Friday, November 24, 2006

Easy Appetizer Meatballs

A few years ago my aunt started making these scrumptious meatballs for holiday snacking and I've always wanted to try making them myself because they were just so good. Had I known how easy they could be to make, I would've made them much sooner. (She always calls them "Swedish meatballs" but technically they're just flavored, and very tasty!)

She uses frozen meatballs for this but you can make your own, which is what I did. If you use frozen meatballs, prepare those per package instructions or bake them as I baked my home made ones.

Her recipe is a lot like the rest of the recipes in our family, kind of loose without exact measurements so you can experiment with the amounts to find what you like the best.

If anyone knows the original recipe for this I would be happy to attribute it.

This is how I made them:


1 lb ground beef (any ground meat of choice or combination would do fine but since it's the sauce that make this so good, you might want to save the more expensive stuff for another meal)
1 egg
1 onion finely diced or shredded (I shredded)
dash of milk
3 baby carrots, shredded (for moisture, and an added touch of "veggie")
1/2 cup or so of breadcrumbs plain or flavored (or 2 slices of bread, dampened with water, then squeezed of the excess water; I used Italian flavored breadcrumbs)
Dash of pepper
Dash of thyme

Mix the above ingredients together well.

On a baking sheet (the kind with sides, lined with foil, or a wire rack with a tray to catch the fat) that you've sprayed with non-stick cooking spray-- roll the mixture into small 1 inch or smaller balls and place on your bake ware of choice. Only a small amount of room in between meatballs is required. They do not lump together when cooking.

Cook at 350ºF for about an hour. Halfway through the cooking time you can turn each one (or if you're using the pan with sides, just give the pan a little shake) and continue cooking.

When the meatballs are cooked (cut one in half and make sure it's cooked all the way through) remove them from the oven and lower your oven temperature to 325ºF.

Place your meatballs in a baking dish. I used a corningware casserole container for the next step.

--The Sauce--

In a small bowl mix the following together:

1 cup of barbeque sauce
4-5 heaping tablespoons of grape jelly (yep, I was surprised too)
1/4 cup water (optional, I added this water, it wasn't part of the recipe)

Pour the mixture over the cooked meatballs.

Bake (at 325ºF) covered (I cover with foil) for 45 minutes to an hour. The mixture will be bubbly and dark.

And that's it, you're done!

appetizer meatballsServe with toothpicks at your next gathering, or as a sweet and special side with some veggies and your favorite potato or rice.

I think the only thing I would do differently next time is make these meatballs just a little smaller. Mine were slightly bigger than the inch size. Other than that, they were very good. There is a taste-difference between the packaged (ready-made) meatballs and home made of course, but it all comes down to how much time you have and what you're making them for. Making this for a party? The frozen variety will save you prep time, and they taste good so go for it.


It was good to make these, and find they tasted as good as my aunt's version. Something different and tasty that reminds me of holidays and family time. Can't go wrong with that.