Since most of the time we enjoy a Mediterranean diet, these sweet and sour meatballs add a nice variety to our menu occasionally.

This recipe is on page 102 in O Taste & See Some More!and is brought to you by special request of Susan, a friend from Germany who is so funny that she often brings a smile to my face! I, in turn, bring a smile to her face by sharing recipes like this with her. She tells me this is her family’s favorite from O Taste & See Some More! So Susan, this one’s for you!

Here’s everything we need to make Hawaiian Meatballs…


To make the meatballs, I combine the hamburger, bread crumbs, minced onion, salt and milk in a bowl.

The original recipe in O Taste & See Some More! calls for evaporated milk…but I haven’t been able to find that in Italy so I used regular, whole milk. As the name implies, evaporated milk is just milk which has had 60% of the liquid evaporated from it so that it is richer. I made my own evaporated milk last fall when making a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s a little too time consuming to do for an everyday meal such as this. Evaporated milk is convenient, if you can buy it, since you can keep a can of it on your shelf “for such a time as this”. However, I do remember wondering in the past what to do with the rest of the can of milk since you only use a half a cup of the can or box for this recipe. So, the bottom line is, you can use any milk or cream you want. I’m actually not sure what difference each would make, especially since you only use a half a cup.

How do you combine your meatball mixture? The only real way I’ve found to do it is to get “down and dirty” by using my [clean] hands…we’re still working on how to take good “action” photos which require close-ups of my hands…hence the blurriness. But you get the point…just squeeze the mixture together…

Once the mixture is well-combined, I pinch off a piece and roll it into a ball between the palms of my hands…

I think I’ve got to get me one of those meatball shapers–like this!  I made 24 meatballs, though the recipe says it makes only ten. (Why did I say that, I wonder?) Obviously it depends completely on how large you make them. I put them on a baking sheet with parchment paper….if you don’t have parchment paper, you may want to grease your baking sheet a little. Just depends on how much fat is in your hamburger meat.

You can fry them of course, if you don’t have an oven, but I highly recommend baking them if possible. It’s mindless to bake meatballs…you just put them in the oven for about 25-30 minutes and get on with other things…like the sauce, for instance.

I drained the pineapple (couldn’t find chunk pineapple here so I bought sliced and cut it into chunks), set the chunks aside and put the reserved juice into a large pan, along with some vinegar (almost any kind will do, though I think Balsamic would be a bit too strong), soy sauce, and brown sugar (I made my own by adding molasses to my sugar).

The original recipe says to also add the cornstarch at this point, because you MUST dissolve cornstarch in a cold, not hot, liquid. You would then stir the mixture constantly until it comes to a boil. It’s not a huge amount of liquid so it doesn’t take too long to bring it to a boil…but I wanted to show you another option. I took a couple of spoonfuls of this pineapple juice mixture from my pan (while cold)…and stirred it into the cornstarch in a small bowl.

Now I begin heating the remaining pineapple juice mixture in the pan, while I stir the cornstarch with the cold liquid until it’s fairly smooth…like this.

Once the liquid in the pan comes to a boil, I stir in the cornstarch mixture…

…Now I only have to sir it for a minute or two until the sauce is thickened. This method just saves having to stir the sauce the entire time it’s heating to a boil. Once the sauce is thickened, it will look like this…dark and delicious!

Next, I add the chunk pineapple and diced bell pepper to the sauce…

And I give it a stir…

Next I add the browned meatballs…no need to cool them between steps, though if it works better for your schedule, they can be cool…

I stir it all up again, just to coat everything with the sauce, which is more like a glaze, actually.

The meatballs are already cooked…the pineapple doesn’t have to be cooked…so I’m just going to slowly simmer these until the peppers are crisp-tender. You can cover them and turn the heat very low…or keep the heat higher and keep an eye on them, stirring them often. There’s no right or wrong at this point…it depends how soft you like the peppers.

We like to eat these meatballs with some plain, white rice on the side. Initially there doesn’t seem to be a lot of sauce, but if left covered, the peppers can give off quite a bit of liquid, and then you might prefer spooning the meatball and sauce mixture right over the rice. Either way, I know you’ll enjoy them! Right, Susan?

By the way, if you have a favorite recipe from one of my cookbooks which you’d like me to feature sometime, let me know in the comments below and put you in my schedule! Also, this is the last week to enter my drawing for a zester  by writing a comment…so you’ll kill two birds with one stone if you drop me a comment!



Hawaiian Meatballs

Hawaiian Meatballs


  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) hamburger
  • 1/3 C. (50 g) dry bread crumbs
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C. (125 ml) evaporated milk, whole milk or light cream
  • 1 (16 oz./560 g) can chunk pineapple
  • 1 C. diced bell pepper (one large pepper)
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1/4 C. (60 g) brown sugar
  • 1/4 C. (60 ml) vinegar
  • 2 T. soy sauce


  1. Combine hamburger, bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper, and evaporated milk. Shape into balls and bake at 375° F (190° C) for 25 minutes.
  2. Drain pineapple; reserve juice. Dice peppers and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine cornstarch, brown sugar, vinegar, pineapple juice and soy sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thick and clear.
  4. Add meatballs, pineapple and bell peppers; stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the peppers are crisp-tender. Serve with boiled, white rice.


You do not have to stir the mixture constantly if you combine a few spoonfuls of the (cool) juice with the cornstarch to form a paste, then stir it into the boiling juice and brown sugar mixture.

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