Saturday, January 4, 2014

Spinach Balls with a Spicy Tomato Dipping Sauce

Christmas tree in front of the State Capitol in Lansing, MI
This past Christmas I hosted my first Christmas dinner! It was me and Eric, my parents, his parents, and his grandma. Seven people. I've cooked for more, but never for a special occasion like Christmas. Even though I love to cook, I will admit I was a little nervous and a little overwhelmed. I was testing out several new recipes and I'd never cooked a ham before. But I have to say, everything came together perfectly. Not just the food, but the company. Eric's grandma was smiling and glowing (she told me that she didn't remember the last time she spent Christmas outside of her own home). Our dads were gabbing and so were our moms. And they were all vying for the dog's attention. Arya just has that effect on people.

I prepared chocolate covered cranberries, bacon and cheese deviled eggs, and these spinach balls for appetizers. I had made the other two recipes before (totally addicted to chocolate covered cranberries) but the spinach balls were a first. I can't even begin to tell you how good there were. I can't wait to make them again. Both Eric and I were keeping our fingers crossed that there would be some leftovers so we could munch on them later. And there were, just not as many as we have liked.

Recipe adapted from here.

Spinach Balls
1 10-ounce pack of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (making sure spinach is well drained is very
2 tablespoon onion, minced
1 heaping cup stuffing with herbs
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
hot sauce, to taste

Spinach Balls
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bow, mix all the ingredients together until they are well combined. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls and place on the cookie sheet.  

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the bottoms of the balls are lightly brown. Makes approximately 30 balls. Serve warm.

Spicy Tomato Sauce
Pour tomato sauce in a bowl, add hot sauce to taste. We like things spicy around here and added quite a bit.

I spent the five days before Christmas baking and cooking in preparation. I made these on Christmas Eve, put then in the fridge over night then popped them back in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Sadly, things were so hectic Christmas morning/afternoon, I forgot to take pictures of my food. So I don't have a picture of the sauce. But both my mom and my mother-in-law commented more than once how much the sauce complimented the balls.

Dinner table
Dessert table



More Appetizer Recipes:
Cheese Puffs for Cheese Lovers!
Cream Cheese Rangoons
Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Jalapeno Popper Wontons
Parmesan Zucchini Bites
Snowflake Tortilla Chips

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