Spaghetti and Slow Cooker Meatballs

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I sympathize with Flint Lockwood.  As a kid (and still in present day) I can be pretty awkward and geeky, but always full of hope–just like Flint.  I loved Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and I’m super excited for the second movie!

I can’t wait to see these new food-animal hybrids (or aptly named foodimals) that Flint’s machine has created.  There are shrimpanzees, tacodile supremes, mosquitoasts, and apple pie-thons roaming around somewhere.  I’m not sure whether to be terrified or hungry.  Either way, I’m quite intrigued and eager to see how Flint and Sam deal with this delicious and unusual problem.

In honor of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, I present you with the perfect slow cooker meatball recipe to prepare ahead of time before you watch the movie.  I love slow cooker dishes because it affords me plenty of time to do other things.  Instead of working in the kitchen, use the free time to watch the movie with your kids/grandkids/friends/family.

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Better yet, surprise the kids in your life by packing a special movie ticket in their lunch!  We designed some movie tickets just for you. Click to download the movie ticket here, print it out and write your own message in the blank space provided. Any kid, youngsters as well at those young at heart, will appreciate the gesture.  (Hint: Yes, even your teenage daughter will smile at the surprise.)

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Just like the movie, it’s more than okay to come back for seconds.  Trust me, you’ll want seconds and thirds of this dish.

Slow Cooker Meatballs

Ingredients

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 large onion, diced

2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/3 cup tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine (or 1/2 cup beef broth)

1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1-28 oz can whole plum tomatoes

1/2 cup water

3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 slices white bread, torn

1/3 cup whole milk

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced

2 large egg yolks

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 pound 85% lean ground beef

9 oz Italian sausage, removed from casing

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 Tbsp fresh basil, torn

Instructions

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1. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat.  Once warm, add garlic.  Cook garlic for 15-30 seconds until fragrant.  Add onions, tomato paste, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine.  Cook until onions have softened.

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2. Transfer about half of onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.  Add red wine (or beef broth or chicken broth) into skillet with remaining half of onion mixture.  Stir contents around over medium heat until liquid picks up all the little browned onion bits.

*note: I used red wine, but you can substitute beef or chicken broth as well.  After 4 hours of cooking time, the alcohol from the wine will be cooked away, only leaving flavors that will enhance the tomatoes and beef.   However, if you are serving this to kids and don’t feel comfortable using wine, broth is perfectly fine! 

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3. Pour deglazed onion mixture, can of crushed tomatoes, can of plum tomatoes (roughly cut), 1/2 cup water, and soy sauce into slow cooker.

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4. In a small bowl, add torn bread and milk.  Using a fork, mash the contents into a paste.

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5.  In a large bowl, add bread paste, parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, egg yolks and reserved onion mixture.  Season with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of black pepper.  Add ground beef and sausage (removed from casing).  Mix together until combined.

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6. Using a cookie scoop, divide meatball mixture into about 1 1/2 to 2-inch rounds.  You should get about 16-19 meatballs.  Place meatballs in a large microwave safe bowl or plate.

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7. Microwave meatballs for 7-9 minutes until meatballs are firm and fat has rendered.  See that juice that has formed around the meatballs?  Yes, that’s extra fat that you don’t need for the recipe.  Discard rendered fats and transfer meatballs to slow cooker.

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8. Stir contents of slow cooker to submerge meatballs.  Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.  Before serving, add chopped basil and season with sugar as needed (start with 1 tsp and work your way up according to taste).  Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.  Serve over cooked spaghetti or pasta of your choice.  Follow package directions to cook pasta to al dente.

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 recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen 

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If you try out this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and share with us on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #TheChic 

 

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