September 1, 2008

Jen's Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs (for Hoagies)

I did some easy cooking yesterday that pulled double duty. We had two outings scheduled that centered around food, and I knew that I would be short on time. My In Law's were hosting a lunch, in which they asked me to help out with the food. Then later in the day, we were bringing dinner to our friends Pete and Michelle. Michelle is pregnant and has been restricted to bed rest, so we wanted to cheer her up with a yummy meal!

While we were at church, I put some meatballs and marinara in the crock pot for our lunch, and to carry over for dinner. We served the meatballs and sauce as sandwiches. For side items, I made Beth's Broccoli Slaw and Chuck's Favorite Mac and Cheese the night before (see previous posts). After church, the meatballs and slaw were both ready, and all I had to do was bake the mac and cheese for 1/2 hour. Then, we packed everything up and brught the extras over to Pete and Michelle's house. With a little make-ahead prep work, it came together very easily and fed a lot of people. I love feeding a crowd with no stress involved!

Here is the method I use for my slow cooker meatballs. I actually got the idea from my friend Laura, who does something very similar with her meatballs.

Jen's Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

1 yellow onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bag of frozen meatballs (I got mine at Costco). Use 4 meatballs per sandwich, per person + any extra for seconds (4 people = approx. 20-24 meatballs)
1-2 large cans of spaghetti sauce, to cover
1 dried bay leaf
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 packet of thick and zesty spaghetti sauce seasoning
1/2 packet of hot chii seasoning
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Place meatballs, diced onion,and minced garlic in slow cooker. Cover with spaghetti sauce. Add remaining seasoning ingredients, and mix throughly. Cook on high for 3 hours.

Jen's Notes:
Recipe quantities are estimated and can easily be adjusted for more or less people. Serve 4 meatballs per person, on hoagie rolls or hot dog buns, with 2 slices of provolone cheese and extra sauce.

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