I absolutely love the crockpot and how easy it makes life on those busy, hectic evenings. I am sure I will like it even more as my kids grow and I am taxiing them too and from activities. When I find a new crockpot recipe that we love, I have to share it because I love to help make everyone’s life easier. After trying this marinara and meatballs in the crockpot, I am certain that I will not cook spaghetti and meatballs any other way.
My husband loves Italian food and M is just like him. C is indifferent and usually just prefers to eat just the meatballs, but this recipe was different- everyone devoured this meal! The best thing about this is that it takes no time at all: I threw everything together in the crockpot in the morning and it was ready at dinner time. I of course cooked the noodles and our veggie right before it was time to eat, but you could have done that ahead of time too. Next time, I will try some zoodles with this instead (at least for me).
Crockpot Meatballs & Marinara
Like any recipe that I make, 9 out of 10 times, it comes from modifying a variety of recipes. A friend of mine sent over some crockpot meals, another friend shared a crockpot marinara and so this version of crockpot meatballs and marinara was born.
For the meatballs, you will need:
- 1.5 pounds of ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 1/4 cups of italian bread crumbs
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/2 white onion chopped
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Combine all those ingredients together and mix with your hands. Once it is all mixed together, roll into 1-1.5 inch balls.
Here is where your choice comes into play. I immediately just threw my meatballs into the crockpot and then topped with the ingredients for my marinara and let it cook all day. A few of my meatballs fell apart and that was okay with me.
If you don’t want your meatballs to fall apart, take an extra 5-10 minutes, heat some oil in a skillet and brown each side of the meatballs. This should prevent it from falling a part.
Crockpot Marinara Sauce
Once the meatballs were in the bottom of the crockpot, I simply dumped all the ingredients for my marinara sauce.
For the sauce you will need:
- 28 ounces of whole tomatoes or diced (depending on how you like your sauce)
- 28 ounces of tomato puree (or you can simply take out the tomatoes above and double this)
- 6 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/2 chopped white onion
- 4-5 tsp. fresh basal
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup red wine
- salt and pepper to taste
- a shake of crushed red pepper (if you like it with a little kick)
Once everything is in the crockpot, let it cook all day. Since I used whole tomatoes, I did take them out half way through and crush a little (next time I will use diced tomatoes).
Everyone in my house loved this meal! Crockpot meatballs and marinara will be a staple at our house and I will no longer make spaghetti and meatballs and marinara on the stove or in the oven. I can’t wait to try this over some noodles next!
Your turn- tell me!
Have you ever tried meatballs and marinara in the crockpot?
What is your favorite type of veggie to use for zoodles?
I’m going to try this one for dinner tonight:) thanks Hollie!
Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes says
Oh yes! I need to try this asap! I was just thinking that I don’t think I’ve ever given the kids spaghetti and meatballs! I mean really?! Who does that? I need to get on this.
My oldest is picky… for the longest time she would only eat the meatballs and not the “spaghetti sauce”. Weird, I know.