Those that know me may of heard how my wife loves to cook and is always searching around for new recipes. I have no problems with that, but every so often it can get a little extreme. Sometimes though, I'm in the mood for something simpler. During those times, I risk my life and limbs by taking over my wife's kitchen to retry a few older recipes all of us enjoy.
I'll start out with one and let's see how many others have recipes they want others to try. For me, this one is one of my favorites as it can be used multiple ways. Not sure where I got the original recipe is from (been making it since the 1990's,) but it is very versatile and easy to make.
1 lb Hamburger (80/20, 90/10 preferred)
1 lb ground pork
1 Cup Italian bread crumbs (the spicier the better so stick with a named brand)
1/2 tbsn Italian Seasoning
1/2 Tbspn Crush Red Pepper
2 Tbspn parsley (chopped or minced)
1 Clove garlic (garlic powder can be used)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (fresh grated is better, but commercial works,) more for topping if you desire
1/4-1/2 cup onions
Basil, salt and pepper to taste
24 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (store brands don't really work so stick with name brands)
6 ounces of tomato paste (same with this)
3 bay leaves (fresh and dried work)
Mix the hamburger, pork, garlic, onion I usually use 1/4 or so in meatballs and add more to the sauce,) parsley, breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup cheese, and eggs adding salt and pepper as preferred. Mix until ingredients are combined.
Form into 1 inch meatballs (you can go larger if desired, but for subs 1" is more then enough)
Grease a baking tray or use a non-stick. Line the meatballs on tray where they are not touching. Put them in the oven under broil setting. Turn them once after top part is browned. When both sides are browned, remove from oven and drain fat. Should be about 4-5 minutes per side, don't burn them or you'll have me to deal with. You just need to brown them and melt as much fat as you can get.
In bowl, combine crushed tomatoes, paste, red pepper, and Italian seasonings. Mix enough just to combine ingredients.
Pour enough of the tomato mix into the crock pot to cover bottom of the crock pot. Layer meatballs into the sauce, then pour more tomato mixture in to cover them. Keep layering like this until all meatballs are covered. Pour in remainder of tomato sauce on top. Add bay leaves to the pot.
Set the crock pot on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. Mix sparingly and softly so as not to destroy dinner.
My favorite uses for them:
4-12 Hoagie buns
Thick sliced provolone cheese
Italian pepper mix
Slice Hoagie buns in the middle and butter them, sprinkle with garlic powder lighly and place in over to toast
Take the hoagie buns, add provolone cheese to top and bottom, ladle on 4-8 meatballs (depending on how long the bread is) then cover with sauce from the crockpot.
Add red pepper, oregano, and Parisian cheese to top it off and stick it into the oven for a few seconds till cheese gets soft.
Eat with either a side of pepper mix or on top of sandwich.
These Italian meatballs can be eaten as a sub or used in other Italian dishes. Myself, I usually make this as a double or triple batch at one time. That way I can have my subs and still have enough leftovers for more subs or my wife can use them in other dishes. Other variations that you can do is to cut the amount of tomatoes and paste in half and add in chunky style, brand name spaghetti sauce. Good hint: marinara sauce alone does not work too well unless you spice it up and add vegetables. Another good hint is that you need to vary the spices to taste. I don't measure mine and had to give rough estimates on the amount. I spice, taste, then spice again if needed.