I think I am nesting.
When I was pregnant, I skipped most of the stereotypical stuff. I never got emotional, never had food cravings, and certainly didn’t ever have a hint of nesting kick in. I’ve never cared less about the state of my home and never had less energy to organize. If anything, it’s the least Type A I’ve ever been, just when I expected to be the most.
But now, I can’t stop cleaning. I think it’s my reaction to the utter chaos of having a newborn: I’m sleep-deprived, there’s clutter everywhere, everything is always wet, and I’m starting to lose track of which piles of laundry are dirty and which are clean. My fridge is barren and I have completely lost track of meal planning. I run around every day like chicken with my head cut off wasting precious sleeping minutes tidying and putting things away and even doing a little decluttering. I think I’ve cleaned my stove more in the last 2 months than in the entire rest of the time since it was installed.
I may not be able to get ahead of the chaos – and I am trying to let go of the expectation that I ever will for the next 18 years – but at least my freezer is stocked and organized. And a lot of the contents are meatballs. This was pretty much all I prepped when I was pregnant. The rest of my tiny, pathetic freezer stash was just leftovers from meals we ate one week shortly before Baby Bake was due. I told you I skipped the nesting phase.
But then, as now, I can’t stop making and storing these meatballs. They’re so easy to make with little hands-on time. They hold up so well in lunches that my husband takes to work and so easily pull a bowl of random leftovers into a semi-respectable last minute meal for me.
The best part about them is that they’re made in the slow cooker (why yes, being cold, busy and tired all the time does make for some wonderful slow cooker meal inspiration, and frequent use – thank you for noticing!) so they’re an amazing make-ahead option that cooks the meatballs gradually and in a saucy environment, producing the most succulent, moist, and tender meatballs you’ve ever had.
PS: I usually make them with turkey, but you can make them with beef too, if you prefer!
Slow Cooker Meatballs
Ingredients for the meatballs
Ingredients for the sauce
- 1 large can unflavored and unsalted crushed tomatoes 28 ounces
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste
- Lightly grease or spray the bowl of a 4-quart slow cooker and set aside.
- Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, stir together the meat, egg, almond flour, basil, oregano, garlic, black pepper, salt and red pepper flakes until very well combined.
- Use your hands to mash instead of stir, if it works better.
- Use an ice cream scoop to portion the mixture into about 2-Tablespoon scoops.
- Roll each portion into a ball (lightly wet your hands if necessary to prevent sticking).
- Place the meatballs in the prepared slow cooker bowl, about 1" apart. Set the bowl in the slow cooker but don't turn it on just yet.
- Make the sauce: in a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until combined. Pour over the meatballs.
- Cover and cook on low for 3 hours until meatballs are tender.
- To make ahead: Prep the meatballs and sauce in the bowl of the crockpot the night before. Add the bowl to the machine in the morning, set the cooking time, and make sure that the machine
- You can cook 1.5 hours on high if you are pressed for time.
- This is the slow cooker I use.
- Feel free to replace the turkey with whatever ground meat (beef/pork) you prefer for your meatballs.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.
- Yield: 13 meatballs