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Meatballs are Mostly About the Sauce

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  • Author: Maureen Haddock
  • Total Time: 50 Minutes
  • Yield: 30 Meatballs 1x


Meatballs are almost always a combination of protein, egg, binding starch, and seasonings. They can be baked, fried, deep fried, or simmered in liquid. You can freeze them raw or cooked, and with or without sauces.

My Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs recipe includes grated zucchini and cheese. In many recipes, I add Rice Krispies instead of breadcrumbs to create a lighter meatball. Oatmeal can be added instead of breadcrumbs to provide an easy, gluten-free option. I often mix meats; ground pork is delightful when mixed with beef or turkey. I even have a recipe for canned tuna mixed with mashed potatoes.

I want to share a few ideas for sauces that take a basic meatball to a new level.


Units Scale

Ultimate Party Meatballs by Ocean Spray

  • 1 bag of frozen, cooked cocktail-size meatballs (2 pounds)
  • A 12-ounce bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce
  • A 14-ounce can of Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Place meatballs in a slow cooker. Combine sauces and pour over meatballs. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

This recipe is also delicious when grape jelly is used instead of cranberry sauce.

No-Fuss Meatballs

Ingredients for Meatballs:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Pepper, according to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground meat (I use half pork and half beef.)

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 11/3 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups ginger ale


Combine the first 6 ingredients with the ground meat. Shape into 1¼ inch balls.

In a Dutch oven or medium-sized saucepan, over medium heat, bring the ginger ale and ketchup to a boil. Reduce heat. Add the meatballs, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the meat is cooked.

NOTE: I browned the meatballs slightly in the pan, removed them, and poured off the excess fat. I added the ginger ale to deglaze the pan. Then I added the ketchup and meatballs and simmered, covered for 30 minutes. This was very tasty and ridiculously easy.


Excellent for a Change

Select any meatball recipe you prefer or purchase meatballs from your local grocery store. Brown them in a frying pan. This sauce recipe will generously cover meatballs made from 1 pound of meat.

Remove the meatballs from the frying pan. In the same fry pan, over medium heat, sauté the green pepper and onion in the oil or butter.

  • ⅓ cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • Add the following ingredients to the green pepper and onion.
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup

Add meatballs to an oven-proof casserole and pour the sauce over them. Bake uncovered in a 350°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

I can make close to 30 meatballs from one pound of meat. I use a scale to measure one pound because we buy ground meat in larger batches.

See my recipe for Glazed Ham Balls in the 2024 spring issue of Saskatoon HOME Magazine. 

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Fry, Bake

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