This recipe has been around since the 1960’s. It expands 1-pound of raw ground beef with 1/2-cup of uncooked rice. Modern variations of this recipe often use minute rice, and condensed tomato soup as the sauce. This is the original version that used uncooked dry white rice and canned tomato sauce. The seasonings are mild so it’s great for kids who object to spicy dishes.
Since the ground beef cooks in the sauce, the sauce is pretty fatty when the dish is done cooking. If you find lean ground beef on sale, this is one of those recipes that may improve with it’s use. I’ve made it plenty of times with regular, fatty ground beef, but I avoid eating too much sauce because of all the extra beef fat. When I find ground round or leaner beef on sale, I save it for this recipe, because then I can eat as much of the sauce as I like.
- 1 pound regular ground beef or ground turkey
- 1/2 cup dry, uncooked, long-grain white rice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon dry minced onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4-teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce, or 2 (8-ounce) cans
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
First prepare your pan. Find an 8 or 9-inch square pan and coat it generously with no-stick spray or rub it generously with solid vegetable shortening. If you want to save on clean-up, you can line the pan with aluminum foil first, and then grease the foil.
In the prepared pan combine the tomato sauce, water and Worcestershire sauce. Stir it about with a fork until it’s well mixed. Set the pan aside.
Combine the ground meat, rice, water, onion, salt, garlic and pepper in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use clean hands to mix and mash it all together until the seasonings and rice and evenly distributed. Shape the meat mixture into meatballs. Roll them between the palms of your hands to make them round. Drop the meatballs into the sauce in your prepared pan. Continue until all of the meatball mixture is used. You’ll get about 20 to 24 meatballs. They can all be touching one another in the pan.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 350° for an hour. Remove the foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking, so the meatballs can brown a bit. Serve with baked potatoes that baked in the oven at the same time as the meatballs. Add peas and carrots or broccoli for a vegetable. Canned mixed fruit, or sliced oranges are a nice go-with.