want the beef to be too high in fat because the fat will all pool at the bottom of the baking dish after baking – big time grody-ness in my book)
3/4 cup quick oats
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Form into about 12 balls, each about 2 inches in diameter. Place in a casserole dish. Cover with sauce (below). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 cup barbeque sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Combine ingredients and blend thoroughly. Heat in a small saucepan until combined and sugar is dissolved and pour over meatballs. (This dish is not overly abundant on sauce so if you enjoy things a bit saucier, double the sauce ingredients.)
*Freezable Meal: After covering the meatballs with sauce, cover the pan with two layers of aluminum foil and freeze. To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake covered without thawing for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 20-30 minutes more, until meatballs are cooked through.

Baked Brown Rice  (sorry, I can't get the italics to turn off!!)
*Note: This recipe doubles beautifully for a 9X13-inch pan.
*Makes about 3 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water (if using water, add 1 teaspoon salt)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8X8-inch or 9X9-inch baking pan. Place the rice in the prepared pan and pour in the liquid. Stir to equally distribute the rice. Cover tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes before removing the aluminum foil and fluffing with a fork. If your rice still has a bit of liquid on the bottom or conversely, if it is dried out, adjust the baking time up or down to make changes.


Before baking, slice one small yellow onion into dices or half moons and caramelize and brown in 1 teaspoon of olive oil until golden and soft (about 10 minutes in a nonstick skillet). Stir onion into rice and broth mixture and bake according to recipe.
After removing rice from the oven and letting it sit for five minutes, remove aluminum foil and stir in the zest and juice from 1 lemon, 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 apple, finely diced

If you try this recipe out - let me know what you think!

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