“Yesterday was my favorite day of the year – holiday potluck day! It was a great day. I arrived to work early to get the hot chocolate started. I can’t believe anything that simple could be so popular, but I had several people ask me for the recipe again this year. The biggest lesson I learned is that I need to get an extra large Crockpot so that I can make a double batch next year!”
12/17/16 webpage post
I was half kidding when I wrote about buying an extra large Crockpot specifically for hot chocolate back in 2016. But a year later when I was once again preparing for the holiday potluck I did some research on Amazon and discovered that a humongous 8-quart Crockpot would only set me back about $30. It was practically a no-brainer to go ahead and order one. It seemed a bit silly to have a slow cooker for the single purpose of making hot chocolate once a year, especially with my limited kitchen cabinet space, but it ended up being a great decision. I was able to make a double batch of my much-loved holiday beverage (including a full gallon of milk as well as a quart of cream) with no extra effort, and it was still absolutely inhaled by my co-workers in record time. Due to planning difficulties this year the potluck had a much smaller guest list (I was grandfathered in after about a decade of participation), but it seems that an 8-qt Crockpot full of hot chocolate was still not enough. I couldn’t believe how quickly it was drained. I swear everyone just grabbed a straw and sucked it dry. Crazy! It wasn’t easy to find a spot to store this new addition to my kitchen arsenal, but even if I only pull it out once a year it will still be worth the investment. Only nine more months before I start planning holiday food for 2018!
When I was looking for this recipe to make for this year’s annual holiday potluck at work I realized that I never shared it on my webpage. I first made these holiday-themed meatballs back in 2010, which is when the above photo was taken. I’ll take a new one the next time I have a chance. My only complaint about this recipe six years ago is that I didn’t like the meatballs I used (Italian style), so this time I used Foster Farms frozen turkey meatballs and they worked really well. I also increased the amount of meatballs, BBQ sauce, and soy sauce. If I hadn’t needed to open another can of cranberry sauce I probably would have added more of that as well! Of course I tested the meatballs before I put them out for public consumption during last Friday’s lunch, and I loved them. It seems everyone else enjoyed them as well because they disappeared quickly! Mark this recipe as a winner. It’s incredibly simple, holiday-appropriate, and tasty. What else could you ask for? Next time I might try some whole berry cranberry sauce in place of the jellied variety, and maybe some sweeter BBQ sauce, but otherwise I have no suggestions. Make these for your holiday party this year!
1 c BBQ sauce (I used Bull’s-Eye Original)
1 can (14 oz) jellied cranberry sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 lb frozen turkey meatballs (beef would work too)
In a small bowl stir together the BBQ sauce, cranberry sauce, and soy sauce. It just needs to be roughly mixed so I used a fork. Pour half of the sauce mixture into the bottom of the Crockpot, preferably with a liner to make clean up a breeze. Then dump the frozen meatballs in the Crockpot and top with the remaining sauce. Cook on low for about 6 hours, stirring occasionally to ensure even sauce coverage, or until the meatballs are cooked and sufficiently hot. Enjoy!
Based on A Year of Slow Cooking’s Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Barbecue Sauce.
Yesterday was my favorite day of the year – holiday potluck day! It was a great day. Since it was Casual Friday I got a chance to finally wear the holiday running shirt I ordered last month. I arrived to work early to get the hot chocolate started. It needed two hours in the Crockpot before it would be ready for the breakfast crowd. When I tested it at 6 AM it was the perfect temperature, and so delicious! I can’t believe anything that simple could be so popular, but I had several people ask me for the recipe again this year. I am happy to share it, of course. The biggest lesson I learned is that I need to get an extra large Crockpot so that I can make a double batch next year! (Also, I need to get a picture of a finished batch and post the recipe again. A good recipe is worth another share.)
Speaking of breakfast, I’m not sure if you’ll believe it, but I only had two scones yesterday – one caramel apple one and one maple bacon. They were amazing, but I didn’t want to go overboard before 9 AM. However, those two scones were accompanied by half of a waffle, a glass of milk, and a little hot chocolate. Maybe I did go overboard after all, but my scone consumption was still significantly reduced this year. When lunchtime rolled around I was still pretty full from breakfast, but I still loaded my plate with Chinese chicken salad, BBQ lil smokies, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole from the buffet. My contribution to the feast was turkey meatballs with cranberry barbeque sauce which turned out really well – and disappeared fast! I started cooking them in my other Crockpot at 6 AM so they were just right when everyone was ready for lunch. This was just the second time using the recipe, but this time I used a whole cup of barbeque sauce rather than the usual 1/2 cup, and I think the sauce was great. I’ll have to make those more often. I did indulge in a rare can of Coke, as you can see in the above photo, because of the cute polar bears on the can.
After all of the food I consumed at breakfast and lunch I absolutely zero room for dessert. Nothing looked at that exciting to me anyway, but I did take a couple of extra scones back to my desk with me. I thought they’d be great when I got hungry later. But by the end of the day I was still so full that the idea of eating them didn’t appeal to me at all so I shared them to my cubical neighbors. ‘Tis the season for giving! As usual, my favorite day of the year didn’t disappoint. Good food and a lot of laughs with my co-workers. I can’t wait for nest year!
I went to work at 5 AM this morning to support an ongoing event. Due to a few issues that cropped up I was able to leave around 10 AM and have the rest of the day to myself. The weather forecast showed a storm approaching in the afternoon so I wanted to get a few things done before it started to rain. Also, I definitely needed to get my 5 mile run done if I wanted to avoid getting soaked. So after taking a couple of packages to the Post Office I went to the grocery store to pick up all of the necessary ingredients for tomorrow’s annual holiday potluck at work. I’d waited until the last minute to buy the milk, cream, etc. for the Crockpot hot chocolate I’m making for breakfast in the morning. Over the last few years it’s become one of my co-worker’s favorite things so I know they’ll drink it all very quickly tomorrow. For the lunch buffet I’m just making some cranberry barbeque meatballs, a recipe I haven’t made in over 8 years, because I already had all of the components and they don’t require much effort. My favorite kind of cooking!
When I went to the grocery store it was much busier than usual, especially for noon on a weekday. I’m not sure if the impending storm spurred people to run their errands early, like I did, but I had a decent wait in the checkout line. And then when I finally got to the cashier she told me that she had already asked to leave work early to avoid the rain. It’s just rain! It’s not as if snow is piling up everywhere, like it is in so many other parts of the country. Get a grip, Los Angeleans! We are definitely spoiled with the nearly perfect weather here in Southern California. That being said, I was determined to complete my required 5 mile run before the first of the raindrops fell. And I was mostly successful. It started drizzling on me during my last mile, but it wasn’t enough rain to cause any real problems. Thankfully I was back in my warm house before the precipitation became significant. Now I can only hope that it’s not raining too hard when I need to drag all of my potluck items in to work tomorrow morning. It’s my favorite day of the year and a little rain isn’t going to dampen my spirits!
Our annual holiday potluck at work was on Tuesday, and it was incredible, as usual. I look forward to the potluck all year, but unfortunately this particular incarnation fell on a very busy day. I had an important meeting at 1:30 PM that afternoon so I had to dress up for work. At 5 AM I rolled out of bed, threw on a dress and cardigan (and my favorite Christmas pin), and dragged all of the necessary items for the potluck to work. I needed to get there by 6 AM to start the Crockpot hot chocolate so that it would be ready for breakfast. My first batch, at least. I used the same recipe as last year because so many people loved it. Until breakfast started I prepared for my afternoon meeting, stirring the hot chocolate every 30 minutes. Do you really need to ask what I had for breakfast at the potluck? Scones, of course! I anticipate those little slices of heaven all year, and they never disappoint. This year was no different. I limited myself to two scones that morning because I wanted to have an appetite at lunchtime, but I hoarded quite a few others for future consumption (dessert, snacks, and breakfast the next day). By 9:30 AM it was obvious that I needed to start a second batch of hot chocolate. Some of my co-workers are serious hot chocolate vultures! Luckily I anticipated this and brought enough ingredients to make another batch that would be ready for lunch.
Lunch started at 11:30 AM. Unfortunately I had to grab a plate of food and eat it at my desk because I was still scrambling to get ready for my meeting. While poring over my charts I feasted on a delicious combination of chicken salad, meatballs, and manicotti. My co-workers are amazing cooks. I made a batch of chili to share, and this time I combined last year’s bacon chili recipe and this year’s Cincinnati style chili recipe. I didn’t get to taste it myself, but it sure smelled good when it was cooking. I got some good feedback too, but one person told me he liked the regular bacon chili better. I’ll remember that for the chili cook-off next year. My afternoon meeting was really difficult because I was sleepy after stuffing myself silly all day. And being the last presenter at the end of 2.5 hours wasn’t ideal either, but I got through it and everyone seemed happy at the conclusion. Personally, I was thrilled to go home after 11 hours at work and put on some comfortable clothes! I didn’t get to relax too much, though, because I was meeting a friend at the movies that night. For the last two years I’ve been going to Rifftrax’s Christmas show by myself so I was excited when my friend expressed interest in joining me this year. And we had so much fun. This year’s movie was “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny” which practically asks to be made fun of. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. Rifftrax has definitely become one of my holiday traditions. So after the potluck, the meeting, and the movie I had a very long Tuesday, but it was worth it. I love the holidays!