Crock Pot Meatballs In A Spicy Sauce

I personally do not eat this dish. Alex loves it, and I can attest to its extreme tastiness. However, we are both allergic to egg whites. Alex can eat this, though, because I bake my meatballs and then slow cook them for 6-8 hours, and the whites don’t bother him. Me? Not so lucky, I’m afraid. But they are delish!

Ingredients
Meatballs:
2lbs ground beef, no lower grade than 85/15
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large eggs
2tsp minced garlic
few good shakes Italian seasoning
Parmesan Romano cheese, however much you like
Sauce:
2 cans petite diced tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
few good shakes crushed red pepper
cayenne, to taste
drizzle of garlic powder
few good shakes minced onion
few good shakes basil and oregano (or if you have fresh, that’s much better)
100% tomato juice until sauce is desired consistency

Method:
Meatballs:
1. Preheat your oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, toss the eggs, garlic, seasoning, and cheese. Mix.
2. Dump in the beef, and add the onion over that.
3. Get your hands dirty, and mix it all up. With your hands. My mom likes to wear gloves to do this. Vinyl only. Latex tastes nasty and can cause an icky reaction.
4. I didn’t mention this before, but go ahead and line a baking sheet with foil before you get your hands all messy. Then, once everything is all mixed up in the bowl, make balls from the meat dough and place them on the sheet. You should be able to get four rows of six, lengthwise.
5. Pop those bad boys into the oven for 25 minutes.

Sauce:
1. Turn your crock pot on to low. Dump in your tomatoes (drain them). Then add the tomato paste.
2. Add the crushed red pepper. I’m terrible with measurements. I don’t really understand the point of measuring things – everyone’s taste buds are different. If you like spicy foods, go ahead and cover the top of your sauce with crushed red pepper. If you don’t, just put however much you want in it.
3. The same goes for the cayenne. Cayenne is super hot. Most recipes using cayenne call for 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. So please, be warned, and if you’ve never used cayenne before, put less. You can always add more later when you’re ready to serve.
4. Drizzle of garlic powder just basically means lightly coat the top of the sauce with it. Like I said, I’m awful with measurements. If you’d rather, you can use garlic salt. I prefer powder, because generally if you add salt to a tomato product, you need to add sugar to balance it. I try to avoid sugar.
5. For the herbs, more really is more in this case. Go to town. Herbs are great.
6. Mix everything up really well, and then decide how thick or thin you want the sauce to be. Add tomato juice until it’s about where you want it.

Once the meatballs come out of the oven, don’t give them a chance to cool down. Just pick them up with a slotted spatula, let the excess fat fall off, and plop them into the sauce. Make sure all the meatballs are coated in sauce. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s OK if you can see the meat. You just want sauce on them. Slam that lid on the crock pot and let that thing to go town for 6-8 hours. Stir them once or twice during that time to make sure they all get nice and saucy.

To serve, I usually make a spaghetti squash, as we don’t eat pasta. Spaghetti squash is amazing. Here’s how to do it, if you never have:

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Line a baking sheet with foil.
3. Cut the squash. If you’re anything like me, BE CAREFUL and, as Alex would say, don’t stick the knife into the electrical outlet again. Even though I’ve never done that. Really. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. They are difficult to cut. Just be careful, and patient.
4. Scoop out the seeds and funky looking stuff in the middle with a fork. I’ve found the easiest way to do this is to twirl my fork in it like I’m twirling spaghetti, then dig under and yank it out. This is messy. You will likely get seeds on the floor. They are slippery. It’s OK, just let them dry before trying to pick them up or you’ll be chasing them for-EVER.
5. Place the squash halves cut side down on the sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes. When you can easily pull “spaghetti’s” out with a fork, it’s done.

Enjoy some for me!

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