Meat Balls – Part 1

I don’t know why, but everyone seems to make meatballs in slow cookers. Is that what they were invented for? My parents made them when I was a kid. It seems like every pot luck I’ve ever been invited to had at least one slow cooker full of meatballs at it. And the first, and possibly only, thing my roommate ever made in his slow cooker was meatballs. And they’re not even fully done in the slow cooker half the time. You have to prep them in the oven first, so they get that yummy crispiness on the outside first. Then you slow cook them in sauce, so they absorb it and burst with delicious yumminess.

But, since this is like THE thing to make in a slow cooker, I guess I’ll have to try them out some day. I mean, they ARE delicious. I always loved making egg noodles, and pouring on big ladles full of meatballs and sauce. And there’s so many different types of meatballs you can make!

So here’s a basic recipe, showing you how to make the meatballs themselves, and then make the sauce in a crock pot and let them simmer in it. AllRecipes is a great place for beginners in the kitchen, as a lot of their recipes are quite simple, yet impressive and delicious.

Later, I’ll throw on another recipes for one of my all-time favourites, Swedish Meatballs! And later on this month, I’ll throw in a few more meatball recipes. The great thing with these is you can either make your meatballs from scratch using the recipe below, or you can buy a box of them and throw them in the slow cooker. Either way, when someone asks if you cooked this, you can honestly say “yes”!

Your Basic Meatballs

Ingredients

1 h 45 m 

Directions

  • Prep 20 m

  • Cook 1 h 25 m

  • Ready In 1 h 45 m

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, water, bread crumbs, and minced onion. Roll into small meatballs.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.
  4. In a slow cooker or large saucepan over low heat, blend the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Add meatballs, and simmer for 1 hour before serving.

These meatballs are your basic cocktail meatballs. They’re what you would find at a pot luck, with little cocktail swords stuck in them.  If you’re not a big fan of the sauce, that’s ok. The first three steps in this recipe show you how to make the meatballs themselves from scratch. You can now use that recipe with OTHER meatball recipes, in place of store bought meatballs that so many recipes tell you to use.

Now, one of my favourites is the Swedish Meatball. As a kid, I was a HUGE fan of the Swedish Chef. He was one of the many Muppets who started my great Muppet obsession. I was convinced that anything that had Swedish in its name would be as awesome as him. As it turns out, both Swedish Meatballs and the candy Swedish Fish ARE delightful!

These meatballs also helped me through a tough time. My baby brother (he’s in his mid-twenties now, so I should really stop calling him that) moved away to teach in Sweden for a while. He and I have always been pretty close, and his leaving hit me hard. I think that’s why my roommate made meatballs in the first place: to help me handle that.

Anyway, I’m rambling about Muppets and family again. Now this is a delightful Swedish Meatball recipe from the folks at Yummly. You may have to sign up for their website in order to see the recipe, but it’s a free site (as far as I can tell. I’ve never been billed for using it) and has some delicious recipes on it.

Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients
  • 1 (10¾ oz) can cream of mushroom soup
  • ½ cup fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp A1 steak sauce
  • dash of paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (28 oz) bag frozen meatballs (this is around 33 meatballs)
  • 1 c sour cream
  • prepared mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles
Instructions
  1. In your slow cooker, combine the soup, mushrooms, beef broth, onion, garlic powder, steak sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add meatballs and toss to coat.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Before serving mix in sour cream and serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles. Serves 6.

Again, you can use the meatballs in the recipe above for the meatballs here. Or, you can just buy them frozen if you really want. No one will judge you for not hand-forming 30+ individual balls of meat and then baking them, especially if you are short on time and/or patience.

So, have a little fun with your slow cooker this weekend. Have a (meat)ball, sunshine!

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