Swedish Meatballs

This Swedish Meatballs recipe is the same one used by my Swedish grandmother and then by my Swedish mother. Although I was not born in Sweden, I have been privy to the secret family recipe since I was a young child. My mormor (Swedish grandmother) made these delicious meatballs throughout the year. But they were always extra special when she made them for Christmas Eve.

Swedish Meatballs along with a huge smorgasbord on Christmas Eve were a tradition in my house for as long as I can remember. This was the first year we didn’t keep that tradition. My brother was in town before Christmas because my mother passed away. We had our Swedish Meatballs while he was here instead. We’ll resume our traditions next year.

This recipe is sure to boost your Meat-a-ball-ism

My grandfather used to make me laugh when we were having Swedish meatballs as a kid. He would say “we’re having Svedish Meat-a-balls and your brother is going to grow another 6 inches”. My brother is very tall and he could eat more than his fair share of meatballs. My grandfather attributed the meatballs to boosting his metabolism and making him grow. Of course, we know that is not how it works, but it was funny when we were kids. To this day, when I say Swedish meatballs and metabolism, I say it in my head the way he said it. Try saying it with a Swedish accent…Svedish meat-a-balls. Meat-a-ball-ism.

Gravy with cream ??

By no stretch of the imagination am I an expert in Swedish cuisine. However, my Swedish family members never used cream or sour cream in their recipes. I’m not sure if there are regions in Sweden that adds it or not, but my Mormor once told me that she thought someone added the cream to the gravy to Americanize it. She didn’t add cream, my mother didn’t and neither do I.

These meatballs can easily be made the same day for a quick dinner. Just boil the meatballs in the broth while your potatoes are cooking and they’ll be done at the same time. But, the seasonings come out stronger if you make them ahead of time. I like to make them ahead, simmer them in a pot for 4 or 5 hours, then refrigerate or freeze them until I need them. Then transfer them to a crockpot the day I’m serving them and allow them to cook on low for 4 or 5 more hours. The final product will produce a rich broth that is delicious as is, or you can make it into a wonderful gravy, too. Serve them over egg noodles or next to boiled or mashed potatoes with your favorite vegetable and call it dinner, or serve them as an appetizer at your next gathering.

It’s a family tradition.

This is my family’s traditional Swedish Meatball recipe. Don’t let the tablespoon of salt scare you off. You’re going to need quite a bit of salt to flavor three pounds of meat and approximately 7-8 cups of gravy. My mormor never added enough salt and my mother never added enough salt. I’ve been trying to get enough salt in the recipe because it is so much better when cooked into the dish rather than adding it afterwards.

Also, you probably won’t find mustard or ketchup in any other Swedish meatball recipe, but there is a reason for this, so stay with me for another minute. My mother and grandmother immigrated to the United States long before the invention of the internet, so they did not have a translation resource for food stuffs. At the time they didn’t know the translation for muskot and krydpeppar. Which are nutmeg and allspice, respectively. But, they did know those ingredients would be found in brown mustard and ketchup, so they used those instead. At some point, those translations were discovered and reincorporated into this recipe. We’ve enjoyed them for many years. I hope you do, too.

Swedish Meatballs

A traditional Swedish Meatball recipe passed down through generations of Swedish family traditions. These hearty meatballs are paired well over egg noodles or next to boiled or mashed potatoes. They even make a great appetizer. 

Course Dinner
Cuisine Swedish
Keyword Swedish Meatballs
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 100 meatballs
Author Lisa York

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 4 slices white bread diced into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 12 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

For the gravy

  • 1 cup flour or cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

For the meatballs

  1. Dice the slices of bread into small pieces. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the breadcrumbs. Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and allow the bread to absorb the milk.

    Swedish meatballs breadcrumbs with seasoning
  2. In a small pan over medium high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the onions  and saute until the onions are translucent. Add a pinch of the salt and pepper.

    Swedish meatballs diced onion
  3. Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and allow the bread to absorb the milk then add the sautéed onions.

    Swedish meatballs breadcrumbs with added onions
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in the rest of the salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, garlic powder, brown mustard and ketchup. Stir until well blended. Add the egg mixture to the bread and onions. Add the ground beef. Then, with your hands, thoroughly mix together all the ingredients until well blended.  

    Swedish meatballs egg mixture with seasoning
  5. Using a small spoon, small ince cream scoop, or melon baller, scoop out approximately a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture. Roll the meat mixture between your hands to form a meatball. The meatball should be rolled until it is fairly firm, otherwise they will fall apart during cooking. Repeat until you’ve formed all the meatballs.

    Swedish meatballs prior to cooking
  6. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt a pat of butter to coat the bottom of the pan then add 10-12 meatballs. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan and leave enough space between the meatballs. Otherwise, the meatballs will be steamed rather than fried. 

    Swedish meatballs fry the meatballs
  7. Fry the meatballs for a couple of minutes on each side. Just until they are browned. Then shake the pan so the meatballs roll around the pan acquiring a slight sear all around to lock in the juices. 

    Swedish meatballs pan frying
  8. Transfer the meatballs to a large pot. Pour approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to deglaze the frying pan. Using a scratch-proof utensil (if you’re using a non-stick pan), scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan.

    Swedish meatballs deglaze the pan
  9. Pour the liquid from the pan over the meatballs in the pot. Don’t worry if the liquid is still somewhat clear. Deglazing the pan will get all the flavor from the pan and the broth will darken and become more flavorful the longer you cook the meatballs in the broth. 

    Swedish meatballs poor liquid over meatballs
  10. Repeat buttering the pan, frying the meatballs, deglazing the pan and adding the broth to the pot with the meatballs until all the meatballs have been fried.

    Swedish meatballs ready to serve or make gravy if desired
  11. If the broth from deglazing the pans doesn’t produce enough liquid to cover the meatballs, add some more water to cover them. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. They are ready at this point, but the longer they simmer, the better they will be. I usually try to let them simmer for at least 4 hours.

For the gravy

  1. Drain the liquid from the meatballs into a smaller pot. Set the meatballs aside.

    Swedish meatballs drain liquid into a pot
  2. Bring the liquid to a boil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and water. Gradually add the flour and water mixture. The gravy will thicken as it stands.

    Swedish meatballs bring liquid to a boil
  3. Pour the gravy over meatballs and serve.

    Swedish meatballs

Do you have food traditions that were almost lost due to a translation issue? Tell me about it in the comments and don’t forget to like us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Also, if you like this recipe, please consider sharing it with your friends.

Southwestern Skillet Easy To Make, Easy To Clean Up

As a kid, and even as a young adult, I loved those easy-to-make, one-skillet box mixes. All you had to do was brown the ground beef, dump in some powdered  sauce and the pasta, rice or potatoes along with some water. And boom! Dinner was ready. Well, I’ve been an adult for a long time now, but I still love the idea of throwing together a quick meal with an even quicker clean up. As I grew older and learned how easy those dinners are to make from scratch, I’ve made what seems like, a million variations. This Southwestern Skillet is just as easy as the packaged products, but tastier.

Tonight’s dinner came about by necessity of finding a use for some leftover rice. I searched the freezer and decided that I would use the ground beef. I was beginning to have tacos and Mexican-style rice on my mind, but I didn’t have any taco shells. Then I thought stuffed peppers would be good, but I didn’t have enough peppers. As I was running out of ideas, I looked through the pantry and pulled out a few cans of vegetables and my homemade taco seasoning, checked the fridge for some cheese and this one-skillet creation came to life. This would be better with all fresh vegetables but, in a pinch, canned will do.

Southwestern Skillet

Just as easy as the boxed food products, but tastier.

Course Dinner
Cuisine Southwestern
Keyword one-skillet
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 packets taco season **Or 4 tbsp of my mix
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz whole kernel corn
  • 1 16 oz kidney beans
  • 2 cups Mexican blend cheese shredded
  • 4 cups cooked white rice

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, over medium/high heat, brown ground beef. Drain the fat.

    Southwestern Skillet Ingredients
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add the diced onion and minced garlic, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent.

    Southwestern Skillet Ground Beef
  3. Add the taco seasoning to the ground beef with 2 cups of water. Stir until the seasoning is dissolved.

    Southwestern Skillet Seasoning
  4. Drain the liquid from the vegetables then add them to the skillet. Discard the liquids. (I save the liquid from the tomatoes in case my sauce gets too thick, I can add the tomato juice which will have more flavor than adding more water.)

    Southwestern Skillet Veggies
  5. Add the rice. 

    Southwestern Skillet Rice
  6. Add about 1/2 of the shredded cheese. Then reduce heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. The sauce will start to thicken.

    Southwestern Skillet Cheese
  7. Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese over the top of the mixture. Cover, remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. The cheese will continue melting and the sauce will thicken. Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream - optional.

    Southwestern Skillet Cheese 2

Recipe Notes

**Instead of store bought packets of taco mix, why not try my homemade mix. You can find the recipe here.

Did your family rely on the hamburger skillet dinners for something quick? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Hamburger Pie Casserole

I know casseroles aren’t a favorite for everyone, but I love them. They are easy to make, limit unnecessary dishes, they can be made ahead of time and are usually large enough to have leftovers for lunch another day. I have a friend who won’t eat any casseroles. He doesn’t like various foods touching each other. So, I guess I won’t invite him over for dinner tonight because this casserole has ground beef, tomato soup, veggies, mashed potatoes and cheese all mingled together in one dish.

This particular casserole is a version of a favorite dish of an ex-boyfriend. I got the recipe from his mother many years ago. He would probably eat this every night if it was offered to him. The relationship didn’t last, but the recipe lives on with some minor adjustments.

One thing you’ll learn about me is there aren’t many things that I won’t put cheese on. I. Love. Cheese. If I could figure out a way to incorporate cheese with my raisin bran in the morning, I would. This is one of those dishes that doesn’t really “need” cheese, but cheese and mashed potatoes go well together, so it seems obvious to include it.

If you like this dish, for a variation, try substituting the ground beef with shredded chicken. Swap the tomato soup with cream of mushroom and exchange the cheddar for Swiss.  It’s just as easy to make and your family won’t be disappointed.

Hamburger Pie Casserole

This casserole is easy to make, but if you're pressed for time, you can use instant mashed potatoes and save some prep time. 

Course Casserole, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 approximately
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 cups corn
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 medium potatoes diced
  • 2 10 3/4 oz cans tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5 oz cheddar cheese shredded or sliced
  • 2 tsp salt divided
  • 1 tsp pepper divided

Instructions

  1. Peel, dice and rinse the potatoes. In a medium pot, cover with cold water and add 1 tsp salt. Cover with a lid and, over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

    Hamburger Pie Casserole Ingredients
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  3. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat. Drain the fat. Add the diced bell pepper, diced onion, garlic, remaining salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally until onion and bell pepper are tender. Approximately 10 minutes.

  4. Add the corn and tomato soup. Continue simmering and stirring until thoroughly heated.

    Hamburger Pie Casserole filling
  5. Thoroughly drain the liquid from the potatoes. Add the remaining salt and pepper. Add a cold stick of butter to the potatoes and replace the lid on the pot to allow the butter to melt. After the butter has melted, gradually add a little milk at a time. Depending on the density of the potatoes and the desired texture of the potatoes, you may not need the full 1/2 cup of milk or you may need a little more. Mash until no lumps are visible or use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes until they are light and fluffy.
  6. Spoon the ground beef mixture into a casserole dish. Drop spoonfuls of mashed potatoes around the casserole and carefully spread the potatoes without pushing them down into the ground beef mixture. Once you have spread all the mashed potatoes, top the casserole with cheese and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

    Hamburger Pie casserole assembly
  7. If you're making this casserole ahead of time, don't top with cheese until the casserole is almost done baking. You'll want to bake the casserole, covered with aluminum foil, for approximately 45 minutes. You can remove the foil and add the cheese during the last 10 minutes of baking. 

What is your opinion on casseroles? Is a meal untouchable if the foods are touching? Let me know in the comments below.