Despite today's scorching heat, I had to do some cooking. By the time we get home from work, no one cares about cooking. Time to restock the freezer so we have some wholesome meals to enjoy again!
This has become my favorite way to do meatballs. I do not have the time or energy to pan fry them, and I don't really care for the texture when they are oven baked. So I cook them in the sauce. I normally use regular sized crock pots, but today I was doing a very large batch, so I used my 18 Qt. Nesco Roaster. My dad got that for me years ago, and I love it! Perfect for bulk cooking (and Thanksgiving turkeys!)
~You can cut this recipe down if you don't want to make such a large batch. As written, this recipe makes 8 - 9 dozen meatballs, with a lot of extra sauce for serving with pasta.
~Next time I do this, I might throw a couple links of Italian Sausage in, just for a little bit different flavor.
~24 meat balls will fit nicely into a gallon sized freezer bag, and lay flat for storage. I throw a couple cups of sauce in, also.
~The original recipe for the meatballs came from this cookbook. I used to have a link for the recipe online, but the page seems to be missing.
~Great with pasta, but my family's favorite is meatball subs. ;o)
2 C panko
2 C milk
3 C parmesan
1/4 C dry chopped onion
1/2 C dry parsley
2 tsp jarred minced garlic
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
6 1/2 - 7 lbs lean ground beef
3 jars marinara sauce (I use Wegmans Smooth Marinara)
3 (28 oz.) cans tomato puree
2 C water
2 T oregano
2 T raw sugar
1 T basil
1 tsp garlic salt
~Mix meatball ingredients in a large bowl until evenly combined.
~Mix sauce ingredients in a large bowl, place a quarter of the mixture in the bottom of the roaster.
~Use a standard cookie scoop (about 1/4 cup? Maybe a little less?) to make meatballs uniform.
~Gently drop them into the sauce, so they kind of make craters in the sauce.
~When you have one layer, cover those with another quarter of the sauce mix evenly over the meatballs, enough to cover them completely.
~Start your next layer of meatballs, and continue on until all meat mixture is used.
~Make sure all meatballs are completely covered in sauce.
~Cover, set to 250 (or low, if you're using a crock pot) and let cook for 5-6 hours.
~When done, gently stir them to loosen any that have stuck to the sides or cooked together.
~Let cool a bit before packaging.
Blessings from my wonderful-smelling kitchen to yours!