Meatballs – Childhood dish with a twist

July 30, 2010

This week has been a little stressful. “Little” would probably be an understatement, but I’m trying not to go all drama llama queen on this blog, hah! I just feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to fit everything in. I know things will slow down a bit, but until then, it’s cook when I can, grab healthy on the go alternatives the other nights.

Growing up I had a list of favorites that my Mom made and Porcupine Meatballs (My Mom’s name for them) were one of my favorite dishes. She used white rice and just added bread, egg, seasonings and tomato soup. I decided to switch things up a bit to make a new Foodiddy version. The porcupine name came from the way they looked with the rice sticking out of the meatballs, making them look spiky.


1 lb. lean ground sirloin – I used 7% (Could easily be made with ground turkey)
Fresh baby spinach – chopped – as much as you want – I used the entire bowl (about 2 cups)
Brown Rice – I used 2 servings – Trader Joe’s frozen – cooked it before adding to the meatballs
1 Large Shallot – diced and sautéed with 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Reggiano
1 Egg
1 Can Tomato Soup
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
2 Teaspoons garlic powder
2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. I then got the spinach chopped, the shallots sautéed, the brown rice cooked and everything besides the tomato soup added into a big mixing bowl.

I used a spoon and then my hands to get everything really mixed up.

I made 15 fairly large meatballs and placed them into a glass baking dish. No need to coat the dish.

I poured the tomato soup into a glass measuring cup and added a can of water per the soup instructions. I then poured the soup contents on top of the meatballs.

No need to cover the meatballs. Just place them directly into the oven.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. I checked them at 15 minutes and ladled sauce over the tops of each meatball. While they were finishing up in the oven, I broke out my veggie slicer. I sliced 2 zucchini to create my pasta bed for the meatballs. I added them to a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil and garlic salt and then put them on my plate.

The zucchini noodles were perfect since there was already brown rice in the meatballs. I loved the texture – the onion and added spinach and softness of the brown rice really worked well together.

Dan thought the meatballs were too centered in the first photo, LOL… so I added the second. He gobbled them up (minus the zucchini pasta) – woohoo, another dish to add to the rotation. On the days that I don’t post, it’s more than likely that I’m enjoying something I’ve already posted.

Thanks Mom for all of the amazing childhood food memories, I loved sitting down to dinner as a family.

Good times, good food and lots of laughs.


  1. Looks dish looks wonderful. Not only does it sound good but I know my boys will love it. I still have to go get the veggie slicer!!

    • Jess just got her veggie slicer, you’re up next 😉

  2. My mouth is watering! I am making this Saturday for dinner. Looks like a keeper. A and B looked at the pictures and agreed it looked delish! Love the family story too. I am printing this out and putting it in my recipe binder.

    • You guys will have to let me know what you think. Forgot to mention to serve with lots of the sauce from the dish – didn’t want to super coat the pasta in the photo, but after the photo shoot, I scooped a big spoonful onto my plate. Enjoy!

  3. My pleasure honey……..those certainly do bring back found memories……..I will have to try them again….I like your twist to the original recipe.

    Love ya………Mommers

    • Too bad Abby isn’t into ground beef – otherwise she’d probably have fun making them with you. Love ya too!

  4. I remember porcupine meatballs from when I was a kid, too! I’ve been making a version using beef rice a roni and a beef broth. I think I’ll try this version, too! Looks yummy!

    • yay, another child from the 70’s 🙂 Rice-a-roni in a beef broth sounds really good too – I’ll have to try that next time. I think they even make a healthier rice a roni now… is that even possible? LOL.

  5. I love that your mom commented as ” mommers” – what an awesome recipe. My husband has been begging me to make homemade meatballs (I usually use the frozen turkey ones and his love affair with those has come to an abrupt end). I’ll definitely give this recipe a try since it has something for both of us!

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