Tender cranberry glazed meatballs dotted with festive cranberries and fresh parsley simmered in a sweet-tart sauce. Made with a combination of lean beef and ground turkey to make a (you won’t believe this is) healthy appetizer for your holiday menu. Serve cranberry glazed meatballs as a hot appetizer or a festive entrée.
Eating for weight loss can be a joyful experience during the holidays. Planning ahead with simple strategies and delicious recipes enables you to end the exhausting battle of what to eat or avoid during the party. Empowered with a plan you will be free to be fully present in the moment.
Early in my weight loss journey I realized the key to achieving my healthy eating goals was not becoming the designated veggie tray guest. Instead I make sure to bring a substantial shared dish that will address my hunger and desire to participate in nibbling festive treats.
If the social event is a sit down meal I might offer to bring a hearty salad featuring a combination of whole grains, lentils, nuts, and gorgeous vegetables and fruits. When it is time to eat I can serve myself a filling portion of food I know will keep me on track then add smaller portions of any other food that I would like to try.
Cocktail, or casual parties, often mean a buffet of appetizers and snacks. For these mix-and-mingle affairs I find it even more important to think holistically about what I will eat during the event. Before I even arrive, I remind myself of my larger goals such as maintaining weight loss momentum or the desire to wake up the next day in a body that feels good. My usual approach is, fill a small plate with veggies, have a modest serving of a substantial snack that includes protein, and finish with a dessert or some wine. I adjust as needed to meet my level of hunger and try to grab fruit or vegetables for any additional nibbles I might crave.
Cranberry glazed meatballs are an excellent example of a substantial appetizer that can keep you on track at a holiday party. I am happy to say no thank you to other options knowing it means I will be indulging in a full serving of these tasty treats. Each meatball is conveniently portioned so you know exactly what you are eating without doing any guessing or measuring.
With your eating plan in place you can enjoy the reason you have gathered with family and friends in the first place.
- ½ cup low-fat milk
- ½ cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 pound lean beef
- 1 pound lean turkey
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup grated yellow onion (approximately 1 small onion)
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- ¼ cup finely chopped dried cranberries
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cooking oil – such as grapeseed
- 14 oz can whole cranberry sauce (or use 1-3/4 cups homemade)
- 1 cup beef broth
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Combine the bread crumbs with the milk in a small bowl. Set aside to let them soften.
- In a large bowl, combine meat, eggs, onion, parsley, cranberries, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the softened bread crumbs. Mix gently using your hands to evenly combine the ingredients without overworking the meat.
- Scoop the meatball mixture by a slightly rounded tablespoon and form into a ball. Arrange the balls side-by-side on a rimmed baking pan. Continue forming balls until all the mixture has been used. Keep the meatballs cold until ready to cook.
- In a heavy bottomed pan, such as a 4-6qt dutch oven, combine the ingredients for the sauce and warm over medium-low heat.
- To cook the meatballs: Cover the bottom of a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil then heat over medium heat.
- Working in batches of 10 meatballs at a time, cook the meatballs for 3 minutes until the bottom is browned. Flip and brown for another 3 minutes on the other side. Transfer to the warm sauce and cover. Continue browning the meatballs and transferring to the pot of sauce until all the meatballs have been browned. Stir gently as needed to cover all the meatballs with sauce. Simmer the browned meatballs for 20-30 minutes until they are cooked through and the center temperature reaches 165F.
- Serve immediately. Store leftover meatballs in the sauce, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat over low heat in a sauce pan or microwave.