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From the Shipt Holiday Kitchen: Jen G.’s Sweet Meatballs

No two Thanksgiving tables look alike. Sure, you might find some combination of turkey, potatoes, and pumpkin at many dinner tables across the country, but it’s the stories and traditions behind them that make the meal so special. In the spirit of the holidays, we put a call out to our shoppers for their tried and true family recipes. The dishes that have a place at the table year in and year out. The ones the kids wait all year to enjoy. The ones that tell us something about who our shoppers are or where they came from. Whether these recipes are passed down through generations or a twist on a classic, Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without them. What resulted is a virtual potluck of some of our favorite stories and dishes from shoppers across our cities. We’re thankful to have them — and you — at the Shipt table. Let’s eat!

Whether you’re in charge of turkey, dessert, or the entire spread, let Shipt get the groceries while you make holiday memories with the ones you love.   

Jen G.’s Sweet Meatballs

Growing up in a Korean family, cooking “American” food was not the norm in Jen’s house, despite her pleas for pizza and hamburgers. Thanksgiving was an exception. Jen’s family created their own hybrid holiday menu, filling the table with both Korean and American dishes like turkey, stuffing, and … meatballs in sweet gravy.

“I have no idea where my mom got the recipe. It must have been from a coworker or friend, or maybe she found it under ‘red meat’ in one of those traditional cookbooks,” Jen says. She took over making the dish when she was old enough to help with holiday prep. When she went away to college, she’d spend the precious hours of Thanksgiving break in the kitchen, “catching up and cooking for hours and hours.”

Shipt recipes | Thanksgiving | food |meatballs

Though Jen’s mom passed away 11 years ago, Jen makes sure the meatballs continue to show up on the table at Thanksgiving. “Every family has those three to four dishes they have to have, or else it’s not Thanksgiving,” she says. For her, the meatballs are one of those dishes. “Especially since my mom’s not with us anymore, it’s even more important to me.”

Whether it’s a small gathering with her immediate family, a Friendsgiving potluck, or a 45-person dinner at her boyfriend’s grandma’s home, Jen always brings meatballs. They’re always gone by the end of the night. The secret to their popularity? The unexpected addition of grape jelly. (Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!)

“The recipe may weird some people out when they see the ingredients, but everyone who tries them loves them,” she says.

Jen says

“The meatballs are most flavorful when they have time to simmer and soak in the sauce, so I make them the day before serving. Day of, reheat them in the crockpot three to five hours before serving. I also use the sauce as gravy on my turkey meat, because I’m not a cranberry fan.”

Shipt recipes | Thanksgiving | food |meatballs

  • 1.5 pounds ground beef, thawed (1.75 pounds of ground beef makes about 45 meatballs, 5 pounds of ground beef makes about 115 meatballs. You should increase the sauce for anything over 1.75 pounds of ground beef.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg (optional, but it will help keep the meatball shape while cooking)
  • 1 bottle of Heinz Chili sauce
  • 18-ounce bottle of grape jelly, room temperature
  1. Mix the ground beef, dashes of salt and pepper, and the egg together.
  2. Cover a shallow baking pan with foil, for easier clean up.
  3. Shape the meat mixture into meatballs; place on the shallow baking pan.
  4. Cook the meatballs at 350F for about 20-25 minutes.
  5. While the meatballs are cooking, combine the bottle of chili sauce with the grape jelly in a crock pot and heat on high until the jelly breaks up.
  6. Clean off the bottoms of the meatballs and place in the crockpot with the sauce.
  7. Continue cooking the meatballs and sauce together on low, stirring occasionally.

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