This post is a result of a self-inflicted food challenge with a too-easy-to-be-true happy ending. I volunteer at our local food pantry and we had received an abundance of Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce (maybe because the label was on upside down?). Week after week, many clients at the food pantry marked the cranberry sauce off their food list, perhaps feeling much as I do about the stuff – something only to be suffered through at Thanksgiving, and not very pleasant – especially when eaten all by its lonesome.
The sight of all those cans of cranberry sauce got my creative side going, however, and I determined to find a tasty and easy way to use it as a recipe ingredient in hopes of encouraging people to take them. First thing I did was turn the can around to see what was really in it. Lo and behold! There was a recipe to make saucy meatballs – 3 ingredients and easy as can be. So easy, I whipped them up in less than half an hour on my lunch break, then transferred to a Crock Pot and took it with me to the food pantry yesterday. Everyone loved the dish and there was lots of fun conversation about other ways to use the sauce – smokie links, a glaze for baking ham, like a BBQ sauce for chicken, etc. I’m including the Ocean Spray recipe here, because this is one of those really delicious, too-easy-to-be-true-but-it-is-true recipes you can throw together in an instant when you need a dish for a party or a carry-in. The rest of the happy ending? Everyone was excited to get their cranberry sauce!
1 14 ounce can Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
1 12 ounce bottle Chili Sauce
3 pounds precooked frozen Meat Balls – thawed (Make sure these are precooked!). Since I was in a hurry, I thawed them in the microwave. I think you could also substitute cocktail wieners, smokey links, precooked ham chunks, etc.
Place the cranberry sauce and chili sauce in a pan over medium-low heat. Watch carefully, stirring to break up the cranberry sauce. As it melts, stir well until the two sauces are blended. Add the meatballs and heat through, stirring often. I then transferred to a Crock Pot (low setting).