Food Stamps Cooking Club: Maxine Opens the Door for Chinese Meatballs?

October 20th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

Maxine opens the door to make it possible for us to create a new family favorite...this is sure to become a "go to" dish that your family will request again and again!

It is always such a joy to open my email and find the delightful offerings Maxine, a faithful Food Stamps Cooking Club member, shares so generously.

You see, Maxine understands the importance of helping everyone learn the art of frugal food prep!  This is particularly valuable information for holders of EBT cards from WIC or SNAP.  People who order Angel Food Ministries can benefit, too.  So can those who depend on food commodities and food pantries.

With a nod to Maxine, here is what she had to offer today.  This will easily become standard fare in your home, I betcha a kiss.

Sometime this week, I’m going to make Chinese meatballs for dinner. I made a double batch of meatballs last week and froze them, so half of the work is already done.

I found this recipe in More-with-Less, a cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre, which was published almost 35 years ago. Still available in many libraries and for purchase on, it’s billed as “Recipes and Suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world’s limited food resources.”

This is not your typical church cookbook, filled with gooey desserts. It’s a serious look at intentional cooking, and nearly everything in it is tasty, nutritious…and cheap. Ms. Longacre was a home economist by training and all of the recipes were tested and re-tested by taste panels.

Some of the nutrition information is outdated, but none of it is unhealthy. For instance, 35 years ago it was thought that two incomplete proteins needed to be combined to make a complete protein. Nutritionists now know this is unnecessary…but it still produces good eating. Can you say “beans and cornbread”?????

Every recipe I’ve tried from this book has been good.  I’ve heard other people say the same thing.  Even dishes that call for ingredients I don’t normally use. Even simple, simple dishes that have so few ingredients you’d think they couldn’t possibly be good…are delicious! When you make Quick Fruit Cobbler, you’ll see what I mean.

It’s fascinating reading, too.

Here is the recipe for Chinese meatballs, with my own notations.

Cook rice or noodles to serve 6 to 8.

Prepare and reserve, ready to fry:
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced -I use zucchini
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 green peppers, sliced -I used one
1 large onion, slice -I used a medium onion
(I added chopped garlic)
1½ cup frozen peas -I used one cup
2 large tomatoes, cut in wedges
1½ cup pineapple chunks, drained and reserve juice

Season, shape into small balls, and fry:
1½ lb. ground beef–may use part soybean extender


I used one recipe of baked meatballs made with 1 lb. ground beef instead of frying

Combine and pour over meatballs:
3/4 cup brown sugar
¾ cup vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon ginger
juice from pineapple
2-3 tablespoons cornstarch

Allow sauce to thicken, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

In separate skillet, stir-fry vegetables in small amount of hot oil until crisp-tender, adding tomatoes and pineapple last. Serve on large patter with rice or noodles in center, meatballs around, vegetables over the rice, and sauce over all.

Today I’m planning to make another recipe from the book—Quick Fruit Cobbler. You can use any type of fruit. Normally, this is something I make with canned, drained peaches when most fresh fruits are out of season. However, I was given a whole boatload of fresh Italian prune-plums, so that’s my fruit for tonight. The recipe says it serves 6, but the amount is just right for the 3 piggy members of my family…but could stretch to 4 servings. To double the recipe, use a 13×9 baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine in bowl:
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Pour into greased 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan. Add:
2 cups fruit—fresh, frozen or canned (drain fruit well)

Bake for 40 minutes. Crust starts on bottom and ends up on top.

Oh, my.  Is everyone racing for the kitchen now to cook up a storm?   I have eaten that cobbler and it is soooo delish it’s probably something the Kitchen Police wish we’d forget about!  Thanks so much, Maxine.  YOU ARE THE BESTEST.

Also, I looked at the cost of that cookbook Maxine recommends and it is so reasonably priced that you will really want to consider ordering it.

OK, kids.  You no doubt have faves from YOUR cookbooks.  Let all the other Club Members in on what you have going on in YOUR kitchens!  Open YOUR door and share something from YOUR collection that makes frugal food prep more exciting!

Connie Baum

The FTC wants you to know there are links in this post.  Should they be clicked, resulting in sales, your humble blogger would be fairly compensated.  Please do your due diligence when conducting affairs online or offline.  Always do business with those you trust implicitly.



  1. All right Maxine and Connie, stand by for a test taste on peach cobbler …

  2. Maxine says:

    And…and…and……? The verdict is: (fill in the blanks, Paula!).

  3. Webmaster says:

    So. Paula is drooling, too…and making a bee line for the kitchen to crank up the oven and build the cobbler…Maxine and I are waiting for that verdict.

    The suspense is killin’ me!

    You guys are awesome. And then some.

    Mother Connie

  4. I think the cake is a bit plain but a bit of vanilla would go well with peaches, and some cinnamon for apples. One might not need any extras for other fruits.

    Then again … one could always put ice cream on top of that stuff. I assume you two have tried THAT already haha!

  5. Maxine says:

    Yes, it is just a basic recipe that works with all fruits. Sometimes, the fruit needs additional flavoring. Cinnamon would be a must with apples,and a little sugar added to the fruit would help if they were tart. Almond extract is good with peaches and cherries. Yes, of course I have tried it with ice cream! Especially when the cobbler is warm!! M’mmmmmmmmmmm…….

  6. Thank you Paula for testing this recipe. I made a pie last night and still have lots of apples left over. Can’t wait to do some more baking!

  7. Webmaster says:

    Almond goes very well with peaches, too, Paula and Maxine. Cinnamon? I put that on practically EVERYTHING because it helps keep me 33! Besides, I love the flavor of cinnamon. Can you even imagine how good cinnamon ice cream would be on this? OH, my…but you’d probably have to use the no carb/no calorie kind and what fun would THAT be? grin

    Thanks, Paula!

    Mother Connie

  8. Webmaster says:

    So you work all day, bake at night, and still have time to comment here for us! WHAT A WOMAN!

    Thanks, kiddo!

    Mother Connie

  9. Cinnamon keeps you 33? So the French toast I made this morning with cinnamon counts as a health food? Yay, so glad I had a double helping! Now, I’d better go and get ready for the night shift. 🙂

  10. Webmaster says:

    Ooooooooooh, ya. You GOT it, Babycakes!

    Mother Connie

  11. Thanks for the recipes. They sound great. Being from the south, I grew up with cobbler.

  12. Webmaster says:

    Oh, my Bodacious Boomer pal, cobbler is where all the fun is. Well, now, there ARE kolaches but that would be blog post for another (Czech) day!

    Mother Connie