In this back of the bottle/bag/box series, my husband and I aim to find a recipe on the back of a bottle, bag or box and make it exactly as it reads. Then, our whole family gives it a try and lets us know what they think! This time, we made a party meatballs recipe!
Did you ever have a recipe when you were growing up that you always loved at a party? Your grandma’s cookies, your uncle’s dip, etc? Something that you never had at home or for dinner, but were always around at group events. Well these Heinz® Ultimate Party Meatballs are one of those types of recipes for me. Growing up my mom often brought along a slow cooker full of these meatballs to any type of pot-luck event. Maybe it was the mystique of the long cook times with a slow cooker, but I definitely never realized how easy these are until she revealed to me years later that it was just the recipe from the back of the Heinz® Chili Sauce bottle.
This recipe is as straightforward as they come. However, I did want to note a couple of things. Heinz® does actually provide two cooking methods, first the previously mentioned slow cooker method and second a stove top method. As I’ve made the slow cooker verison a couple times (and eaten them countless times) we opted for the stove top method. This was obviously a little more involved, but only just a smidge, but much faster. In the end the outcome was much the same. Another interesting note; the recipe calls for Ocean Spray® Jellied Cranberry Sauce (same parent company? corporate synergy?), but this is pretty interchangeable with other jellies. We actually used cherry jelly that we had in the fridge, and my mom almost always used grape jelly.
Unfortunately there’s not much to say here. Pour your three ingredients in a slow cooker, stir a bit, and leave it to cook for a bit. The stovetop variation is a little more hands on, but is again just some basic stirring while they meatballs cook. Either method you use the results are for the most part pretty similar.
It’s probably not much of a surprise, but I love these things. They’re essentially meatballs in a sort of sweet, not quite bbq sauce. I would like to point out that although these use something called “Chili Sauce” they are no way spicy. The Heinz® Chili Sauce in this recipe is more garlicky ketchup than hot sauce (in fact I prefer it with fries in place of ketchup). Different jellies do provide slight variations in flavor but nothing too drastic, as there’s a lot of big flavor in play here from the chili sauce. As mentioned, I grew up on these made with grape jelly, but I think cranberry (or cherry like we tried this time) adds a little more acid to cut through some of the richness.
What did SweetPhi think?
I did not grow up with these, and am sad about that. They are SO SO GOOD. I could honestly just eat these for a meal and call it a day. Now whenever I see them at a party, I will for sure be filling my plate with them.
Did the kids eat it?
2 out of 3 kids ate it!
Ben liked the meatballs, but I think he liked eating with toothpicks even more. Freddie was not at all interested. I got him to try one bite and he immediately spit it out. Frankie on the other hand loved these. She’s a pretty big meatball fan as is, but she ate here serving then started reaching for Freddie’s plate.
- 1 can Ocean Spray® jellied cranberry sauce 14 ounce can. You can also use jelly.
- 1 bottle Heinz® Chili sauce 12 ounce
- 1 bag frozen, pre-cooked, cocktail-size meatballs 2 pound bag
- Combine sauces in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Add meatballs. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally.