We were going to have a houseful of family during Christmas. I was excited! But I wanted to spend time with the family,not in the kitchen. So I wanted to get some cooking done ahead. I relied heavily on the Family Circle Slow Cooker Meals cookbook. They have a handy icon to show which meals freeze well. That’s where I got the idea for these meatballs, but as always, I can’t leave a recipe alone and so made some changes as I went along.
The meal was such a success that my husband and daughter wanted to take some in their lunches the next day and there wasn't a whole lot left over for the freezer. So I made it again and increased the quantities. This is the recipe I am giving you. It should feed 10-12 people.
This recipe takes a while, but everyone likes it very much and I can make two meals. I like having the second one in the freezer so much that I don’t mind. And even the first one is simmered in the slow cooker, so the mess is cleaned up long before the meal is served!
|I left one pound of ground turkey out of the photo by accident.|
Don't you love the labels for the canned tomatoes?!
½ cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 ½ tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. hot ground pork (if your family likes it spicier use 2 pork and 1 turkey)
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large can (28 oz.) spaghetti sauce
2 cans whole tomatoes, drained and cut into chunks
1 can tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
|Your kids can help|
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Stir in bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan, onion, salt, and garlic. (I didn’t have any fresh or frozen parsley on hand, so I used dried.)
|Your kids can help|
Add the meat and mix with your hands. Form into meatballs about 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter. (I get about 40-45 meatballs.)
In a large non-stick frying pan, brown the meatballs in the hot olive oil. (You’ll probably have to do half or less at a time.) Drain off fat. Place meatballs in 6 quart slow cooker.
|My meat "balls" wouldn't roll well, but no one minds because they taste so good!|
Pour the spaghetti sauce over the meatballs. Add the tomatoes, basil, and oregano. I often have roasted garlic on hand and threw in several cloves. I also added a cube (ice cube tray size) of frozen pesto sauce I had made during the summer. If you prefer, you can just use two large cans of spaghetti sauce, I just like to add my own seasonings, especially when I have fresh basil on hand.
Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours.
Leftovers can be frozen with the sauce. Leftover pasta freezes pretty well, too, but I try to do the pasta at meal time.
Serve with your favorite green salad, pasta, and garlic bread.
|The family loved it after we'd gone out to see "light-see". |
I loved that I could serve everyone and enjoy the outing!
By the way, when we left Colombia, I sold my appliances there. I was excited to be able to get a Hamilton Beach 3 in 1 Slow Cooker. I use it at least twice a week. Every Sunday I make something for our Sunday Dinner (lunch) in the largest size bowl because we almost always have guests. The medium size is great for just our family. And, as is happening more and more often, when it’s just Jim and I, the smallest size works. I’ve had no problems with it after 3 years of use. The only complaint I have is that you can’t lay a large roast down, you have to stand it on end and I've even had to cut them in half and fit them in.