Weeknight Meatballs & Marinara
Tarek and Christina are common names in our household. I am addicted to everything HGTV, mostly because all other news is too stressful and/or ridiculous to watch / listen to. So if you’re a T&C fan as much as I am, the thought of the title “Flip or Flop” may be worth a ponder. Think about it…..they never show a “Flop” – at least I’ve never seen one. Have you? Leave me a comment if you’ve seen one.
Where am I going with this?
I decided to show you a “flop” of mine. If you follow me on Instagram (check lower-right on the homepage) you saw my genius idea of slow cooker meatballs.
In theory, this is a splendid idea! However, there are a few points that I must make here if you love your meatballs a certain way……
First, these are first world issues. Just putting that out there.
And now, I’ve had too much time to think about meatballs, here are my thoughts.
- Slow cooking meatballs doesn’t allow them to get crunchy bits on the outside like pan frying or baking does.
- Slow cooking meatballs makes very mushy meatballs, more like meat sauce if you cook them as long as I did (as per the recipe).
- Slow cooking meatballs is the worst way to actually make a meatball.
- If you’re wanting to slow cook a meatball, the best kinds to slow cook are pre-cooked (packaged) or pre-made (by you, under the broiler for 3 minutes to create a nice outter edge so they don’t fall apart)
- You must have more sauce than you’d think to cover all the meatballs. This was about 2 full quart size jars. I like Classico + Barilla.
Here’s the recipe. I am going to try it again, but using a different technique, like omitting raw onion. Onions have a TON of water in them and when you bake/slow cook onion, it adds moisture to your recipe that can significantly change what you’re making….I’ve done this before with meatloaf.
So here’s a pretty picture to look at. Way too much onion right?! I was trying to recycle left over chopped onion from the weekend. Fail. Also, not enough sauce, right. Supposed to cover all the meatballs.
Crock pot Meatballs
- 1.5# organic, grassfed ground beef (Metcalfes had WI organic beef on sale yesterday for $4.99/lb, that’s 50% off)
- 1.5 cups Italian bread crumbs (if you don’t have bread crumbs, use bread or saltine crackers, put them in your nutribullet or food processor with some salt, pepper, Italian seasonings….it’s the same thing)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, or not fresh, whatever.
- 2 cloves minced fresh garlic, or 2 tbsp powder
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (this is where I would prefer to use onion powder)
- 1 egg beaten
- You can make your own sauce, or buy 2 jars
- 1# spaghetti or favorite pasta shape
- Prepare your crock pot with non-stick spray
- Combine all ingredients in large bowl (except sauce and pasta) to make meatballs, approx 12-16 depending on size.
- Put all of the spaghetti sauce into crock pot, place meatballs into sauce. Sauce should cover the meatballs.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours
TIPS: If you have time, bake in your oven in pyrex at 400* for 15 minutes BEFORE putting them into the slow cooker.
If you’re looking for nut-free, most pre-packaged meatballs are nut-free. The ONLY ingredient to pay attention to would be the breadcrumbs / bread source. MOST breads are NOT safe, so if you make your own breadcrumbs, make sure your bread is safe. WE use Country Hearth from Sun Prairie, WI. Angelic is also guaranteed nut-free. Progresso bread crumbs are also nut-free, and that’s what I used in this recipe.
This meatball recipe is pretty plain. If you want to spice things up, I suggest another recipe for more flavor. But if it’s a weeknight and you’re looking for fast and easy, this will do. This will do.
Here’s Anne Burrell’s meatball recipe with homemade marinara sauce. I love her cooking, however, I hate how much salt she adds to her recipes. Just adjust your salt levels accordingly.
Anne Burrell Meatballs
Happy Wednesday and thanks for stopping by. The countdown to Modern Family is ON!
P.S. If you have extra meatballs, make meatball subs with a fresh sub roll and slice of mozzarella cheese.