Yesterday our family held our 1st Annual Celebration of Brother Dear’s Life and Cat Food Drive. Brother Dear would have been fifty-eight years old this month. For those of you who are new to my blog, my brother lost his fight with cancer last December. He was a loving, gentle soul with a heart as big as all outdoors who took on an awesome responsibility of caring for stray cats until he became too ill. To honor him as a family, we have taken up his cause, and collect bags of cat food to donate to his favorite no-kill shelter. Brother Dear’s passing has taught us two valuable lessons – always appreciate those around you while they are still with you and to care for God’s creatures – we are all stewards of this planet.
My sister held our 1st Annual Celebration at her 100-year-old home in the country. She and her hubby have been restoring their Craftsman home to its original beauty – a hands on project that is now four years into the tear-down/restoration process. Since they are doing the vast majority of the restoration as weekend projects, the home has a long way to go. Their kitchen has no cupboards or counters. While the floorboards are in (although not “finished”) and a functioning antique stove has been installed, the kitchen is definitely a work in progress. My talented brother-in-law does most of the cooking in the detached garage, outdoor fire pits and smokers. His out-of-the-box cooking is out-of-this-world delicious. Last night’s spread was no exception.
My contribution was appetizers. Back by request were two dishes I had brought to our get together last year. It was the last time we would gather as a family that included Brother Dear in reasonably good health. (We knew he was sick, and his time was limited, but he was well enough to enjoy everyone). Both were a hit last year, and again this year. So glad because they are yummy, travel well and can be served at room temperature. Considering the state of my sister’s kitchen, all important point when selecting foods to bring. (Recipes can be found here: Sunny Spinach Pie and The Importance of Sunny Pepperoni Pie).
This year I added some yummy Bourbon Meatballs – knowing that these round, flavorful balls would have received Brother Dear’s stamp of approval. They are easy to make, travel well and require little attention once complete – all important points.
The recipe is not new – variations have been floating about for a few years now. My contribution to the recipe was to add a few tablespoons of barbecue sauce to the mix. While I love the subtle change the barbecue sauce brought to the original recipe, since it’s only a few tablespoons it’s purely an optional thing. I used what was in the fridge. If you don’t have an open bottle laying about, by all means skip it.
Boozy Bourbon Meatball Appetizers
2 lbs Frozen Meatballs
1 cup Ketchup (Heaping)
3/4 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 cups Jack Daniel’s Bourbon Whiskey (or whatever you have on hand)
2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 tablespoons Barbecue Sauce (I used Boozy Bourbon Bacon flavor)
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except the meatballs. Over medium heat, warm sauce until just beginning to bubble. Taste and adjust barbecue sauce if desired.
Place the frozen meatballs into a large crock pot, and pour warm whiskey sauce in on top. Mix it around so each meatball is coated in the whiskey sauce.
Heat on HIGH for about two hours, stirring a couple of time to make sure meatballs are well-coated.
Once the meatballs have begun to heat through, turn the crockpot down to LOW setting and continue to warm. Occasionally check and stir to prevent the sauce from scorching. Once heated through, turn crock pot to WARM.
Serve and enjoy!