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Crockpot Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce

April 27, 2010

There are certain characteristics of recipes that will make me veto ever making them.  It’s crazy, really, but if a recipe calls for browning meat before adding it to the crockpot, there’s not a chance in heck I’ll ever make it.

First of all, I’m trying to replace serious cooking in lieu of just plain dumping when it comes to slow-cooking.

Second of all, I’m not going to fill the house with the aroma of browning meat at 7am when I’m assembling my slow-cooked meal.

What’s just plain silly is that I was absolutely fine mincing garlic, beating egg whites, and forming meatballs the morning I made this slow-cooked classic.  Next time I might make the meatballs the night before I plan to crockpot them, but maybe not.

I was scared that the meatballs may disintegrate into ground meat sauce after 8 hours of slow cooking.  Absolutely not!  They stayed ball-y.

Only needing to boil the pasta when I got home made this a perfect meal for a busy day.  The pasta, however, was for the carboholic Omnivore.

I made myself broiled zucchini noodles.  These noodles twirled like pasta and are a great substitute for gluten-free or low-carb diets.

What’s even better is this sauce is so tasty that it would be great to cook up without the meatballs at all!  Not that the meatballs weren’t delicious — they were tender and flavorful.  I LOVE the fresh parsley in them.

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Crockpot Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti Sauce (4 servings)
for the sauce
nonstick spray
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried basil
1tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup of water
fresh parsley, chopped (for final plating)

for the meatballs
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 T. fresh parsley, finely shopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 lb ground turkey

Preheat crockpot.  WHAT?! Yes, spray your crockpot with nonstick spray, put the lid on, and turn it to high.  Gather remaining ingredients.  Chop onion and garlic.  After your crockpot has been cookin’ away for 10 minutes or so, add chopped onions and garlic.  They should sizzle and begin to cook nicely.  Put lid back on crockpot and begin making meatballs.

To make meatballs, fold together ground turkey with garlic powder, salt, minced garlic, bread crumbs, and a lightly beaten egg white.  Incorporate finely chopped parsley.

Return attention to slow-cooker.  Add remaining ingredients to the pot and give it all a good stir.  Gently form meatballs into the size of a pingpong ball and place in sauce.  Place crockpot on LOW and cook 8 hours.

To make zucchini noodles
Using a vegetable peeler, cut thin strips of zucchini.  Spray a nonstick, broiler-safe pan with olive oil.  Preheat pan to medium heat, add zucchini, and season with salt and pepper.  Allow to cook, without stirring, about 2 minutes.  Turn broiler to HIGH and move pan under broiler and cook 4-5 minutes or until zucchini becomes aromatic and begins to brown.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2010 8:31 pm

    I could not agree more with your first paragraph. I have bookmarked several yum-sounding slow cooker recipes only to later realize they would require me to first brown ground meat and automatically throw them out after said discovery. If I can’t just plop in all in there, quickly and easily, then I don’t see much point. BUT, this is coming from someone who abhors mornings and would much rather slave over the stove for an hour in the evening than even think about getting up one minute earlier than necessary 🙂 I have heard (though never tested it out) that you can put raw ground meat in the crock pot for most recipes that normally say to brown it first. Try this at your own risk.

  2. April 28, 2010 11:59 am

    I like the idea of using the preheated slowcooker to saute the onions a bit. I have a vegetarian slow-cooker book (that was a poor purchase on my part, as I later decided that the recipes don’t seem appetizing to me) that uses that trick.

  3. mama permalink
    April 29, 2010 12:57 pm

    ball-y!! this recipe has a wealth of information, thanks.


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