Monday, October 6, 2008

Crock Pot Meatballs

I. Love. My. Crock pot. Let me say it again: I love my crock pot! One of the best inventions of all time, in my opinion. I love dumping everything in the crock  pot in the morning and coming home to a cooked meal; it makes me feel like a 1950s husband. :-)

I found this recipe for meatballs on AllRecipes.com, and while it sounded great and I even tweaked it a bit, it kinda bombed. I think part of the problem was I let them cook for too long. The recipe suggested 6-8 hours on low, but I think 8 hours was far too long. By the time we served dinner, the meatballs were dry and cooled down quickly. I'm chalking this one up to human error. I think that had I baked these in the oven they would have been superb  but they ended up overdone in my crock pot. I recommend them, but I'd definitely make some changes. No picture tonight...I didn't recharge the camera batteries. It's probably for the best, since these looked a little strange.

Easy Crock Pot Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 (16 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.25 ounce) can tomato puree
1 T. Basil
1 T. Oregano

In a bowl, mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, and egg. Shape the mixture into 16 meatballs.

In a slow cooker, mix the spaghetti sauce, crushed tomatoes, and tomato puree. Place the meatballs into the sauce mixture. Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours. Makes 16 meatballs.

Notes:
  • 1 1/4 c. meatballs is WAY too much! You can get away with 3/4 c.
  • I added the basil and oregano. I also had to use plain breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning, but it's basically the same thing.
  • Here's part of my mistake, I think. I used two cans of tomato-basil sauce and once can of tomato paste. I mixed well, but eventually the sauces separated from the paste, and the paste developed a sweet-but-burned aftertaste. Not good. Next time I might try this with tomato soup and tomato sauce instead and nix the tomato paste and/or tomato puree.
  • My meatballs were fine, but many reviews on AR complained of meatballs falling apart in the crockpot. If you bake them for a few minutes at 350 they should hold their shape.
  • I would suggest making extra sauce and use it to cover the meatballs once they're in the crockpot to keep them moist.
  • I served this over spaghetti, and I think they would've been so much better had they not been overdone.

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