Make-Ahead Apricot Party Crockpot Meatballs

Make-Ahead Apricot Party Crockpot Meatballs | Faith, Hope, Love, and Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Preparing for a party is always a pain in the tuckus. First you have to plan the perfect party, which sounds easy, but is pretty much impossible. It’s hard to cater to every guest, especially when so many people have food allergies, are vegetarians or vegans, are gluten-free, or are just picky eaters. You mine as well forget making everyone happy, because it’s just not gonna happen, no matter how hard you try. Instead, spend your time in the weeks leading up to the party doing as much ahead of time as possible. This recipe will help you with that. Meatballs are the perfect appetizer to make ahead of time and freeze. On the day of the party all you have to do is take them out of the freezer, and then throw them in a crockpot with a quick to put together sauce. Four hours later you’ll have an appetizer that all of your guests will love, except for the vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free individuals. They’ll just have to make do with carrot and celery sticks.

A few quick hints for making these meatballs perfectly, unlike me. Yes, I did have a few issues arise when making these little balls of sweetness. First, when freezing the meatballs, make sure to put a piece of wax paper between each layer of meatballs to prevent them from sticking. I did think ahead and use this tip, but I forgot to place a piece of wax paper underneath the first layer or meatballs and had a doozy of a time getting them unstuck from the glass baking dish I had frozen them in. Lesson learned. Secondly, I cooked my meatballs for more than four hours, which meant that they were somewhat overdone. They were still good, but I think less cooking time is a good thing when it comes to meatballs. Remember, they are already completely cooked, so they really only need time to defrost, get warm, and meld with the tasty sauce you are cooking them in. And then, last but not least, make sure to stir the meatballs every half an hour to an hour. Remember, this is a recipe you’re making before a party, which means you’ll be at home while they are “crockpotting,” and most likely in the kitchen anyway. It’s not a big ordeal to stir these little guys up every once and a while to prevent them from burning.

Hopefully this recipe will come in handy for your next party. I can’t express how nice it is to have at least one dish that is simple, and requires little effort to throw together on the big day. Between cooking, cleaning, decorating, giving directions to your home, and answering party guest’s last-minute questions, you deserve to have one thing actually be uncomplicated and straightforward. Forget the fancy tea sandwiches, which take hours to assemble, as well as the baked dips, which all too quickly become a thick dish of goo if not eaten 30 minutes after being removed from the oven. Whip up a crockpot of meatballs instead. Make your meat-loving, gluten-tolerant, un-picky friends ecstatic, while saving your time for more essential party planning chores like perfecting the perfect cocktail.

Make-Ahead Apricot Party Crockpot Meatballs | Faith, Hope, Love, and Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

  • 3 Pounds Ground Chicken
  • 1 Shallot, Minced
  • 1 Bunch Parsley, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Sea Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Dry Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Cup Steel Cut Oatmeal

Sauce:

  • 1 (12-oz.) Bottle Chili Sauce
  • 1 (13.oz) Jar Apricot Preserves
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Make-Ahead Apricot Party Crockpot Meatballs | Faith, Hope, Love, and Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Directions:

Meatballs:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with foil, and then coat with cooking spray.
  3. Combine all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands.
  4. Use a small cookie scoop to measure out uniform meatballs, and then roll them between the palms of your hands to give them a round shape.
  5. Place all of the meatballs on the foil lined baking sheets, making sure to leave a 1/2-inch between each one.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

Sauce:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot.
  2. Add meatballs and toss to coat.
  3. Bake on low for 4 hours, stirring at least every hour.

Make-Ahead Apricot Party Crockpot Meatballs | Faith, Hope, Love, and Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Suggestions:

  • Roll enough meatballs to fill one baking sheet, and then place them in the oven to cook while you are finishing up the meatballs for the second baking sheet.
  • Remember to place the meatballs between layers of wax paper when freezing to prevent them from sticking to one another.
  • If you are aren’t having a big party make half the amount of meatballs, and leave the rest in the freezer for later use. Follow the same directions for the meatball sauce. Your meatballs will just cook in more sauce, and more sauce is never a bad thing. You can even make small meatball subs by serving the meatballs with sauce on hot dog rolls.

Make-Ahead Apricot Party Crockpot Meatballs | Faith, Hope, Love, and Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Improvements:

  • Replace the apricot preserves with grape or apple jelly.
  • Add 2 cloves of minced garlic to the meatballs in lieu of garlic powder.
  • Add a few tablespoons of bourbon or whiskey to the meatball sauce.

Make-Ahead Apricot Party Crockpot Meatballs

Make-Ahead Apricot Party Crockpot Meatballs

Ingredients:

    Meatballs:
  • 3 Pounds Ground Chicken
  • 1 Shallot, Minced
  • 1 Bunch Parsley, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Sea Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Dry Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Cup Steel Cut Oatmeal
  • Sauce:
  • 1 (12-oz.) Bottle Chili Sauce
  • 1 (13.oz) Jar Apricot Preserves
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Directions:

    Meatballs:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with foil, and then coat with cooking spray.
  3. Combine all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands.
  4. Use a small cookie scoop to measure out uniform meatballs, and then roll them between the palms of your hands to give them a round shape.
  5. Place all of the meatballs on the foil lined baking sheets, making sure to leave a 1/2-inch between each one.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
  7. Sauce:
  8. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot.
  9. Add meatballs and toss to coat.
  10. Bake on low for 4 hours, stirring at least every hour.
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Crockpot Monday Link-Up Party #2:

Welcome to the Crockpot Monday Link-Up Party. If you are interested in joining, please use the inlinkz link-up button to add your own original crockpot recipe. It’s just a crockpot, Monday, dinner, and hopefully a whole lotta yummy, uncomplicated, and timesaving scrumptious food. Please follow along at Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck for future Crockpot Monday posts, join our Facebook page, or even get ideas on Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck’s Crockpot Monday Ideas Pinterest page. There’s even a special Crockpot Monday badge you can find HERE if you are interested in joining along.

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    2. One link-up per person please.
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