Take-out Tuesday, Kentucky Derby Bourbon Meatballs and Everything Ham & Swiss Sliders

We had a Kentucky Derby watching party on Saturday

The weather forecast had been for rain early in the week,

but by Thursday it had changed and

we ended up having a beautiful 80 degree sunny day,

perfect for a party on the patio!

This year there were 12 of us, 3 families

I set up the food buffet in the kitchen

so we’d have more space on the patio

The food was simple and kid friendly for 6 adults and 6 kids

I purchased the ranch dip and the cupcakes at the grocery store

I had a Pecan Pie in the freezer

I had the chicken nuggets delivered right before the party

A guest brought the fried pickles,

so all I had to do was make the meatballs and the sliders

I also put mini peanut butter crackers

on the lowest level of the tiered tray

for easy grabbing by little fingers

I used paper plates for easy clean up

The meatballs stayed warm in the slow cooker

next to small skewers for guests to use to get them

The meatballs couldn’t be any easier to make

and they were a big hit!

Frozen meatballs, and a sauce made with ketchup,

Worcestershire sauce, bourbon, honey,

brown sugar and black pepper

Put the sauce ingredients in the slow cooker and stir to mix

Add the frozen meatballs and stir to cover them with the sauce

Cover and cook on high for 1 hour,

stir again and turn heat to low for 2 more hours

That’s it!

I timed it so they would be done right before the guests arrived

and then I turned the cooker to the warm setting for the party

The kid friendly sliders are filled with ham and American cheese

and served at room temperature

The everything sliders are filled with ham & Gruyère,

mayonnaise, mustard,

then topped with butter

and everything bagel seasoning and baked

Cut the rolls in half without separating

Spread each half with mayonnaise

Then spread mustard on top of mayonnaise

{I used Honeycup Mustard, it has a nice tang}

Lay on ham slices and cheese on roll bottom

and replace the top, mustard side down

Place rolls in a baking pan

Spread butter on the tops of the rolls

Sprinkle with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning

Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes,

uncover and bake for 5- 7 more minutes until golden

Cut individual rolls apart before serving

The children had great fun making little skewers of chicken and pickles

and the older kids loved the meatballs~

Don’t worry about the alcohol, it bakes off

and the bourbon adds a nice flavor

Everyone had a grand time nibbling and noshing

and watching the horses “run for the roses!’

This recipe is adapted from Urban Bliss Life

Kentucky Derby Bourbon Meatballs

These tasty meatballs are very simple to make using frozen meatballs. The sauce is mixed right in the slow cooker, then the meatballs are added and cooked for 3 hours. Easy and delicious!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American


  • 1 slow cooker


  • 1 bag frozen meatballs, about 2 lbs. I used a bag of 56 1/2 inch meatballs
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Place everything except meatballs into the slow cooker
  • Stir well to combine
  • Add frozen meatballs and stir to coat them in the sauce
  • Cover and cook on high for 1 hour
  • Stir, and turn temperature to low. Continue to cook for 2 hours, stirring each hour. Set slow cooker to keep warm for serving if desired
Keyword bourbon meatballs, easy party appetizer, Kentucky Derby, meatballs, slow cooker appetizer, slow cooker meatballs

This recipe is adapted from Southern Living

Everything Ham & Swiss Sliders

Classic ham & cheese party sliders get an update and a flavor boost with everything seasoning
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 12 sliders


  • shallow baking pan
  • tin foil


  • 1 pkg 12 count, King's Hawaiian slider rolls
  • deli ham slices
  • Swiss or Gruyère cheese slices
  • mayonnaise
  • tangy mustard like Honeycup
  • soft butter
  • everything bagel seasoning


  • Slice rolls in half horizontally, keeping the rolls together
  • Spread cut side up of each half with a generous layer of mayonnaise
  • Gently spread mustard on top of mayonnaise
  • Layer ham then cheese on the bottom half of the rolls then replace top half of the rolls mustard side down, making one large sandwich
  • Place sandwich on baking pan and spread tops with butter
  • Sprinkle with everything but the bagel seasoning
  • Cover with tin foil and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes
  • Uncover and continue to bake for 5-7 more minutes until golden and melted
  • Carefully cut rolls apart with a sharp knife and serve warm
Keyword appetizer, Everything but the bagel seasoning, ham and cheese sliders, ham sandwich, party sliders


Everything but the bagel seasoning is widely available, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Publix …It’s also easy to make, you can see my recipe by clicking on the highlighted title below

Everything Seasoning

I will be joining these fabulous parties and blogs:

 Sundays on Silverado/  Love Your Creativity 

What’s for Dinner/ Between Naps on the Porch 

All About Home/ Common GroundFollow the Yellow Brick Home

Turn About Tuesday / Our Tiny Nest / Karin’s Cottage Linky Party 

Creative Crafts / Crafty Creators

Full Plate Thursday / Thursday Favorite Things   

Happiness is Homemade/ Home Matters

35 Responses to “Take-out Tuesday, Kentucky Derby Bourbon Meatballs and Everything Ham & Swiss Sliders”
  1. BERNADETTE says:

    I’ll bet everyone enjoyed those meatballs. The loving cup center piece is fabulous.

  2. Mary says:

    Such a tasty menu and buffet for your Derby-watch party Jenna! The “kids” in our family are now in their 20s and we still have Chick-fil-A nuggets at all our get togethers. 🙂 Happy Tuesday ♥

  3. A well-organized and stress-free party!

  4. Rita C. says:

    What great party foods!

  5. I’ve made sliders similar to this but you have a few touches I’d not heard/thought of, especially the bagel seasoning on top. What a great idea. They’re always so popular. You have the best parties!

  6. Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors says:

    Jenna, your buffet looks wonderful! All of those bites sound so delicious! I know your guests had a fabulous time! Happy Tuesday!

  7. Those sliders look delicious. I need to find a reason to make a batch. Mmmmm!!!

  8. Pam says:

    What a fabulous party that you put together, Jenna. All the food looks delicious. Our Chick-Fil-A closed last week for a three month remodel. Our grands will miss those chicken nuggets. Happy Tuesday!

  9. Yummy! Simple yet tasty. My kind of party food! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  10. Kentucky Derby Bourbon Meatball – I better try this recipe!

  11. lghiggins says:

    I’m always amazed at how you are able to put on a big spread, child and adult friendly, and make it appear so easy to put together. You have the gift of hospitality!

  12. Nancy says:

    What a beautiful buffet. Simple and elegant, my kind of party!
    I have yet to make those sliders. What am I waiting for??
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  13. EsmeSalon says:

    Awesome spread you have put together. Love those sliders.
    I visited you via TEAM CREATIVE CRAFTS LINK PARTY #145
    If you are not already part of SSPS, this is a personal invite to hop over and come and share your own awesome posts with us at Senior Salon Pit Stop, every Monday to Saturday, and share your awesome post/s with us as well.
    You will be able to find my entries:19+20 and then navigate towards the bottom of my page for the Senior Salon Pit Stop linkup, we hope to meet you there virtually.

  14. Julie says:

    Your Kentucky Derby party sounds like a lot of fun Jenna. I love the menu and thanks for the recipes.

  15. Kitty says:

    Sounded like such a fun menu for everyone, Jenna. The meatballs sound so good. I’ve made similar sliders and I just love them. You and your family have the best times together. ❤️

  16. Yummy menu, love the idea of the baked slider with ham and cheese. I have done the meatballs before. A wonderful way to spend with family and watch the Kentucky Derby.

  17. Kim says:

    Oh my goodness Jenna. Your buffet looks sooo good! The sliders sound delicious and the meatballs look so yummy! I love your recipes because they are generally easy to make which very much pleases this lazy cook’s heart! I hope you had a fantastic party!

    • Thank you Kim! I am all about easy these days! We had a grand time, the kids had so much fun picking their horses and watching the race and the girls all loved their Derby hat straws 🙂

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