This is the first post in a new series I’m running, called “Sunday Dinner”. Every week I’ll be sharing ideas for your family’s big meal. Of course it doesn’t have to be served on Sunday…but you get the idea!
I don’t know about you, but when I think “family meal”, my immediate reaction is “pasta”. And then I get all happy and giddy and maybe a little too excited since, after all, it’s just food we’re talking about here. But sitting down to a bowl of spaghetti and a glass of wine…it warms my soul.
I stay busy on the weekend, as I’m sure most of you do as well. It’s all fine and wonderful to imagine a lazy Sunday full of pancakes and jammies all day and reading the comics (does anyone do that anymore?). The reality can be the total opposite – errands, sports, chores…life never stops.
This is why your crock pot doesn’t have to be put away on the weekend! That lifesaving appliance which works magic during the week when you’re just.too.busy. to stand over the stove can be your best friend on a crazy Sunday as well.
I shared this recipe for meatballs a while back. Normally I’ll pop the raw meat in the oven and let them cook for around a half hour, then drop them into the sauce to simmer for a while on the stove. Lately I’ve wondered if the meatballs would cook just as well in the crock pot. So I gave it a try.
And I’m soooo glad I did! This hands-off method was a dream. Just cover the meat with your favorite sauce (and, if you’re anything like me, your favorite herbs because you just can’t leave well enough alone). Then set the cook time – I went with 4 hours on “high”, then 4 on “low” to keep them simmering, but 8 on “low” would work just as well.
The meat broke down a little bit on the outside and thickened up the sauce beautifully. The meatballs were tender and had soaked up the flavor of the sauce. And all I had to do was skim the fat off the top every once in a while. I admit, I was worried that the lack of browning would result in mushy meatballs, but my fears were completely unfounded.
This method was just perfect since I was having my family over for dinner that evening and I needed time to clean the place up a bit beforehand. Then I had the time to sit and relax for a while – which is a miracle in and of itself.
I served my meatballs with spaghetti, salad and bread. Of course I poured myself a glass of wine as well. Obviously.
And then I froze the rest in batches because…did you see how many I made in that crock? Um, a lot! They come in handy on weeknights when I just can’t be bothered to do much more than nuke something.
What’s YOUR idea of Sunday Dinner?