December 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm
by Heather Eng
During a recent Facebook slow cooker chat, Bethany, one of our readers, mentioned that she made meatballs in her crock-pot. That idea stuck with me, and when it came time to slow cook this weekend, there was only one dish on my mind: meatballs.
I wanted to use turkey as a lighter alternative to beef. I remembered that Family Circle had run a meatball story earlier this year that contained a fantastic-sounding recipe for turkey Meatball Heroes. It involved ricotta cheese and fresh parsley and looked easy to adapt for the slow cooker.
To make the meatballs, we combined ground turkey, ricotta, parsley, bread crumbs, milk, an egg, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a large bowl.
Then came the fun part: rolling the balls and neatly arranging them in the slow cooker on a bed of marinara.
Once we’d shaped all the balls, we covered them with more sauce and turned on the slow cooker. Four and a half hours later, they were done–and oh so delicious! We served them over whole wheat linguine with a side of broccoli raabe. I’m already looking forward to polishing off the leftovers.
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs (adapted for the slow cooker from Family Circle‘s Meatball Heroes recipe)
Makes: 5 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Slow Cook: 4 1/2 hours on LOW
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons milk (We used skim)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes to taste
1 32-ounce jar marinara sauce (We used Rao’s, my absolute favorite jarred sauce)
1. Combine turkey, ricotta, parsley, bread crumbs, milk, egg, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Mix gently to combine. Shape into approximately 15 meatballs, 3 tablespoons each.
2. Spray the slow cooker bowl with olive oil and pour in a layer of marinara sauce. Place meatballs into the bowl and cover with the remaining marinara sauce. Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 hours. Serve over pasta.
What other Italian recipes do you make in your crock-pots? Share with us in the comments below.