{Healthy Holidays} Hard Cider and Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs

I love a good party…particularly one that turns into a partay. As someone who gets lots of great energy from people, there’s nothing I love more around the holidays than hosting a soiree at our place.

So I could not have been more excited when I received an invitation from ABC’s KATU AM Northwest to join them on-air to share some of my favorite New Years Eve worthy party appetizers. All with a healthy twist, of course, because, you know, that’s what I do around here :).

First up, sweet and tangy meatballs. And I’m not talking about your mother’s grape jelly and chili sauce. (No offence Mom). This recipe is a bit more, shall we say, sophisticated (well, as sophisticated as a meatball can get) and is full of seasonal flavors and spice. The secret to making them tangy? Tamarind paste, which is a tart (bordering on sour) paste that lends Pad Thai its distinctive flavor. Toss in a few cranberries and a bottle of the driest hard cider you can get your hands on and you’re on your way to what is sure to be a standard go-to in your party food repertoire.

As for the turkey, go for a 85-90% lean instead of breast, which doesn’t have enough fat to stand up to what is essentially a twice-baked meatball. Wondering if you could use cranberry sauce instead of fresh whole cranberries? Sure! Just wait until the ingredients all come together before you add the coconut sugar (chances are you’ll want to reduce the amount a bit to make for the sugar in the prepared cranberry sauce). I prefer fresh cranberries for a couple of reasons. First, it allows me to control the amount (and type) of sugar I use in the recipe and going the fresh route also provides a bit more clarity in the flavor of the finished dish.

Once you’ve glazed the meatballs and they’re ready to go, you can transfer them to a slow cooker set on the lowest possible setting to keep them warm. Be sure to provide toothpicks on the side for quick serving.

Wondering how many appetizers you’ll need for a cocktail party? This handy dandy little equation will help (WARNING: math ahead!):

12 pieces per person times the number of people divided by the number of different appetizers.

Oh, and make your life SO much easier by preparing the recipe up through baking the meatballs up to a couple of days before the party. Go YOU! (and have an extra glass of champagne as a reward for being prepared…and doing a little math along the way).