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Church Meatballs / Meatballs in a Tomato Mushroom Sauce

Today is our wedding anniversary. We got married in 1983 and it was still common for the ladies of the church to prepare the wedding meal. Our wedding meal consisted of fried chicken, church meatballs, mashed potatoes, coleslaw corn and for dessert....Black Forest Cake, Brownies and platz. We also had over 300 people at our wedding.  Today such a large wedding would not be as easy if you are paying a caterer at a costly price.
These meat balls were a standard fare for any church type of banquet. Wedding, Thanksgiving, Fundraisers, you name it, these meatballs were on the table. Now it seems that these homemade wedding meals are a thing of the past. Just for fun  I will give you the recipe version that feeds 300, and the pared down version to feed a family. I hope you try it and enjoy it. They are great to take along to potlucks and family gatherings. They can prepared days in advance and even frozen. The longer they sit in the sauce the better they are.

For 300:
  • Meatballs made from 30 lbs of ground beef (use your favorite recipe for meatballs)
  • 19 tins of golden mushroom soup (10 oz size)
  • 10 tins of tomato soup (10 oz size)
  • 1 litre (4 cups) each of ketchup and BBQ sauce
  • 1 litre (4 cups) of half and half cream 
Family size recipe
  • 3 lbs of ground beef
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup of dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Shape into little meat balls.
  3. Place onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with a lightly greased sheet of foil for easy clean up.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or til brown.
  • 2 cans of C*mpbells Golden Mushroom Soup* (10 oz can)
  • 1 can of Tomato Soup (10 oz can)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup of cream or evaporated milk
  1. Combine above ingredients and pour over prepared meatballs.
  2. May be put in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours, or bake at 350 for 1 hour.
  3. Serve with mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and veggies. For dessert a try Cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Icing, delicious.
* Sometimes it is difficult to find Golden Mushroom Soup. In place of that Cream of Mushroom with 1 teaspoon of beef bouillon or onion soup mix added per can is a good substitute.


  1. My anniversary is coming up next month, I was married in 1981 and also had a church hall reception, the ladies served a turkey dinner, everybody used to have that kind of reception in my little town, not any more.....

  2. Happy 29th Wedding Anniversary..I was married in 1974 and on a military base, we only had a sweet cake, coffee, tea, lemonade..My brother paid for a sit down dinner at a lovely place in Las Vegas, NV no less, the food was yummmeee, no alcohol at all, thanks to the Lord, hot as could be almost 106 when we were actually married, at the reception at the hotel it was all airconditioned and lovely, my brother had all his friends from working the big places help with the dinner, it was so yummee, only paid for the room and no alcohol and no loud people or anything, lovely, married nearly 39 years now and I cook each day ususally from scratch and my hubbs is retired so I esp. treat him your food blog and your thoughts about the Lord, what a lovely group of friends and family you have, I like to think many could benefit from your blog, so i share your recipes with many I just bake it or make it and tell then about your blog..have a sweet week!

  3. If you use 3 lbs for an average family, are you sure that 30 lbs is the correct amount for 300 people? That doesn't sound like enough!

    1. When I make this for my family it serves about 8 and the boys enjoy eating so three lbs is barely enough.....and 30 lbs for the wedding is a enough, because meatballs is not that main meat dish but used as a gravy over the potatoes.

    2. I have to smile here, Charlotte, because if I would make meatballs with three pounds of meat it would make about 100 - 120 meatballs. I would divide it into 4 family meals. I'm still laughing. It all depends on those boys apetites.. and yes... 30 lbs would be enough for 300 people.
      Happy Anniversary to you and Tony!

  4. Hello Charlotte and happy Anniversary...We were married in 1981 and so are of the same "vintage". Recipe sounds delicious....thanks for sharing!

  5. Weren't weddings much simpler back in the day. You could afford to invite more family and friends when the church ladies made the meal.
    I got married in 1977 and that is what we did too. Now my son got married and the meal cost about $40 dollars a person. I think I would much rather have your meatballs. Karin

  6. Happy Anniversary!!! The meatballs loof excellent and bring back memories.

  7. ...... Charlotte, thanks so much for stirring the memories. The food we eat to celebrate life"s momentous occasions is so important. We were married 40 years this past August, and were delighted to welcome family and friend to a backyard party on our specal day. The menu? "Cold plate" - of course! Just like the dinner served 40 years ago. This was standard fare in our town in western MB. Cold ham, cold sliced turkey, potato salad, jellied coleslaw, cranberry sauce and home made parker house rolls was the order of the day..... very waspish. However, because I was marrying a wonderful Ukrainian "lad" my mom's Ukrainian cleaning help, Elsie, insisted that perogies and holuptsi must be on the menu, and so we were treated to Elsie's fabulous fare!! Lucky Us! At the party in August, my husband made the perogies! Delicious!

  8. Happy Anniversary to you and Tony!! I too have fond memories of these meatballs and make them often. I've attended many weddings, thanksgivings etc and had these meatballs. They are so yummy over mashed potatoes!! My recipe is a little different, I don't include the ketchup or bbq sauce, but will try yours soon. My mouth is watering....YUM !

  9. these sound wonderful! I make a stew kind of like this and it is so good to 1 can mushroom soup 1 can tomato soup 2 cans water some sliced carrots, some sliced celery, sliced potatoes sliced onion mushrooms if you like andnd stew meat(I always cut mine into smaller pieces and if you like I add a little frozen mixed vegetables mix all together and put in dutch oven and bake for 4 hours at 350 stirring once and awhile!

    1. Mary, thanks for sharing the idea of making a stew. I love stews, and this sounds like something our family would enjoy. Mmmm, the slow long roasting would make the house smell heavenly.

  10. Hi there. I have just spent several hours looking at this website, and I want to say THANK YOU! for all who have put it together. I am a mennonite as well and make quite a few of these dishes myself, but there are a few that I haven't made. This recipe being one of them. So I need to ask if the sauce on the meatballs has a sweet taste to it? My husband is a mexican mennonite and does NOT enjoy sweet tasting meats (ex: sweet n' sour meatballs or sweet n' sour farmer sausage). He prefers the spicy stuff. If it's not sweet than I would love to make this! Looking forward to your reply!


  11. Anonymous~ these meatballs are not sweet at all, so I would say that your husband would enjoy them. I haven't met anyone who hasn't liked them and our churches have been making them for many years now. Thank you for liking our blog, we are always happy to hear that others enjoy it.

  12. We were married in 1971, had the reception at home for about 50 people. The church ladies served cold roast beef, turkey, ham, potato, macaroni salads, coleslaw & various condiments. I would much rather have a church supper reception instead of a restaurant prepared meal.

  13. Hi, just found your site, and am loving it. I was married in 1958 and am celebrating my 55th anniversary in September 2013. Our reception was pretty simple too. A friend made potato salad and a "Church Lady" made roast beef and ham sandwiches. These meatballs look fabulous. I am usually partial to Italian meatballs, but these are definitely going into my recipe file. I have six grown children and 19 grandchildren, and I know they will all love them. Thanks so much for sharing.


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