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Sweet and Sour Meatballs for a Crowd

When we meet with our care/community group we often begin with an organized pot luck dinner. Recently, as I pulled out the roaster full of meatballs, I thought I'd share this as an example of a recipe that is easy to multiply to serve a large group. One person brought a slow cooker full of rice, others brought salad, buns and dessert.

Meatball Ingredients for about 120 - 130 meatballs

  • 3 pounds fresh lean ground beef
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 cup milk or water
  • 2 teaspoons fine dried onion flakes
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients well by hand. If you find it dry, you can add some more milk or water. 
  2. Shape into 1 inch meatballs. You can use a mini scoop. 
  3. Bake on foil or parchment paper lined cookie sheets for 15 minutes at 400° F. If you've made them a bit larger, bake 20 minutes. 
  4. If making ahead, cool and freeze according to the meals you have planned.

  • 4 small cans (14 oz / 398 ml) pineapple tidbits
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  •  2/3 cups soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 cups water
  1. Drain pineapple tidbits, reserving the juice. Add enough water to juice to make 3 cups. Set aside.
  2. Place meatballs and drained pineapples into large roaster.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the ketchup, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard and juice. In a container with a lid, shake to blend flour and 2 cups water before adding to the sauce.
  4. Pour sauce over top of meatballs and bake, covered, for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours at 325° F. until it has cooked and sauce is thickened. If you need more liquid, add another cup of water. You can transfer the cooked meatballs and sauce to a large slow cooker to keep warm. You can also put it all in all slow cooker on high for several hours, until it bubbles and then turn to low setting. Serves 16 -18

For a small family size recipe check here  (you'll have to scroll down a bit) 


  1. This will be a great recipe to have on hand! This will be the very first thing I am printing on my new printer today!

  2. Is the Parmesan cheese the grated kind you find in the pasta and tomato sauces section of the supermarket or the fresh block you would find in the refrigerated section with the other cheeses?

    1. I've used either cheese, but always already grated. The finely grated in the small tubs in the refrigerator section is good.

  3. What size small can pineapple? I have 3 assorted sizes from 8 oz. to 20 oz. so don't want to use the wrong one.
    Thank you

  4. This makes my mouth water, and it reminds me of a similar recipe I used to do, with pork button bones, all roasted in a big blue speckled roasting pan. Thanks for the memories. :)



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