On top of my hoagy,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.
Okay, so it's "spaghetti" and not "hoagy," but I had to get "On Top of Spaghetti" stuck in your head while you contemplate the delicious dinner that is about to come out of your slow cooker if you make this recipe. I also didn't lose my meatball when someone sneezed, though that would be okay ... because if someone sneezed on my meatball, go ahead and let that thing roll away, and give me a new one. Yuck.
Chris loved these meat-ah-ballz-ah, and he thinks meatballs are normally dry and boring. Not these. These meatballs, oh my gosh, they were so good—juicy, tender and flavorful. And you don't have to use them on hoagies, grinders, subs, sandwiches (whatever your part of the world calls them)—slap those pups on some spaghetti, and you're still in for a treat.
Slow-Cooker Meatball Sandwiches
Makes approximately 21 meatballs
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, divided
1 pound Italian sausage
1 pound ground chuck
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon, freshly ground pepper
2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated, divided
1 6-count package 6-inch sub sandwich rolls
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
- Set oven to broil setting.
- Spray the inside of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Line a medium baking sheet with foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, soak bread crumbs in milk for five minutes.
- Place shallot, 2 cloves garlic, crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, 1 tablespoon parsley in the slow cooker, and stir to combine.
- Squeeze excess milk from bread crumbs, discard milk, and place crumbs in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- To the crumbs, add 1 garlic clove, 1 tablespoon parsley, Italian sausage, ground chuck, eggs, salt, pepper and 1 cup Parmesan cheese. Use clean hands to mix ingredients until incorporated.
- Roll approximately 1 1/2-inch meatballs with your hands, and place them on the foil-lined baking sheet.
- Pop them under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, until slightly browned, then put them in the slow cooker. Stir until meatballs are mostly covered, and turn the broiler off.
- Turn slow cooker on low, and cook for 8-10 hours. Remove bay leaves.
- Set the oven to the broil setting again, and prepare hoagy rolls according to package instructions.
- Place 3-4 meatballs on each roll, top with a little sauce, Parmesan and mozzarella slices. Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.*
- Top with more sauce, if desired, and serve immediately.
- Excess sauce? Save it to make spaghetti or pasta bake on another busy night!
*Tip: I set the hoagy tops next to the sandwiches while they were broiling so I could see the cheese to determine when the sandwiches were done.
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