If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy dinner option, look no further than Tomato Basil Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs. These meatballs are made with ground chicken, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil, then cooked slowly in a flavorful tomato sauce.
The slow cooker is the perfect way to cook these meatballs, as it allows the flavors to meld together and the meatballs to become tender and juicy. The tomato sauce is made with crushed tomatoes, garlic, and herbs, creating a rich and aromatic base for the meatballs.
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
To make the meatballs, simply combine the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and basil in a bowl. Form the mixture into small meatballs, then place them in the slow cooker. In a separate bowl, mix together the crushed tomatoes, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour the sauce over the meatballs in the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
These Tomato Basil Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs are perfect served over pasta or with a side of crusty bread. The tender meatballs and flavorful tomato sauce make for a satisfying and comforting meal that the whole family will love.
Why Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs?
One of the main advantages of using a slow cooker for chicken meatballs is the ease and convenience it offers. The slow cooker does most of the work for you, allowing you to simply mix the ingredients together, shape the meatballs, and then let them cook low and slow without needing constant attention. This makes them a perfect option for busy individuals or those who don’t enjoy spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
Slow cooking the chicken meatballs also helps to infuse them with flavor. The low and slow cooking method allows the flavors to develop and intensify, resulting in tender and juicy meatballs that are bursting with deliciousness. Additionally, slow cooking helps to retain the moisture in the meatballs, preventing them from becoming dry and bland.
Another benefit of using a slow cooker is that it allows you to easily make a large batch of meatballs. This is great for meal prepping or feeding a crowd. You can freeze any extras for later use or save them for delicious leftovers throughout the week.
In summary, slow cooker chicken meatballs are a great choice for those looking for a healthier and more convenient alternative to traditional beef meatballs. The slow cooking method helps to infuse the meatballs with flavor, while also offering the convenience of an easy, hands-off cooking process. Whether you’re looking to reduce your red meat consumption or simply mix up your usual weeknight dinner routine, slow cooker chicken meatballs are a delicious and satisfying option.
Choosing the Right Ground Chicken
1. Fat Content:
The fat content of ground chicken can greatly affect the taste and texture of the meatballs. Higher fat content, such as ground chicken with a mix of dark and white meat, can result in more tender and flavorful meatballs. This can be particularly important when using a slow cooker, as the longer cooking time can dry out leaner ground chicken. However, if you prefer a leaner option, you can opt for ground chicken breast, which has less fat but may require additional ingredients or cooking techniques to prevent dryness.
Ensuring the freshness of the ground chicken is crucial for both taste and food safety. Look for packages with the furthest expiration date and check for any signs of discoloration or strong odor. Ideally, it’s best to purchase ground chicken from a trusted source or butcher who can guarantee its freshness.
The quality of the ground chicken will directly impact the final flavor of the meatballs. Opt for organic or free-range options if possible, as these chickens are typically raised in better conditions and have a more natural diet, resulting in a richer taste. Additionally, choosing ground chicken that is minimally processed and free from additives will ensure a cleaner and more wholesome product.
Mixing and Shaping the Meatball Mixture
Start by gathering all the necessary ingredients, including ground chicken, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, chopped fresh basil, finely chopped onion, salt, and pepper. In a large mixing bowl, combine these ingredients together using your hands or a wooden spoon.
- First, add the ground chicken to the bowl. You can use store-bought ground chicken or grind your own using boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
- Next, add the breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs help bind the mixture together and add texture to the meatballs. You can use regular breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs for a lighter texture.
- Then, add the grated Parmesan cheese. This adds a savory and cheesy flavor to the meatballs.
- Add the minced garlic for a hint of garlic flavor. You can adjust the amount based on your preference.
- Chop the fresh basil and onion finely and add them to the mixture. These ingredients contribute to the overall taste and aroma of the meatballs.
- Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Remember to start with a little and adjust as needed.
Once all the ingredients are in the bowl, it’s time to mix them together. Using your hands or a spoon, mix everything until well combined. Make sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
After mixing, it’s time to shape the meatball mixture into small, bite-sized balls. You can do this by rolling the mixture between your palms until you form a round shape. Aim for meatballs that are about 1-1.5 inches in diameter for even cooking.
|– Ground chicken|
|– Grated Parmesan cheese|
|– Minced garlic|
|– Chopped fresh basil|
|– Finely chopped onion|
|– Salt and pepper|