Healthy Porcupine Balls Recipe

I recently got a request for a healthy recipe makeover on Oven Porcupine Balls.

The Old Oven Porcupine Ball Recipe

porcupine balls Lisa Owen turned in the request for a healthy makeover on Porcupine Balls saying:

One of my family’s favorite recipes is Oven Porcupine Balls. We know they are not healthy but love them.

This is the old recipe:
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1 lb hamburger
½ c uncooked long grain rice
½ c water
1/3 c chopped onions
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper
1 can cream of Mushroom soup
½ C water
Combine first 7 ingredients, shape into 12 balls. Place balls in square baking dish, combine remaining ingredients and pour over balls, cover w/ foil and bake 1 hr at 350. Uncover and bake 15 minutes.

What Are Porcupine Balls?

While I had heard of them, I had never eaten porcupine balls. The request came across my Facebook Wall and generated quite the humorous line of discussion. It appears that some people did not know what porcupine balls are.

It went something like this…

(The names have been abbreviated to protect the innocent.)

    • Lisa: I would love a recipe makeover on Oven Porcupine Balls!
    • Louri: OH gross – real ones?
    • Lisa; They are really yummy!! Can’t wait to see what you have for me!!
    • Deb: LOL – yeah right, Louri!
    • Deb: I never knew porcupines even had balls… right, Louri?!
    • Louri: Laughing so hard!
    • Jim: OMG Louri… I can’t stop laughing!
    • Angela: They are wonderful. My mom makes them.
    • Jim: This just keeps getting better!!!
    • Lisa: Made them often.
    • Louri: LOL!
    • Darryl: You kids and your slang terms. What does porcupine balls mean anyway?
    • Jim: The cooking part is easy… harvesting is the tough part.
    • Mill: Love porcupines!
    • Louri: – LOL – found porcupine balls on Pinterest.
    • Angela: Thanks for the link. We use a pressure cooker to make ours.
    • Deb: LOL- – - well Darryl, Porcupine balls are meat balls with rice
    • Deb: Mine didn’t look anything like that pinterest picture….. I am thinking that I prefer Porcupine Balls grilled though!!
    • Claudia: PB was one of my fav dishes when I was a kid. I didn’t know about your fan page. Just liked it!
    • Deb: I wish I could get this many comments on my fan page as quickly as this happened!!
    • Nathalie: put cookies on your fan page-they will come- Deb lol

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  • Pamela: I have not eaten the P ball since elementary school cafeteria
  • Candina: Love porcupines!!! I make them all the time (recipe from my mom) love them!!!
  • Lisa: I use beef rice a roni when I make mine. Seasoning packet is in the box of rice a roni and then I just make a gravy out of it and simmer on the stove. They are really good.
  • Michele: I haven’t had those in at least 30 years! Can’t wait for the recipe !!
  • Joyce: this can’t be for real
  • Daisy: whats next, Deb, cows nuts?
  • Pamela: the elementary school had porcupine balls on the menu—it is not that odd–you guys talk like my husband
  • Deb: Daisy, if you have a recipe for Cows Nuts that you want healthier, just send it over and I will get started!!
  • Pamela: Well you ladies do what you want–I am not making either!!!
  • Pamela: You know people around here do eat bulls balls–excuse me to say it–and they are called mountain oysters–market used to have them–and some old redneck bar up Dover way had them in a jar on the bar–this is why I am afraid of northern york and southern YOrk etc–no I WAS NOT at the bar but my uncle told me–he had them already–and yes that makes it so….
  • Deb:  Actually, I thought that was pigs balls, Pam?!
  • Pamela: maybe is is –I remember bulls balls–either way –count me out
  • Pamela: Well according to wikepedia rocky mountain oysters are bull calves testicles used for human consumption–it says that sometimes pig or lamb testicles are used -so we are both correct Deb–it shows a picture of them deep fried with cocktail sauce– you can see pics of them….
  • Deb: I don’t think I need to look at them!!

New Makeover Recipe For Porcupine Balls – Try Them If You Dare!

When making something healther you should always define your goal so you know the path to follow. This recipe has a lot of options to make it healthier.

  • Lower Sodium
  • Less Chemicals
  • More Whole Foods
  • More Nutrients
  • Better Protein Source

You may want to transition into the healthier recipe gradually, Lisa, so that your family does not freak out!!

This is the makeover recipe.

1 lb ground turkey
½ cup uncooked brown minute rice
½ cup chopped onions
1 tsp. dry oregano
½ salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
½ cup water

1 ½ cup mushrooms – coarse chopped
healthy natural diet
1 tsp. dry oregano
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. black pepper
1 cup cream
3 c stock

  • Combine first 7 ingredients
  • Shape into 12 balls by hand or using a #20 scoop.
  • Place balls in baking dish.
  • Chop mushrooms and put over meat balls.
  • Combine remaining ingredients and pour over balls
  • Cover and bake 40 minutes at 350*.
  • Uncover and bake 10 more minutes.

 Make Healthy Changes Gradually

This recipe has a lot of changes. When you are making a family favorite recipe healthier it is a good idea to do so gradually. If you are worried about your family balking at a heatlthy recipe, only change one thing at a time, then another the next time.

In this case, maybe make the original recipe using the ground turkey once but still use the sodium-laden mushroom soup before switching to the chemical free cream sauce.
healthy natural diet
When making a recipe healthier it is important not to make it too complicated. If a recipe is harder to make than the original then people may say it is too hard and keep on eating the unhealthy version.

I believe that this recipe is not much harder than the old one, so give it a try.


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    Healthy Cream Of Mushroom Soup

    Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe
    Most cream soups are laden with fat. Made with heavy cream and butter they can be a heart attack waiting to happen!

    Native American Healthy Turkey Cream Soup

    I like to call this Native American soup not because the American Indians made it but because it includes 3 ingredients that are native to North America.

    Maple Syrup: Comes from the Sugar Maple tree and was first “tapped” by the American Indians.

    [pinit count="horizontal"]Wild Rice: 3 species are native to the North American Midwest. They are called Wild Rice, Texas Wild Rice and Northern Wild Rice. These are only rices that are native to the US.

    Turkey: The turkeys we eat today are descendants of the North American Wild Turkey. When Europeans first came to the new world it was the first they had seen these birds.

    Technically, the American Indians could have made this soup but it is my unique creation.

    Use Turkey Leftovers For This Recipe!

    This is a great turkey leftover recipe. After you enjoy your turkey instead of putting your half-eaten carcass in the refrigerator, take the opportunity to make some stock.

    Your kitchen is already a mess, the house already smells like turkey, so why not?!

    Pull the meat off, break the bones into 2 and throw them in a pot with cold water. Bring it to a boil and simmer for about 2 hours. Then just strain it off and either refrigerate or freeze. SIMPLE!

    6 cups turkey or chicken stock
    1 cup shredded turkey leftovers or any cooked turkey product
    2/3 cup wild rice
    1 cup finely chopped onions
    2 cups half-and-half
    1/4 cup flour
    2 tsp. thyme leaves – minced
    1 cup white mushrooms- thinly sliced
    2 tbsp. maple syrup
    S & P to taste

    1. Bring stock and rice to a boil over medium-high heat.
    2. Cover and cook, stirring, for 30-40 minutes. (See below about buying quick-cooking wild rice.)
    3. Add onions and continue cooking 5–10 minutes.
    4. In a small bowl, whisk half-and-half, flour, thyme, and pepper
    5. Whisk slurry into soup.
    6. Add mushrooms and cooked turkey into soup.
    7. Stir in maple syrup, salt, and pepper.
    8. Cook, stirring, until soup thickens.

    Fast Turkey Leftover Recipe

    If your stock is already made, then the recipe only takes about 30-45 minutes from start to finish. It is fun, fast and healthy!

    Quick Cooking Wild Rice Soup

    When you buy wild rice for this soup recipe (or for any recipe) look for a US brand that includes the words “scarified” on the directions or packaging. Scarified rice is quick-cooking wild rice.

    The process of scarring the hull of the rice (cracking) does not remove any nutrients but it allows the rice to cook more quickly as the water gets into the center and softens the rice in less time.

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      Organic Homemade Ketchup (Good For Diabetic)

      The Bixler family has always been big fans of ketchup. Since I eat a lot of ketchup I insist on organic. This ensures that we get only pesticide-free tomatoes and also that there is not high fructose corn sweetener in it.

      homemade ketchup recipe Make Your Own Ketchup

      I decided to start making my own ketchup when my favorite organic prepared ketchup brand got discontinued in the local grocery store.

      I already had a brand of organic whole peeled or diced tomatoes that I loved and used often, so how hard could it be to turn them into ketchup!?

      Homemade Ketchup Recipe

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      My homemade ketchup recipe took a bit more effort than I expected. I am sure I have made over a dozen batches in order to get one that is close to the flavor that everyone loves.

      I rarely measure but these ingredient quantities are pretty close.

      Really, the flavor of ketchup is a personal thing so you should experiment with different types of sweeteners and vinegars. I started with balsamic vinegar and tried others but ended up back at balsamic.

      I started with no sugar at all and ran through a few options and have finally settled on this as our new family ketchup.

      The yield will depend on how long you cook it and also the brand or cut of tomatoes. When I used the diced tomatoes I had to cook it a lot longer and got a much smaller yield.

      1 can (28 oz) Cento whole peeled tomatoes
      1/2 cup onion diced
      6 turns on the pepper mill
      1 Tbs. honey
      1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
      1/2 tsp. dry oregano
      1 clove garlic-peeled

      1.  Blend all ingredients except garlic in blender till smooth.
      2.  Put in heavy pot and cook on very low for 45 minutes covered but vented.
      3.  Add garlic clove.
      4.  Cook for 30 minutes
      5.  Blend in blender again and pour into bottles

      Diabetic Ketchup

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      The advantages of this recipe for a diabetic is that you can use less sugar or none at all.

      I have made this exact recipe once without any sweetener at all and it was pretty good. The balsamic vinegar has a bit of its own sweetness.

      Another time I added raisins as the sweetener. It was tasty too and the addition of the fiber from the raisins makes it a good sweetener for diabetics.

      Make Your Own Recipe

      Make this recipe your own.

      Add more seasoning or garlic and play. I tried many different things before I settled on this recipe.

      Fresh herbs were nice but my goal was a fast recipe that tasted mainstream. Try it!

      It may be perfect for your family too or you may have to tweak it up a bit!

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