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How to make people happy: Tamale Bite Meatballs.

We knew it was going to be a good party if my mom made tamale bite meatballs.  So here it is, the recipe you’ve all been asking for, straight off the index card, straight out of the 1980s—–the decade of little party meatballs.  Don’t bother making just one batch—–two is a must.

The following recipe is time consuming, expensive, fattening, and contains no beans.


1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce

2. c. crumbled corn bread (if you are a jiffy cornbread person, 1 box will do the trick)

1 1/2 lb. of hamburger.  I think ground chuck works the best. Why?  Because it has fat, my friends.

1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce

monterey jack cheese, shredded

Whoop up that cornbread let it cool just long enough that you can crumble it.  In a mixing bowl combine the hamburger, cornbread, 1/2 c. enchilada sauce (this is about half the can, save the rest).  Form this mixture into small meatballs.  I like to use a small cookie/melon scoop.  At this point, you need to be aware that one of your toddlers will try to eat the raw meat.  There is nothing I can do to help you.  Sorry.  Form those up and place them on a baking sheet with sides.   Bake them at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan stir up the can of tomato sauce and remaining enchilada sauce.   When your meatballs are done, place them in a dish, pour over the bubbling sauce, and top with the shredded cheese.  Really, the sauce should be hot enough to melt the cheese, but you can pop it into the oven if you like.  Of course, the microwave is an option, but the microwave is so tricky.  Overzapped meatballs turn into rubbery nuggets.  It seems like I remember my mom piling the meatballs and sauce into a crockpot before we would head out to the party–once we arrived, she would plug it in and top with cheese.

If you are a high plains native and most of your family has a German sounding last name, you should definitely serve these with some sort of potato:  baked, mashed, or scalloped.

If you are from the south, you should definitely serve these in your Grandmother’s silver plate chafing dish.

Wherever you are and whoever you are, you should make enough to share with friends.

Long live the party meatball.


About onlifeandbeans

I like to make the adventure taste good by cooking tasty, wholesome food. Most of what I've learned in cooking, I've picked up from cookbooks and lots of practice. (Thank you, Fannie Farmer, for the right start. ) I so appreciate cookbooks that tell how and why to do something; that's why I do the same for my readers. I want to know what is in my food. I want my family to sit down and share a meal together. I want our food to taste good. Home-cooking takes time, but it gives back rich dividends in budget minding, good health and familial love. One meal at a time.

5 responses »

  1. LeAnne Winters

    This sound great and I’m sharing it with my sister. She will serve it in the silver chafing dish, and I will make it for Larry in the camper and serve it in an aluminum disposable dish that I don’t have to wash. They will both be delicious I am sure.

  2. I think those sound yummy!

  3. They sound fabulous! And I so enjoy reading your blog. I sit here and chuckle, then read to Jonathan. 🙂

  4. this recipe makes me happy, almost as happy as those days when these meatballs mysteriously appear up at the church office!!


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