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!
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.
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.