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Monday, August 29, 2011

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I was raised in what I call the Betty Crocker kitchen. My mother, being an exceptional wife to my dad and and even better mother of young children in the '70s and '80s made dinner each and every night. ...And we sat around the table as a family and had dinner! (A lost art it seems.)

While not a gourmet cook, my mother was an excellent cook. And many of her dishes were the quintessential ‘Betty Crocker’ recipes. You know, the ones that came out of the red and white checked, wire spiral bound book? The ones that included two descriptive adjectives connected with an ‘and,’ or that often ended in a ‘bake.' Cheese and bacon get-togethers, chicken and broccoli casserole, Louisiana shrimp bake…and these gems—sweet and sour meatballs.

I loved these growing up. Coming home from school to meet the sour-sweet smell coming from the Crockpot, wafting through the door when I would walk in.

My mom made these with beef and served it over white rice. I use ground chicken or ground turkey or a mix—use what you like. While there are not a lot of ingredients, and some come from a can, as most of Betty's did in the day, you can choose to use fresh ingredients if you choose.

This is so easy, all the ingredients into the Crockpot and, come dinner time you have a sweet and sour and savory dish with a luscious sauce full of caramelized pineapple and juicy meatballs. Its childhood heaven in a bowl. I garnish with cilantro, something my mother didn't do, but it plays well off the Asian flavors of the dish.

  • 1 lb. ground meat (lean beef, chicken, turkey or mix)
  • 1/2 GF cracker crumb, or bread crumb (use GF crackers, or even GF pretzels-whatever you have to crush into crumb)
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 15-oz can crushed pineapple with its juice
  • 3 tbs vinegar (any kind)
  • 3 tbs GF soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup (not packed) brown sugar (or use agave, but use 1/4 less)
  • 3 tbs. corn starch 
  • 1 medium bell pepper cut into large dice
  • Salt and pepper
Blend ground meat, egg, bread crumb and salt and pepper (few pinches of each) until mixed. Form into meatballs the size of golf balls. Set aside.
Into the Crockpot add: the pineapple with juice, the GF soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, and bell pepper. Stir until blended and the cornstarch is mixed in. Lay the meatballs on top of the sauce and lid the Crockpot. Cook on low for up to 8 hours. Cook on high shorter.
Serve over a brown rice or other grain, like millet or quinoa.

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