On my most recent adventure in The Secret Recipe Club,  I had a hard time deciding between two recipes from my assigned blog,  “A Taste of Home Cooking”.  I went with Orange and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin,  but couldn’t wait to make possibility number 2, a recipe that took me straight back to my California days.

This might surprise you, but when I arrived in the US for the first time in 1986,  both me and my former husband had zero experience with frozen dinners, as they didn’t exist in Brazil back then.  We were amazed!  Those cute little boxes ready to warm up and enjoy, so many options, so convenient!  We went TV-dinner-crazy, trying all sorts of brands and styles of cuisine.  Once the thrill of  the novelty passed,  we went back to our regular approach of home-cooked meals, but I never lost a soft spot for “Swedish Meatballs with Noodles”.  That little frozen box, and Velveeta (there, I said it!)  are a bit disturbing for a food blogger to love, but…  I am guilty on both counts. I’ve got nothing to say  in my defense about Velveeta, but I’m redeeming myself on frozen dinners with this home-cooked version of a favorite classic.

( from A Taste of Home Cooking, original recipe from Rachael Ray)

for the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, finely chopped  (I used 1 shallot)
A few drops Worcestershire sauce (I used 1 tsp)
Salt and pepper

for the sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 cup beef broth
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup sour cream (I reduced to 1/4 cup)

1 bag wide egg noodles (I used fettuccine)
1 tablespoon butter

Heat the oven to 400 F.

Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl, and form bite-size balls, placing them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, turning them midway through cooking time.

As the meatballs bake,  boil water for the pasta and start preparing the sauce.  Melt the  butter over medium heat, sprinkle the flour over it, and cook for a couple of minutes,  whisking constantly.  Slowly add sherry and whisk until the sauce reduces by half. Add beef broth in a slow stream and continue stirring until the sauce thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Turn off heat and add salt and pepper to taste,  Dijon mustard and sour cream.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain them and toss with butter.  Turn a low heat under the sauce to gently warm it,  add the baked meatballs to the sauce, stir to coat, and serve over pasta.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  This was a delicious meal, quick and simple to prepare.  Next time, I will make two small adjustments: bake the meatballs slightly less, so they will be lighter in color, and use the full amount of sour cream in the sauce.

Just as I expected, this meal brought memories of my first few months in the US, when I could barely communicate in English,  and struggled to adjust to a new environment.  I had no idea that 26  years later I’d be writing a blog about it, especially because the term blog didn’t exist. 😉

If A Taste of Home Cooking is not on your list of blogs to visit, jump right over, she’s got a ton of great recipes to share!

ONE YEAR AGO: Italian Easter Pie

TWO YEARS AGO: Black Olive Bialy

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  1. I too became addicted to those tiny little meatballs, as I raised four of my own tiny people in economically difficult times. How to stretch a small amount of meat to feed a family of six and keep it filling, flavorful and interesting. We extended used soy protein, a bit more crumbs, sometimes encaseing a pimento olive inside some of the morsels to create the “surprise” meatball, and a fun contest at the table. The sauce was not elegant starting with a can of mushroom soup and stretching with milk and broth. The basis of this dinner remains today much like yours enchanced with sherry, fresh mushrooms and sour cream tweeked to please the adult but could revert at a moments notice to resourcefullness and “difficult times”. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


  2. I’ve never had Swedish meatballs on top of noodles before, on top of mashed potatoes, but never noodles. Sounds yummy!

    And as for Velveeta, I’m right there with you. It’s what grilled cheese sandwiches were made out of when I was growing up, and it holds a special spot in my heart, gourmet or no.


    • I am so glad I am not the only Velveeta lover who blogs! 😉 and I think Swedish meatballs on mashed potatoes would be incredibly good, gotta try that variation next time…


  3. Don’t you love when food can transport you back to a certain time? We went through a tv dinner craze too. I never had them growing up and was enthralled by how easy they were when I was first out on my own. LOL. I have to say, your Swedish meatballs look far more appetizing than the tv dinner variety. I’d go so far as to say I would probably eat them (and that’s saying something since I’m not a meatball fan).🙂


    • Many things when I arrived in the US appealed to me, but later I learned or realized they were frowned upon by the “gourmet crowd”

      TV dinners, Velveeta cheese, Spam, McDonalds burgers, just to name a few…. I still think McDonalds french fries are amazing, but let’s not be too vocal about it


  4. I’ve heard of swedish meatballs as an appetizer dish and attempted it once many years ago. I think I was underimpressed at the rather bland result but it may be time to give it another try based on the lovely pictures you’ve posted especially if it’s as flavourful as the recipe makes it sound.


    • It is a reasonably mild dish indeed – but there’s something about its simplicity that pleases me so much, I never get tired of it. Maybe like a bowl of homemade chicken soup…


  5. Sally, I’m totally excited to have a real recipe for Swedish meatballs – and especially for the sauce which I’ve never been able to mimic at home (my kids like IKEA Swedish meatballs…) – so I’m going to try and make this for them; I might skip or reduce the sherry in their version but make a separate one for Greg and I with it in😉.


    • I can see this basic recipe getting a nice pump from spices – and I should add the original had some fresh parsley at the end, but I didn’t have any and omitted it.


  6. This was delicious! I didn’t have the sherry so I substituted with some vodka and made up the rest with broth. It’s a keeper in my family. Thanks Sally!


    • I can see how these meatballs would be a hit with kids – maybe I’ll make a repeat in a couple of weeks when I will have some of my family from Brazil visiting me for the first time ever! Two very young kids, with exquisite palate will be here…😉


  7. I totally remember those frozen dinners.. the foil trays filled with little compartments.. they were magical when my mom brought them out, who wanted “home cooked” when you could have space aged instant food;) I think it’s cool that you’ve figured this one out.. and there’s something about Velveeta that gets under your skin…


  8. this gets me so excited🙂 to be fair, we all have our weird little freakish food loves. i have a strange soft spot for those lipton sidekicks – i blame my dad. but i think that’s why dishes like this get me so amped up! i love the texture and smell of them and there’s just something so similar to those boxes (or frozen dinners in your case) yet so much better by creating it from scratch. i love this.


    • Definitely a make-ahead dish, in fact I think it would only get better if you make it one day ahead. If the gravy seems too thick, just thin it out a little with some beef broth.

      thanks for stopping by and Happy Holidays!


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