Weeknight Dinner: Fantasy Football Crock Pot Meatballs, A Day Late

Mr. Grumpy and I had committed this weekend to running 9 miles as part of my half-marathon training. So, naturally we waited until Sunday when it was 90 degrees outside. It. Was. A. Nightmare.

We drove out to the Cleveland Towpath for our nice, sunny run. Now, mind you, we had not been outside for nearly 36 hours (remember, Downton Abbey addiction?) and were not expecting the heat. In fact, before we left, I asked Mr. Grumpy if it was cool outside and he answered, “Yeah.” Which I now realize means he wasn’t listening to me… (shocker).

I thought, it can’t be that bad trying to run 9 miles in the sun. So, we began our trek down the trail, smiling at cyclists and runners alike as they passed by. Then, the first mile passed and I thought, “Man! This is going to be so easy.”

Cut to me at 4.5 miles down the trail. Dying, practically. Most likely having a stroke from overheat. And dare I say it, my ankle hurt. I was in poor form, friends. So naturally, as any calm girl in half-marathon training would, I flung myself onto the grass and pretended to pass out. When I looked up at Mr. Grumpy to see his reaction, I was not surprised to see him hovering over me, unconcerned, hands on hips with one of his unapproving glances (like this one, but he was wearing running clothes):


Also, while I was drenched in sweat (and now subsequently covered in dirt and grass), he was not even glistening. He was NOT EVEN PANTING. So, now I completely question whether or not Mr. Grumpy is an actual human. I’m sleeping with one eye open, but really. 90 degrees and you’re not even tired. You must be from another galaxy. Right???

So needless to say, we only managed 6.5 miles Sunday. But I am not giving up. And neither should you if you’re training like I am. Seriously – we’re almost there!

Anyway … I was really excited about a funny surprise I had planned for my alien boyfriend on Tuesday. Mr. Grumpy had mentioned that his Fantasy Football draft was that day, and I was so excited to make him faux Super Bowl dinner – aka, those delish crock pot meatballs that everyone knows about. I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate every girlfriend’s favorite time of the year – football season. Sigh. [INSERT FAKE SMILE HERE]

But, as you know, Mr. Grumpy and I are trying to be healthy and watch what we eat. I decided that after dealing with my meltdown on the towpath Mr. Grumpy deserved a little BBQ sauce in his life, so this was my happy compromise. I found the recipe for the meatballs on Cookin’ Canuck, and adapted it to be more BBQ-friendly. I liked the idea of using quinoa and zucchini to thicken up the meatballs. Plus, I had zucchini left over from our taco boats on Monday – awesome! In fact, I made these Monday night before I made the boats, and then just heated the meatballs up on Tuesday. It was SO NICE coming home to a crock pot meal, let me tell you. Phew.

So, what’s up with my headline? A day late, you ask? Well, yeah. His fantasy draft was actually on Monday. So I was a day late with this one – but it’s the thought that counts, right? I TRIED, OK?!?!


What You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 4 slices of light oatmeal bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup of zucchini, chopped (smoosh the water out of it)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 12 oz. jar grape jelly
  • 1 18 oz. bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, in a small saucepan, boil 1 cup of water with the 1/2 cup of quinoa mixed in. Boil on full speed for 5 minutes, then cover and remove from heat. Let it sit covered like that for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, in a mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients EXCEPT the grape jelly and BBQ sauce. Now, because this is made out of ground turkey, it’s not going to feel as thick and sticky as the meatlballs you’re used to using ground chuck/beef. That’s ok – these will turn out really moist (hate this word), and I promise you’ll like them! Once your quinoa is done cooking, add that into the meat mixture. Stir everything together until it’s nicely combined.

On a large baking dish, spray it completely with olive oil-based cooking spray. Then, using a large melon baller, dish out your meatballs. They should be about 1.5″ large. About the size of your palm. Unless you’re a fembot and have really small hands. Then… just guess. (Eye roll)

Bake your meatballs on the mid-top rack (a few inches from the top) for 10 minutes. You want them to get nice and brown around the edges, but stay moist (really, really, really hate this word) on the inside. They won’t be completely done, but that’s ok because they’ll cook more in the crock pot.

Next, in your small crock pot, combine the grape jelly and the BBQ sauce. Once your meatballs are done cookin’, add them into your crock pot. Cook that on low for 6 hours. Stir gently every once and a while to make sure they are evenly coated. And…. enjoy! Even if you don’t have the fantasy draft binging every five minutes in the background (Mr. Grumpy, it must be your pick AGAIN!) 

We wrapped ours up in leaves of Boston Lettuce – like lettuce wraps! 


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