These Cranberry Meatballs are one of my most requested appetizers! Orange juice and orange zest give them another wonderful depth of flavor! They are tart, sweet and very fruity! Also, they are gluten and lactose / dairy free!
I spent a week contemplating what to make for Easter. I had my heart set on a brunch and since Mom was coming, I wanted to make everything Lactose and Gluten Free! Naturally that adds an additional challenge, especially with a brunch! I have mentioned our world class, locally owned grocery chain before, Wegman’s. They have just about anything you can think of, especially great International and Specialty food departments!
I came up with a bunch of ideas, finally deciding on; Gluten free Coconut Pancakes with Raspberry Syrup, Spanish Chorizo and Clam Rice Casserole, Spinach and Egg Mini Frittata, Shrimp and Cheesy Grits, Fruit Salad, and Cranberry Orange Meatballs. They all turned out really well. Everyone loved the Coconut Pancakes but I’d like to tweak them a bit. I’m feeling a dessert crepe??.. perhaps.
I actually looked for quite some time for a lactose free ‘cheese’ and was very skeptical that I would find one. It was requisite for both the Spanish Rice Casserole and the Shrimp and Grits. So I went to Wegman’s on Easter Sunday at 8 AM with no worries because I knew I would find what I needed. After all, it was Wegman’s and I was car-less on Saturday. I was directed to a ‘Lactose free’ cheese that had both Casein and buttermilk powder. Either of which would have made my Mom sick!
I’ve done a lot of research on labeling since then, according to the FDA and USDA websites, this cheese should have had a label of ‘Lactose Reduced’. I’ll have to do some more specific research and let you know what I find..
Anyway, I digress, I finally found the right person at Wegman’s, who was unpacking the vegan dairy free grated cheddar style cheese. It was unbelievably good! I was pleasantly surprised! My favorite was the Shrimp and Cheesy Grits! I’ll share the recipe next week!
I would strongly encourage if you are feeding someone who is severely allergic to Lactose, CAREFULLY check the label!
The following is a partial list of potential culprits from the FDA website;
I will add…
- sodium caseinate
Even things you wouldn’t think would have any Lactose in them, such as hot dogs and sausages, have fillers that contain Lactose!
These Cranberry Orange Meatballs were a huge hit! Zero left by the end of brunch! I’m making them again tomorrow for a Ladies Luncheon I’m attending!
I used to mince the onion and garlic for my meatballs but Rachael Ray suggests grating them over the bowl with your meat. This is far superior, as the flavor gets into the meat and none of the meatballs have any large chunks!
You can use a variety of substitutions for bread crumbs. In this case I used rice chex that I ground up with my food processor. You can also use corn chex, corn flakes or cornmeal. I have even used leftover cooked rice for the bread crumbs.
Everyone that has tried these meatballs raves about them! They are extra moist and tender, and very, very fruity! Try these! These Salmon Balls are super good too! I hope you like today’s post for Cranberry Orange Meatballs!
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Enjoy! And have fun cooking!
Cranberry Orange Mini Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef or a mixture of beef , pork, venison, lamb, chicken or turkey
- 4 small cloves garlic , about 2 teaspoons
- 2 Tbsp Onion
- 1 egg , whisked
- 1/2 c rice chex , or corn chex, corn flakes, corn meal
- 1/4 c cashew milk
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
For the Sauce
- 1 can jellied cranberry sauce (14 oz.)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- Juice and zest form one orange , preferably a juice orange NOTE: Using all of the zest from the orange gives the sauce a strong orange flavor. 90% of taste tasters loved it. The other 10% preferred the sauce when I only used about 2 tsp. of Zest!
- 2 Tbsp sherry
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger , grated
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Place the beef in a medium mixing bowl.
- Grate the onion and garlic directly into the same bowl to collect the juice too.
- Add egg.
- Pulse the chex in a food processor until fine; Soak chex in the milk for a few minutes. Add to meat.
- Add sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly but gently. Don't over work.
- Shape with a tablespoon so the meatballs are all approximately the same size.
- Place meatballs on a baking sheet.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and cooked through, 165°F.
For the Sauce
- While meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce
- Place all ingredients In a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Sauce will thicken up nicely and should be ready about the same time as the meatballs are cooked through.
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Originally Published 7/6/16