Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sweet & Sour Pineapple Meatballs

Ack, I'm so behind!! This new schedule is taking a little longer to get used to than I anticipated. I'm not complaining!! The free hours and hours are fantastic, I just have a lot to catch up on, including sleep...zzzz... For the first time in my life I've had the self control to wake up an hour before my kids and actually make them breakfast every morning, instead of groggily pointing them toward the cereal boxes. I think I'm starting to enjoy this whole morning thing... Of course, it's a whole lot easier to do when school starts at 9:00 instead of 8:00, so I'm still kind of a morning wuss, but hey! It's progress! It feels good to sit and chat with them, to take our time in the morning, and of course to cook them real food. We're totally on an oatmeal kick. Stephen loves candied ginger in his, while Joe is nut for honey. I, of course, add vanilla and cinnamon to everything!! The boys are absolutely loving their new school, and I'm just so happy for them I could cry! 'Tis going to be a good year!

Sweet & Sour Pineapple Meatballs

Meatballs:
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork (I like the mix of beef and pork for flavor, but you could do all beef or even turkey)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (if you don't have breadcrumbs on hand, crushed crackers work great too!)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Sauce:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 Tb cornstarch (we liked it thinner, with 2 Tb, but if you like your sauces pretty thick, use 3 Tb)
1 3/4 cups pineapple juice (just use the juice from the can of pineapple tidbits, and make up the difference with water or chicken broth)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 Tb soy sauce
2 Tb Worcestershire sauce
1 (20 oz) can pineapple tidbits (I only use about half of the actual pineapple, use as much as you like!)
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine all meatball ingredients in a large ball and mix well. Gently form into balls about 1 1/2-2 inches across. Place meatballs on a foil-covered rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to bake while you make the sauce.

Whisk the cornstarch and brown sugar together in a medium saucepan. (No heat yet!!) Add the pineapple juice/water and whisk until smooth. Turn the heat on to medium and add vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and stir. Bring to a low boil and simmer uncovered on medium low until thickened, 5-10 minutes. (You know we like a bit of a kick to our food as often as we can get it, but if you'd rather skip the heat, leave out those red pepper flakes!)

Remove the meatballs from the oven and transfer them to a casserole dish. (If you remembered to line your baking sheet, toss the foil and you won't have to wash an extra pan!) Pour the sauce over the meatballs and scatter as much pineapple as your heart desires over the top, then place back in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and your meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot over rice!
Simple, homey goodness!! I was trying to find a recipe that re-created something my Mom used to make when we were growing up, some from of sweet and sour meatballs, with pineapple, but hers had red and green peppers in it too... Peppers are the bane of my existence, and I couldn't find anything quite right, so I took a few recipes, squished them together, tried it twice to get the measurements right, and voila! A new kid favorite!
The sauce is perfectly tangy with just enough pineapple sweetness, enough sour to balance the sweet, and that little kick of heat to keep your tastebuds guessing! We like the sauce a little thinner so it soaks through all the rice... yum!!
The meatballs are perfectly seasoned and tender, covered with sticky, tangy sauce, and are great as leftovers. This meal makes enough for our family of four (including Stephen, the Bottomless Pit) for two meals, and is pretty easy! A perfect weeknight meal.

2 comments :

  1. Looking good April! I am so glad that the boys are enjoying their new school. Getting kids to like school is half the battle won! xxoo

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