Porcupines

December 24, 2008

It was this unique name that first caught my attention when looking for a new recipe. I was on allrecipes.com trying to find something easy to cook for the week. I had no idea why they were called Porcupines until I took them out of the oven. As you will see later in this post it is pretty cool! Recipe link here.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, rice, 1/2 cup of water and onion. Blend in salt, celery salt, garlic powder and pepper. Mix well. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meatballs; drain fat.
  3. In an 11×7 inch baking dish, combine the tomato sauce and 1 cup of water. Place the browned meatballs into the tomato sauce, turning to coat well.
  4. Cover and bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover, and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

One of the things that is great about this recipe is that most of the ingredients are common ingredients that I already had on hand. Mixing the meat mixture was very easy. I am guessing it has to do with adding water. In the past when I made meatballs I had a terrible time getting them to form properly. Not this time! After forming them the recipe says to brown them. This was also very easy. I was a little afraid that they would fall apart as I tried to roll them around. They held their shape very well. I think I made them a little bigger than the recipe called for, but who cares. Here they are formed and ready to be browned…

After they were browned I added them to the tomato sauce and rolled them around. I covered them and put them in the oven for 45 minutes. This was a favorite part because I was able to sit down and have a beer. After the 45 minutes I uncovered them and was totally caught off guard. This is why they are called Porcupines…

I never thought they would do that! If you can’t see in the picture, the rice started poking out of the meatballs. I returned them to the oven for 15 more minutes. They came out just perfectly done. I also made some mashed potatoes and corn to make this a full meal. It was great!

Price Breakdown…

Beef $1.99

Tomato Sauce $0.55

TOTAL COST $2.54

I already had everything else to cook this dish. Very common ingredients.

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Taco Pie

December 14, 2008

I found an interesting recipe on allrecipies.com that I had to try. It is called Taco Pie. I love tacos, but they don’t keep well over the week. I liked this because it was a cross between tacos and a casserole. The recipe said that you can top it with any kind of taco sides like lettuce and tomatoes. I just kept mine plan.

  • 1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 8 ounces shredded Mexican-style cheese blend
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) package crushed tortilla chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Lay crescent dough flat on the bottom of a square cake pan and bake according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the taco seasoning and stir together well. When dough is done, remove from oven and place meat mixture on top, then layer with sour cream and cheese, and then top off with the crushed nacho chips.
  4. Return to oven and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

I had some crescent dough left after I covered the bottom of the pan, so I went up some of the sides with it. That ended up turning out pretty well. Here is how I lined the pan with the dough…

I put it in the oven and let it bake according to the directions on the package. It started smelling great! I was ready just to eat the crescent rolls!

One thing I was not sure about was how to add the taco seasoning to the ground beef. I ended up just pouring the powder onto the beef and mixing it up. The package said to add water, but the recipe did not call for it. I think I made the right choice. I added the beef mixture and sour cream into the dish. The recipe now calls for 14.5 oz of chips. This is a typical bag size. I crushed the chips up in the bag and topped the casserole. I definitely did not need the whole bag. I now wish I had only crushed just the amount of chips I needed. I ended up throwing a bunch out that I could have used with a dip if they were still whole. Here it is about to go in the oven…

See what I mean? That’s a lot of chips on top! I let it bake for the 10 minutes the recipe called for. I had hoped that the chips would have browned a little but they did not. It really turned out great though. Here is a little side photo so you can see how it layers…

It lasted me about three days. Great taste. The only problem I had was about the second day the chips started to get stale. Probably because it was in the refrigerator and then heated back up in a microwave. But all in all I really liked this. Here is the price breakdown…

Chips $3.80

Sour Cream $1.16

Taco Mix $0.43

Cheese $2.19

Beef $1.99

Rolls $1.34

TOTAL COST $10.91