The Vintage Homemade Sweet-&-sour Meatball recipe was huge in the 1950s. It is served at dinner parties and card parties through the 1960s and then made a resurgent in the 1980s. A friend of mine brought this to a dinner party once and I have been continuing revitalizing the vintage sweet-&-sour meatballs ever since.
We have been married 29 years and I have been making this recipe for 29 years. I make our homemade Italian meatballs for this recipe that Jim’s mother Grace taught to me when we were first married. That way if I need to save some to feed children for dinner I have plenty of meatballs on hand.
I usually make a double batch of meatballs as they freeze well and they do take a little bit of time to make. I have also used frozen meatballs from any big box store and they work just as well.
When our girls were a little and the neighbor twins boys were teenagers they used to come over and play video games at our house. When I wanted to buy a PlayStation for Jim one Christmas the neighbor twins told me exactly what to buy. They were so excited as did not have a PlayStation. The day after Christmas I let the twins know I had gotten the PlayStation and I needed them to come over and help Jim set it up. This Christmas present started a two to three-year tradition of the high school neighbor boys coming over to our house on a Friday or Saturday playing PlayStation, while Jim and I and the girls watch, cheered, screamed, and have a great time eating sweet-and-sour meatballs and other finger appetizers.
The first six months of playing the “shoot them up” PlayStation games, we would have the boys for fun appetizers and around 9 o’clock I would put the girls to bed because I thought the games were too scary. Christene and Katie get so disappointed that they didn’t get to watch the games, I soon gave in and let them watch Brian control the controls and the rest of us telling Bryan what to do. This was in the late 1990s when the favorites were Resident Evil, Laura Croft ,and Dino crisis.
Along with game night, the sweet-and-sour meatballs were always a big hit at the holidays. We had several groups of friends that we made sure around Christmas time we had over for a dinner party and at each of those dinner parties I always had these meatballs as an appetizer when everyone arrived. This is an easy favorite as I can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them and then just put the grape jelly and chili sauce, frozen homemade meatballs in a crockpot. It is a dump it and forget it recipe.
The meatball recipe below is the same recipe I make for our homemade Italian spaghetti sauce. I make the meatballs a little larger for sauce and for the sweet-&-sour meatballs I make the more appetizer/bite-size.
I have included Jim’s mother’s meatballs that I now bake instead of fry and I have added the flax seed and the quinoa to give them more moisture as well as nutrition.
- 20 to 25 Meatballs oven baked (or a large bag of frozen)
- 2 bottles of Chili Sauce
- 1 cup of Grape Jelly
- Put the fresh baked or frozen homemade meatballs in a crockpot with 2 bottles of chile sauce and 1 cup of Grape Jelly.
- You can use this same proportion of jelly to sauce depending on home many meatball you are making. I also like to have a lot of sauce so there is plenty.
- As the meatballs are cooked this can be put on hight and cook for 4 hours on High or cooked for 6 hours on low. Stir every so often.
- 2 lbs Extra Lean Ground Beef
- 1/2 cup Ground Golden Flax Seeds
- 1/2 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs or Cooked Quinoa
- 2 eggs
- 1 TBSP Dried Basil
- 1 TBSP Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Onion Flakes
- Salt and Pepper
- Mix all ingredients together and form two inch balls. You can use any spices you like. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes and then test with a meat tester to 170 degrees in the center.
- I almost always us the Quinoa as it is moister and has more nutrition.