I don’t think my Italian grandma would approve, but I decided to try Gluten Free on a Shoestring’s Slow Cooker meatball recipe. Growing up, meatballs were lovingly fried on the stove, then simmered for three hours in a large pot full of Grandma’s “gravy” (homemade pasta sauce). Three hours of cooking could almost qualify as slow-cooked, but the family recipe predates crockpots for sure. When I was in grad-school, my grandma passed her recipe down to me, which we eventually updated so that the meatballs could be baked instead of fried. It’s quicker, it’s healthier, and I can make double or triple batches to freeze. However, sometimes you’re going to be out for the day and won’t have the time to bake tray after tray of meatballs. Enter, the crockpot!

Meatballs

Slow Cooker Meatballs

Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring isn’t a crockpot fan, which she admits often. She recently began experimenting with it, and shared her meatball recipe. Wanting to use up some ground turkey waiting in the freezer and facing a busy week, I put these in our dinner rotation. My girls happened to be in  the kitchen as I was getting out the ingredients, and asked if they could measure everything out and form the meatballs. Why not?  Later we ran errands and came home past dinner-time to a hot meal waiting. The crockpot certainly made the meatballs soft, fragile in fact, but no one seemed to mind. The wine mixed into the breadcrumbs was quite strong. My kids are easygoing about flavors and didn’t complain, but I’d leave it out for picky eaters. In order to make the meatballs dairy-free, we subbed 1/4 cup of Nutritional Yeast for the Parmesan cheese in the recipe, and I ended up adding two more eggs since the meatballs weren’t holding together well with just one egg. Verdict: Success! Judgement from an Italian grandma aside, this was a fine way to enjoy a meatball dinner despite our busy schedule.

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