Entrees - Slow Cooker Zesty Meatballs

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11-09-2013, 02:56 AM
This is a recipe I whipped up for dinner tonight and the first that I've shared on the forum! It's kind of a "creative reimagining" of this (http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/piquant-meatballs) recipe from Taste of Home, combined with a favorite meatball dish that my mother used to make. It consisted of meatballs cooked with a tomato sauce that included 2 cans of crushed tomatoes and a full cup of Heinz 57 sauce, and everything was served over egg noodles. Unfortunately, that sauce is too high in carbohydrates now, but I've replicated the tangy, rich flavor of it pretty well! My husband and I loved how this recipe turned out. The meatballs are tender and flavorful, and the sauce is nice and thick with lots of zesty flavor. It's not a typical Italian-style meatball and sauce recipe. I'm really picky about meatballs and these get an A+ from me! We just ate the meatballs on their own with a bit of sauce spooned on top, but I plan to serve the leftovers on top of sauteed zucchini.

Let me please note that this is not necessarily a super low carb recipe, like for someone on the Atkins Diet or Keto Diet. I'm not really familiar with the specifics of those. My doctor told me to cut out as much sugar and carbohydrates from non-vegetable/legume sources as possible. By my calculations, one serving of this recipe has about 10 grams of carbohydrates and about 275 calories.

Slow Cooker Zesty Meatballs

2 lbs extra lean ground beef (I get mine from a butcher shop)
2 eggs
1/2 C parmesan cheese (not the cardboard can kind)
1/4 C reduced sugar ketchup (I used Heinz)
3 Tblsp soy sauce
3 Tblsp dried minced onion
2 Tblsp dried parsley
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

15 oz can plain tomato sauce (I used Hunt's b/c we like the flavor best)
8 oz can plain tomato sauce
1/4 C reduced sugar ketchup
1.5 Tblsp yellow mustard
1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tblsp Frank's Red Hot Sauce (if you use a different one that's really spice, you might want to reduce this)
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Crumble ground beef into a large bowl and top with remaining meatball ingredients. Gently combine ingredients with your hands and form into about 30 meatballs.

Stir together sauce ingredients. Grease the crock of a 4 quart slow cooker. Put in a layer of meatballs and spoon over about a third of the sauce. Top with remaining meatballs and pour on the rest of the sauce. Cook until meatballs are cooked through, about 3 hours on high or 5 hours on low (time will depend greatly on your slow cooker!). You might want to gently stir the meatballs and sauce after a couple of hours in case they start sticking together a bit.

You could also bake the meatballs. Just place them all in a greased 9 by 13 pan, top with the sauce, cover with foil, and bake for about 15 minutes at 350, then remove the cover and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, which would take about 15 minutes more. Or you could bake the meatballs uncovered without any sauce at all and serve them plain or with another sauce. I wouldn't really recommend cooking them in the crock pot if you aren't using a sauce because then you'll probably end up with meatloaf!

Yield: 8 dinner servings

11-09-2013, 10:36 AM
The meatball recipe sounds like it could be used with multiple sauces and generally low carb, you could change the ingredients in the sauce to alter carb or calories. I'm gonna try the recipe for the meatballs themselves. Thanks for sharing.

11-09-2013, 07:44 PM
Mainecyn, I definitely agree, the meatballs are very adaptable and would be good with any number of sauces or even no sauce at all. We sure liked the sauce, though :) Oh and, as I noted, if you go without the sauce, you should probably bake the meatballs or they'll stick together in the crock pot!

04-26-2014, 12:28 PM
I have had these before and they are amazing.