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.
Adapted from The Slow Cook Book
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!