My day was absolutely crazy today.  Nothing out of the ordinary, really.  Just crazy.  About an hour before quitting time, I had the single most comforting thought that an exhausted working mother can have:

I am so glad that I put dinner in the crock pot this morning!

I love when we come home after school – dragging a backpack and lunchboxes and a purse and various other totables – and we open the door to yummy smells coming from the crock pot.  It smells like I’ve been there cooking all day (which I would secretly prefer).  It doesn’t matter if it’s salsa chicken or cranberry roast beef or pulled pork.  That smell means I basically don’t have to cook.

Some of you will read this recipe and be appalled that I serve it as a main dish.  After all, it’s the same recipe that many of you use to make appetizer meatballs for parties.  Scoff, if you must.  My family absolutely loves these yummy little nuggets served over a dish of mashed potatoes – or cauliflower, in this case.  I usually make a double batch and freeze half – there I go again with the freezing!  It just makes for a quick, easy dinner.

I call them Kicky Sticky Meatballs because the chili sauce gives them a little kick and the grape jelly (Yes, I know.  Grape jelly for dinner!  How could I?) makes them sticky.

Kicky Sticky Meatballs

  • 1 12-ounce bottle of chili sauce
  • 1 20-ounce bottle (or jar) of grape jelly
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 pound bag of frozen meatballs

Pour or squeeze the chili sauce, jelly and water into a crock pot.  Whisk to combine.  Add the frozen meatballs and stir to coat.  Cook on low heat all day (6-8 hours).  Serve over mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower.

That’s it.  Don’t you love crock pots?

Well Duh #1:  You can usually find chili sauce in the same general vicinity as ketchup and other condiments.  For some reason, it’s usually on the top shelf.

DSC_1378Sorry.  Forgot to take a picture before I poured out the chili sauce!

Well Duh #2:   There are lots of different ways to make mashed cauliflower.  Google it, if you’d like, but here’s my recipe.  I prefer to use frozen cauliflower because I can have it on hand at any time and it’s already cut up (Remember?  I’m lazy.).  Keep in mind that my ultimate goal is to make it taste as close to mashed potatoes as possible.

  • 3 pounds of frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 stick of butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded Colby Jack or cheddar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place cauliflower in a large stockpot and cover with water.  Add 3-4 teaspoons of salt.  Bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is TOTALLY tender.  This usually takes 15-20 minutes.  Drain the cauliflower completely.  Seriously.  Let it hang out in the strainer for a few minutes until all the water has stopped draining out.  Pour it back into the pot (or into a bowl if you don’t mind doing lots of dishes).  Mash the cauliflower as you would mash potatoes, trying to get out all the lumps.  Add the butter and cream cheese and use a hand mixer to incorporate.  Once the butter and cream cheese have melted and mixed into the cauliflower, add the shredded cheese and mix again.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Give it a try!  I think you’ll like it!



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