Hello holidays: Spicy cranberry meatballs

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Yet another work potluck, Ugly Christmas Sweater Party or shin-dig that you need to make something for. If you’re anything like me you either prepare something fancy because of proper planning or…. you forget all about the party until the day before. These meatballs are perfect for the last scenario. Only seven ingredients, all of which you could buy, and thirty minutes until you’re the owner of everyone’s favorite appetizer at the party. Read on to see how these meatballs come together.

To start, combine the chili sauce, brown sugar, cranberry sauce, chili powder, cumin and cayenne together in a pot. Bring to a low boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved and most of the jellied cranberry is reconstituted.


Next, and this is the most important part, add the meatballs. Let them cook and get covered with the chili cranberry sauce for about 20 minutes and YOU’RE DONE. Yes you read right, these babies are now ready to be enjoyed.


You can make these ahead of time and transfer to the party in a microwavable bowl. Just warm them up when you arrive. Or you can make the sauce then throw it in a crockpot the day of. Simmer them there until everyone’s ready to eat.


If you are just a bit more prepared than I usually am you can even make homemade jellied cranberry sauce (worth the effort, just make in a bowl instead of a mold) and/or make homemade meatballs. Combine ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, milk, ginger, salt, garlic, onion and pepper then form little balls. Bake in a 400 degree oven then add to your sauce.

14 ounces jellied cranberry sauce
12 ounces chili sauce
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 32 ounce package frozen meatballs


2 pounds ground beef
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup dry minced onion
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of milk
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • Step 1
    If making the meatballs from scratch. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the meatball ingredients and roll into small balls and place on lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or cooked through. Set aside.
  • Step 2
    Combine first six ingredients in large pot and bring to a low boil. Stir occasionally until sugar is melted and cranberry sauce reconstitutes.
  • Step 3
    Place meatballs into pot and stir sparingly. Letting cook through for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Step 4
    Transfer to serving dish; if making ahead place into microwave-safe bowl or crockpot. Enjoy.

My Hatchery Box: Caramelized Onion & Havarti Patty Melts

Recently, I decided to sign up for a Hatchery Box subscription. Each month, different artisanal small-batch ingredients and condiment samples are mailed to your door along with a mini version of their Guide, introducing you to the Makers of each sample and different recipes you can make with each. When my first one arrived I was excited to use some of the items for blog posts (like this one). I knew my first project would involve the Ommegang Abbey Ale Beer Jelly , because c’mon, beer jelly sounds so interesting and fun.


As I had no real idea what to make with the beer jelly I decided to default to the one selected by Hatchery — Caramelized Onion & Dill Havarti Patty Melts. I had most of the ingredients already and a quick trip to Trader Joe’s got me the rest.

To start, I chopped/sliced (I’m not great at pure slicing) some onions and threw them in a pan with butter over medium heat. Let them soften up and toss till there a nice golden color. Salt and pepper it and set aside.

I seasoned my ground beef with salt, pepper and garlic powder then formed them into three nice sized patties. These go into a separate pan over medium high heat until brown on both sides and cooked thorough. Add the havarti (they were out of the dill variety) at the last-minute so it has a chance to melt.

I decided to make a few minor tweaks; the first being the cheese and the second to the bread as I’m not a huge fan of rye. The sliced white we had at home went into the toaster until brown and I begin assembling my patty melt. A smear of the beer jelly, a havarti covered patty and the caramelized onions yielded the best patty melt I’ve had in a while.

The jelly added a nice sweetness to the whole thing while not being overpowering. The melty havarti offset the onion and each bite had a bit of cheese. I was expecting the jelly to not be sweet at all but I’m glad the beer-ness didn’t steal the show. I can’t wait to make more things to share with you guys with my Hatchery boxes to come.


Ingredients (modified from Hatchery):
2 tbsp. butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
6 slices rye bread (or white or any bread you prefer)
1/2 lb dill havarti cheese (or pre-sliced havarti)
1 lb ground beef
1 oz. Beekman 1802 Ommegang Abbey Ale Beer Jelly

  • Step 1
    Over medium heat, add 2 tbsp. butter to a medium skillet. Add onions and cook until they begin to soften (about 5-7 minutes). Toss and let cook another 5 minutes. Do this repeatedly until onions are soft, about 30 minutes, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  • Step 2
    Season the beef with salt, pepper and garlic powder then divide into three patties that are about the same size as the bread. Cook over medium-high heat until brown and cooked through. Remove and set aside.
  • Step 3
    Toast bread in toaster until golden.
  • Step 4
    Assemble the sandwiches: on one side, add Beekman Beer Jelly, cheese covered patty and onions. Top with second piece of toasted bread. Enjoy immediately.