Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stretching + Substitutions = One Awfully Good Dinner

For dinner tonight I wanted to use up the one bag of meatballs I had left in the freezer. I had been thinking Swedish meatballs would be a good idea.

But, then I realized I was out of egg noodles and potatoes. So our usual Swedish meatball bases were out. I thought it might taste good over rice as a substitute, but I was hesitant about the rice drying out too much when I reheated it for dinner. I was still going to go with it though.

Next, I opened the freezer to pull out the meatballs. There were only 12 meatballs in the bag, so I knew I'd have to cut them up somehow to stretch them a bit. I looked through the refrigerator to see what see what I could use. There were two half blocks of cheese, one mozzarella and one sharp cheddar. Well, I've never met a food that didn't work with cheese in some form, so why not?

This is what I came up with:

It turned out so delicious! I always get a little over-the-top excited when meals like this come together and taste so good I know I'll be making them again, even without the need to substitute and stretch. We had maple-glazed carrots with it, which was a really complementary flavor.

The bottom of the dish is 2 c. cooked brown rice. That is covered with the meatballs, which I quartered, stirred into my homemade sauce*, and then it's all covered with shredded mozzarella and cheddar. So easy and filling!

This meal definitely does not qualify as summer food in my book. But it's the end of the month so options are limited. Hopefully I'll come up with some better options for July.

Here is how I make homemade Swedish Meatball sauce. It's not necessarily "authentic," but it tastes very similar, and it's easy and good.

  • 3 T. margarine or butter
  • 1/4 c. diced onions (If I have some on hand, I'll also add about a cup of sliced mushrooms)
  • 3 T. flour
  • 1 1/2 c. beef stock
  • 1 T. worchestshire sauce
  • 1/2 t. thyme
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 3/4 c. sour cream

Melt margarine over medium heat, cook onions (and mushrooms) in melted margarine for 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in beef stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Stir in worchestshire sauce, thyme, pepper and sour cream. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.


Cajunchic 9:42 AM  

This is a bad thing to see when you have not eaten breakfast yet. I am drooling over here.

Kirstin 11:27 PM  

Yummy! I would get excited too because I'm not known for being able to come up with my own creations. I cringe when a contest says "your own original recipe". Okay, whatever....

The two meals I made this week that excited me (the neighbors probably thought I was weird) were the grilled pizza's and grilled quesadillas. Those could be added to your menu..they were yummy!

Anonymous,  4:51 PM  

Thanks for demystifying the Swedish meatballs-esque sauce!

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