This past weekend, I had a real hankering for homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Mike and I also had a hankering to go see “Hot Tub Time Machine”. But, I didn’t want to eat at like 8pm! What to do, what to do?! I finally decided, why not try to make it in the crock pot instead of on top of the stove? That way I could prep it all and come home to delicious ready-made sauce!
Usually when I make sauce I do it all in one giant pot on the stove, I also cook my meatballs right in the sauce, none of that frying or baking them first business. When you cook them right in the sauce, the results are plump and flavorful meatballs that are tender and awesome! It probably helps that I am in no way Italian, so while this recipe is not at all authentic, it really is good. Ask anyone who’s eaten it! It turns out that converting it to the crock was really easy and pretty much just as delicious. The only problem with the crock is that when I cook it on the stove top I definitely cook according to taste. I’ll just add more of this or that until it is perfect. With the ingredients going into the crock pot, I couldn’t really taste it as it went along, I just had to add stuff and hope for the best. It went pretty well though.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp garlic salt
1-2 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
In a large, deep pot, heat up the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until they start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute as well, another 2 or 3 minutes until the garlic is browned but not burnt! Add in the can of tomatoes and the can of sauce. Add in all remaining ingredients and stir. Taste sauce and adjust any flavorings as you need. If the sauce is still very acid-y, add a tad more sugar. If you put in too much sugar, add another can of tomato sauce. Let the sauce simmer on low as you prepare the meatballs. Cover the sauce if it is splattering all over the place, that stuff hurts!
1 or 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey (I get the dark meat from Whole Foods, I find the really lean stuff is too dry)
1/2 to 1 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c. parmigiana cheese
1 or 2 eggs depending on how dry it is
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp italian seasoning
1 tbsp garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients together. The way it looks will tell you what you need to do. If it is not incorporating enough, add more egg. If it is too wet, add more crumbs! Try to make it an even amount of cheese vs. crumbs. When meatballs easily form a ball, the consistency is good. Form the meatballs into about 1 inch balls. Drop the meatballs one by one into the bubbling sauce. Be careful! You don’t want to get sauce burn! DO NOT STIR THE SAUCE WHEN YOU FIRST ADD THE MEATBALLS. After a few minutes, you can stir a bit. Let the meatballs cook in the sauce, covered, for at least 20 minutes, until the meatballs have turned white and appear to be done. If you are unsure, cook another 10 minutes.
Serve over spaghetti with some garlic bread. So good!!
Crock Pot Method:
It is totally the same method to do in the crock with these few exceptions:
For the sauce, start out with the onions sauteing in a small pot. Add the garlic and cook as stated above. When they are translucent, remove and add to the crock. Add all the remaining ingredients into the crock pot. Make the meatballs and drop them into the crock full of sauce. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. Easy enough, right?