Getting Healthy in an Affordably Delicious Way

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Porcupine Meatballs.... and some fresh banana muffins!

So... today I was home alone until about 2pm when Nick got home from Tennessee. I had 2 leftover over-ripe bananas that I didn't want to throw away. Well- banana bread is boring, but banana muffins... not so much!

For dinner, we had porcupine meatballs (they get their name from the rice that sticks out of them like quills) over some spaghetti. ALWAYS a delicious and fool-proof dish! I'm going to feature our dinner first, just because, muffins aren't nearly as exciting as a budget dinner, right!?

So, the first thing you need to know about this dish, is it takes a lot of time. Give yourself 1.5 to 2 hours from start to finish. You have to boil the rice, saute the onions until they are soft and translucent, then mix it all together, and still bake for ONE HOUR! Worth it, I promise, but just set aside the time, or you will be rushed, frustrated, and upset at the end!

Porcupine Meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey
2 cups cooked rice (I use Boil in the Bag- KROGER brand! One bag will yield your 2 cups)
3/4 cups onion, chopped very small
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 can 28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Salt and Pepper
(I happened to have had leftover chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, so I diced those up and threw them in for extra kick!)
If you want spaghetti with these, add some whole wheat pasta to your grocery list!

So here's how it goes. Cook your rice according to the box. Cook the onions in a skillet with the olive oil. Add about 1 tablespoon of water and cover them. Let them soften about 10 minutes in the pan over medium heat. Watch them- if the water runs out, they can burn! Add water if you need to as they go! Throw the rice and the onions in a mixing bowl. I added some chipotle peppers, and then SALT AND PEPPER! Then, add your turkey and MIX WELL. I use my hands, but do whatever you prefer!

Form into 8 porcupines, I mean meatballs! Place them in a 9X13 pan. Cover with the crushed tomatoes and their juice. Add bay leaf. Cook at 350 degrees for one hour. Here mine are at about 50 minutes:

Once you take them out, and serve over pasta, top with some parmesan cheese! DELICIOUS. You'll want to eat the whole pan, but, they are filling, so you'll probably stop around 2. Unless you're my husband... 3 or 4 is his stopping point!

TOO GOOD! TOO EASY! TOO CHEAP! Look how small that grocery list is! These are healthy, but if you aren't so concerned about healthy, use ground beef, or even regular ground turkey (I use the extra lean kind!) ENJOY!

Now, for the banana muffins. Nothing too special or crazy here. I just wanted to use up the bananas, but they really did turn out pretty good. We like them a lot! Easy recipe too!

Basic Banana Muffins
1 and 3/4 cups floud (I used soft wheat and ground my own flour, but all purpose works!)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 t salt
2 t baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup milk
2 mashed bananas (the riper and browner, the better!)
Ground cinnamon

So... mix the dry ingredients together. Set aside. Mix the wet ingredients together (not including the banana yet!) Add the wet to the dry. Mix well. Stir in the mashed bananas. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. It was closer to about 17 for me... but just start watching them after 15! Don't let them get too brown!

You could add chocolate chips, or nuts. I'd say throw in 1/2 of a cup of either. But I just wanted easy! THE BEST PART: Didn't have to go to the store to make these. I had all the ingredients on hand! They are in their tupperware sitting in the pantry for snacks now :) YUM!


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