Weekend Cooking: Do You Need a Recipe for a Good Appetizer?

I don’t know about your crowd, but the party food around here has changed in the last few years. Three organizations I belong to have asked each member to bring an appetizer. I’m okay with that. I think it makes for a fun party – everyone walks around taking just a bite of this and a bite of that and chat with friends while we’re doing it. A big fancy catered dinner isn’t necessary.

The question for me is: What do I bring? I have a few old-standbys that I’ve used over the years. My favorites are two I shared on this blog in years past. They are my Shrimp Dip and Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels. I’m using those two again this year.

I wanted to bring cocktail meatballs in a sauce for one of my events. Back in the old days I used to make meatballs that were in some crazy combination of grape jelly and something else. I spent a ton of time trying to find my old recipe but could not. It was a dish that was very popular back in the 60s and 70s. I finally gave up and went to the internet.

I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was. The most popular cocktail meatball recipe is also made with a crazy combination. It’s not grape jelly, but chili sauce and cranberry jelly. So I decided to try it. I hoped it would be as good as the old one. Well, it was. Let me share this simple recipe with you.

Cocktail Meatballs

Ingredients for the meatballs:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion

Ingreients for the sauce:

  • 1 (8 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 3/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

I made the meatballs a couple weeks ahead of time and put them in the freezer. I actually doubled the recipe for the meatballs because meatballs are so good to have on hand. So here’s how to make the meatballs:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, water, bread crumbs, and minced onion. Roll into small meatballs.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.

Directions for the sauce

  1. In a slow cooker or large saucepan over low heat, blend the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice.
  2. Add meatballs, and simmer for 1 hour before serving.

The meatballs had a nice tangy sweetness to them. Even more surprising was that my husband, who does not like cranberries, really liked these. That’s good. Its nice to have another good appetizer standby recipe. I hope they’ll help with your holiday entertaining. In the meantime, does anyone have the old meatball recipe that uses grape jelly?

Recipe and Photo Credit: All Recipes

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