Family Recipes and the Secrets We Have to Keep

Since starting this blog I’ve had conversations with certain family members and have had it put in no uncertain terms that I absolutely cannot share certain recipes. You know how family can be. Don’t reveal the family secrets… upon pain of death… or the constant threat of it… or the incessant nagging of it… or.. well, you get the picture.

The two recipes that I am absolutely not allowed to share are the ones for our perogies and bacon buns. I’m sure many of you have wonderful recipes for your own perogies but our bacon buns are lovely little 2-bite buns filled with ground bacon and ham… but that is all I can say. The recipe makes approximately 20 dozen and the instructions are really quite interesting but I can’t reveal any more details. You know how family can be. Can’t say anything more.  My lips are sealed… I can’t share those two with you, but those are the only ones I agreed NOT to reveal.

This is, however, one of my favourites and has been quite a success with friends and any time I have catered events. The original recipe comes from my maternal grandmother and this is my version of it. I prefer to use fresh mustard and not the powdered. My favourite brand is Anton Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard.   They have a huge variety for every taste, from very mild and sweet to XXX Hot. Among the 35 different varieties (and growing), a few of my favourites are the Triple Crunch, Sweet & Smokey, Balsamic Fig & Dates and Amazing Maple. I most recently purchased a curry flavoured one that is finding its way into more than a few dishes. The Nibble sums it up perfectly and gives a very good description of the mustards that they carry.


Anton Kozliks’ home shop The Mustard Emporium  can be found on the main floor of the St. Lawrence Market where they have samples that you can taste on either pretzel sticks, sausage bites or peameal bacon chunks that they are always grilling on Saturdays.

You can either use this sauce on chicken wings or drumettes. It is also wonderful on ribs and of course meatballs. If you’re a vegetarian, why not try it on TVP, lentils or tofu meatless balls?  Increase the heat with whatever your favourite hot spice might be.

Double the single sauce recipe below so that you’ll have more sauce for freezing.  We would never have leftovers at home and we would always have a tasty crusty bread to soak up the sauce.  Mmmm, mmm!!

The longer you bake them in the oven the thicker the sauce gets, just remember to stir them frequently. If the sauce seems to disappear too quickly during the last 15 minutes of baking, you can add an extra 60 ml (¼ cup) of water.

And now for the recipe…

meatball ingredients

Sweet & Smokey Meatball Sauce (single recipe)

240 ml (1 cup) packed brown sugar

5 ml (1 teaspoon) smoked paprika

5 ml (1 teaspoon) chilli powder

15 ml (1 tablespoon) Kozlik’s Triple Crunch mustard

15 ml (1 tablespoon) Kozlik’s Sweet & Smokey mustard

120 ml (½ cup) ketchup

120 ml (½ cup) vinegar

360 ml (1 ½ cups water) (+ possibly another 60 ml (¼ cup) during the last 15 minutes of baking time)

You can use your own meatball recipe or try this one:

Meatballs (original recipe)

450 grams (1 pound) ground pork

450 grams (1 pound) ground smoked ham

240 ml (1 cup) dry bread crumbs

120 ml (½ cup) milk

2 eggs

Meatballs (my recipe)

(NOTE: This recipe will make 66 meatballs so the sauce recipe above will have to be multiplied by 4)

900 grams (2 pounds) ground pork

900 grams (2 pounds) ground beef

4 eggs

360 ml (1 ½ cup) panko crumbs


1.  Mix well and form into balls. I used a small ice cream scoop (30 ml / 2 tablespoons in each scoop).


2.  Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add your meatballs. You’ll have an easier time browning if you don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove cooked meatballs and drain on paper towels. Put meatballs in a baking dish.

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3.  Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over meatballs. Make sure you cover all of the meatballs approximately half way up the side of the pan and don’t overcrowd them. You’ll want enough room so that you can turn and baste them in the pan during baking.

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4.  Heat oven to 165˚C (325˚F) and bake for 60 minutes, turning and basting every 15 minutes. Pay special attention during the last 15 minutes, your sauce will get noticeably thicker and you may need to add another 60 ml (1/4 cup) of water. A little bit more or less may be needed, but you’ll have to be the judge of that when you check the meatballs closer to the end of the cooking time. It all depends on how thick you like your sauce.  If they look done, you can always take them out 10 minutes earlier.  Take one out of the pan and try it.


This recipe freezes very well too. Freeze them with sauce before you bake.

NOTE: You don’t have to use bread crumbs in this recipe if you are wheat intolerant. I made a batch for a catered event without bread crumbs because the client’s daughter had celiac. I just reduced the amount of eggs. I like to use at least 1 egg per pound of meat to help as a binder. If you can’t use eggs, try 60 ml (1/4 cup) of shredded onions.

Go ahead and mix up a batch.  Let me know how yours turned out, especially if you tried the sauce with a meatless version.  Enjoy!

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