This 2-Ingredient Appetizer Was The First To Run Out At My Housewarming Party

And you can buy everything you need to recreate it at a supermarket.

meatball appetizer

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Even though I’ve written about food and entertaining for more than 10 years, it can still feel daunting to host anything larger than an intimate dinner party. Since I live alone and dine out a lot—I consider travel and restaurant spending to be among my best “investments,” well, besides my retirement account—I’m not very well-versed at hosting more than six for a meal. 

I sent out invitations to my housewarming party, which occurred on a late summer Saturday night. With everyone's lives picking up as previously pandemic-cancelled events are added back to the calendar, I figured about half of the guests would reply “no.” But in a delightful (albeit daunting) turn of events, nearly everyone RSVP-ed “yes,” meaning I would now be welcoming more than 30 pals onto my patio and into my kitchen.

I immediately realized that there would be no way that I could coordinate food for about three dozen, plus drinks, tableware, music, and beyond. I had outshot my single-person hosting coverage. So I decided to delegate and hired a caterer to create a spread of heavy appetizers that would accommodate the various dietary preferences, including gluten-free and vegan.

After reviewing the thoughtful, crowd-pleasing menu of cheese and charcuterie, queso and pretzel bites, a trio of salsas and chips, plant-based dips and crudites, and lettuce wraps, I was delighted. But I was also a bit worried, due to two realizations:

  • There was only one hot appetizer
  • There was very little protein

And I was also offering an ample selection of local beers and easy-sipping summer wines. The quantity was sufficient, but the variety needed just a little something extra to ensure everyone would stay satiated—and sober. At this point, I came up with the perfect solution: Channel my inner Sandra Lee, and make it semi-homemade! 

To round out my catered buffet, in a large saucepan, I simply combined 1 jar of marinara (Ina loves Rao’s, and I do, too) and 1 bag of Simek’s Classic Turkey Meatballs, which hit the mark for the gluten-free, protein-craving crowd.

After stirring to combine, cranking the heat to medium, then bringing it back down to low to keep warm, I gave the 36 tomato-sauced meatballs a final stir. Since my buffet also included crostini for the cheese and charcuterie selection, people could grab a slice from there to act as the vehicle for their saucy meatballs. Or they could eat it simply with a fork. 

With one shopping trip to Target* and a mere five minutes of prep time, the spread was all set—no sweat! And 90 minutes into the gathering, this two-ingredient snack was earning rave reviews and was the first item on the buffet to completely disappear.

Much like these beloved Bacon-Wrapped Crackers, this two-ingredient appetizer is ultra-easy, feeds a crowd, and is a terrific party menu idea for any time of year. 

The next time you’re unsure of what your appetizer menu is missing, might I recommend that you go ahead and have a ball? 

*You can also find marinara and Simek’s products at Walmart and Harris Teeter. Alternatively, swap in your own go-to meatball variety.

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