Holiday appetizers perfect for entertaining

Metro Service
The recipe for “Mini Merry Meatballs,” courtesy of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, is sure to please.

Presents may get much of the glory during the holiday season, but there is much to be said about the foods found throughout this time of year as well. During the holiday season, people frequently find that dinner invites, cocktail parties, office happy hour gatherings, and other opportunities for socialization are easy to come by. At the heart of these events are foods and beverages.
Whether one is hosting a holiday soiree or plans to bring something to a potluck party, it’s helpful to have a list of fail-proof recipes at the ready. Tasting menus, bite-sized treats and finger foods are always a hit at holiday functions — and this recipe for “Mini Merry Meatballs,” courtesy of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, is sure to please. Paired with a cranberry barbecue sauce, these savory appetizers are bursting with flavor and holiday appeal.
Mini Merry Meatballs
(Serves 24)

1⁄2 pound ground beef brisket
1⁄4 pound ground beef ribeye steak boneless
1⁄4 pound ground beef (80 percent lean)
1 cup seasoned stuffing mix
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon pepper

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup chopped white onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
21⁄2 cups fresh cranberries
1⁄2 cup orange juice
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄3 cup ketchup
1⁄4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
1⁄2 teaspoon ground red pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine brisket, ribeye, ground beef, stuffing mix, egg, water, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 24 11⁄2-inch meatballs. Place on a rack in a broiler pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until the internal temperature reads 160 F.

Meanwhile, prepare the Cranberry Barbecue Sauce. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender, but not brown. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until cranberries burst and the mixture has been reduced to a thick consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Transfer mixture to blender container. Cover, allowing steam to escape. Process until smooth. Season with salt, as desired.
Serve meatballs with barbecue sauce.

– Metro Service

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