Dean Richards is making Thanksgiving appetizers ahead of the bid holiday!

Slow Cooker French Onion Meatball Appetizer


For the Onions

  • 3 large onions, thinly sliced, about 6 cups
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (85/15 or 90/10)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 packet (1 ounce) dry onion soup mix
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence or dried thyme

For the Sauce and Finishing

  • 1 (10.5-ounce) can condensed French onion soup
  • 1 cup unsalted beef broth or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence or dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups (6 to 8 ounces) shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  • Fresh thyme leaves or fresh chopped parsley, for garnish, optional


Combine 3 large onions, thinly sliced (about 6 cups), 2 large cloves garlic, minced, 1 large bay leaf, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon fine salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a large slow cooker and give everything a stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, stirring again after 1 hour.

About 25 minutes before the 3 hours is up, prepare the meatballs.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 425 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (85/15 or 90/10) with 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 packet (1 ounce) dry onion soup mix, 1 large egg, and 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence or dried thyme. 

Mix until the ingredients are combined (but do not overmix.)   Use 2 tablespoons or a 2-tablespoon portion scoop to shape the mixture into 24 to 28 1-ounce meatballs.

Place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs in the oven for 10 minutes.

Add the meatballs, 1 can (10.5 ounces) condensed French onion soup, 1 cup unsalted beef broth or water, and 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence or dried thyme to the slow cooker. 

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Turn the slow cooker to warm until it’s time to serve the meatballs.

Just before serving, sprinkle the meatballs evenly with 1 1/2 to 2 cups (6 to 8 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese. Cover and let the
meatballs stand until the cheese is melted, 5 to 10 minutes.  

Garnish with fresh thyme leaves or chopped parsley if desired.

Sweet Chili Shrimp Stir Fry


For Shrimp stir-fry:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers sliced into thick  strips
  • 1 red onion sliced into thick strips
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 12 oz large shrimp uncooked; thawed with tails removed (12-15 large shrimp)

For sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch 
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


In a jar, shake together the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, water and cornstarch until completely combined.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the bell peppers, red onion and snap peas. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly softened. Set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, then add the shrimp. Cook for 3 or so more minutes, flipping halfway until pink and firm. 

Give the stir fry sauce a good shake up and pour over the shrimp. Cook for 1 or so minutes until bubbling and thickened.

Mix with the chopped walnuts.   Serve.  

Fresh Herb Covered Goat Cheese Rolls


  • Two 11 oz.packages fresh goat cheese
  • 6 TBPS. fresh dill, chopped fine.  More if needed
  • 6  TBPS. Fresh parsley, chopped fine. 
  • Crackers, for serving


Place the packages of goat cheese into the freezer to slightly harden, about 15 minutes.

Finely chop the dill and parsley and spread it out a bit on the cutting board to let it dry for a few minutes.

Remove the goat cheese from the packaging. Gently roll it over the fresh dill, coating it almost completely. It should look lovely and “mossy.”

Wrap the roll in plastic wrap and chill until it’s time to serve.  Serve with crackers. 

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