I recently put together a gallery of slow cooker recipes for Savvy Mom and I wanted to share my family's favourite of the lot with you, here on Family Bites.
These slow cooker meatballs were enthusiastically eaten by everyone in the house, and I served them spooned over oven-toasted buns and topped with a light blanket of melted cheese, for a healthy update on the traditional sub-shop sandwich. They can also be served on their own, or over a bed of rice, and they pack up nicely in a Thermos for a hot school lunch. Made with seasonal ingredients and flavours, these only cook for 6 hours, so while they may not work for a busy weekday, they're perfect for the weekend when you're home to keep an eye on them as you putter around the house.
If the slow cooker is not your friend (some people are not a fan) you can certainly cook these in the oven instead. Just place the meat in a Dutch oven, cover with the sauce, and bake for one hour. Do you have a favourite slow cooker meal you're cooking up these day?
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs with Apple Barbecue Sauce
For the meatballs:
- ½ cup panko or traditional breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped apple
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 lbs. ground turkey
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
For the barbecue sauce:
- 2 cups any variety barbecue sauce
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
In a small bowl combine the panko (or breadcrumbs) and milk and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet and cook the onion, apple, and garlic over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Place the ground turkey, ricotta, sage, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the panko mixture and the sautéed apple mixture and mix with your hands. Form the meatballs (about 24) and arrange in the bottom of a slow cooker.
Whisk together the barbecue and apple sauces and pour over the meatballs. Cover the crock-pot and cook on low for 6 hours. For a thicker sauce, remove the lid for the last hour of cooking.