Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sweet and Saucy Meatballs

"Well that was easy"! That's what I find myself saying each time I prepare the sauce for these bite-sized meatballs when I make them for dinner or as an appetizer during the holiday season.

Sweet and Saucy Meatballs: Comfort dinner or mouthwatering appetizer? You decide!

Dinner or Appetizer

Every so often, my wife or I will make these sweet and saucy meatballs for dinner and serve them with vegetables and steamed rice. The kid's love them!

What I love most is the sauce! When served over steamed rice, the sauce soaks into each cooked grain of rice. It's so freakin good!

We also like to serve these flavorful meatballs as an appetizer when we have friends and family over during the holidays. Everyone loves to fish *just one more* meatball out of the serving bowl with a frilly toothpick. *Just one more* leads to *a lot more* so we double the recipe.

Serve these tender meatballs over rice or as an appetizer for guests during the holidays!

The Most Tender and Flavorful Meatball

The *put-up-your-feet* way to cook them is to mix the sauce (three ingredients), roll the meatballs and cook them together in the slow cooker. Frozen meatballs work as well but, in my meatball tasting opinion, nothing beats homemade!

Not only does the gentle simmering make homemade meatballs the most tender and flavorful meatballs you've ever had, but the sauce also becomes richer and more savory in the process. 

So what will it be? Saucy meatballs served with rice and vegetables for dinner? Or are they destined to be eaten off the end of a toothpick by your guests? 

Sweet and Saucy Meatballs: Serve for dinner or on toothpicks as an appetizer!

Sweet and Saucy Meatballs

Makes: 4 to 6 Servings
Hands-on Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes in a pot or 2 to 4 hours in slow cooker

  • 1 cup tomato-based chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup grape jelly
  • 1 lb (454 g) lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup dry unseasoned breadcrumbs 
  • ¼ cup minced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
In a small bowl, whisk together chili sauce, soy sauce and grape jelly. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine beef, breadcrumbs, onions, garlic, ginger, egg, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix using your finger-tips. Gently roll a small portion of the meat mixture in the palms of your hands to form equal sized 1-inch meatballs.

If cooking in a pot, add sauce mixture to pot. Cook and stir sauce until jelly is completely melted. Gently place meatballs in sauce. Cover and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 30 minutes. If cooking in the slow cooker, add meatballs to slow cooker and pour sauce over top. Cook until meatballs are tender and cooked through, about 2 hours on HIGH or 3 to 4 hours on the LOW setting.

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Brent Garell testing the food at College Recipe Cafe Brent Garell is the author of The Cook-a-Palooza Experience and 15-Minute Money Saving Meals for Students. When he's not stuffing his face with food, he's on the look-out for simple weeknight #mealprep solutions to fit healthy meals into his family's busy schedule. Let's see what works!

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