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Meatball Drama

I’m sure my friend Dorothy is already laughing at this post, because for the last two weeks I have been sending her emails detailing my potluck woes with the subject line “Meatball Drama.”

Long story short, this is the first time I have ever brought anything more elaborate than a bag of chips to a potluck. And it is STRESSING ME OUT. The scope of the project has sprawled terribly. You would not believe how many times I have had to go to the store in the course of Project Meatball.

meatball drama

The funny thing is, I could care less if anyone likes the dish. If it gets to the potluck without catastrophe and at a reasonable temperature, I will consider my job done. It’s the logistics that get me. Like, how many meatballs for a 12-person potluck when pizza will be served? (Answer: MORE MEATBALLS, thus my last-minute dash to the store last night.)

Anyway, I have to run. The potluck starts in about an hour. Time to begin Stage 3 of Project Meatball: Transport.

While I’m gone, tell me: what do you usually bring to potlucks? Recipes and links to recipes are welcome! If your comment has several links, the spam filter will put it in the “pending” queue and I will have to approve it manually. Don’t worry if it doesn’t appear right away, I’ll check the queue when I get back.

I’ll start: I used this meatball recipe and pre-baked the meatballs. I used beef instead of turkey, left out the bread crumbs, and added grated onion.

The meatballs then went into this sauce, which sounds horrible, but is quite delicious. A few hours on high in the slow cooker makes the sauce caramelized and delicious.

Wish me luck I don’t drop it on the way to or from the car, that it doesn’t cool off too much during the drive, that I don’t get in a car accident and end up with four pounds of meatballs splattered all over the passenger side footwell…

20 comments to Meatball Drama

  • Imbrium

    Honestly? I hate potlucks. Hate, hate, hate. I’m a vegetarian and a picky eater, and I don’t trust other people not to have put weird things in their food. I also can’t cook/bake worth a damn, so I end up bringing store-bought cupcakes. Everyone loves cupcakes.

    I also hate monkeys, Thanksgiving, joy, and fun. :P

  • Jennifer

    If I have time, I make Mark Bittman’s banana bread It is usually welcome. In the summer, I might make tabouli salad with bulgur wheat, onions, fresh tomatoes, fresh parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Yum! Mouth watering.

  • Ginny

    You know if you drop those meatballs, the mice will come back and party in your car.

    I’m a picky eater too so I like to bring my husband to potlucks. He is my poison taster and identifies things for me since I really am mildy allergic to seafood.

    As for food to bring, I like to bring a Los Rios Apple Crisp. It is good hot or cold and reheats very well. On the positive side, I do make a sign to let people know what it contains….usually a ton of pecans.

  • Bee

    I bring quiche because my quiche could make a grown man cry.

    None of the other food I make is anything special, just quiche.

    Goodluck transporting your balls :D

  • Keisha

    My workplace has a strange value system that puts a high priority on potlucks for teambuilding, so we have them quite often. As an older (past 30) woman in the site, I tend to bring a main dish – most of the people who work there are in their 20s and opening a bag of chips is a challenge for them as well. Yesterday, I did a homemade tomato soup. Please tell me you put saran wrap on top of the crock pot as well as the lid – I forgot and got soup on my car seat AND my pants. :(

    I have also done meat for tacos (Parceling out tortillas, cheese, etc to one person each) and my ‘famous’ potato leek soup.

  • Debbie

    My mom used to make that sauce for her cocktail parties in the 60s and 70s! Sometimes with meatballs and sometimes with cocktail weiners. It was always a big hit.

    At work I’m the vegan in the midst of confirmed meat eaters (who feel threatened by someone who does not eat meat). So I’m known for bringing weird stuff to potlucks. Like salad (“regular” salad — greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, vinaigrette dressing, you know, hippie food). Once a couple of years ago I brought hummus and pitas and I still hear about how odd that was. We had a potluck just today and I bought a loaf of fresh rosemary sourdough bread (from a bakery), which actually went over well. I heard about the vegan margarine, though. Sigh.

    On the other hand, one of my bosses made a special small crock pot of her vegetable soup without the beef (and with a vegetable broth!) just for me, which was really good and which I very much appreciated.

    So I had soup and bread. None of the dozen desserts and salads. Or the applesauce/red hots/and jello(?!) mixture. I guess I could have had some chips, too, if I’d wanted.

    Yeah, potlucks. Not so high on my list.

    I wonder how that sauce would work with vegan “meat” balls? Hmmm.

  • picadrienne

    I generally take 7 layer salad, there are variations all over the internet. It is good for omnivores, but you could make it without the bacon for vegetarians. The cheese and mayo are essential, so it is not vegan friendly. It looks impressive, and if you can chop, layer and count you are in good shape. A clear bowl does look nicer.

  • moiraeknittoo

    There’s a thing involving little smokey sausages wrapped in crescent roll pastry. It’s actually really easy and those things are like crack. They’re so tasty you rarely stop before you’ve eaten so many you feel like you’re gonna hurl, but you don’t care. Because they were so tasty!

  • dorothy

    Not laughing at you! Only with you! Those meatballs sound delicious. Potlucks can be stressful.

    I have a crowd pleaser potluck recipe for cold spicy sesame noodles that would work great with rice (gluten -free) noodles. But they do have peanut butter. But invariably people try to lick the bowl clean. I will dig up the recipe when I am home. Franz will agree it’s a hit.

  • Lisa Eaton

    Debbie, my husband and I take salads to potlucks pretty often, and that’s usually the only low-carb dish (diabetes) for me to eat!

  • Cristina

    I hate potlucks too! You just never know what kind of cheap ingredients people cook with and I’m always eyeballing containers and crockpots… if they look too filthy, the kitchen they came out of was probably dirty too.

    My usual staples are guacamole or a green salad. Most of my usual recipes for home (like empanadas) don’t seem to travel well or reheat too well, and I may be the only woman in the US and on Pinterest that doesn’t know how to use a crockpot, so I never really know what to bring.

    Someone at work made those frozen meatballs in a chili & grape jelly sauce that I thought would be too sweet but were really yummy! I may try that next time…

  • Cheri

    I usually bring a potato casserole with cheese, sour cream, butter, onions and potatoes. It reheats well in a microwave. And if it does not get devoured (which is the norm), I get to have the left overs for dinner.

  • TangledThread

    passover flourless torte

    but I make it in mini muffin pans because people shouldn’t eat a huge wedge of butter and chocolate goodness. It also takes the baking time from 40 min to 10ish min.

    oh, and I don’t bother with the water bath either.

  • two silver cats

    Oh my goodness, “Meatball Drama”.

    Once I was at a potluck (having cheated and brought a store-made lasagna) and when one of my friends arrived, she opened the front door with an alarmed look on her face and announced, “I am gonna need a ladle, five hundred rolls of paper towels, a trash bag and a squeegee, stat!”

    …I never knew that cleaning meatballs out of the front seat of a car was such a popular party game! :)

  • gabes

    There is a great website if you just google allrecipes. They have all recipes! i use it all the time. The last thing i did was baking, red velvet cupcakes and ginger bread men for the holidays. There’s stuff for slow cooker when feeling lazy. I’m in Canada, I think you would have it too…. Yes there is .ca and .com

  • JoanneNicole

    I seem to be in the minority here because I actually LOVE potlucks, and I always eat way too much. I have a ton of dishes that have been toted to potlucks over the years, but the last few years everyone seems to requests my meringues. I guess they’re a bit of a novelty because no one really makes meringues, and they’re so yummy. Essentially they’re just egg whites and sugar, plus whatever you want to flavour them with. They travel well, and they’re bite size. I very rarely have any leftovers. People seem to like my peppermint, cappuccino, and toasted coconut meringues the best.

  • Slager

    That sauce does sound gross. HOWEVER… I do have a recipe for a dip that sounds bad when you describe the ingredients, looks bad when you make it, doesn’t smell all that great before you eat it, and even has a sorta-gross name (“Warm Mexican Dip”), but when you finally put it on a Frito chip and then into your mouth, you will NEVER want to stop eating it.

    So, I ain’t gonna judge!

  • I’ve been hearing about that sauce for years, and how good it is. I have a metric butt-ton of grape jelly that didn’t jell (so grape not-so-jelly, actually) that might be just the thing. Hmmm…
    I love potlucks, generally, but it depends on the crowd. (There are people in the world that I wouldn’t trust to actually make edible food. You know.) We generally take Dill Dip (sour cream, mayo, dill, a touch of garlic) which I’ll serve in a bowl carved out of a loaf of pumpernickel if I manage to locate one in time. (The leftover bread gets cubed and is meant to be dipped in the dip. Excellent.) For family functions, everyone counts on me making Monkey Bread. (There would be tears if I didn’t comply…)

  • tari

    I am finally catching up on the blog reading, so I’m a little late to the drama-but I have been to the meatball drama myself. These days, my go-to potluck recipe is for Taco Soup–which can be made vegetarian by leaving out the meat (it has many beans). I got the recipe from my MIL and get the same results she does–a very empty crock pot, size large, that might look like it was licked clean. Hope the transport went well. Merry Christmas!