Recipe Wednesday: Once Upon A Meatball…

First, apologies for not posting last week.  Beloved Husband and I were off celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary.  Next time, I’ll try to plan ahead a little better.

This week, I thought I would share three of my favorite meatball recipes with you.

Once upon a time, there were meatballs.  You usually found them in your spaghetti.  There was even a whole song about it.

And that was fine and all, but a bit limiting.

So one day, folks figured out that you could have meatballs *without* the spaghetti.  Like this:


Italian Meatballs
Mom (Terry Vandenberg)

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage, hot or regular
2 eggs
1 cup cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 – 2 large jars spaghetti sauce

Mix all ingredients (except sauce) together and form into meatballs.  If you have a microwave bacon tray, put meatballs on this and microwave until done.  Otherwise, fry in a pan.

Transfer cooked meatballs to crock pot.  Pour spaghetti sauce over meatballs; season with a little additional Italian seasoning and garlic powder.  If possible, let set overnight to allow flavors to blend.  Then heat and serve.


I remember my mom making up a crock pot full of these to serve at my wedding.  They were really good.  And really popular.

And then we discovered that other people had been messing with their meatballs, too.  They’d even been combining really unlikely ingredients to make a sauce for them:


Grape Jelly Meatballs
– Sheila McClune, based on a recipe from the Holy Chow Cookbook

1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 10-ounce jar chili sauce
1 8-ounce jar grape jelly

Mix together the meat and spices and form into balls about the size of a walnut.  Place in skillet over medium heat and cover, allowing to cook for five minutes before turning.  Cook another one to two minutes or until just cooked through.  Drain on paper towels to remove excess grease.

Meanwhile, pour chili sauce and grape jelly into a crock pot and stir to blend.  Turn crock pot to high; add cooked meatballs and stir to coat.  Cook for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Serve warm.  Makes 25-30 meatballs.

Notes:  If you don’t have time to make meatballs from scratch, look for frozen meatballs at the supermarket.  Go for the “homestyle” ones, rather than the ones with Italian seasoning in them.


For years, this was my “go-to” dish for potlucks.  People would say, “This sauce is great!  What’s in it?”  And I’d smile and say, “Grape jelly and chili sauce” and watch their jaws drop.  But the secret’s pretty much out, now.

Then, when Beloved Husband and I were in the supermarket sometime around Thanksgiving, we found a cranberry sauce display with cards for this recipe on it:


Ultimate Party Meatballs
Ocean Spray

1 14-ounce can Ocean Spray® Jellied Cranberry Sauce
1 12-ounce bottle Heinz® Chili Sauce
1 2-pound bag frozen, pre-cooked, cocktail-size meatballs

Combine sauces in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Add meatballs. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally.

Slow cooker Preparation: Place meatballs in a slow cooker. Combine sauces and pour over meatballs. Cover and cook 4 hours on HIGH.

Makes 30 appetizer servings.

Notes:  Look for “homestyle” meatballs rather than Italian-spiced ones.


We were thrilled to find this variation on an old favorite.  I might like these just a little better than the grape jelly ones.  The sauce is slightly tangier, and not as overly-sweet as the grape jelly recipe can be.

Of course, these are all great dishes for a potluck.  But they also make a good main course for an informal meal (serve with veggies and pasta, rice, or potatoes), or line them up on a hoagie bun for a yummy sandwich.

What meatball recipes have other people used?


About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
This entry was posted in Cookery and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Recipe Wednesday: Once Upon A Meatball…

  1. katyarich says:

    Happy wedding anniversary!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s