Italian Meatballs w/Stewed Tomatoes on Rice
One of the meals that I didn’t much like growing up was meatballs. My mom made meatballs in a stewed tomato sauce once in a while, and, while I ate it, it was just sort of OK. Not something I went “Oh Boy!” over. Nonetheless, with her passing a couple of years ago, I am finding myself dealing with my grief by remembering meals she fixed and trying to imitate them, sometimes with modifications. For about a month or two now I have been craving meatballs. Here is what I came up with.
I started by boiling some grain. Normally I think we had rice with our meatballs, but now, as a diabetic, even brown, whole grain rice is too sugary for me. If I use rice at all it is mixed in with other grains. Today I boiled 1 cup of brown rice with 1 cup of pearled barley, and 1 cup of groats. This is a very mild mixture that is diabetic friendly and it smells wonderful as it is cooking in the 6 cups of water.
While the grain is cooking I began by cutting up a sad, wilted, celery stalk and placing it in a glass of water to perk up.
Next I got out my 2 lbs of extra lean ground beef and placed it in a large mixing bowl. Then I cracked open two eggs and beat them to death and poured into the beef. I sprinkled in about 1/4 cup of oat bran.
I seasoned the beef with about a tsp of sea salt, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper, 1 tblspn of Italian Seasoning, another tsp of Oregano and 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.
I chopped up some Red Bell Pepper and used about 1/3 cup then chopped up one medium jalapeno and the now somewhat better looking stalk of celery. I chopped these veggies very small.
I mixed in the veggies with the meat and spices, added about 2/3 cup of the boiled grain, and stirred it around til everything looked very well mixed.
I added about 1/4 cup of olive oil to a large frying pan and got it heated while I started making the meatballs. They were about racquet ball sized. I set the meatballs into the frying pan and cooked them for about 30-40 minutes, turning them every 10 minutes or so.
Toward the end I chopped about 3 mushrooms and dumped those in to fry with the meatballs.
Next I opened two cans of Italian Stewed Tomatoes, 1 can of diced tomatoes, and 2 cans of tomato sauce and slowly poured them over the meatballs. I added a bit more Italian seasoning and Oregano and cooked everything another 20 minutes.
When it was time to eat I scooped a couple of heaping tablespoons of grain in each bowl, and scooped up 2-3 meatballs with the tomatoes and sauce and plopped them into the grain in the bowls. Finally, I sprinkled just a bit more grain on top of the meatballs and tomatoes.
I was pleasantly surprised at the end result! The somewhat bland meal from my childhood had been spiced up considerably and it packed a little heat with the peppers. The tomato mixture was quite different from my spaghetti sauce so that adds some serious diversity to the diet and meal planning. using the grain instead of pasta also added to the diversity.
It was a complete meal in a bowl, perfect for a fall evening.
The extra boiled grain I will use in some other meals and dishes later.