On Sunday's I typically have a two hour nap after lunch and then make a big/nice supper for my family. I know, I know, I have a rough life. But I have to make up for the 1-5 times I get up a night with my kids, and Sunday afternoon seems to be the only time to do that.
Today while sitting in church, I had a brainwave about supper (don't worry, it wasn't during the sermon, I paid attention to that). My favourite things to make are main courses that I can put in the crockpot before my nap, and I suddenly thought of a fabulous idea for supper, Italian meatball subs, slowly simmered in tomato sauce in the crockpot.
I had Mike stop at the grocery store on the way home from church for sub buns and ground pork, and as soon as lunch was finished, I looked online for ideas of ingredient quantities, mixed up the meatballs and popped them in the crockpot.
Although I did use some online recipe suggestions, this recipe is almost entirely my own, so it may not be to your taste. I should also warn you that many of the spices were added without exact measurements, so I have tried to figure out approximately how much I used of each and used that for the recipe. While you could use pre-made Italian sausage style ground pork, it was less expensive to purchase lean ground pork and add my own choices for spices.
Crockpot Italian Meatball Subs
In the crockpot combine:
1 large tin (28 fl. oz.) of crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. Clubhouse Italian Seasoning or equivalent
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
In a separate bowl combine:
1.5 lbs. lean ground pork
1/2 Cup quick cooking oats
1/2 Cup milk
2 large eggs
1/2 Cup grated parmesan cheese
6 cloves of garlic - minced
1 tsp. fennel seeds - crushed. Measure the seeds before you crush them. I crush mine with a mortar & pestle. I honestly don't know how other people do it, maybe you can buy pre-crushed fennel? If you do, I would use less.
1 tsp. salt - a general rule is 1 tsp. of salt for every 1 lb. of meat, but because you are adding parmesan cheese, you don't need as much salt.
1.5 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Form into medium size meatballs and place gently into the sauce, trying to leave a little space between meatballs so that they don't stick together while cooking. Cook on high for 4 hours.
Spoon meatballs & sauce onto open sub buns. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese and broil on a cookie sheet until the cheese is melted and bubbling and bun is toasty.