Monday, March 3, 2008

Pot-Roasted Meatball Stew a la FriedOkra

Now, granted, this totally makes me a Johnny-come-lately, but I have just now discovered and fallen in love with a little good-and-natural foods market called Trader Joe's.

Y'all will recall that the past several months have seen me eating pretty much nothing but faux orange processed cheese-like product and "cherry" (wink-nudge) Jello®, so now that my taste buds seem to be loosening up their connoisseur-like preference for all things artificially-everything'd, I felt this might be a good time to introduce the little person growing inside me to, you know, actual, like, food. And several people have plugged Trader Joe's to me over the past year or so, recommending it as one place to get good, whole, natural, fresh foods at fairly non-throat-closing prices, So Bean and I took a stroll into our local store back in mid-February to have ourselves a little ol' look-see.

Upon our entry, we both found separate but adjacent items to squeal in delight about. Bean found little ittybitty shopping carts, just exactly like the real ones, only shrunk to fit her diminutive size. I, on the other hand, after whole-heartedly agreeing that the ittybitty shopping carts were, indeed, the cutest fings I have ever seed in my whole LIFE, found myself reveling in the vast and plentiful array of beautiful fresh cut, or better still, potted seasonal spring flowers, most notably beautiful pots and bouquets of the fresh, honey-fragrant, cheery tea-cup blossoms of my beloved daffodils.

We stopped a moment to mop away our respective tears of joy.

And then we moved on, Bean pushing her wee little buggy, and me with my full-scale model. I will not bore you with our entire tour through the market and the list of what we ended up loading into our carts, but I will say that the prices didn't make me wince, and we were able to find some very fresh and very healthy (even organic) baked goods, fruits, veggies, meats, soups, snacks, frozen foods and even some fish. The best thing I found was a bag of frozen meatballs. Which I could have bought anywhere, probably. But these meatballs were MINI meatballs, and they are, as Bean says, "'alicious!"

Now before you get skeered I'm gonna go all health-food nutty on you, what with the shopping at Trader Joe's and all, allow me to reassure you that I am an everything-in-moderation kinda gal (okay, ALMOST everything) and also my genetic make-up guarantees that I WILL cook at LEAST one dish weekly that finds its flavoure foundacione in a can of Campbell's® Cream of Sump'm Soup.

And that's the beauty of the recipe I'm about to lay before you here, people. It's the perfect marriage of my new found lurv for Trader Joe's mini-meatballs AND my DNA-dictated dependence on can-shaped globs of Campbell's® vast line of versatile soup-like substances.

And you can eat it, too!

FriedOkra's Pot-Roasted Meatball Stew

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 2 lb. bag Trader Joe's frozen Mini-Meatballs, thawed
1 can Campbell's® Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can water
1 envelop Lipton® Onion Soup Mix
1 packet Trader Joe's Reduced Sodium (yeah, I know) Savory Beef Broth concentrate
1 medium onion, cut in 3/4 inch chunks
2-3 potatoes, cut in 3/4 inch chunks
1 cup raw "baby" carrots
1/2 cup frozen green peas
Course ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven (or any larger stove-top safe pot with a lid). Brown meatballs on all sides over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and stir together to combine and cover meatballs and veggies with sauce. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, 30-45 minutes or until veggies are tender. Serve in bowls over cooked rice.

What's that, Mari?

Yes, yes I DO think this recipe would translate well to a slow-cooker recipe, too! I'd probably do it the same as above, except I'd brown the meatballs on the stove-top and then combine all of the ingredients in my slow-cooker and cook it on low all day.

The husband has requested that I make this stuff at LEAST once a week. And Bean was very complimentary of them as well, declaring them de bess meatballs I ever had in my whole life. She even ate the CARROTS, people. Nuff said.


  1. Cream of Sump'm Soup Recipes happen to be the backbone of my kitchen dinners......and it IS Cream of Sump'm, I find they are interchangeable, although I favor Cream of Broccoli and Cream of Onion! WIsh we had a Trader Joes here in Texas!

    Your recipe sounds yummy=P

  2. Mmmm....cream of mushroom. All good recipes start with that. Except for desserts of course, they all start with chocolate. I wish we had a Trader Joes in Texas where I could buy wee little meatballs.

  3. yum thanks Megan, always looking for the slow cook tricks, I'm a girl on the run...

  4. I am laughing here! I'm looking at the recipe, thinking it reminds me of one I have for the slow cooker and what do I see - you already thought of that. I'm glad you were able to enjoy it and it would seem peanut did too! I wish there was a Trader Joe's here!

  5. This sounds really good. My husband loves pot roast but I'm not a fan of the beef. However, I LOVE meatballs! Perhaps we could both be happy with this dish.

    And well, if the kids ate it, that would just be the icing on the cake!

  6. yum, sounds like a winner all around. I'm with Mari, wish we had a Trader Joe's here.

  7. This is my first visit here, so I don't know where you are in the Midwest or how long you've been here, but as a lifelong midwesterner, I feel the need to welcome you.


    There. And I also want to say how happy I am that you've discovered Trader Joe's. I'm glad that even though the Midwest gives you snow and sleet, it can also give you that unique shopping experience, complete with mini-me carts and fairly affordable fresh flowers.

    And meatballs.

    And, if you visit my birthday post from a few days ago, you'll see that Trader Joe's also sells to-die-for croissants in the frozen food section that you proof overnight and bake in the morning.

    Next time you drop in, pick up a box.

    You will be astounded.

  8. Ooooh, that sounds good! There's nothing even remotely like Trader Joe's near me, but President's Choice makes some nice meatballs - maybe I'll make some batter bread to go with it!
    One problem, though - I can't do canned soups because of The Baby's Celiac Disease. Can you think of what I should substitute for that?

  9. Mmmm - thanks for the recipe! Just today I was beggin' for some yummy things to make in my crock pot! Yay!

  10. I love Trader Joe's & Campbells (and dried onion soup mix!)
    My trouble is that the closest TJ to me is 5 hours away (sigh). My Mom & Dad live near it & everytime they visit I have a list for them :)
    That soup sounds gooooood! Might hafta try it with an inferior meatball substitution.

  11. I so miss Trader Joe's! Have to drive 40 minutes to get to one now. My cheap TJ faves: their version of Nutri Grain bars--no high fructose corn syrup, honey, bourbon vanilla extract, and of course the Two Buck Chuck--but you'll have to wait a few months to take advantage of that! Their prices on fresh flowers are great too and last spring they sold ginormous basil plants for like $3--I was able to cook with it until hubby put his foot down on no more basil-based dishes and freeze a bunch in olive oil before I killed it.

  12. They are open for one more hour tonight. Looking for the car keys...
    Nate's Mom

  13. Ahhh. . . . Sounds delicious. Glad you're feeling better, and expanding your cheese- and jello-lovin' horizons.

    Can we get the recipe for Grandmama FriedOkra's Hamburger Casserole?

  14. I just love your titles, they're always good for a laugh!

  15. Ok ......I know I am late........

    I posted my Collards recipe.

    You do know if you give away the secret.......I have to kill you!

    Love ya! Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!111

  16. We love Trader Joe's too! We can't afford to eat much organic, but a friend told me once that buying organic peanut butter was really worth it, especially if your kids eat lots of it, since peanuts are a root veg/fruit (which???) and absorbs lots of pesticides.

    So every time I go there I buy about ten jars of organic peanut butter--and about as many jars of their low sugar jelly! It always makes the checkout clerk smile...


  17. Oh, how I miss living on Cream of Sump'm recipes! I've developed a small reaction to MSG so I can only have my casseroles maybe once a week.

    But I will so try this recipe if/when I have time to make my own Cream of Mushroom goodness. (It's not that hard to make on your own but still more involved than opening a can.)

  18. Stop by my blog to pick up an award!

  19. Hey there! I just did a post on fried okra. Mmmm, I just love it. I like your blog, both of them, actually. Congrats on your little peanut! What a blessing. Hope you're feeling well.