$500 Savory Winner
Paulina Parker | Sam Houston EC
“I made these for my mom and dad in 1962,” Parker says. “They liked them so much, but minus the pepper and jalapeño jelly, as they did not like spicy food. My mother had me make them again while she wrote down all the ingredients—otherwise, I would not have the recipe today!”
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried mustard
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cans (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
10 teaspoons jalapeño jelly, plus more for serving
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Dash cayenne pepper
Pizza or pasta sauce for serving
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet, sauté onion and bell pepper in olive oil until soft. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, dried mustard, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and eggs. Add onion and bell pepper, and mix thoroughly.
3. Form beef mixture into 1½-inch meatballs and set on a rack with a baking pan underneath to catch grease. Bake meatballs 18–25 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool.
4. Roll out 1 can of crescent dough into a solid piece. Cut squares big enough to wrap each meatball completely. Repeat with second can, as needed.
5. Place a meatball on a square of dough, then spoon ½ teaspoon jalapeño jelly on top. Pinch dough closed on top to seal. Repeat until all meatballs are used. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Bake until lightly browned, 15–20 minutes.
6. Serve with more warm jalapeño jelly or pizza sauce. Serves about 20 as appetizers or 10 as dinner entrées.
Splenda can be substituted for brown sugar in the meatballs, if desired.