Just after Christmas, Husband bought me a slow cooker. I’ve been wanting one for absolutely ages, so I was super thrilled, especially as be bought me one which is 6.5l, meaning I can cook large meals and freeze some or feed a lot of people at once. I’ve been perusing various slow cooker groups on Facebook and found lots of recipes that I wanted to try, with slow cooker meatballs being one of the main ones, but a lot of the recipes I found have been American ones with ingredients that aren’t that common here in the UK, so I thought I’d modify the recipes and come up with my own! Bear in mind that this recipe makes 32-33 pretty large meatballs (I managed 5 and I have a HUGE appetite!) so you could easily halve the recipe if you’re cooking for few people or make the full batch and freeze what you don’t use.
Slow Cooker Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs
Recipe Type: Slow Cooker
Author: Jayne Crammond
Serves: 32 meatballs
These slow-cooked meatballs are full of flavour and oozy, melted mozzarella!
750g beef mince
300g pork sausage meat
2 balls of mozzarella
2 slices of bread, blended to make breadcrumbs (I used the knobbies from a loaf)
2 jars of your favourite 800g tomato-based pasta sauce (or your own home-made sauce, whichever you have time for)
Pasta of your choice to serve
Place the mince and sausage meat into a large bowl and start to combine using your hands (you might want to remove your rings at this point!)
Add in the breadcrumbs and eggs and continue to mash it all together with your hands, adding in about a teaspoon of each herb as you go (more or less, depending on your tastes)
Squeeze your mozzarella inside a clean tea towel to remove any excess moisture and chop into cubes around half an inch square
Take a dollop of your well-combined mixture and make a patty about the size of your palm and 1cm deep
Place a square of mozzarella in the middle of the patty and bring the edges in, squashing the meat together to form the ball.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours to help the balls retain their shape
If you want to eat at around 6pm, I’d recommend starting to cook them at 2pm
Place a layer of meatballs in the bottom of your slow cooker and cover in the first jar of sauce.
Add another layer of meatballs and add the next jar of sauce. I dont recommend stirring at this point because you risk damaging the meatballs, but gently using a spoon you can distribute the sauce evenly to make sure everything is covered. There’s no need to brown them first.
Cook on LOW for 4 hours
Once you’re ready to serve, you may find a layer of fat which has come from the cooking meat and cheese and I just skimmed this off with a spoon before serving.
Without withing to sound SUPER arrogant, these meatballs were AMAZING! Husband declared it the best thing I’ve cooked in the slow cooker to date and the kids absolutely wolfed it down. Husband and I even had a midnight snack of meatball subs made from the leftovers (DON’T JUDGE US!!), and I’d totally recommend that as an alternative serving suggestion to pasta. If you shop around and find good deals, this is a relatively cheap meal given the yield and you can season the meatballs exactly to your tastes, which is handy if you’ve got fussy eaters – Husband has requested jalapenos in his ones next time I make them!
Let me know if you use my recipe to give these a go and how they turn out, I’d love to hear about it and see your pictures.
One of the good things about following a low GI diet is that, much to my delight, unprocessed meat is all zero on the Glycemic Index, which means that I can pretty much fill my boots up without worrying about my blood sugar. Obviously, there are two caveats to that – firstly, I still have to be careful about what I eat the meat with, and secondly I like to ensure that the meat I’m eating is of a high quality. Husband and I don’t buy our meat from the supermarket, where it’s usually from questionable sources and pumped full of water, opting instead for Country Valley Online Butchers, which sources its’ products from high-quality British farms.
One of my favourite dinners of all time is the chili recipe that my mother-in-law Lori gave me; Lori’s from Arkansas, so her chili is not like any other I’ve ever eaten and is probably the most authentic chili that I’ve ever had. She’s kindly given me permission to share the recipe with you here, so that more people can enjoy her fabulous creation!
Lori’s Authentic Southern Chili
Recipe Type: Dinner
Author: Jayne Crammond
This chili is one of my favourite dinners of all time.
2lb lean beef mince
1 large onion, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
½ red pepper, chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 cans pinto beans
2 tbsps chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chopped jalapenos
tomato paste, to thicken
1 tbsp olive oil
Place the olive oil in a saucepan and heat
Add the mince and chopped onion to the pan and cook until browned
Add the peppers and cook until softened
Add the chopped tomatoes and pinto beans and mix well
Add the chili powder, garlic powder and jalapenos and mix well
Allow everything to simmer on a very low heat for at least an hour
Add the tomato paste to thicken until desired consistency is achieved
I checked the Glycemic Index of everything in the recipe and it all comes in under 45, which is considered to be low GI, which means this is the perfect low GI meal. Obviously, the fat content of minced beef can be on the high side, but if you choose the leanest beef mince, it should bring down the fat content. We’d usually eat this with cornbread, but as cornmeal has a GI of 68, we’ve replaced it with brown rice, which comes it at 55.
If you do happen to use this recipe, come back and let me know; I’d love to know what you thought of my fave dinner!
Yesterday, after a series of tweets from @welshmumwales, who blogs over at Welsh Mum, talking about her disappointment with her first attempt at using her slow cooker, I found myself sharing a recipe with her, that I’m sure loads of you would love. This recipe was taught to me by my Mother-in-Law, who was in turn taught by her Mum, and I’m sure she probably learned to cook it from her own mother, so this recipe goes back many generations and is a real favourite in our family.
Do bear in mind that the quantities I’m giving are for a stew pot that holds SIX litres, so you’ll need to adjust the amounts depending on the size of your pot or slow cooker. When using either a slow cooker or a pot on the hob, I’d advise letting this cook on low for at least 6-7 hours, though the longer you cook it the better.
Neck of Lamb (fillet) ( I usually buy £10 worth), ask the butcher to dice it for you
One large onion, finely sliced
1 bag of frozen mixed veg (avoid mixes with broccoli in, as it turns to floating green mush. Also, mixes with red pepper and sweetcorn in dont work so well either)
1kg white potatoes, peeled and diced
6 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Matthesons Smoked Sausage
2 x stock cubes
2 x oxo cubes
2 x cans of vegetable or lentil soup
flour, margarine and water for dumplings, or a dumpling mix
Start by browning your lamb in your stew pot or pan. Once all of the meat is browned, fill the pot about 2/3 full with cold water. Return to the hob and add the stock cubes and oxo.
Add the diced potatoes, sliced carrots, frozen veg, smoked sausage and cans of soup. Mix well and put a lid on the pot.
Cook for 6-8 hours, stirring intermittently. If you’re using a slow cooker, you may need to add more liquid so that it doesn’t dry out.
If you want to add dumplings, wait until 30 minutes before you want to eat, bring the stew to a fast simmer and add the dumplings. Cook for at least 30 minutes.
Add equal measures of flour and margarine to a bowl and, using your fingers, bring together to a crumb texture.
Add a little water at a time, until the mixture comes together and will form solid balls. You don’t want it to be too sticky.
Using floured hands, make equal sized balls from the mixture and lower into the stew with a ladle.
Cook for around 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
And that’s it, it’s as simple at that. It’s a super tasty stew and will make 10 generous portions with the quantities given. It freezes nicely, too. If you want, you can omit the smoked sausage during the first stage of cooking, and add it the next day when you’re eating the leftovers.
If you have any recipes you’d like to share I’d love to hear them, I’m always looking for cheap and easy ways to feed my family and would love to broaden our food horizons by trying some things that don’t usually make it onto our plates.
Also, if you make a Mum’s the Word stew for yourself, do let me know how it turns out!