Crockpot Meatballs

Before I get to the recipe for this week, I have to tell you the story of the recipe I was going to post.

I had a craving for creamy soup. When you’re dairy-free (DF), creamy isn’t a word you get to use to describe your food very often, if at all. So when I found this recipe for creamy golden potato soup, I was excited.

And then everything conspired to make this soup go wrong…all wrong.

First, I started browning the sweet onion before I had peeled the potatoes. Mistake #1. Then I didn’t dice the potatoes fine enough for the immersion blender and had to correct that mid-course. Mistake #2. Then, I used the blender to make the potatoes creamy with some almond milk. No mistake there….until I realized that I forgot to add the green chilis. By this point, I had runny mashed potatoes but not quite creamy soup. No worries. I figured it would be better the next day when I had had a chance to let it cook in the crockpot (uh, and add bacon).

Wrong.

So.very.wrong.

The soup burned in the crockpot. The chilis gave it a funky after-taste. And the bacon didn’t even help. Overall, not good.

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Evan was kind enough to eat half a bowl. I came home, smelled it, faked a bite and made a sandwich. Win some, lose some.

Okay, so that’s a recipe I will not be posting.

Here’s one for your enjoyment! I love quinoa pasta. I love meatballs. But it’s typically hard to do meatballs because a key ingredient is breadcrumbs. Until I learned that they make GF breadcrumbs. Fortunately, this is a recipe that you can make ahead and freeze for a day when you need a meal.

GF Meatballs
I got this recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking and have adapted it slightly

Ingredients
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1.5 lbs lean ground beef
4 slices smoked bacon (raw), diced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (omit for a DF version – it comes out fine!)
1/4 cup Panko-style breadcrumbs
2 eggs
2 tablespoon dried minced onion flakes (another reason I like this recipe – I don’t have to chop onions!)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup of GF flour (rice, potato, etc.)

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. If you are making these for dinner tonight, spray the inside of your cooker with cooking spray or rub it down with a bit of olive oil. (This is surprisingly important.) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (I use wax paper because I’m cheap and lazy and it’s what’s in my cabinet.) Pour 1 cup of floor into a shallow dish. Set the cooker, cookie sheet, and shallow dish aside.

In a good sized mixing bowl, combine the parsley, beef, and diced bacon. Add in the cheese (if using), breadcrumbs, eggs, and dried spices. Combine well. (I typically use my hands.)

After the meat is mixed, roll the mixture into golfball-sized balls and then lightly dust each meatball with flour before placing it onto the lined cookie sheet. When all the meat is gone, put the whole cookie sheet into the freezer for one (1) hour, or until completely frozen. If you’re freezing longer than one hour, put into a sealed dish/tupperware.

Once the meatballs are frozen, place them one-by-one (ahem, don’t dump ’em) into the lightly greased slow cooker. It’s okay to stack them. Add sauce.

Cook on low for 5-7 hours, or until the meatballs have browned and are fully cooked. Serve over pasta or in rolls, or however you eat meatballs!

Delish!

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