Porcupine balls have been a favorite of Dave’s since he was a kid. His mother allowed her kids to choose their birthday supper and it was always his pick. Porcupine balls are easy to throw together as well as make a double batch and put some in the freezer for a later time.
The recipe doesn’t call for Ketchup on the top, but Dave likes to have some on the top. Guess what this gal does when she makes this recipe!
The key to this recipe is to make sure you bake them long enough so the rice is completely done. It’s not fun to put a bite of porcupine balls in your mouth when the rice is not completely baked.
When I make these, I do a double batch and put half the balls into zip-lock bags in the freezer. When I’m in a bind for supper, I grab one of those bags, toss them into a casserole dish, and pour the tomato juice on top. Half-way through baking, I baste the balls with the juice and then put some ketchup on the top.
Since this recipe has rice and bread in it, I usually serve non-starchy vegetables with it. However, it goes well with mashed or fried potatoes.
I got this recipe from Dave’s mother, and it’s also in the Mennonite Community Cookbook. Here’s the link.
A mini-form of meatloaf with rice mixed in - hence the name "porcupine" balls. Simple to mix up and make. Double easy when you double the batch and store some in the freezer for another meal.
I wonder how many times I’ve called my sister Alice for this lasagna recipe. Oh, I wrote it down, all right. I just kept losing the paper I had it on! One day I finally put the recipe on a pink index card and stuck it in my Longaberger recipe holder. Now when I want to make this recipe, I just look for the pink index card. Oh, but there are a few other pink ones in there as well. So I still have to make sure I have the right recipe. [Since I first posted this four years ago, I don’t have to look for the recipe card. Read on to find out why.]
This recipe calls for cottage cheese (with beaten eggs) in lieu of ricotta, and you’ll need mozzarella and Parmesan cheese as well. Add your hamburger and spaghetti sauce and lasagna noodles and you’re ready to go.
I call this Alice’s off-the-top-of-her-head recipe because she gave it to me over the phone without looking at her recipe. Actually, I’m not sure she has a recipe written down. Except that, now we have it in our cookbook, Second Batch Recipes. Now when I want to make this recipe, I open our cookbook.
The reason I like this recipe is that I don’t have to cook the noodles first. I just layer them with the sauce. Then I let it sit for a few hours after it is assembled. I usually make a double batch and put one pan in the freezer for a rainy day. This recipe is simple and you don’t have to have the ingredients exact – which is my kind of cooking. You can even use a different cheese or mix some together. If you’re making this for Sunday lunch, you can put it in the oven just before you head out for church; just bake it at 250 for 2-3 hours.
More than twenty years ago, my friend Shirley shared this skillet lasagna recipe with me. When I make this dish, I remember her and all the fun times we shared.
At the time I met Shirley, both of our families lived in the Charlottesville, Virginia area. Shirley and I met in a K-Mart store one evening when both our families were Christmas shopping. We kept running into each other and I decided if I ran into them again, I’d introduce myself. Oh, did I mention that I prayed about this? You see, we were new to the area and I was lonely.
A minute later, I turned a corner pushing my cart and met Shirley and Tim coming my way. I stopped and introduced myself and asked them where they went to church. (When you’re an Anabaptist who practices a head covering, there’s a connection.) They invited us to visit their church, and we went. We grew to love the folks at Pine Ridge Church of the Brethren and have warm memories of our time there.
For the remainder of our stay in Charlottesville, we were friends. Dave and Tim hit it off as well as Shirley and I did. We’re still friends, but we just don’t see each other often. We spent a lot of time in each other’s homes and babysat each other’s children. Our children were staggered and between the two couples, we had one child every age from one to eight. I have several recipes that came from Shirley, and this is one of them.
All you’ll need is some hamburger, noodles, spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. A cast iron skillet helps, but you can use any skillet.
It’s been over a quarter of a century since we moved out of their community, and I still think of Shirley when I make this dish.
I usually serve this in a cast iron skillet. You can also pour this into a casserole dish and then put it in the oven to melt the cheese. This recipe is simple and easy. If you happen to have hamburger in your freezer that is already fried, you can throw it into the skillet with the water, spaghetti sauce and noodles, and it will thaw as it cooks. It can be made in under 20 minutes and also freezes well. Make a double batch and freeze half of it for another meal. You can vary the ingredients and the amounts; I don’t do a lot of measuring with this one. You can switch up the type and amount of cheese. Sometimes I use a Mexican mix, which includes some cheddar. I’ve added Swiss cheese when I was low on Mozzarella. I’ve used a mix of wide and thin noodles when I was low on wide noodles. Bow tie noodles are prettier; just remember to give them more time to cook.
This is an easy, quick supper dish, especially if you have hamburger already fried and in your freezer. [See 10 Kitchen Hacks.] It’s also an easy dish to fix if you need to take a meal to someone; they can eat it then or put it in the freezer for a later time.
I had never heard of this one dish hamburger meal until I married into the Slabach family. It was one of Mom’s recipes and the one that her son Paul loved the most. I still think of it as Paul’s favorite dish.
I hadn’t made it in years and had to call my sister-in-law Rhoda to ask her how mom did it. She gave me the detail-by-detail method, and I fixed it that evening to perfection. Dave said it tasted just like Mom’s.
This dish is so versatile. You can increase it for a large crowd or use smaller amounts of the ingredients if you’re cooking for a few. Another thing that’s nice about this dish is that the ingredients are items you will (probably) already have on hand in your kitchen.
Hamburger, potatoes, green beans, and cream of mushroom soup. You can add some onion, salt and pepper, or garlic for flavor if you’d like. Mom just used salt and pepper, but you can add other spices. I like to add garlic and some red pepper flakes, but I just don’t tell anyone. 🙂
One thing I can tell you is this: it tastes a whole lot better than the photo can make it look.
Hamburger, Potato, Green Bean One Dish Meal
A simple and nutritious one-dish casserole with hamburger, green beans, and potatoes.
Porcupine balls are one of my husband’s favorite dishes. I got the recipe from his mom, who probably got it from The Mennonite Community Cookbook or from someone else. When it came to me, it was hand-written, so who really knows where she found the recipe?
This recipe can be mixed ahead of time and shaped into the balls, then frozen and put into a freezer container. Then when you want to serve them, put them into a pan and allow to thaw for a few hours. So simple and easy. I’ve never met a child who didn’t like these porcupine balls. The rice hidden in these balls is what gives them the name, I think.
You’ll think you’re adding too much tomato juice, but by the time the rice has cooked in the hamburger, most of it will be absorbed. Then, by the time you allow the balls to sit for a few minutes, the juice will be gone.
Balls made with hamburger and some rice as well as other seasonings. Bake for 90 minutes in tomato juice. Add your own seasonings