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The holidays are a time for enjoying laughs, food, and quality time with friends and family. These Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs are the perfect simple recipe for a festive holiday party. Homemade meatballs, cranberry sauce, chili sauce, and cranberry juice make a meatball your guests will rave about!
One of the best parts of the holidays is the tasty food and drinks! Coca-Cola® shares the magic this season by capturing the micro-moments of the holidays. I am a mom of two little boys, and I know that having a few moments to myself can be hard, especially during the holiday, but those are the moments I give myself a chance to indulge. The first sip of a fresh Coca-Cola® is my favorite. Crisp, fizzy, refreshing, and the little boost that keeps me smiling as I prepare to host my friends and family. Sometimes, it is a small get together, a holiday movie night, a cookie exchange, or a few snacks before a day in the snow. Coca-Cola® is holiday to me, and always part of my holiday prep- and to serve when entertaining!
Right now, Coca-Cola® has bottles featuring their holiday polar bears. When I was a kid, who am I kidding- I still do, I counted down the days for the holiday polar bear commercial to air because it officially felt like it was time to celebrate. At Walmart, you can pick up 2 liter and a 6-pack of Coca-Cola® bottles with the holiday polar bears! They are easy to find and in the aisle with soda and beverages.
Click on the image below to grab a 2 liter bottle or 6-pack of Coca-Cola® for your holiday gathering! Check out the cute holiday packaging featuring the Coca-Cola® polar bears!
One of my favorite holiday and entertaining recipes is Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs. The meatballs are made from scratch and then placed in the slow cooker with a delicious sweet and tangy sauce! I love this recipe because the meatballs can easily be made in advance (or even frozen) before you need them which creates easy entertaining prep!
The sauce is cranberry sauce, chili sauce, and a little cranberry juice to make a rich, tangy, and sweet sauce for the meatballs. I keep my heat low, and then switch to warm when I am ready to serve to make sure they are at the perfect temperature for my guests.
What do you need to make Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs?
- Ground Beef
- Cranberry Sauce – I do not use whole berry for this recipe
- Chili Sauce
- Tart Cranberry Juice
- Slow Cooker
- Cookie Sheet
How do you make Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs?
- Make a slurry for the meatballs. A slurry is a term I use to describe the binder for the meatballs: bread, milk, water, and eggs. The bread is soaked in the milk and water. The bread is then blended with the eggs to create a smooth binder. I prefer blending this portion of the recipe because it helps prevent over mixing the meatballs.
- Mix the beef and slurry together.
- Scoop the meatballs on to a lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 350°F. A cookie scoop works well for this!
- Remove meatballs from the oven and allow them to slightly cool. Place in a slow cooker with cranberry sauce, chili sauce, and juice. Cook on low for 4 hours, and serve.
Why soak the bread? I love this method because it really helps soak in all the moisture from the liquid. When blended and mixed I find that it gives a very even texture to the meatballs. It also helps prevent over-mixing the ingredients.
What is the best way to get perfectly round and even meatballs? I like to use a cookie scoop to get a uniform size. Typically, I prefer a 1 1/2 tablespoon size because it is still bite sized, but does not overcook as easily to make sure the meatballs and nice and juicy.
When all the ingredients are ready I place them in my slow cooker so it can do the work while I prep for my guests and grab a bottle of Coca-Cola®.
Getting my table set and everything in place is important to me because it maximizes my time, and makes my preparations easier. A ready slow cooker, serving bowls and spoons, toothpicks, festive plates and napkins, and a refreshing drink are some of my staples!
The sauce becomes warm and smooth, and the meatballs are ready to serve! I love to grab a few festive holiday plates and napkins, as well as toothpicks when I serve these meatballs to my friends and family.
Don’t forget an ice bucket to keep you bottles of Coca-Cola® nice and cold!
These meatballs really are the perfect bites for company! Hearty, warm, and packed with flavor.
Also, from a busy mom, do not forget to enjoy the little moments. As parents we hear this all the time, but if the small joy of that first refreshing sip of Coca-Cola® brings a grin to your face make sure you take that micro-moment- I know that I will be. A few of my other favorites are a the first smell of apple pie or cookies from my oven, circling toys with my boys for their wish-lists, watching my favorite holiday movies with snacks, and watching the snow fall while my youngest naps and then other finally takes a bit of time with his toys.
What are some of you favorite holiday micro-moments?
Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs
- 2 lb ground beef
- 2 slices white bread
- 1/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 cup tart cranberry juice
- 12 oz bottle chili sauce
- 14 oz can jellied cranberries
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a sided baking sheet with a mat or foil. Set aside.
Place bread, water, and milk in a bowl and allow bread to soak for 5 minutes.
Place bread and any remaining liquid into the food processor. Add eggs and onions. Add salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.
Add the bread mixture to the ground beef. Mix by hand until it is well incorporated.
Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop form the meatballs, roll in your hands, and place the meatballs on the cookie sheet. Repeat until you have used all of the meatball mixture. Note: if you do not have a cookie scoop use a regular measuring spoon to get the correct amount and then you can eyeball it from that point.
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the meatballs to rest for about 2-3 minutes.
Place meatballs in the slow cooker. Add the juice, chili sauce and cranberries. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 4 hours. Stir and serve.