Meatball Memories

Growing up, we had family friends with whom we spent a lot of time.  The couple had two girls, one about my age, and my mother and their mother had taught together with classrooms across the hall from each other.  My father and the other father were both lawyers and had, at one point, shared office space.  It was a family friend coupleship made in heaven.  Y’know, until my parents got divorced and, I assume, it got a little awkward for the parents.  I mean, I never saw it as awkward but I was always just busy playing with the daughters.

At any rate, the mom of that family is an excellent cook- I’ve posted about her food here– and one recipe that I associate with her are these meatballs.  Most people have a version of them that involves grape jelly but I can’t get behind that.  This recipe is surprisingly simple and yet so, so tasty- sort of sweet and tangy at the same time-  and no grape jelly needed.  Not that I dislike grape jelly- at times, it is exactly what I want on toast.  Just not with my meat.

We ate these in her cozy little dining room which was white with a window at one end and on the side.  She had a sideboard next to the window and that’s where things like the menorah for Chanukah or the gifts that went along with it stood.  You could see both the kitchen, the front door and the window from where I usually sat and when I make these meatballs, I can close my eyes and be immediately transported back there by the smell and taste.  Cozy, warm, safe and comfortable.  Ah, childhood.

Rosie’s Meatballs (I think they were named for one of the daughters)


1-2 lbs ground meat (I use chicken but I think they were originally beef)

1-2 eggs (will depend on how much meat there is, the eggs are helpful binders)

1/2-1 cup breadcrumbs (will depend on the meat as well as how dense you like your meatballs)

salt, pepper and other seasonings (garlic powder, seasoned salt, you make the call)

*note, normally when I make meatballs, I like to add chopped onion and garlic and other good veggies, with these I prefer them rather plain as the sauce is so tasty.


1 can cranberry sauce (jelled)

1 jar chili sauce

1/2 jar of water (use the chili sauce jar)


Make meatballs by mixing the meat with the other meatball ingredients.  You want it to hold together when you form the meatballs but not be so stiff that they dry out.

Sort of squish it all together with your (clean) hands.  Kind of fun…

You want it all incorporated.  Once it’s mixed you can roll out the meatballs with your hands- about walnut sized or golf ball if you want really big meatballs.  Meanwhile, heat the sauce ingredients over medium heat in a large saute pan.

Doesn’t look very pretty, I know, but the cranberry sauce will sort of melt into the rest, and then it will look better.   Use a whisk to get it all combined.  Once it’s simmering or even slightly boiling, add your meatballs.

Let them cook for a bit before you stir them- you don’t want them to fall apart.  Flip them once or twice so that they get nice and covered in the sauce.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until they are cooked through (you could be fancy and use a meat thermometer (165 F.) but I simply cut one in half).

Serve over rice or egg noodles.  Enjoy and feel a bit like a kid again.  Or maybe that’s just me.

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