We get a reprieve from football this week, as the world waits expectantly for the Feb. 3 Super Bowl. Which means you can spend this weekend planning your menu and gathering all the pieces for your Super Bowl party.
Now no party is complete without meat on a stick, in some form. Little smokies in barbecue sauce and sausage kabobs are a good bet, but I’m a meatball fan, myself. Because you form the ball from scratch (in a perfect world), you can play with the ingredients to match any number of flavors at your feast. This year, break out of the barbecue sauce rut with some of these recipes. Be sure to share your own favorite recipes for meatballs in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
The best serving option: Pop the meatballs and sauce in the slow cooker, and leave a pile of toothpicks next to it. It’ll keep them warm throughout the game.
Cranberry Citrus Meatballs
From Diabetic Living magazine
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 pounds ground pork
1 cup cooked long grain brown rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
2 to 3 teaspoons olive oil
1 14-ounce can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
Combine eggs, pork, rice, dried cranberries, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Shape mixture into 64 balls (about 1 1/2 inches each).
In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium heat. Cook meatballs in batches in hot oil about 5 minutes or just until browned and slightly firm. Transfer meatballs to a 4-quart slow cooker.
Whisk together cranberry sauce, ketchup, orange and lime juice. Pour sauce over meatballs in slow cooker; do not stir. Cover and cook on low heat for three to four hours or on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Here’s another cranberry-inspired recipe from The Associated Press. You can either serve these meatballs with the sauce over the top, or have it on the side for dipping.
Cocktail Meatballs with Cranberry Marinara 3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 pounds ground beef (93% lean)
1 can (14-ounce) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 can (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Splash of hot sauce
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cilantro, jalapeños, garlic, fennel, oregano, onion powder, red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Whisk until well combined. Add the ground beef, then mix gently until completely blended. Divide the mixture into 50 balls, using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture per ball. Arrange the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the meatballs for 20 minutes. Increase heat to broil and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberry sauce and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.