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Giving Thanks for Beef: A Guide to Thanksgiving Appetizers

Noah Erickson | November 24, 2021

Thanksgiving is almost here and between all the last-minute stops to the grocery store and excitement (or worry) of your family and friends coming to visit, you may find yourself wondering what you are going to eat before the big meal. Well, you don't have to fret about tying over your families growling stomachs with all the easy appetizers you can find on this page! But you might have to make "one last" trip to the store. 

Easy Roast Beef Pot Luck Rolls

These classic rolls are sure to be a crowd pleaser.


  • 1 pound thinly sliced reduced-sodium deli roast beef
  • 1 package Hawaiian rolls (12 count)
  • 1/4 c. cream-style prepared horseradish
  • 6 slices reduced-fat provolone cheeese
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. dried parsley leaves
  • 2 t. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 t. onion powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cut rolls in half, horizontally. Place bottom half in prepared baking dish; spread horseradish on cut side. Top with deli roast beef and cheese. Close sandwiches. Using a paring knife, cut into 12 sandwiches. Cook's tip: You may substitute dijon mustard for prepared horseradish.
  2. Combine butter, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, sugar and onion powder in small bowl; mix to combine. Pour butter mixture evenly over prepared sandwiches. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.
  3. Bake sandwiches, uncovered, in 350 degrees F oven 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and rolls are golden brown.

Mini Merry Meatballs

These meatballs are delicious and the added cranberry barbecue sauce will be just the right place to make use of your leftover cranberries.


  • 1/2 pound ground beef brisket
  • 1/4 pound ground beef ribeye steak boneless
  • 1/4 pound ground beef (80%) lean
  • 1 c. seasoned stuffing mix
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3 T. water
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/8 t. pepper
Cranberry Barbecue Sauce
  • 2 t. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped white onion
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/3 c. ketchup
  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 T. cider vinegar
  • 2 T. molasses
  • 1/2 t. ground red pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine brisket, ribeye, ground beef, stuffing mix, egg, water, garlic, salt and pepper in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 24 1-inch meatballs. Place on rack in broiler pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in 400 degree F oven 18 to 20 minutes until it reaches 160 degrees F. Cook's Tip: brisket and ribeye can be ground using food-processor fitted with steel blade or grinder attachment of a stand mixer. Cut 8 ounces of well-trimmed brisket into 1 1/2-inch pieces (4 ounces well-trimmed ribeye) and process until ground. Alternatively, ask your butcher to grind the beef. You may use all ground in place of ground brisket and ribeye.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare cranberry barbecue sauce. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until tender, but not brown. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until cranberries burst and mixture has reduced to thick consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Transfer mixture to blender container. Cover, allowing steam to escape. Process until smooth. Season with salt, as desired.
  3. Serve meatballs with barbecue sauce.

Nacho Beef Dip

If you desire to watch the football game this Thanksgiving weekend, this dip will be sure to be a star on the Thanksgiving Day food roster.


  • 1 pound ground beef (93% lean or leaner)
  • 1 jar (15 to 16 ounces) cheese dip with salsa (salsa con queso) or other cheese dip
  • 1/2 c. thick-and-chunky mild or medium salsa
  • Blue, yellow and/or white corn tortilla chips (optional)
  • Diced red bell pepper, thinly sliced green olives, sliced ripe olives (optional)
  1. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add ground beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Add cheese dip and salsa; cook and stir about 3 minutes or until mixture is heated through. 
  2. Cook's Tip: Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal cooking temperature of 160 degrees F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness. Pour beef mixture into shallow serving dish. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping. Garnish with toppings, if desired. 


When making your way through Thanksgiving, enjoy. Enjoy the chaos of having a house full of friends and family. Enjoy the fellowship of getting to share a day with your friends and family. Take it all in and appreciate it; it's not everyday you get to have everyone together. And remember to give thanks; it is Thanksgiving after all!