Dining Deals

Frugalicious: Porcupine Balls

Porcupine balls are a great entree -- inexpensive, delicious and easily modified to suit your caloric or dietary needs. This dish is quick to assemble, leaving you plenty of time while it bakes to do your thing. Clean-up is easy, and most ingredients are pantry/freezer staples. Here's our version:

Porcupine Balls

  • 1 lb ground meat (your choice)
  • 1 1/2 cups rice (if using brown, use quick cooking)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic puree
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning, or season salt (you can use a salt-free spice mix instead)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes (or diced tomatoes with green chiles)
  • 1 can beef broth
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp cayenne powder, 1 tsp caldo de res

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium bowl, pour in the half cup rice, add ground meat, garlic, Worcestershire and seasonings. Mix gently until the rice is fully incorporated. Pour the tomatoes, broth and remaining rice into a two-quart dish; add cayenne powder and caldo, if you like. Stir to blend. Roll meat mixture into balls and size them how you like them -- I find golf ball size to work best.

Nestle the balls in the liquid and cover dish, either with a lid or tin foil. Place in preheated oven and bake for an hour.

You may have noticed that in the first photo, there is no broth. Pantry fail. There was no way I was driving to the grocery for a can of broth. Crazy talk. Substitution: two cup of water with a teaspoon of caldo.

I like to make this early in the week and bring it for lunch. One recipe, plus a salad and some vegetables, will satisfy a family of four. It also freezes well, once cooked. Any ground meat -- chicken, turkey, pork, beef -- will work. Use what you happen to have on hand. This recipe can be doubled to feed a larger crowd; use a larger baking dish, same baking time.

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