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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No Time to Cook Appetizers

There are two appetizers that I make every year for our party that are SO easy they take virtually no time at all to prepare.  I almost feel guilty putting them out amongst all the dishes I've worked so hard to prepare.  But, guess what?   The meatballs are one of the most popular dishes.  So, I keep putting them out and they keep disappearing.

First off, Magic Meatballs.  Connie's name for them.  There are half a dozen or more variations on this theme.  All of them wind up at about the same place.  Sweet sour or barbecue.  And, yes, Sams Club sells these wonderful bags of meatballs.  They also sell mongo jars of grape jelly.  They do not, however, sell chili sauce.  Just make sure when you buy that at the grocery that you don't pick up the seafood sauce instead.  Voice of experience speaking.  The voice with two jars of when in the heck am I ever going to use that seafood sauce in her pantry.  Oh, well. 

Then, there are the marinated mushrooms.  I have half a dozen recipes for marinated mushrooms and other veggies.  They all take time to prepare.  These don't.  Well, unless your mushrooms are particularly covered with the growing medium and they take extra time to rinse off.  Yes, I said rinse off.  Good old Alton Brown.  He did a segment on mushrooms retaining water as a result of being washed off in water as opposed to carefully brushed with a mushroom brush.  Saved me from a lifetime of feeling guilty for not brushing off mushrooms.  I've washed the things forever.  Now, I just don't feel guilty!

Magic Meatballs

large bag of meatballs
large jar of grape jelly
jar of chili sauce

Combine the grape jelly and chili sauce in a large saucepan. 

Cook on medium low heat until the jelly has melted.

Pour meatballs into a crockpot.  Cover with the sauce and cook on high for about 2 hours.  Turn the heat to low when serving them.

Marinated Mushrooms

Button mushrooms, well cleaned
Italian dressing or Robust Italian dressing

Put the mushrooms in a plastic storage container.  Cover with the dressing and refrigerate overnight.  To serve, spoon the mushrooms out.  The dressing will still make great salad dressing. 

An aside here - I try to make as much from scratch as possible.  It's a good way to control the amount of sodium that we eat.  And, I typically prefer homemade to bottled.  But, Italian dressing is a staple in my kitchen.  It's a fantastic marinade for so many things.  The first time I had it as a marinade was at Rich and Juli's house.  They threw a party for all the rummage sale helper bees.  From that day on, I've used the stuff to marinate. 


Mateja ^_^ said...

Both your appetizer sounds incredibly tasty, but my taste buds are rolling over to mushrooms more! Thank you for sharing :)

Lizzy said...

I have so many posts to catch up with here!

Love these meatballs...amazing how excellent they are with so little effort! Bill always goes straight for these at any party...I should really make him some. The mushrooms, well, I love them...him, not so much!!! Off to explore~

egbkid said...

Both recipes look great!! So easy, i think i will have to try them!

Tastemonials said...

I've made these meatballs before, but not in years. I'd forgotten all about them. I should revive them for my next party.

Kath said...

Great ideas for fast and easy appetizers, Kate! I'm always on the look-out for appetizers that take no time so I can concentrate on the main course.

Becky said...

These are both wonderful appetizers to eat and to make. My husband ,ade the meatballs for a Christmas buffet at work, and they were a big hit. We still have a huge jar of grape jelly in the fridge. PB&J anyone?

Kate @ said...

These are fantastic. And I really like the idea of serving the meatballs as an appetizer...there’s something great about the idea of eating these with toothpicks. Delicious!

Belinda @zomppa said...

You got it so right! Grape jelly is the best secret ingredient.

Maralyn said...

Hi Kate,

This meatball recipe is a great one to add. It was always a quick fix, well received appetizer since the 60s. Men especially like it and if someone wants to add a sour note, add a can of chopped pineapple.


Brandie@thecountrycook said...

I make those meatballs so I know they are outstanding! :)
I'm not a fan of mushrooms but many of my family and friends are so I know I'm going to try and make those for our next get together.