December 22, 2008

balls o' meat

If you think about it, the name "meatballs" is a little icky. I guess it's no worse than "meatloaf." My little brother refuses to eat meatloaf, yet he loves meatballs, which is interesting because they're basically the same thing. Perhaps it's all in the name. Or shape.


Or perhaps he's just odd.


This post, a respite from all the Christmas cookies and sweets, features two varieties of those ubiquitous balls o' meat. The first batch is from the ever-popular recipe entitled "Manhattan Meatballs." (Anybody know if they actually originated in Manhattan? Just curious.) I chose to make these for our office's winter holiday party over all others for a very significant reason--I had apricot preserves festering in the fridge.


The sweet, fruity, and slightly spicy sauce was wonderful! I suspect it may have had something everything to do with the barbecue sauce I used--'twas a honey-chipotle blend. My co-workers had some nice comments about the meatballs and actually made the effort to say them to me, and I have to agree--the balls were delicious.

The only other kind of meatball I've ever really tried is made according to a recipe that my grandmother has used for longer than I've been alive. I think it's safe to say that it's a winner. The balls are nowhere near as sweet, but still extremely tasty.

So...which type tickles your fancy?

Sweet & Sour Meatballs
(time-tested by my grandmother)
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup oats
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon onion flakes

Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar

Combine the first six ingredients and shape into balls. Place in a large baking dish. Mix up the sauce and pour it over the balls. Cover the dish and bake at 350 degrees for an hour, or until heated through.


Sweet & Sweet Meatballs
(from Kraft, among others)

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
10 oz. apricot preserves
1 cup barbecue sauce of choice

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix the meat, bread crumbs, onion, eggs, parsley, and salt. Go ahead, use your paws. Shape into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. Place in 2-qt. casserole dish. Mix the preserves and barbecue sauce and evenly pour over the meatballs; mix lightly. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.


I think this'll probably be my last post until the Christmas excitement fades away. I hope ya'll have a safe and happy holiday!

66 comments:

Robin Sue said...

Grace both recipes look yummy! Meatballs is a funny word just like nuts. I did a post today on Candied Nuts, no other way to put it... or maybe the fruits or seeds of the pecan tree? Naw too long. Have a great day!

Leslie said...

They both look delish. I like my balls in meatsauce!

LyB said...

Meatballs are one of the only kind of food I make that I'm sure all three of my kids will eat. So, Grace, I want to thank you profusely for adding two delicious looking recipes to my list! Thank you!!! :D

LyB said...

Oh, and Happy Holidays! :)

kat said...

They sounds so yummy. I'm looking forward to our Christmas Swedish Meatballs. Have a great holiday!

Sharon said...

Happy Holidays as well! These balls o' meat sound quite tasty. Have you ever had them cooked with grape jelly? Sounds gross but it's delicious.

Pam said...

They both look great. I have never made sweet and sour meatballs before - my kids would love them.

Dawn said...

Ummm I prefer your brother!

Bellini Valli said...

If your brother would dish me up a plate of these meatballs (of course if I were 20 years younger)..then again I do have a daughter who is 21....dang she is taken....Seriously though I love sweet and sour meatballs.

Amber said...

I made your peppermint fudge, added butter, of course, for a plate of sweets for my neighbor including marshmallows and bark. It was way too easy to make and oh so good. I should have a post tonight or tomorrow on it. Thanks for the recipe. Also, how old is your little brother, because he is quite cute and I have two daughters. Hmm.
Have a very blessed Christmas.
Evidently there is a little competition for your brother. But Bellini Valli has one daughter and I have two!

Marjie said...

I make sweet & sour meatballs for superbowl sunday every year. I've never used jelly, however!

Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer said...

My family LOVES meatballs.

When you have a min, come check out the award show on our blog - you are a recipient as nominated by Jodycakes from our blog :-D

Maris said...

My mother makes great sweet & sour meatballs. I prefer the regular old Italian-with-tomato sauce way, but to each their own! :)

These look so juicy...the best part about meatballs is that they make a great entree OR appetizer!

emily said...

I love a good sweet and tangy meatball. I think the idea of adding barbeque sauce was genius! And I do love apricot preserves...mmm...

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I live in Manhattan and yet I've never heard of Manhattan meatballs...but meatballs, meatloaf, meat whatever...ground meat is delicious!

Culinarywannabe said...

As long as the little cocktail meatballs have been around, everyone still seems to love them. I like the idea of jazzing them up a bit with the apricot preserves.

Lori said...

I love the apricot preserves idea! ANd I will have a meatball anyway you make it. These recipes sound heavenly. I did one recently with currant sauce. Oh it was amazing. Something about fruit and meat.

It's funny meat loaf never sounds nearly as good. But it really depends on who made it adn whats in it. My Mom makes awesome meatloaf. Myhusband told me when we got married that he didnt like meatloaf. Ah, yah, he changed his mind!

Merry Christmas Grace to you and your family!

Lisa said...

NIce post about a holiday party favorite! My family has never done much with meatballs though we like to eat them well enough. Our party standby is Little Smokies in a catsup/bourbon/onion sauce. If I had to choose, I think I would probably prefer your grandmother's recipe for the meatballs.

Melanie said...

Ok, so I'm in the category with your brother - love meatballs but not so much a meatloaf fan. Can't explain it. Your meatballs look fabulous - I'm definitely a sweet and sour meatball fan. Yum!

Heather said...

yum! my coworker made these for our holiday party! they were so good. i think she used grape jelly, instead though. they look super tasty :)

Aleta said...

Hmmm, Greg has some frozen meatballs that he bought at the store the other day - that sauce sounds really yummy to go with it! Thanks a bunch!

The Blonde Duck said...

Meatballs, meatloaf, logs of meat--I'll eat it all.

Sandy said...

that sauce looks perfect grace!

Y said...

Hilarious photo! The sauce sounds yummy, but then again, I'm a fan of meatballs already!

Bunny said...

I can't pick one over the other Grace, they both look good! I hope you'll be with your family on Christmas, Have a great holiday!!!

Pam said...

I used to make Swedish meatballs all the time in college.

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

Hehe, you're right, meatballs is kinda a funny name. You could always call them "albondigas", which is the Spanish word for meat balls and sounds much better. :)

Paula said...

Mmmm, love balls of meat. Eww, that didn't come out right. What I mean to say is that I love these meatballs! I can see why they were a hit at your office ... love those sauces, too!

Lorraine E said...

Hehe at the pic of your brother! I adore meatballs (and yes weird word when you think of it) and I am intrigued by the idea of sweet and sour ones!

Have a Merry Christmas-I hope it's full of lovely juicy meatballs :)

Prudy said...

I loved this post. I've had to go back and catch up. I've missed you in all this Christmas craziness. Thanks so much for this recipe. I'm definitely making it New Year's for our appetizer party. They sound amazing and if you were able to squeak out some compliments from your cryptic co workers that is testament enough.

Rachael said...

Yummy....I do love balls o' meat for cocktail parties! There is something very retro about them! I think the sweet and spicy look sooo.... good. I think I will bring them to a New Years bash we are atending (along with a jug o' wine)! Thanks for the recipe and have a fantastic holiday :-)

Albany Jane said...

I love putting balls in my mouth!!

Haha, ok, sorry, my inner 13 year old popped out.

But for serious - I love meatballs. I think it's because you can just pop little meaty balls and there's so much going on. These look absolutely splendid.

Maria said...

I am sure these are a hit at holiday parties!!

Maryann said...

Meatballs were really "in" this year! meetaballza! haha

giz said...

People are wierd aren't they? Psychgrad gags if she sees meatloaf but loves the sweet 'sour meatballs too. I don't get it but trust me - I won't be drawing the analogy of meatloaf/meatball anytime soon.
Happy holidays to you and your family.

Ingrid said...

LOL! It's one of those words that make you chuckle as it brings to mind "other" things! LOL! Sorry, I'm getting looks from the co-worker!

If your brother is odd than so am I! I DO NOT like meatloaf but like meatballs! Not odd I say!
~ingrid

Thanks for a good laugh but now they know I'm not working! :-)

mikky said...

yum!!! happy holidays!!! :)

OhioMom said...

My son does not like meatloaf, but likes meatballs ... must be a guy thing ? LOL

I like them both!

Peter M said...

Were they so good that you smacked grandma?

Grace, Merry Christmas!

Amber said...

Thanks Grace, I am making a second double round today because everyone at work wants them too.
Santa comes tonight. Yay!

Robin Sue said...

Merry Christmas Grace, may it be peaceful and restful!

Peabody said...

I always look for sweet and sour meatballs at a party...so good. That and those little smokies.
Merry Christmas.

Foodista.com said...

Merry Christmas Grace! hope you have a wonderful day!

ovenhaven said...

Merry Christmas, Grace! Hope you've had a great time celebrating with your friends and family :)

Helene said...

Great picture.

Merry Christmas!

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

well, as you say ..what's in the name ..the thing that we call meat will taste as sweet.....
I would also like to wish you Merry Christmas and wonderful ushering into new year 2009.

Vera said...

Merry Christmas and the wonderful holidays, Grace!

Your meatballs look mouthwatering!

KJ said...

Either will do me. I hope you had a merry christmas.

noble pig said...

I love meatballs...I love spearing them with a frilly toothpick...i just love em'.

Emily said...

These look delicious! Merry Christmas to you.

Sophie said...

Awesome, awesome...awesome! I love meatballs and meatloaf...and now balls o' meat too haha! I've never tried anything like this (I know, it's like I live in a foodie bubble). If these were an appetizer at a party, I'd easily turn them into a meal...just gimme a slice of gluten free bread and I'm set to have the best meatball sandwich evaaa!! :)

Hope you had a great Christmas, Grace :)!

nicisme said...

Merry Christmas Grace!! Hope you had a super holiday!

Sarah said...

Funny, I ordered a meatball pasta dish at a restaurant a few days ago, thinking that I'd a couple little meatballs with it (wouldn't you?). Instead, what arrived was a small nest of pasta topped with a meatloaf. Yes, a meatloaf. A gigantic, square loaf. It broke the boundaries between the meatball and the meatloaf as distinct food items. However, it was awesome (if excessive) and it taught me to reconsider my prejudices against meatloaf.

Amber said...

No, because I leave the lights on my tree too and just put it away in the extra bedroom, or as my ex used to say, "the mystery room". If I left the ornaments on it there would be no telling what devil cat (see the post on pets) would do to it. December is a month spent dragging her out of the tree and putting back everything that she has pulled down onto the floor. Sort of her own Disneyland.

And it is really only at my house that there has to be some semblance in decorating. I love what everyone else does and just keep thinking, God I need therapy.

I hope your Christmas was wonderful. Since I plan to marry Santa let me know what you want for next year.

Tabitha Blue said...

True... the name is a little disturbing... I've always thought that about meatloaf as well. And although my husband will eat it, we usually can't call it meatloaf. Both look like winning recipes!!!!


:)
~Tabitha~

freshmommyblog.com

MaryBeth said...

I think both recipes look great, and a very good use of the festering jam. Good Job Grace!!

Bridgett said...

I can't seem to take my eyes off that sauce!

jesse said...

Hmm, I've never had a problem with the name meatball, probably because I grew up eating all sorts of meatballs? Those made of fish, beef, chicken etc etc... but yours look SO COMFORTING. And that sauce!! YUM!

Joanna said...

your brother and me are quite similar except that i would never eat meatballs- i'd only eat meatloaf. whenever i'd go out to eat with my grandpa, i'd always give him the meatballs in my wedding soup because i just couldn't look at them. haha

i think people are just weird and i'm including myself on that one.

Jaime said...

mmm i love sweet and sour meatballs! i make my sauce w/grape jelly and heinz chili sauce :) it's on my blog if you want to take a peek...

Gloria said...

Is absolutely nice and yummy Grace, Love it!!! I whish you a very Happy New Year!!!! xxGloria

Kevin said...

What tasty looking meatballs!

Maryann said...

Happy new year! :)

Tiffany said...

I like the idea of using the apricot preserves on the meatballs- it sounds like a winning combination.
My favorite meatballs are my dad's bourbon meatballs. They are so popular that family and friends alike insist that he make them every year for our holiday party!

Jeanne said...

I would never have thought of using apricot preserves in meatballs - fascinated now. Love the saucy ones and how can you go wrong with honey-chipotle??

kellypea said...

Well I SWEAR I saw these droolworthy nuggests of savoriness over the holidays, but I guess I didn't take the time to tell you I stopped by. What a complete slacker I am. I have several different kinds of jam "festering" in my fridgy along with a few unmentionables. I should put them out of their misery with these. My menfolk would swear they'd died and gone to heaven since there would be no party. They think balls are the ultimate party food. Along with cocktail weenies, of course.