Cheap Recipe: “Quick” Slow-Cooker Saucy Meatballs

3 Jan

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

These quick meatballs are great for an appetizer on the fly…or as a main entree when the cupboard is bare!

First things first, I’m baaaaack! We’re still having Internet issues at the house and I’m still on maternity leave from work, but I had the opportunity to hop on here and post a quick recipe today, so I couldn’t wait to do so!

Meanwhile, my new baby boy, Oliver, and I are both doing very well, and this is the first week I’ve been back in the kitchen since having him. It feels so good to be moving around again!!

So, anyway…back to the meatballs. Having two children under the age of three has made it darn near impossible to get the grocery store on any sort of schedule that makes

Simple on-hand ingredients are all it takes for this easy sauce!

 sense, so I’ve been coming up with some interesting recipes for those nights when nothing in the fridge or pantry looks like it will go with anything else. This is one such recipe that turned out so splendidly that I wanted to post and archive it before I forgot how I made it!

Teensy little onion pieces.

Begin by chopping a very small yellow onion (or half a larger one) into tiny pieces. Throw it in the bottom of your slow cooker with about 1 scant teaspoon minced garlic (or equivalent fresh/powdered garlic). Squirt in 1 cup ketchup.

Next, add about 1/2 cup beef broth (or some water with a boullion cube) and 1/2 cup brown sugar (well-packed).

Dump in a whole 16-ounce can of jellied cranberry sauce (we had some

Stir in beef broth and brown sugar.

 leftover from after-Thanksgiving sales) or substitute with 12 ounces grape jelly if you don’t have the cranberry sauce rocking around. Stir ingredients well in slow-cooker until no large lumps remain.

Thaw frozen meatballs quickly by nuking on a paper towel.

Set covered slow-cooker on HIGH setting and heat sauce until warmed through, about 30 or 45 minutes. Meanwhile, thaw a 28-ounce bag of meatballs in the microwave by dumping them in a single layer onto a paper towel-covered plate and nuking for about 3 minutes.

Once sauce is warm, add meatballs to the Crock Pot and replace lid. Leave on HIGH setting for one hour, or reduce to LOW and cook 2-4 hours.

Stir in meatballs and wait 45-60 minutes to serve.

This is great for making as soon as you get off work before you go to pick up the kids or run a pre-dinner errand. I hate leaving the house with a meatloaf baking in the oven or soup simmering on the stove, even if I’m only gone ten minutes. But this quickie recipe heats up quickly in a safe old Crock Pot, so it’s the perfect thing for preparing in a rush and darting out again! Come back home, whip up some quick noodles or rice to hang out under the meat sauce, and dinner’s on the table!


2 Responses to “Cheap Recipe: “Quick” Slow-Cooker Saucy Meatballs”


  1. Cheap Recipe: Pasta con Spinaci (Pasta with spinach) « The Red Kitchen Project - March 1, 2010

    […] immediately or refrigerate leftovers. This pasta makes a terrific bed for Sea Scallops Parmesan, Quick Saucy Meatballs or chicken […]

  2. The Red Kitchen Project » Blog Archive » Cheap Recipe: Pasta con Spinaci (Pasta with spinach) - February 10, 2011

    […] immediately or refrigerate leftovers. This pasta makes a terrific bed for Sea Scallops Parmesan, Quick Saucy Meatballs or chicken […]

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