Hunk of Meat Monday: Traditional Meatballs Recipe

Meatballs and mashed potatoes are staples in family meals on the prairie. They aren’t sexy and probably frowned upon by many food snobs. But I was raised with them. It is comfort food and I love them. When we were in Disney World’s Epcot at a princess dinner in “Norway”, traditional meatballs were on the menu. Naturally we had to try them. My ancestors came from Norway. Meatballs are in my lineage. Below is just the kids’ serving of the “Norway” Epcot meatballs. 
It reminded me of home. Last week when we were home and I could cook again I found myself still craving meatballs. 
These are meatballs I modify based on what I have available but they fed a hungry teenager, a famished husband, two squirrely girls and me last week. Plus we had leftovers that I froze.

I doubled the recipe as usual and used a mixture of ground beef and pork. Usually I make beef meatballs but the pork/ beef mixture was excellent. I never follow a recipe for meatballs but realized what I do add is very similar to The Pioneer Woman’s Comfort Meatball Recipe which is in her first cookbook. I listed most of the measurements she lists in her recipe below…because I tend not to measure very well. However she makes a slightly different sauce. Any tangy, zingy sauce will do.

1 1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup quick oats
1 cup milk
1 TBSP minced onion
2 tsp season salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
canola oil for pan
1/2 cup flour

1 12 oz. chili sauce
1 18 oz jar apricot (or any fruit) preserves
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. In large mixing bowl, combine meat, milk, oatmeal, minced onion, 1 tsp. season salt and black pepper. I mix with my hands. But I’m sure a wooden spoon would work.

In a shallow pan, add 1/2 cup flour with 1 tsp. season salt. Make medium sized meat balls from your meat mixture and gently roll each in the flour mixture.

Place floured meatballs in a pan.

On the stove top, over medium heat have a dutch oven or cast iron pan to brown the meatballs with the canola oil at the bottom of the pan.

Also on the stovetop, stir chili sauce, fruit preserves, minced garlic and black pepper, heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil and remove from heat. Stir.

Once the meatballs have browned for about 5-7 minutes, I pour over the sauce, stir and cover, placing them in the 375F oven.

This is the same sauce I pour over meatballs in a slow cooker which I had yesterday at our Christmas Cheer holiday party for customers of our small business.

Bake for 35 minutes at 375F. While the meatballs baked, I pulled potatoes from the oven and mashed them. I don’t peel the potatoes. I mash the whole potatoes, adding a little skim milk, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. I placed them in a baking dish and covered, putting them in the oven for the last 15 minutes the meatballs finished to warm up the potatoes, melting the cheeses and melding the flavors.
Steam up some green veggies. Set the table. Pour a few glasses of milk. A meatballs, mashed potatoes meal…need milk in my opinion as a beverage. It’s the prairie way.

This was our starving like a pack of wolves plate…his first helping of our meatball family meal.

The leftover meatballs are just as yummy. Our son always wants a pre-game meal these days. I froze the meatballs to have on hand for meatball sub sandwiches this winter. 
Even though it’s a holiday week and people are cooking up hams, turkeys, ribs…and my grandma (Happy Birthday TODAY to Grandma Nola!) will be boiling an old Norwegian tradition of smelly lutefisk (cod soaked in lye) on Christmas Eve, I have a special place in my heart for holiday meatballs. 
Meatballs are like home to me, comforting and full of memories and are today’s Hunk of Meat Monday. Because everyone should have a meatball or two on Hunk of Meat Monday. Wrap them in bacon and they’d taste even better!
Linking up for Hunk of Meat Monday with Beyer Beware
Hunk of Meat Mondays

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  1. says

    Sounds delish! Another really simple sauce recipe which is almost identical to yours and is always a winner is instead of using the apricot preserves try using a jar of grape jelly – yes grape jelly – with the chili sauce, etc. It makes for a bit of a darker sauce but the tang is quite nice and is a real hit with everyone! Just something different to try if you have not had the sauce this way before. Enjoy!

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