Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waikiki Meatballs

I got this recipe from my friend Angela several years ago.  I tried this at her house and knew my family would love it! She also has a great recipe blog you can check out at: She has a really yummy fruit bruschetta recipe on there as check that out too.

My kiddos love all recipes that involve meatballs.  I have to admit that I use frozen meatballs most of the time but I decided to follow the whole recipe and make these from scratch.  It took a little extra time but they are seasoned with ginger which goes great with the sauce.  The sweet sauce and pineapple was a big hit with my family too! These were easy to make and were eaten quickly!  Enjoy!

Update: I've also added an adapted recipe below for a freezer meal option.  At the freezer meal workshop we used store bought frozen meatballs but making and baking the meatball recipe below and then freezing them along with the sauce will work as well! Good luck!

Waikiki Meatballs
1 ½ lbs. ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
1 egg
2/3 cup cracker crumbs (I used saltines)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
¼ cup milk

2 T. cornstarch
½ cup brown sugar
1 can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1 green pepper, chopped

In a large bowl combine all meatball ingredients.  Form into meatballs (about 1 T. of mixture per meatball).  Place meatballs in a large baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 min. or until done.  Drain meatballs and keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, mix together cornstarch, brown sugar, pineapple juice, vinegar, and soy sauce.  Heat to boiling.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until sauce begins to thicken.  Add bell pepper and cook until slightly tender.  When ready to serve add meatballs and pineapple and heat through.  Serve over rice.


Freezer Meal Prep Instructions:
Place frozen meatballs and diced bell pepper in the bottom of a gallon sized freezer bag.  Drain pineapple (reserving juice for later) and add pineapple to bag also.

In a medium bowl combine pineapple juice, cornstarch, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and soy sauce.  Whisk until corn starch and brown sugar are completely incorporated. Pour sauce over meatballs and toss to coat evenly.  Seal, label bag and freeze.

Freezer Meal Cooking Instructions:
Place meatballs in a large crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until meatballs are heated through and sauce has thickened.  Serve over cooked rice if desired!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cowboy Casserole (Freezer friendly!)

Okay, so this didn't photograph well but believe me it's a crowd pleaser. My kiddos and husband all loved this one. This is about as casserole as you can get I'm afraid. Tater tots, cream of mushroom and ground beef...all the elements of a perfect casserole, am I right? It's just the kind of casserole a sweet little old lady might bring your family for dinner in the 1980s and that's what makes it comfort food :)

But, it is a new twist to tater tot casserole...and the new twist is green chile! Because everything is better with green chilies! You can tweak how spicy you make it by adding less chile or using a milder chile. But my family likes it hot so there is a pretty good portion of it in the recipe below.

I found a recipe in a magazine for a casserole with this name but pretty much the only thing I kept the same was the tater tots and the can of corn. So I'm going to claim this as a neighborjulia original. Enjoy!

Cowboy Casserole
2 lbs. ground beef
1 can corn
2 cans cream of mushroom
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup diced green chile (I used frozen)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. onion powder
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 bag frozen tater tots

1) Brown the ground beef in a medium saucepan until completely cooked
      2) beef with all remaining ingredients (except for tater tots).  Place beef mixture evenly in a 9x13 pan. 
3) Top with tater tots.   
4) bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until sauce is heated through and tater tots are brown and crispy.

Freezer Meal Instructions:

Follow steps 1-3 above.  Cover pan with two layers of tinfoil and freeze. 

To heat after frozen: Tent foil cover over pan.  Bake at 375 for 1 hr. Remove foil and continue baking for 20-30 minutes or until casserole is heated through and tater tots are brown and crispy.