Slow Cooker help needed

Ok, so we’re having a pot luck at work tomorrow. I’m bringing my famous (defined as “stole the recipie from Mom”) Waikiki Meatballs. I can make this easliy in about an hour or so, but I don’t want to cook it at work, and I also don’t want to cook it tonight & reheat it tomorrow.

I just bought a Slow Cooker, and would like to get all the ingredients ready tonight (which means choppin’ stuff up, and making the sauce), and I want to toss them into the Cooker at work tomorrow morning at 8am.

The Pot Luck is at noon.

Will 4 hours on “High” heat this dish enough to serve at noon? There will be chopped onions, peppers, pineapples, and, of course, meatballs, in the Cooker. I will thaw the meatballs tonight (yes, I’m using frozen meatballs - save the scorn for later).

I have NEVER used a Slow Cooker before (It’s actually still in the box at home).

Is anything being cooked, or are you just heating it up? If the latter, you should be fine. If you’re trying to cook the beef, then I’m not sure.

Yes, 4 hours on high will be plenty of time to cook thawed frozen meatballs in sauce.

Congrats on getting your slow cooker! We LOVE ours and use it often. In fact, I just made a “braised lamb stew” on Sunday and we had the leftovers last night for dinner. Yum! If you want some recipes, just let us know. I’m sure there are plenty of us willing to share. In fact, to get you started, here’s my famous (defined as stole the recipe from my step-mother and adapted it to the slow cooker) Brisket recipe.

All raw going in, but the meatballs are pre-made & fully cooked. I’m worried that the onions & peppers will be too “raw” after just 4 hours.

4 hours on high in a slow cooker will definitely soften peppers and onions sufficiently that they won’t be anywhere near “too raw”.

For instance, here’s a random recipe I just googled; Italian Sausage, Peppers & Onion, and you’ll see it only calls for 4 hours of cooking on LOW. Your dish will be fine.

As long as the meatballs are precooked, you’ll be fine.

You’ll look at it two hours in and panic, because it won’t look anywhere near “half-done”, but through the magic of Slow Cookery, it will be perfect right at serving time. Seriously. It’s like the theater in Shakespeare in Love, it will all work out. I don’t know how, it’s a mystery.

Yes, but don’t open the lid! Every time you open the lid of a slow cooker you have to add at least 20 to 30 minutes more to the cooking time.

I use frozen meatballs for appetizers, too, and I never thaw them first. I just throw them in the crockpot with the sauce, and cook on high for 3-4 hours.

I never have any luck with my slow cooker, at least with my pot roast attempts. Then again, it might be that it’s an old hand-me-down of my mother’s and I think it dates to the 1970s, mostly because of the Fiesta Orange paint scheme. It’s an honest-to-God Crockpot, though. I agree, though, that you should be able to cook meatballs fairly quickly in one.

I left work early yesterday to take care of the shopping for today’s pot luck.

I prepared the ingredients last night so I could just throw it all into the cooker today.

…and I wake up with either Thrush or Strep Throat today.

What a wonderful world we live in, that someone can go from normal (or as normal as I usually am) to infected & unable to speak in just 6 hours.

So, rather than infect work, I will stay home today, work from my dining room table, and enjoy my Waikiki meatballs for lunch & dinner today. I just plugged in the cooker, and will report back at noon EST with the results.

Thanks for all of your help on this.

So how did they come out, and how are you feeling? Great and better, I hope!

They came out great! Since I was alone all day I turned it to low after 2 hours, then off after noon.

Strep test was negative, too!

Wow, that thing gets HOT!

Get a newer slow cooker. For one thing, you’ll be able to get one with a removable insert which can go into the dishwasher. Or the insert can go into the sink and soak, if you don’t use a dishwaasher. My round slow cooker doesn’t do a great job on roasts, but it is wonderful for stews and beans and such. My oval slow cooker is more of a roaster oven, and does a dandy job on roast beef or chicken.

I hope that labtrash feels better soon, or at least well enough to share the recipe for Waikiki meatballs here.

Here you go!

Waikiki Meatballs

1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup brown sugar; packed
2 cans pineapple chunks in syrup, drained (reserve syrup for sauce !)
2/3 cup vinegar (cider works best)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 large peppers (Green, Red, Yellow, whatever); chopped
2 sweet onions, chopped (your choice of onions, I just like the sweet ones)
1 large (128 or so count of the little 1 inch ones) package of pre-cooked meatballs (cooked according to pkg instructions). You can make your own meatballs for this, but I’m lazy.

Sauce: Mix cornstarch and sugar. Stir in reserved pineapple syrup, vinegar, and soy sauce until smooth (Use a whisk - it works better if the cornstarch clumps). Heat (medium heat !), stirring a LOT, until just boiling. Remove from heat.

Pour sauce over vegetables in a large stock pot / Slow Cooker – add meatballs & heat through.

Using a Slow Cooker - I’d say 5 hours on Low, or 2.5 hours on High will do (this is guessing - I messed around with mine).

This can be halved for a smaller batch. My 6qt Slow Cooker held everything fine (and was VERY full, and a bit hard to stir).


Silly labtrash, you’re not supposed to stir stuff in a slow cooker. At least, not while it’s cooking. The whole point of a slow cooker is that it will tend to itself, without needing a cook’s attention, for hours.

That recipe sounds good, but I think that I’ll use ground pork for the meatballs. Or even chunks of a cooked pork roast. I like pork with pineapple much better than beef.

Thanks for sharing the recipe. But keep your cooties to yourself, please.

The stirring note was for after the stuff was ready - I heeded the warnings about not taking the lid off.

Cooties were meant to be shared!