Yep, more cheating. This week marks the third straight week (including weekends) that the Ryan has been working, and the third straight week of big fat question marks on when he’s coming home, what kind of traffic he’s going to hit (he’s out of state this week but driving, only next week might be staying or might be driving depending on his hours, who knows??), how long that will take, etc., etc.
So I did what anyone would do and turned to our slow cooker for solace. As I sit here on my couch watching Pirates of the Caribbean for the umpteenth time (cuz, hey, I haven’t watched it in a few years and Johnny Depp is hott), I can smell the sauce enjoying its time in our slow cooker on warm. I suppose I should take this opportunity to correct myself, however…this is actually the Ryan’s slow cooker:
Kind of cute, no? With he ivy and flowers all over it. My old slow cooker (which is god knows where in Las Vegas, if it’s even still there) was more masculine than this – it was dark blue. And made by Crock Pot, not Hamilton Beach…but who cares? When he gets home, I am going to ask the Ryan to tell me the story about this acquisition. He either a) didn’t care about looking manly and just bought something for practicality (which is most like him and probably it) or b) it’s a family or ex-roommate acquisition that he picked up during his college years. Either one could be correct. We shall see!! In the mean time, school starts next week, and the Ryan is going to be on this odd schedule on and off up until approximately November, so I’d like to try to use the crock pot more. That way I have time to do more homework, and he has something warm even if he comes home at 10 p.m.
Edit: The Ryan called me on his way home just to tell me (I guess his phone was reading this to him?) that he got the slow cooker from our family friend Dawn. She got a new one and was like, “Here, Ryan, you need a slow cooker!” Free slow cooker. Hells yes.
Mmmm, doesn’t that look lovely? It smells lovely, too. And as much as I like to make my own meatballs, I cheated and bought Mama Lucia’s meatballs at the store… a) because they’re freaking delicious and b) because I am making this in the crock pot, so the idea is really ease more than authentic. When I lived in Colorado, I searched high and low for Mama Lucia’s meatballs at the store, and was always horribly disappointed when I couldn’t find them. That was before I learned that Mama Lucia’s restaurant is a Maryland-exclusive restaurant…so when I first moved back here I ate the everliving snot out of those things! Now, I rarely have them, as the Ryan and I mourned them having high fructose corn syrup in them. But I figured today we could have a treat. After all, I brought home Margarita cupcakes someone made for a birthday at work. What the hey, ya know? It won’t hurt us every now and then. 🙂
As for the sauce, I am going to give you my grandmother’s recipe:
1 onion, 2 tbls olive oil, 28-30 oz can of crushed tomatoes, 12-14 oz can of tomato paste, 2 tbls sugar, 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 cup red wine, 1 lb ground beef, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp chili powder.
Saute ground beef in olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven until clear. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1-2 hours.
The only things I changed in this recipe are that I used a can of Hunts pasta sauce as my base in place of the crushed tomatoes and paste. I do not add sugar, and instead of ground beef, I just added already-cooked frozen meatballs. I added all of these ingredients to the crock pot and simmered all day on low. 🙂
Either way, this will come out delicious, and is extra good, as is every tomato sauce, the next day or even two to three days later as leftovers. Yummy!!
P.S. – Sorry for the lack of pictures, we still haven’t found the charger for my camera…grrrr! And in other news, here is a random picture of a garlic clove that I shoved (out of curiosity) into a pot outside that used to have my now-dead cilantro in it:
I’m excited! I’m actually growing my own garlic! By accident! 🙂 One of our heads of garlic started sprouting in my produce basket, and I remembered a pin on Pinterest that I saw a while back on growing your own garlic from cloves..so I decided to give it a try! I have no idea how to tell when they will be ready to harvest, but that’s something Google can answer. Mostly since all of my plants (minus the basil) died due to extreme heat and then daily pouring rain and wind, I am just happy to see this actually…well, not dead. 🙂 Yay!