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Cooking with Rod

By Rod Cohenour

Mi Amore Cooks –
Ms Meatballs in Sweet N Hot Sauce

      Happy New Year! It’s that time again, time to reflect on the past and anticipate the year ahead. The year 2018 – for many reasons - was certainly one most of us will be happy to put behind. Traditionally, we celebrate the birth of the New Year with a little get together with family and friends; celebrate with remembrances and good food. Let’s look forward to 2019!

      We like to offer a good baked ham; a few tasty side dishes (often the guests bring a favorite dish of their own to the table); a fruit, cheese, and cracker tray that’s as sweet to the eye as to the palate; a crudité and dip tray; and several tasty hot offerings for those (like yours truly) who are more carnivore than bunny – sliced Summer Sausage, Little Sizzlers wrapped in bacon, and a twist on the Swedish Meatball thing that my Sweet M has designed to tease the palate.

      Here is a recipe that will start 2019 with a positive step forward. It is adapted from M’s tasty basic meatloaf recipe, removing the usual veggies and spices that would compete with her Sweet N Hot Sauce.

      Bon appetit~!

M’s Meatballs in Sweet N Hot Sauce

Meatball mixture:

    4 lbs. ground beef, prefer lean
    1 cup 3 minute oats (to help absorb and hold in juices)
    1/2 cup catsup
    3 eggs
    1 tsp pepper
    ½ tsp garlic powder

Sweet n Hot Sauce:

  • 2 cans Cranberry sauce (the jellied variety)
  • 2 bottles (12 oz) Heinz Chili Sauce
  • 2 Tsp French’s yellow mustard (or Dijon, if you prefer)
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ tsp Chile powder (to your taste)
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • Red chile pepper flakes (use a few, taste, and adjust to your taste)
  • Parsley flakes

Put all ingredients for meatball mixture into large mixing bowl. Use hands to mix together.

Spray 9”x13”x2” casserole dish or line with parchment. You can also use a cookie sheet that is deep enough the grease does not overflow. Form meatballs about 1 inch in diameter, place them about an inch apart. Bake at 350º - 375º for about 15 minutes to begin the cooking process and brown the meatballs. Remove from oven, turn and repeat. Drain away the grease and place the browned meatballs on a paper towel to further aid this process. (You don’t want the meatballs to add grease to the sauce.)

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients, except for parsley flakes. Mix well, letting the cranberry sauce melt into the chile sauce. Taste test for heat. Add chile powder or pepper flakes as you deem best.

This is a good time to pull out the slow cooker. Put the meatballs into the cooker. Top with the sauce and set to Low. Let cook for 2.5 to 3 hours, checking from time to time to make sure the sauce is sufficient and the meatballs are not overcooking. Or, if you wish, use an oven proof casserole dish (you must cover the dish if you go this route.) Cooking times will vary with the individual oven, set to 275º or 300º. Check it from time to time, and lower the temperature to keep warm until ready to serve.

If your slow cooker is attractive, merely use it as your serving dish. Sprinkle a few pretty parsley flakes on top of the meatballs as both garnish and to enhance the flavor. Set a few plates nearby and provide a pretty glass or mug with long serving style picks for your guests to serve themselves. See pic below.

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