Prep time on this recipe was stated in the cookbook as 40-45 minutes. I thought, "that must be some old lady who takes a long time cooking, I can do it faster than that". Ha.
Well, it did only take me about 35 minutes but with a screaming child who insists on seeing everything going on while you're cooking (I had to pick him up while turning the meatballs to get him to stop screaming) I don't know why I even attempted this recipe.
Also, I have learned a very valuable lesson: Always check your pantry for ingredients before you start. Even if you think you have all the ingredients, you may be surprised to find that your wonderful significant other used the last of it up and failed to tell you. Hmph.
Okay, so back to the recipe.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs With Pineapples
"Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook" p. 122
Prep time- about 40minutes (seriously!)
Cooking time- 6 hours
Ideal for- 4-qt slow cooker
For Meatballs- 2lbs. ground beef
1 1/4 cups bread crumbs (was about 2 slices of bread for me)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2-3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic salt (I substituted with minced garlic, a family favorite)
1/4 cup finely chopped onions (I thought we had these, we didn't. I substituted dried chopped onions- not a favorite)
Sauce- 1 can pineapple chunks, juice separated
3 Tbsp. cornstartch
1/4 cup cold water
1-1 1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire
1/4 tsp. salt, pepper, garlic salt
12 cup chopped green peppers (we didn't have these, I left them out)
1. Combine meatball ingredients, shape into 60-80 meatballs (what a joke, I had like 20), brown in skillet rolling so all sides are browned and place meatballs into slow cooker.
2. Pour pineapple juice into same skillet and mix in with meatball remains. (This step made me feel good about massacring 20% of my meatballs)
3. Combine cornstarch and cold water. Add to skillet and stir until thickened.
4. Stir in ketchip and Worcestershire. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, salt. Add green peppers and pineapples. Pour over meatballs.
5. Cover, cook on Low setting for 6 hours.
Okay so first of all, I have to say that while I admire Ms. Good for publishing a cookbook with such a plethora of recipes, I feel as though the trade off was having mediocre directions.
For a newbie cooker like me, browning the meatballs was intimidating. Was I supposed to put water in the skillet first (yes, I learned this the hard way), how exactly do I "brown" a meatball? It's round for goodness sake! Did there need to be separation between the meatballs (the answer is no, in case you were wondering)? Am I supposed to stir it while it's cooking or just let it sit? <-- still no answer to that one. I tend to over think things I guess, and cooking is no different.
I took a deep breath, and tried to fight the stress of a screaming baby and doing something new, and managed to get the meatballs into the cooker. Here is Cooking Lesson #2: read the entire recipe first. If I had read ahead, I would have known to leave the meatball remains in the skillet to mix in with the sauce but instead, I was plopping them into the cooker only to stop mid fork-maneuver as I read the words, "stir into drippings". Not like this is a huge deal, but i wish I had read beforehand, then i wouldn't have been so disappointed with the fact many of my meatballs were falling apart.
The other big downfall of this recipe was that I was positive that we had cornstarch, but we didn't! Or at least, I couldn't find it anywhere- and I looked everywhere. So, I ended up substituting this with a fine cornflour my Abuelita uses to make empanadas. A delicious dish I promise to post a recipe for in the future.
Taking everything into consideration, overall I suppose you could say I failed at this recipe, but I think the fact that it is bubbling in the cooker counts for something. And soon, I will be able to inform you all of how it tasted.
Dinner is Served! The Meal:
Not great. This probably had something to do with my substitutions but I thought some of the spices and flavorings were a little too strong. I'm sure it would have tasted great with some rice, which would have absorbed some of that flavor, but I didn't have time to make it since I work in the evenings.
Anyway, I thought it was just mediocre. I like the idea of adding a fruit serving to dinner, but the effort it took to prepare the dish, was not worth the end result. Two thumbs down from me.
(Note there are veggies missing from this dish, I just took a quick picture during my work break)
Although I didn't enjoy the meal, The Husband thought it was really good, I secretly think he was just excited that I actually cooked though! I did get him to admit that the spices were a bit strong, but i think this also had to do with the fact i didn't use a complete 2 lbs of ground beef.
If you try this recipe out, I hope you learn from my mistakes, and that it works out well for you!