Young chef, mom need your votes to win contest

News-DemocratOctober 21, 2013 

When Shannon Perschbacher picked the latest recipe contest to enter, it was one that not only involved her son Eric, who's 6, but could help his school.

The Uncle Ben's Beginners Cooking Contest asked schoolchildren to submit a home video that shows a family in the kitchen making a rice-based dish and then talking about cooking together. Voters can pick their favorite online.

"It's a long shot," said Shannon with a chuckle. "There were more than 600 entries."

In the video, she and Eric prepared Porcupine Meatballs, a recipe from Taste of Home that Eric likes a lot. In it, he waves a magic wand and ingredients magically appear on the kitchen counter. He sometimes appears in top hat and wearing a funny fake mustache. But the mixing and making, from bowl to stove were all real.

The video is titled "Eric's Magical Pokey Meatballs."

"Eric calls them pokey instead of porcupine (meatballs)," said his mom, who has won several area cooking contests and still hopes to make it one day to the finals of the Pillsbury Bake-Off.

If selected as the grand prize winner, the Perschbachers would receive $15,000, while the cafeteria at Ellis Elementary School, where Eric is a first-grader, would get a $30,000 makeover. They would also appear on "The Rachael Ray Show."

To help Eric and his school, go to and vote for his video. Voting is allowed once every 24 hours and ends Oct. 27.

Here's the recipe Shannon and Eric make in the video.

Porcupine Meatballs

1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 pound ground beef

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

1 cup water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Add beef and mix well. shape into 1-1/2-in. balls. In a large skillet, brown meatballs in oil; drain. Combine tomato sauce, water, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; pour over meatballs. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Yield: 6 servings, each with 284 calories, 14 grams fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 900 mg sodium, 21 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 17 grams protein.

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