So one day, I was running late at work. I text my SO (significant other) that I would be late, and he asked if I wanted him to start dinner. Bonus points already for asking! Yes please. We had some cooked rice in the fridge, and always have ground turkey on hand. I had mentioned porcupine meatballs previously, to which he responded with a weird look. To explain, adding rice makes meatballs ‘porcupine’. We used to have these all the time growing up, maybe it’s a Polish/Slovak thing.
Anyways, so since I had planted the idea earlier, I suggested that as an option, with some healthy tweaks. An additional can of pinto beans mashed in, plus a can of diced tomatoes or two ups the protein, fiber, and vitamins from the usual just meat/rice combo. Using ground turkey over beef helps cut down on saturated fat as well.
Of course, the only side dish you’re allowed to have with porcupine meatballs is mashed potatoes. Sometimes you can take shortcuts and make them healthy, but sometimes you gotta go all-in: butter, milk, sour cream, and garlic salt. You just know by the look and feel of the potatoes when you’ve added enough of each. Creamy and smooth without being too liquid, with a slight hint of yellow, and a strong smell of garlic. Starting to drool just thinking about it.
And of course, the whole shebang gets drowned in a homemade tomato sauce. Simply perfect.
1 pound ground turkey
1 cup cooked rice
1 can beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
6-10 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
Step 1: In a bowl, mix turkey, rice, drained beans, drained diced tomatoes, and some seasonings if you like. Form into golf to tennis sized balls and place in an oven-safe pan.
Step 2: Bake these at 350 for 50-60 minutes. You can use a meat thermometer to check, or cut one open and make sure there is no pink inside.
Step 3: For the sauce, combine 1 can undrained tomatoes, 1 can tomato sauce, and spices. Leave chunky or mix in a blender for a smooth sauce.
Step 4: Pour the sauce over the meatballs. You can do this before or after cooking them, if you do it after simply return to the oven for 3-5 minutes to heat through.
|Mmmm don’t these look fabulous!?
Step 5: Boil the diced potatoes for 10-15 minutes, until soft when poked with a fork. Drain and return to the cooking pot.
Step 6: Add milk, butter, sour cream, and spices (maybe some cheddar cheese too?) a little at a time, mixing with a potato masher or hand blender, until desired consistency is reached.
Step 7: Scoop a hearty pile of potatoes onto a plate and dollop with extra sauce. Add a meatball, and dive on in!
This is seriously a total bliss flavor combination. Reminds me of childhood and home every time. Definition of comfort food, with less fat and tons more goodness. I’m lucky to have such a good cook to come home to.
What food(s) reminds you of childhood?