It's been about 6 months since I discovered the handy dandy bag of frozen meatballs from Costco. It was served as an appetizer with tzatziki dipping sauce at our family reunion last fall. I watched as the hostess just poured them straight out of the thawed bag into the serving dish. How easy was that? I was amazed at how good they were. I knew I was onto to something. It has now become my go to for when I just didn't get supper going and I need something quick. Not only have I done the traditional spaghetti and meatballs (can't be simpler with jarred sauce), we've also enjoyed meatball subs, meatball soup and meatballs in cream sauce.
Yesterday I took them a bit to a higher level by making a sauce from scratch. It was still super simple, took no time whatsoever and used ingredients I had on hand. The sauce is started in a skillet but continues to cook and marry all the delicious flavors in the crockpot. This was a delicious change up from the usual pasta sauce. It has cinnamon in it! Yes cinnamon! I never would have thought to put cinnamon in a pasta sauce had I not come across this recipe. Hubby commented that the sauce tasted like something we would get in one of our favorite restaurants here in town. Score! I knew I had to share it with you.
I adapted the recipe from this one here. Because we don't drink the only thing I didn't have on hand was the red wine so I made adaptations for that. Super simple, super delicious. Had I have known how delicious and that I would share it with you I would have taken a picture but alas you'll just have to trust me and make it for yourself to see how it looks. 😇
CROCKPOT GREEK MEATBALLS
-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-1 Tbsp flour
-1 28 oz. can (796 ml) diced tomatoes
-1/4 cup apple juice
-1/4 cup chicken broth (or skip the apple juice and use all chicken broth)
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley (about a tbsp dried but fresh is so much better)
-2 tsp paprika
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp oregano
-salt and pepper to taste
-28 oz. of frozen meatballs (comes to about 30-34 of the Kirkland brand meatballs from costco)
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large saute skillet. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Continue cooking and stirring until bubbly and browning. Add remaining ingredients except the meatballs. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to thicken the sauce. If it gets too thick you can add more broth.
Puree with an immersion blender to reduce the tomato chunks. It can also be done in a blender but I like the sauce a bit chunkier. The blender would make it smoother. If doing in the blender make sure to take out the center cup out of the lid and cover with a kitchen towel. This lets the hot steam out and stops any hot liquid from blowing out and burning you.
Use a little olive oil to grease the sides of the crockpot. Place meatballs into crockpot and cover with sauce. Cook on high for 3 hours. Again if the sauce is reducing too much you can add more broth.
I served it with orzo and a Greek salad on the side. It can also be served with rice or mashed potatoes.