Monday, February 18, 2008

Hawaiian Meatballs

Let me start by saying I've had a few posts up here, but I took them down for a few reasons. There was a lot of personal info up that I wasn't comfortable having online anymore, and I felt like I could 'start fresh' after deleting those few blogs.

Tonight, I made myself (okay, and my hubby) Hawaiian Meatballs with rice. It's one of my favorite recipes to make. It's also one of the first meals I made for Graham, and while he's not as sentimental about it as I am, I enjoy making dinner and knowing it's something 'special' between the two of us.

I got this recipe from a church cookbook and over the years I've tweaked it to make it my own.

The first time I made this meal, it was the craziest time in the kitchen I've ever had. I made such a mess!!! There were pots and pans everywhere, and I used a new spoon for EVERYTHING. Partly it was because Graham is a little ocd about cleanliness and order, so he freaked out if I tried to use the same spoon for two or more uses. I ended up making the biggest mess ever....utensils piled high in the sink, splatters from the sauce on the stove, last minute salads and messes on the dinner table....it was a sight to behold! Graham commented tonight that I've gotten to be a much neater cook from the first time I made dinner for him. :-)

So anyway, this is a relatively simple recipe. It involves a certain amount of prep time--I'd estimate about 20 to 30 minutes of prep. Then again, I'm not always the fastest when it comes to prepping in the kitchen so anyone with a little more 'expertise' might zip right through the prep period.

I'd also estimate about 30 minutes for the cook time. It's probably not that much, but I forgot to time it tonight so I could be wrong.

I've served this with rice and pasta before, but I think rice works best. I think it provides a nice contrast and makes it seem a little less like pasta and meatballs. I've used minute rice and tonight I used *gasp* Uncle Ben's. I'm still not used to 'from scratch' cooking entirely, and rice is hard! So until I get a little more comfortable, out of a box it is!

Here's the recipe. I've made it with regular onions before, though I think the green onions are best. You can also omit the green peppers, since they're not vital to the meatballs.

1 and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 and 1/4 tsp. ginger (you can use fresh grated ginger or prepared ginger from the spice rack.)
black pepper to taste
1 lb. ground beef or ground chuck
3 T. green onions (or 2 T. 'regular' onion)
1/2 cup French bread crumbs
1 egg
1 8 oz. can pineapple chunks in natural juices
water as needed
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 green peppers, cut into thin strips

In a large bowl, sprinkle garlic powder, ginger, and pepper over meat. Add onion, egg, and bread crumbs and blend until well mixed. Shape into one-inch balls. Cook meatballs over medium heat until well browned on all sides. Set aside and keep warm. Drain pineapple chunks and reserve juices. Set pineapple aside. Mix reserved juice with water to make one cup. Pour into skillet. Add brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and soy sauce. Heat, stirring constantly, approx. 3 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add meatballs, pineapple chunks, and green pepper strips. Stir to coat evenly with sauce. Cover and simmer for ten minutes. Serve over rice.

Notes:
  • Pasta will also work well with this, though I think the pasta tends to taste funny with the sauce and the whole meal resemebles 'pasta and meatballs'.
  • Add the cornstarch last when making the sauce--it will clump together and be difficult to separate if you add it before the other ingredients.
  • A larger can of pineapple chunks will give you more juice and more pineapple flavor. I prefer a 16 oz or 20 oz can. One 20 oz can yields about one cup of juice; I add a splash of water to help dilute the juice.
  • Bread crumbs can probably be increased to 2/3 cup, or even slightly less than 1 cup. I've been experimenting lately.
  • The recipe says 'non-stick skillet' (from my cookbook), but I used my non-stick saute pan tonight with no problems whatsoever. I don't currently own any stainless steel pans, but I imagine that adding a pat of butter to the pan before you begin cooking would work fine.
Okay...that's all for now. Contact me if you need any info on this, or feel free to comment if you've tried this and tell me what you think!

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