Sign up for A Family Feast emails and receive our FREE eBook with our Top 25 Recipes of All Time! Click Here

Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Sweet & Sour Sauce

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carton Smart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Sweet & Sour Sauce - a delicious twist on traditional Thanksgiving flavors! Tender meatballs in an Asian-inspired cranberry sweet & sour sauce!

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, holiday menu-planning at our house is in full swing – not only for recipes you’ll see here on A Family Feast, but also for our own family gatherings!  My husband Jack is always looking for creative and interesting twists on traditional holiday classics – and these Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Sweet & Sour Sauce are a delicious appetizer for any family gathering!

These tender and flavorful meatballs are made with a mix of ground turkey and Italian sausage that has been seasoned with a hint of Chinese five-spice powder.  Then they are served in a sweet and tangy sauce made with cranberry sauce, pineapple juice, sweet chili sauce and balsamic vinegar that is the perfect complement to the flavors in the meatballs!

Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Sweet & Sour Sauce - a delicious twist on traditional Thanksgiving flavors! Tender meatballs in an Asian-inspired cranberry sweet & sour sauce!

With all of the entertaining that we do around the holidays, Jack and I are very aware of all of the food we’re buying – and we try to make smart choices at the market.  Lately, those choices are to Become Carton Smart by purchasing foods that come in environmentally-friendly cartons just like these:


Just take a look around your supermarket and, once you start searching for it, you’ll be amazed at all of the great food products that are now packaged in Tetra Pak cartons!  From traditional holiday classics like Pumpkin Puree:

 photo d1d52bb8-c150-4f19-9a7c-b8c9ab3c8df3_zpsac6b75dd.jpg

Cranberry Sauce (which we used in our recipe today):

 photo 62adf36b-e1dc-4d93-98c1-aa80d97a468d_zps600d562e.jpg

And Chicken Stock:

 photo 795e421d-1ec8-414e-b1b8-dde8f5f23ded_zps62983f0a.jpg

…To soups, milk, juices and many other foods – cartons are a smart choice!

Here’s an info-graphic that explains even more:

 photo 1898ca76-3272-4baf-a8df-07abf60e15e3_zps1bf425e9.jpg

Not only are cartons a smart choice for the environment, but they are a smart choice for your family.  The unique carton packaging process preserves the flavor and nutrients of food without the use of preservatives – and I love that the cartons are re-closeable so you can use what you need and save the rest for later.

Tweet @CartonSmart                                                  Follow #CartonSmart on Pinterest


Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Sweet & Sour Sauce

Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Sweet & Sour Sauce - A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 75 1-ounce meatballs


  • 1 8-ounce demi-loaf (white or wheat bread)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup sweet chili sauce (the sweet tomato-based kind such as Heinz; not the hot chili sauce made from peppers)
  • ¼ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey (dark, or white/dark mix)
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • ¼ cup finely minced onions
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, pressed through a garlic press, or very finely minced
  • ½ cup finely shredded carrots

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup chili sauce (same as above)
  • 2 cups Pacific brand Jellied Cranberry Sauce
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 6-ounce can of pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoon corn starch


  1. Remove the crust from the bread and place it in large bowl and cover with the half cup of milk. Turn the bread several times so all of the milk gets absorbed. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the sauce.
  2. In a medium Dutch oven (three quart size), place chili sauce, Pacific cranberry sauce, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. In a small bowl mix pineapple juice and corn starch and add to mixture. Heat and stir until the ingredients have blended and the sauce is thick. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
  3. Once the bread has soaked for the full 30 minutes, wring out the bread with your hands, squeezing out as much of the milk as possible. What remains should be a good full cup of wet bread. With your hands or a spoon, break up and mix the wet bread until it is really mashed. Add eggs and with a fork, mix well. Add Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, five-spice powder, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly again until very well blended. This step can be done in a stand mixer however the meat must be mixed by hand.
  4. Add ground turkey, Italian sausage, onion, garlic and carrots and gently work the mixture with your hands until mixed. Try not to over mix.
  5. With a scoop, measure out 75 meatballs about one ounce each and place on a tray that will fit in your refrigerator. (They will be rolled later so don’t worry about getting them perfectly round at this point.) Place the meatballs in the refrigerator to set up for about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. Remove meatballs from the refrigerator, and with a bowl of water for wetting your hands, roll the balls into rounds. As you roll each meatball, place on a parchment lined sheet pan.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and add the cooked meatballs to the sauce. Cover the Dutch oven and place back in the oven for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven, pour into a serving container and serve, or skewer cooked meatballs and serve on a platter.

Visit Sponsor's Site



    Leave a Comment


  1. Mission share is a great charity and my entertaining tip is have the kids do as much preparation as possible!

    • susan koman breast cancer research is a favorite charity. my best entertaining tip is to prep ahead as much as possible, by buying groceries in advance, buying & wrapping gifts in advance, decorating the home in advance. add the fresh greens and fruits & veggies later as needed.

  2. I am so happy to see things like jelled cranberry sauce now coming in cartons. Whenever possible I buy in cartons and not cans and with “convenience” products being so much better than back in tha day… I don’t mind using them and coming in a carton it’s a win win!

  3. My charity would be the American Cancer Society.

    We always make turkey sandwiches with the leftover Thanksgiving turkey, so nothing is wasted.

  4. My favorite charity would be the Food Bank of Monmouth county. The Jersey Shore is still suffering from the effects of Sandy and the money is needed to help the families still not in their homes. My favorite tip is to do as much as possible in advance and freeze. Desserts and mashed potatoes come to mind.

  5. My favorite charity is to one of the Animal Rescue organizations – especially the ones that find forever homes for pets that deserve to be loved, rather than abandoned or euthanized. My entertaining tip is to buy bulk nuts and make up your own spiced nuts recipe over the packaged, canned, tinned varieties. The customization is endless, depending on your personal taste for heat or spice. And in my kitchen, I have completely abandoned convenience storage for glasslock products. No more plastics for me and I try my best to minimize use of plastic storage bags too.

  6. Heck forgot to post the charity and tip…

    Any Food Banks

    And my tip is ….be organized and make as many lists as necessary, my list usually have lists but I stay focused and on track. I make as many side dishes and do prep work that can be done weeks ahead.

  7. One favorite charity: The Oasis Sanctuary in AZ. For an entertaining tip, just make foods that are well liked, fun to eat, and festive and there will be virtually no waste.
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  8. Restore the Shore is a great charity helping to rebuild the Jersey Shore since Hurrican Sandy hit and ruined so many of our beaches.

    One big way my whole family prevents waste is that we all bring our tupperware containers and take home leftovers. As a single 30something, its nice to have leftovers to eat all week!!

  9. We like using carton miso broth to make quick noodle tofu soup.

  10. My charity is The American Cancer Society.

    My tip is to plan meals ahead of time for the leftovers so everything gets used.

  11. My charity is Share Outreach. It is a charity that helps with clothing, food and other things for those in need. I also volunteer with them.

    My advice is make as much as you can of the food before hands, and also prep items in advance. It makes things go more smoothly and you spend less time running around before guests arrive.

  12. My charity is Indigo Rescue, Beaverton, OR. Through partnerships formed with shelters, Indigo Rescue intervenes by taking animals who have run out of time in the shelter environment, rehabilitating them in foster homes before placing them in adoptive homes.

    I have replaced as many plastic items in my kitchen with glass.

  13. Christy Spurlock :

    My charity would be “Wounded Warrior Project”

    I like to plan ahead with a count for those attending and cook for a specific number.

  14. My charity is Ronald McDonald house. My tip is I always plan my holiday meal weeks in advance and make my shopping list out at the same time. That way I can look for some of my item on sale .

  15. My charity of choice is the Human Rights Campaign. A tip is to use your crock pot for anything you can. A second tip is to breathe!!!

  16. My charity would be Share Our Strength, and my tip for easy entertaining with no waste is to cook and serve food that can easily be frozen if there are leftovers.

  17. Pacific Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup is the best I’ve ever had, and it’s the perfect appetizer for entertaining in style.

  18. My charity would be ASPCA. I enjoy using a carton of almond milk in a smoothie recipe with fresh fruit

  19. My tip is to try to grow as much of your own food as possible — then there is no waste in the way of packaging, etc. This time of year, we have squash, beets and some tomatoes are still hanging on that will be used in our holiday meals. Also, Trader Joes has many items I buy in cardboard cartons — chicken broth, pumpkin puree, butternut squash soup, etc.
    I’m not sure what a “charity” is — if this one qualifies, I would like to donate to the Maine Coon Adoptions in Oakland, CA — Maine Coon Adoptions is a division of Preventing Euthanasia Through Rescue (PET Rescue), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
    Otherwise, the ASPCA.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  20. I choose the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
    My advice is to take into consideration your guests likes/dislikes and plan your meals accordingly, I also like to have an idea of how many servings I’d need and the portions I’d be serving, this way the leftovers would be minimum.

  21. I like the ASPCA. I would use beef stock in a carton to make roast beef.

  22. World Vision is my favorite charity and I use my veggie scraps to make broth! There’s nothing more low maintenance than soup for a crowd!

  23. My favorite charity is Fair Trade USA and my tip would be to make dishes that use similar ingredients (i.e. onions, fresh herbs, stock, etch.) so you are not wasting food.

  24. My charity is Freedom Fellowship and my tip is to use washable dishes and flatware.

  25. The recipe looks great! I’ll have to try it – my tip is to use the shells of some foods as bowls to reduce waste…I love using the watermelon, melon or pumpkin shells for my serving dishes. I also love to bake a pumpkin pie inside the pumpkin. so yummy. My charity is the local Milwaukee Rescue Mission – they do so much for our community. thanks for the chance to win. truckredford(at)gmail(dot)com

  26. My favorite charity is the boys and girls club!. Meal planning and potlucking are great for no stress entertaining

  27. American Red Cross always could use a few bucks. And my hint is to keep it simple, a few good dishes rather than 13 side and 5 desserts.

  28. The American Cancer Society-the simpler the better works for me.I try to prepare ahead
    freeze cookies…have others bring side dishes thanks for the giveaway

  29. Hi!
    My tip is to have everyone coming bring a dish. You’ll have less to prep and cook, you’ll use less energy in your home, produce less waste and be less stressed. Ask people to bring empty tupperware with them so they can take home some leftovers and you don’t end up throwing out spoiled food in a week.

    My charity of choice is the Worcester Animal Rescue League in Worcester, MA.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  30. After a holiday dinner I like to wrap up packages of to-go foods to send off with each family member so that the food does not waste away in my fridge. Also a charity I love is the humane society!

  31. CHP 11-99 Foundation is my favorite non-profit. My tip is to use the crock pot for as much as possible.

  32. My favorite charity is our local food pantry. Donations are down, as to be expected in this economy. I live in North Vernon, IN and this pantry takes care of over 800 families each month. If you have never volunteered at a food pantry, you should. It will definitely change the way you look at them and the people who couldn’t survive without them.

    Lots of work, but oh, so, worth it!

  33. Jessica Miller :

    Use left over turkey for sandwiches! I also buy cartons of chicken stocks for soup.

  34. I always use carton chicken stock for my Southern style homemade chicken and biscuits. I also use carton pumpkin puree to make some delicious pumpkin coconut soup.

  35. Amanda Sakovitz :

    My recipe is chicken noodle soup with pepperoni and I use cartons of chicken stock.

  36. I use left over turkey for sandwiches. My favorite charity is The American Cancer Society.

  37. My favorite charity is Hometown Heroes, NJ. They have helped many including myself after Hurricane Sandy

    We use carton chicken stock for everything from soup to mashed potatoes