31 January 2011

Foodbuzz Tastemaker: Mexican Meatballs with Sticky Pace Picante Sauce

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Mexican-Style Meatballs with Sticky Pace Picante Sauce

Thanks to Foodbuzz Tastemaker program I was given the opportunity to test out Pace's Picante sauce. I chose to use it in a sauce for Mexican style meatballs. These would be great for a party, like the Super Bowl, since they're small and appetizer appropriate. It also made the Foodbuzz Flavor of the Month, and is my entry for Foodbuzz' Pace recipe contest.

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Mexican-Style Meatballs with Sticky Pace Picante Sauce

The picante sauce is like salsa, only smoother in texture to make cooking with it easier. It blends into sauces or meat better without sacrificing the taste of salsa. It also is truly mild. There may be just a faint hint of heat, but it's not in any way hot. I also felt it was a bit watery, as a puree of tomatoes would be, so you'll want to take that into consideration if you use it for cooking.

You can find Pace products at your local grocery store.

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Mexican-Style Meatballs with Sticky Pace Picante Sauce

I knew I wanted to use the sauce for a Super Bowl themed recipe, since I'll be submitting it to Facebook's contest, so I just needed to come up with a good way to feature the sauce. And what better way to do that than a sticky picante sauce for meatballs! You could also use this for wings, too, because it's very versatile.

The sauce consists of equal portions of sugar, water, apple cider vinegar and the Pace picante sauce along with chili, garlic, onion powder and salt. Whisk the mixture together and cook at a continuous boil/simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce reduces by about half and takes on the consistency of a thick glaze. This is like a simple barbecue-esque Mexican-style sauce with a back note of spiciness.

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Mexican-Style Meatballs with Sticky Pace Picante Sauce

For the meatballs, you take ground turkey, finely chopped onion and jalapeno, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, oregano, cumin, and salt, a packet of Goya seasoning, and an egg and mix it all together. These meatballs are light and packed with flavor. I chose to use ground turkey since it has a lighter flavor than ground beef, and is healthier.

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Mexican-Style Meatballs with Sticky Pace Picante Sauce

Roll the turkey mixture into tablespoons-sized balls, cook on both sides in a skillet with olive oil, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. This can also be done ahead of time, either by mixing the turkey to portion later, or cooking the meatballs and finishing them with the sauce later.

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Mexican-Style Meatballs with Sticky Pace Picante Sauce

I finish off the meatballs in the oven, covering with half the sauce and baking for 10 minutes, then flipping over and topping with the remaining sauce and cooking another 20 minutes to let the sauce saturate into the meatballs. The result is a glaze that coats the meatballs thoroughly with the flavor infusing throughout.

Alternatively, you could also finish off the meatballs by cooking in the sauce on the stove, or a crock pot if so desired.

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Mexican-Style Meatballs with Sticky Pace Picante Sauce

Serve with slices of jalapeno and you're ready to party! You could also make some rice to use for a heftier meal.

If you're looking for a healthy party dish with a different flavor, here it is! The sauce is versatile and can be used in many ways, so pick up a bottle of Pace Picante and get cooking.

Print this recipe

Mexican Meatballs with Sticky Pace Picante Sauce
Recipe by Christina Provo

Yield: 5 appetizer portions

ingredients -

1 8 ounce jar Pace Picante Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
2 jalapenos, seeded, deveined, and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Additional jalapenos, sliced, for garnish

directions -
  1. In a medium pot, whisk together Pace Picante sauce, water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, chili, garlic, and onion powders and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce to medium and let simmer continuously for 35 minutes or until reduced by half and thickened to a glaze.

  2. In a bowl, thoroughly mix ground turkey with remaining ingredients, except olive oil additional jalapenos. Using a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon, portion into level tablespoons and roll into balls.

  3. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil. When ready, add around 15 meatballs and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the bottoms get a nice, golden brown sear. Flip meatballs over and cook for another 30 second to 1 minute, until the bottoms are golden brown. Remove to a rimmed baking sheet and repeat with remaining meatballs.

  4. When all meatballs are cooked, spoon half the sauce on top, covering as evenly as possible. Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven and flip over. Top with remaining sauce and bake for 20 minutes. Spoon onto a serving dish, pouring juice from the sheet on top, and serve with jalapeno slices.



  1. these look amazing, and since we're having a superbowl party, i might just have to make them. i also love the fact that they're made from turkey. YUM!!

  2. This looks fantastic! And what a beautiful presentation. I love the plating. A very creative recipe. I had never really considered a Mexican twist on a meatball, but I will bet this works quite well, and certainly has to be excellent fare for the Super Bowl!

    I am saving a copy of the recipe in my archives. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Gorgeous meatballs, and they are made from turkey, which makes them even better. I love the glaze! I have to make these for Super Bowl!

  4. MickiRuns - Turkey is what makes them even better! The flavors stand out more. Have fun making food!

    Jean - Thank you. There is a Mexican meatball soup, too, though mostly there aren't many recipes for Mexican meatballs out there. Just goes to show the versatility, though.

    Hope you like it!

    Becky - I tried them with ground beef but they honestly weren't as good as the turkey version.

    Have a good Super Bowl party!

  5. Congratulations on being featured on the "Feature of the Month" for this dish!


  6. Oh my, this looks delicious Christina! What a fabulous recipe and yummy presentation!
    You have a splendid blog!

  7. The glaze on these are amazing looking. I love saucy foods, and this makes me want to make them right now! :)

  8. My what a mouth watering sight :)

  9. Jogger - Thank you!

    Catherine - Thanks!

    Florida - I was very happy with how the sauce turned out. Go make some!

    KonstantKraver - Thanks!

  10. I made the sauce to go on crispy baked chicken wings, and we loved it (read: bf practically licked the bowl trying to get at the last of the sauce). I might cut down on the sugar and increase the chunky pacey-ness. But not before trying it as-is with your meatball recipe :) Thx!

  11. Thanks for posting,love the glaze ! My family does not for ground turkey
    I bet you would not even tell the differnce with all the yummy spices in it.

  12. I am always looking for new ways to use ground turkey. This looks great. I am also a HUGE Mexican fan so I will have to make these for my next get together. Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^


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