Wednesday, January 11, 2012


On snowy winter days, when it is good to stay close to home, I enjoy making dinner in the slow cooker. One of our favorite's is spaghetti; our kids were raised on this recipe and it is one of picky-picky husbands favorites.

The thick and hearty sauce and tender meatballs really need a solid six hours or more in the slow cooker, so don't be tempted to rush this recipe. I love the way my kitchen smells when I make this sauce.

1 pound of lean (90% or better) ground beef
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Mix all of the meatball ingredients and shape into walnut size meatballs. Bake in a 350 oven for 15 minutes then drain well before adding to sauce.

(1) 14 ounce can of tomato sauce
(1) 12 ounce can of tomato paste
4 cups water
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely diced carrot
1 clove of minced garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons dried sweet basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Saute the onions, garlic and carrots in the olive oil until they are very aromatic (they don't need to be cooked through). Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.  Put EVERYTHING in the slow cooker and add the baked meatballs. Cook on high for 6 hours.

The last couple of hours, leave the slow cooker lid open just a crack so the sauce will reduce and thicken. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

NOTE: If you like mushrooms, add them the last hour of cooking.

NOTE: No matter how hard I try to make a "smaller" batch of spaghetti sauce, it always ends up making too much, so now I plan on it. The sauce that we don't use on night one, goes into a lasagna casserole for the freezer. Some sauces just need to be cooked in big batches I guess.
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