Monday, December 12, 2011

Crockpot Meatballs & Wienies

This week's recipe is like last week's sugared pecans, in that this would make a great dish to take to a potluck Christmas party, or it would be a tasty addition to any appetizer table you may be hosting or attending. I got this recipe from my Dad. When I was growing up, I was active in sports, music & theatre, so we had lots of potluck banquets to attend. My Dad usually brought these, and they were a hit. When I asked him for the recipe when I was in college, I was so surprised at how simple it was, and what the ingredients were. I whipped these up yesterday when we got home, made for a nice quick supper, too! Don't let the ingredients scare you, the sauce is not sweet, like you may think it would be with the grape jelly.

Crock Pot Meatballs & Wienies

One 32oz jar Grape JELLY (NOT jam)
Two 12oz jars chili sauce (chili sauce is by the ketchup/BBQ sauces in the store)
One 32oz bag frozen meatballs (I prefer the Italian style)
Two 14oz bags pork cocktail wienies, beef cocktail wienies, or Lil Smokies weiners (I like to use 2 different kinds, I usually do 1 pork and 1 beef)

For this amount, use a 6 quart slow cooker or larger. Now, you can put the jelly and chili sauce in the crockpot until the jelly melts, but I find that takes waaaay too long. So I throw the jelly in a glass dish (don't use plastic, the jelly gets really hot) and microwave it for about 5-6 minutes to melt it, then I combine it in the crock with the chili sauce. Then add the meat, stirring to coat all the pieces.

When I make these, they are usually for a potluck or holiday get together at midday. So I turn them on high in the morning for an hour or 2 while I get ready. Then I transport them and leave on low for a few hours when I get to where I am going, until it is time to eat. When at home, I cook on high for an hour, then low for at least 3. Everything in there is already fully cooked, so it is up to you how long you want to cook them. The longer you cook, the more tender and flavorful they are. But don't leave on high for long, because the sauce will get too thin and you don't want it to burn.

These are GREAT for football parties too! You can also make a half batch for a smaller event. which is what I do when I make them at home. Just use 1 smaller jar of jelly (around 18oz), 1 jar chili sauce, 1/2 bag meatballs, and one package of wienies. I use my smaller 4 quart crock for that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sugared Pecans or Walnuts

I am offering a bit of a different recipe for your crock pot this week. It is a nice treat for a holiday get-together. I love the roasted sweet nuts you get at fairs and festivals. This recipe is similar to those, but you can make them at home! I used pecans, but walnuts would work well too. I am posting the recipe I used, although I admit I tweaked it some. After I dusted them with the spices, although they were tasty, I didn't think they were quite sweet enough. So I dusted on some more powdered sugar while they were still warm (a small bowl with a lid helps that process a lot!). Then they were just right! be warned though, they are so tasty when they just come out of the crock pot all warm and buttery, they may not make it to your party :)

Crock pot Sugared Pecans or Walnuts

16 ounces pecans or walnut halves
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Turn slow cooker to HIGH about 15 minutes in advance. In hot slow cooker, stir together the nuts and butter. Add the powdered sugar, stirring to blend and coat evenly. Cover and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes.

Reduce the heat to LOW and remove lid; cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 to 3 hours, or until the nuts are coated with a crisp glaze. ***Make sure you stir often enough to prevent burning. I had a few pecan casualties on the bottom of my crockpot.

Transfer the nuts to a bowl. In another small bowl, combine the spices; sift over the nuts, stirring to coat evenly.

Let cool before serving (yeah right! Good luck with that!).