Tomorrow we’ll eat like vegetarians again, but today it’s Meatballs. These Slow Cooker Meatballs cut the work in half for delicious, saucy meatballs.
For the longest time, I never even considered making meatballs. I knew they’d be delicious, but they seemed like so much work and if you’ve ever read this blog before, you know that 90% of the time this single mother of four needs everything that happens in the kitchen to be capital E – Easy.
Then, I discovered Dinner a Love Story (Jenny Rosenstrach) and her cookbook of the same name, and I developed a serious blog crush. I stalked her blog for a few weeks, reading every post on her site, and then I cooked a zillion of her recipes. She loves dinner, I love her. And she knows how to get dinner on the table, for real. I quite literally spew admiration for her on a regular basis.
And that brings us to meatballs.
In the Dinner a Love Story cookbook, which you’ll want for the reading just as much as for the recipes, Jenny shares her husband Andy’s Great Grandma Turano’s Meatballs. Like most of her recipes, it’s not just the recipe that got me in the kitchen rolling balls of raw meat, it’s the love story. The meatballs were an index-card recipe they received when they were first married. They became so beloved that Jenny says,
[W]e painted the recipe inside a kitchen cabinet. It’s safe to say that in the fourteen years since we’ve received that recipe, we’ve probably made them as many times as Great-Grandma Turano herself did in her ninety-six years.” Jenny Rosenstrach, Dinner a Love Story
I was sold. I had to make meatballs, never mind the mess or the time. Now, having made them many times myself, I’ll tell you they are worth the work. I’ve made them for many a happy family dinner and frozen countless bags of them for those nights when dinner almost doesn’t happen. I’ve taken them to friends bringing home new babies and friends who are too sad to make dinner during an unexpected divorce. Jenny’s meatballs are that kind of recipe.
But as much as I love these meatballs, perfect in every way, I’m still me – single mother of four trying to pay the bills and always wishing there were more hours in a day. So, I adapted the recipe for the slow cooker. I’ll be the first to admit that they aren’t quite as good as Great Grandma Turano’s method, which has you brown them in “a big glug of oil” and then “simmer lazily” in a dutch oven of homemade sauce. But, when you’re pressed for time, these Slow Cooker Meatballs are the next best thing. Still flavorful, still lazily simmered, but in a crock pot of homemade sauce instead.
If you have time, make Jenny’s version. If you don’t, make the Slow Cooker Meatballs. Take them to your holiday parties, serve them for dinner, gift them to hungry friends. Eat them with pasta, in lettuce wraps, or in a meatball slider. This is good food. Enjoy.
I originally published this recipe over on Food Fanatic, while I was still expecting baby number four, which is probably what led me to the lazy slow cooker version of these meatballs in the first place.