Everyone has to have a few go-to recipes to bring to a party, or feed a large crowd. Mine is the old sweet-n-sour meatballs. Or, if you prefer, "sweet 'n sour."
I first fell in love with these at an opening night at a Kankakee Valley Theater show... Someone's mom brought them, and she couldn't believe I'd never had them. They're the sort of thing everyone who grows up in an organized small-town church has at everyone's house at any function. I think I must have had six pounds of the tasty suckers the first time I had them. I'd had Italian meatballs, and Swedish meatballs, but dang. Those protestant ones sure hit the spot.
Any time you need something to bring to a baby shower or a tailgate party, this here's your huckleberry. You can make most of it the night before (raw meat right in the sauce) and put the Crockpot in the fridge, then the next day cook them at your event. Or, you could cook them overnight, then bring them cooked and warm to your destination early in the morning, and even reheat them later in the slow cooker. I've done both. Just be prepared to skim some grease off the top (if you use beef, not really so much with the turkey) before serving.
I think I originally got this recipe on About.com... but I've changed it a bit (and this version reflects that). Despite the Asian-sounding name to the dish, they're nothing of the kind... Just the delightful "meat candy" I'm always on about.
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 cup milk
a couple shots of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (REALLY fine)
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, or ground turkey
1/ pound lean ground pork, optional (I generally do just 2 lbs. turkey, or sometimes beef if I'm going cheap. Hey, sometimes you got a whole other party budget to plan out.)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
about 1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup finely diced parsley (if you have it)
2 (12-ounce) bottles of chili sauce -- generic is fine
1/2 cup water (beef stock or beer is also nice, and yes, alcohol evaporates when heated)
1 jar (10 oz.) grape jelly (again, go generic)
hot cooked rice or noodles (when feeding a crowd, I just bring toothpicks, a large serving spoon, and skip the noodles)
Combine the bread crumbs, milk, diced onion, ground meat, egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley. Mix (don't overmix) the mixture and shape into 1-inch balls. What I do is put the rest of the ingredients (the sauce) into the cool slow cooker and whisk the liquid. Then I just add the meatballs as I form them, right into the sauce. I don't worry about them touching or anything. Now, you can refrigerate them like this, or cook them right away.
I cook them for about 6 hours on low. Don't reach in and stir them for about 3 hours (until the meat has begun to cook). Then you can re-distribute them, and they won't mush up or break apart.
I have never, ever brought these anywhere and not had every single one eaten. And I've been making these for years now... So I always take some out for Chris and I before I go to the party. You can freeze them raw in sauce and cook them later, or just freeze the cooked meatballs and warm them later. Always a hit (except with the vegetarian crowd I guess... But if they say they aren't tempted, they're lying.)