Porcupines in Marinara Sauce

I was in the middle of writing a paper when I made this. Bryan had unhooked the stove the night before and I found myself where I was the previous year, using the slow cooker.

I probably could have gone to the in-laws to make a meal, but I didn’t feel like it. I did go there to experiment with pie crust, sugar, butter, and cinnamon (but that’s for a later post).

In the end, my focus on the psych paper got the best of me. Turns out I didn’t even put the slow cooker on. SO here I am typing away when all of a sudden I wonder why the house isn’t smelling amazing as it usually does when I’m using the slow cooker.

I caught this travesty at roughly 6PM and Bryan came home 30 minutes later.

Luckily, there isn’t a long cooking time one it. THANK GOD!



Porcupines in Marinara Sauce

1 pound ground beef
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup uncooked instant rice
1 cup panko crumbs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups marinara sauce


Combine meat, garlic, salt, pepper, rice, bread crumbs, milk and tomato paste in a bowl.

Shape into huge meatballs.

Place in the bottom of a slow cooker, in a single layer.

Pour marinara sauce over the top of the meatballs.

Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 5 hours or HIGH for 90 minutes.

Makes 9.

I swear these porcupines are the very meatballs used in spaghetti and meatballs where the dicks give you this one huge meatball on a plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce poured over it.

You know those restaurants. And you sit there looking your plate thinking, “What the fuck is this?” Is this a joke? How is this even a serving size of protein.

Then you mash it apart to make spaghetti and meat sauce.

The very same thing. Literally. This is how they make it. But someone calls it porcupines instead. Which despite research, lots of it, I still don’t understand it. Is it porcupines because of the use of rice? Specifically uncooked rice which can stick out like the quills of a porcupine?

One website claims that it’s because it’s bound together using rice and not bread crumbs, but um, this recipe has panko which is essential – you guessed it – bread crumbs.

Supposedly they were created during the Great Depression when rice was cheap and meat was scarce. The use of rice was a way to mask the lack of actual meat in them. Probably one of many good things that came out of the Great Depression. That and chicory coffee…hmmmm….

They taste amazing on their own. As you can see I garnished shaved parmesan cheese on top and paired it with peas. But I seriously wished I had pasta of some kind.

I love how it is literally cooked in the savory tomato sauce soaking in the amazing yumminess. Sort of takes it to a whole new heightened flavor meatball profile.

I’m going to have to try the version with a parmesan cream sauce next. Pair it with mashed potatoes smashed with peas, onion, and bacon. Man that sounds good right now.

If you have to have a snack with your nighttime insulin like I do, this would be a perfect snack. One good thing about diabetes, I have to eat something before I go to bed or else I go low. Yay for midnight snacking!


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