Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Slow Cook Book Recipe # 2: Mexican Meatballs

So it's Thanksgiving week and you're busy shopping, prepping, and cooking all things Thanksgiving.  With so much focus on the Thanksgiving preparation it's really hard to fit in and focus on the meals leading up to Thanksgiving.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be eating fast food or frozen pizzas leading up to the big day.  I still want to eat a home cooked meal, but I want it to be something that doesn't burn me out on cooking before the big day arrives. 

I have two solutions to the Thanksgiving week cooking dilemma.  First, get out the slow cooker.  It's your friend, especially at times such as this. Next, pick a recipe(s) and make a big batch so that you have enough for the next night and you can skip cooking for a day or so.

Over the weekend I made these Mexican Meatballs which can easily be reheated and served over rice, pasta, in sandwiches, etc.  Tonight I'm going to be making a big batch of taco meat for tacos and a huge pan of Mexican rice and refried beans.  The idea is that I'll have dinner for tonight and tomorrow so that I can focus my energy on cleaning, Thanksgiving prep work, baking pies, etc.   

 These Mexican Meatballs were a quick fix that everyone enjoyed.  They were much like a regular meatball  in tomato sauce, but instead were flavored with cumin, jalapenos, and cilantro.  They were great served on their own with rice and they also made great meatballs subs.

Mexican Meatballs
Adapted from The Slow Cook Book 
Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Auto/Low: 6-8 hours

For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 red chiles, deseeded if you like or with seeds if you like it hot
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the Sauce:
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cinnamon stick, broken
pinch of dried chile flakes
splash of Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
2 (14oz.) cans of whole tomatoes
2/3 cup hot veggie or beef stock

Preheat the slow cooker, if required.  Put the ground beef, garlic, chiles, and cumin into a bowl and season.  Combine with your hands, then add the egg, breadcrumbs, and fresh cilantro, and mix well again.  Shape the mixture into about 20 small balls an toss lightly in the flour.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook half the meatballs (in batch and with extra oil, if necessary) for 6-8 minutes until brown all over.  Remove with a slotted spoon and sit on paper towels to drain.  Wipe the pot out with paper towels.

To make the sauce, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the pot over medium heat, add the onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft.  Stir in the garlic and red bell pepper, and cook for 3 minutes.  Transfer the cooked vegetables to the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients.  Add seasoning, cover with the lid, and cook on auto/low for 6-8 hours.  Taste and add more Tabasco sauce, if needed.  Serve with rice and a green salad.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  1. I love my slow cooker. These sound great!

  2. These are perfect, Kim - warming for the chilly days we have ahead. Fun to have the Mexican twist. I'm with you - looking for simple foods this week - but not "fast food." Hope your Thanksgiving table is filled with grace and gratitude.

  3. All I want before thanksgiving is something tasty and healthy...and these sound awesome! I don't really think I've ever seen mexican flavors in a meatball tomato sauce like this...but why not?

  4. Happy Thanksgiving! Why do I always overlook my crockpot? Guess it would help if I pulled it out from the way back of the cabinet, huh?! Seriously, it never crosses my mind. And I sure could have used it this week. I'll have to try these Mexican meatballs since meatballs are one of The Boy's favs.

  5. getting the slow cooker out before thanksgiving is seriously genius! i'm trying to save all of my cooking energy for the big day too, so this is perfect. i love the meatballs, i would never think to make a mexican version, what a delicious idea! i can't wait to try these!

    have a wonderful thanksgiving!

  6. Put the word "mexican" in front of just about any food and I'm in. I'll bet these would be perfect in a sub..yum! Hope you have a great thanksgiving :)

  7. Yes, the slow cooker IS your friend. I agree. And these look delicious. Great idea!

  8. Yum! I've been a bad friend to my slow cooker, neglecting it and ignoring it

  9. I bet these made fabulous sandwiches--they look like they have so much flavor. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. ;-)

  10. What a great idea for a yummy dinner on a busy day. My family would love your meatballs~


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