On New Year’s Day I decided to work towards adding simplicity to my life. As I thought about how to do that it occurred to me that it might actually be easier to plan out my meals in advance rather than going into a full-on panic every afternoon at 4:00. And yes, I do recognize that people have been planning meals for ages. I, however, am not one of those people. Oh sure, I’ve done it off and on over the years but my best-laid plans tend to peter out after a while. However, I’m over six weeks into the year and my new system seems to be working fairly well.
I won’t bore you with all the details of my menu planning system because that’s a whole article in and of itself and we’d never get to the meatballs mentioned in the title . . . the MAGNIFICENT MEATBALLS! Part of my plan though, is to come up with 20 different meals for the month thus eliminating the whole grilled chicken, hamburger, and taco soup rotation that I had going on. I determined that 20 meals would take care of most of the nights we are at home during the month and I could fill in with occasional leftovers. Once I came up with 20 meals I could rotate through them each month, which seems way better than the every-three-day routine I’d been using.
So, I started combing through old recipes and found one titled, “Marcia’s Meatballs.” “Oh, I remember these,” I thought. “They are so yummy! Why haven’t I made them in the last 15 years?” I decided to try them again and added them to my January menu. On the night we had them for dinner, I realized this was a recipe that needed to be shared. So, I contacted my friend, Marcia, the person who’d given me the recipe so many years ago, to see if she would mind if I passed her recipe along. Her response cracked me up, “That would be awesome. I lost the recipe!”
Thus, without further ado, here is the recipe for Magnificent Meatballs!
- ¾ pound ground beef
- ¼ pound pork sausage
- ¾ cup oatmeal
- ½ cup milk (regular, coconut, or almond)
- ¼ cup chopped water chestnuts
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon onion salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
Mix ingredients together. Roll into 1” – 1½” balls. Bake on a broiler pan at 350° for 30 minutes. (I use an aluminum foil lined broiler pan to allow the excess grease to drip away from the meatballs. The aluminum foil eliminates the need to wash the lower pan. Some call it lazy; I call it a time-saver.)
While the meatballs are baking, mix together one of the sauces below. Once cooked, add the meatballs to your desired sauce and serve over rice. They can also be served as an appetizer (sans rice).
Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- 1 cup sugar (I didn’t say these were healthy, just yummy!)
- ¾ cup vinegar (I’ve used white, apple cider, and red wine vinegar and I prefer the red wine vinegar but they’re all good.)
- ¾ cup water
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Dash salt
Boil and cook 5 minutes. Add about 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with cold water to thicken.
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- ½ can milk
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Mix together and heat until warm.
- For the sugar in the Sweet and Sour sauce I use at least half coconut sugar to lower the glycemic index. And, I use about 3/4 the amount of sugar suggested. Somehow it just feels healthier that way.
- For a healthier version of condensed cream of mushroom soup you might want to try this substitute.
- Double the recipe! My motto is “cook once, eat twice!” And with this recipe, the two of us can eat at least three times and have leftovers! When I prepare them, I put the raw meatballs on a cookie sheet, cover them with aluminum foil, and freeze them. Once they are frozen, I put them into zipper bags to store. Then, all I have to do is thaw, bake, and make some fresh sauce. It’s also a great meal to grab from the freezer and take to a friend.
Nancy loves to laugh and considers laughter a critical part of human survival. If you were to ask, most days she would say her glass is half full but when it starts reaching the half-empty level, she reaches for a funny book or movie knowing that indeed “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Nancy has three married sons and five grandchildren. To read more from Nancy find her at www.nancyholte.com.