Slow Cooked Beef Meatballs in Tomato and Aubergine Sauce

To all my regular followers you must think I’ve forgotten all about Freddie’s Food. Well I haven’t!! I’ve just been in survival mode getting through the first 3 months with our gorgeous new baby Lottie so blogging has been on the back burner for a wee while.

To get me back into the habit of blogging I have decided to run a slow cooked recipe series with 8 yummy recipes coming your way. These recipes will be good for all the family and perfect for the busy mum or dad trying to get healthy, tasty food on the table while juggling all the other elements of family life. For those of you who work these recipes can be put on before going to work and you’ll come home at the end of a long day to a delicious meal. Most of the recipes will serve a family of 4 for two meals so you can bung half in the freezer for another day.

If you don’t have a slow cooker I highly recommend them as a kitchen gadget. Along with our breadmaker it probably gets the most use of any kitchen appliance. The best thing is you can get dinner ready while your children take a nap and avoid juggling cooking during the witching hour! It also cuts down on the washing up, a real bonus.

If you don’t have a slow cooker all of the recipes in this series can be cooked in a casserole dish in a conventional oven, here are some guideline to help:

Slow cooker 8 hrs on low = 1-3 hrs at 150 ‘CSlow cooker 6 hrs on low = 40mins – 1hr at 150 ‘C

You will also need to increase the amount of liquid. Using about 2-3 times the amount stated in a slow cooker recipe as slow cookers create their own moisture.

Basically the longer and slower the better as this will intensify the flavours and tenderise the meat so it melts in the mouth! Because of the longer cooking times you can use cheaper cuts of meat so it is a cost effective way of cooking healthy meals for your whole family.

My first recipe in the slow cooker series is Beef Meatballs in Tomato and Aubergine Sauce
ImageThis is a delicious recipe with a rich sauce. It is very easy to make. Freddie helped make the meatballs which was great fun and an incentive for him to eat them as he’d made it himself. He also loved telling his dad he’d made him dinner when he got home from work. Too cute!
Preparation: 15mins
Cooking: 8-10hrs on low

Sauce
2 tins tomatoes (whole or chopped)
1 large handful of basil
1 medium aubergine (or eggplant for all you kiwis!)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a medium brown onion

Meatballs
1kg Premium Beef Mince
1 clove of garlic
1/2 a medium brown onion
1-2tsp each marjoram and oregano

To make the sauce:

  • Fry the onions in a little oil until translucent, add the garlic and continue to fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Place the tomatoes, fried onions and garlic, roughly chopped eggplant, 2-3tbsp olive oil into the slow cooker and cook on low for 8hrs stirring halfway.

For the meatballs (these can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge):

  • Fry the onions in a little oil until translucent, add the garlic and continue to fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the herbs to the frying pan and stir through over the heat.
  • Place the mince in a large bowl, add the cooked onion mixture and combine.
  • Just before adding to the slow cooker, roll into balls about a tbsp in size and dust with flour and fry to give a golden brown colour (this step is optional but helps the meatballs hold there shape).
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce 2-3 hrs before serving.

Serve with pasta of your choice and grated cheese on top if desired.

Enjoy! I’d love to hear how your little ones enjoy this meal.

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