Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs

You get invited to a holiday party and one day before it takes place you remember you were asked to bring a snack or appetizer to share. Said party also takes place shortly after you return from work, leaving you just enough time to make yourself look presentable, feed the dogs/kids and shove yourself out the door. Sigh.

You slug your way into the grocery store minutes before you are supposed to arrive and cringe at the thought of bringing yet another bag of potato chips. You grab them anyway making sure to swing past the dairy section to grab a half decent dip in your haste. You make your way toward the checkout counter with your head hung low and contemplate the message you are sending with your chips and dip. How will the host judge my lackluster choice of party food? Will my poor little bags of chips get thrown into the mounding pile, only to be eaten when there is nothing else left and people are desperate?

You sigh again and put them back on the shelves heading to the produce section to further survey your options. Everyone loves a good vegetable tray, right? Plus, you vowed to make eating healthier your New Year resolution and now that Christmas is closing in you better get it into high gear. Heading toward the register once again you debate vegetable tray vs. fruit tray but quickly realize you do not have time to change your mind again.

You arrive at the holiday party feeling anxious and rushed, hand off your store bought snack and head to the bar as soon as possible breathing a sigh of relief and hoping your vegetable tray was a good choice. At the end of the night you realize it was munched on here and there and the sad cauliflower is left untouched as usual.

These meatballs will break that cycle. Indulge me just a little bit longer if you will. Imagine you remember the night before you need a dish to bring. No problem. You pull out your slow cooker and go to bed peacefully. You wake the next morning alive with Christmas spirit and quickly stir the cranberry sauce and chili sauce in the bottom of the pot. You add your homemade frozen meatballs, set it to low and run off to work.

You return home, freshen up for your party and then head out the door with your homemade meatballs in tow. You arrive and hand off your little nuggets of holiday happiness and glide to the bar and pour yourself a nice little cocktail. You return home with an empty slow cooker and satisfaction. Please do not get me wrong here – chips and dip definitely have their place at every party. For the holidays though having a little something homemade really brings the holiday spirit to life. Break the cycle and bring these to your next party.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs

12 oz. Chili Sauce
3 cups cranberry sauce (or you may use canned in a pinch)
½ cup brown sugar
Make Ahead Frozen Meatballs (recipe follows)

  1. Stir chili sauce, cranberry sauce and brown sugar in the bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Add frozen meatballs and stir to coat.
  3. Set on “Low” for 6-8 hours or “High” for 2-3 hours or until warm throughout (I have left it on low for up to 10 hours and had no problems with them getting tough.)

Make Ahead Meatballs

These meatballs are versitile and go well with spaghetti, in sloow cooker meals and in soups.

3 pounds ground turkey (you could also use beef or pork)
2 eggs
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. dried minced onion
3 Tbsp. crushed garlic
3 Tbsp. salt

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or coat with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and gently using your fingers being careful not to over mix.
  3. Form bite-sized meatballs approximately 1-1.5 inches in diameter and place on sheet pan.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink in the center.
  5. Transfer to a clean pan covered in parchment and freeze at least 1 hour.
  6. Once frozen pour meatballs into a freezer bag and store up to 4 months.
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This entry was posted in Appetizers, Christmas, Thanksgiving and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs

  1. Such a delicious appetizer recipe! There is nothing worse than trying to make something in a hurry for an after work party. You totally solved that problem and I am loving the chili cranberry sauce! ps- you might want to add the link to your sauce in your recipe. <–I do that all the time! Pinned!

  2. CakeSpy says:

    This is really quite clever!! I love the sweet-tart-savory combo. I think these are a great holiday entertaining tool!

  3. Erlene says:

    Love the use of cranberries in this. Perfect timing for the holidays.

  4. I adore cranberries at this time of year, seeing as they are only in season for such a short while I like to make the most of them. This little dish sounds brilliant, I’d love it as a meal myself. This has been featured as one of my favourites over at Sweet and Savoury Sunday. Stop by, grab a button and link up again with us this week. Have a great day!

  5. Pingback: Sweet and Savoury Sundays #88 | Baking in Pyjamas

  6. Laura says:

    Oooo these look delicious. I’m on the hunt for slow cooker meals at the moment so I’m adding this to my collection. P.s. found you via Sweet & Savoury Sundays.

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