Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meatballs & Sauce in the Slow-Cooker

What better way to let your meatballs and sauce simmer all day than in the slow cooker????  You can fix it and forget it.  Whether you make your own sauce, or dump a few bottles of pre-made sauce, it will taste homemade after simmering away all day.  I make my own turkey meatballs and sometimes add some grilled italian sausage, but you can make this your own by adding all your favorites.  You basically throw everything in the slow cooker (meat already cooked through) and cook on low for 8 hours.  Boil pasta of your choice and make a quick salad.  Our favorite salads include romaine lettuce with shredded parmesan, croutons, and Ken's light creamy caesar OR arugula with shredded parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt.  I've included a recipe for a quick sauce, but jarred is just fine if your in a pinch.  Enjoy!

Turkey Meatballs
1 pkg ground turkey
1 egg
1/3 c breadcrumbs
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Mix ingredients together by hand in a medium bowl until combined, but be careful not to over mix.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet with olive oil or cooking spray (use a cookie sheet that has sides or a 13x9 inch baking dish).   Roll into meatballs approximately the size of a golf ball and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.  Add to your sauce and simmer away.

Quick Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (depending on size of cloves and your garlic preference)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 - 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes with basil

Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and then the onion.  Cook the onion for about 5 min or until translucent.  (If you want mushrooms, peppers, or any other ingredients in your sauce, you need to cook them with the onion).  Add the garlic and spices and cook for about one minute, constantly stirring so the garlic doesn't burn.  Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer (about 5-10 min).  At this point you can keep on the stove top, simmer for an additional 20 minutes and serve immediately or follow the instructions below for the slow cooker.

Add sauce to slow cooker with meatballs and/or sausage.  Cook on low for 8 hours. 

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