As I wrote on SavvyMom last week, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season doesn’t leave much time for making warm and nourishing meals at the end of a long day, does it? It doesn’t matter how many hours you log at work or in the kitchen baking holiday treats, you’re still left with children, spouses, partners and maybe even parents who need and expect a decent dinner.
How is that even possible? Don’t they know your to-do list is ten things too long right now? Just kidding, of course. But the cold, hard truth is that despite all that’s going on this month, dinner still needs to land on the table sometime between five and six o’clock each night, and ideally it will be made with more than leftover eggnog and broken cookies.
This meal in particular is a good one to keep in your back pocket for the coming weeks. It has many merits, not the least of which is that it allows you the option of making your meatballs from scratch or picking up a package of some quality pre-made ones. The recipe works well in either case, and seeing as we all need a few holiday helpers this time of year, I say go for the frozen ones if that makes getting dinner on the table easier for you.
This dish also takes less than 30 minutes to assemble, giving you enough time to prepare an accompanying whole grain (Brown rice! Quinoa! Couscous!) and one or two green veggies to go with it. Dinner done!
Another thing I should mention about this recipe: it happens to be a modern spin on the classic cocktail meatballs we’ve all made and been served at holiday parties. Only this time the ketchup and grape jelly have been replaced with Thai chilli sauce and cranberry sauce, and spiked with a little soy sauce and clementine juice for balance. So good.
I don’t know about you, but I love recipes that serve a dual purpose and this one can move seamlessly between party fare and family dinner. In other words, it’s definitely worth adding to your meal plan this month.
Saucy Cranberry and Soy-Glazed Meatballs
- 1 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
- ½ cup cranberry sauce
- ½ cup soy sauce
- Juice and zest of 2 clementines
- 1lb. pork, beef, chicken or turkey meatballs (see note)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the chili sauce, cranberry sauce, soy sauce and clementine juice.
3. Place the meatballs in a 9x13-inch baking pan. Pour the marinade over the meatballs and toss to combine. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs are warmed through and the sauce is thickened, stirring once halfway through the cooking time.
4. To serve as a meal, spoon over rice, quinoa or couscous and sprinkle with clementine zest. To serve as an appetizer, place meatballs on the table alongside some toothpicks. Sprinkle with clementine zest and serve hot.
Note: For the meatballs: if using homemade, shape them into 1-inch meatballs and cook until no longer pink before proceeding with the recipe. If using store-bought frozen meatballs, which are generally cooked through, simply prepare the dish as per the recipe instructions.