We’re big meatball fans around here. We frequently bring sweet and sour meatballs to potlucks, we like to hit up the Swedish meatballs at our local IKEA, and I actually like whipping up my own homemade meatballs to serve with spaghetti or on a meatball sub. Mmm, meatball subs. I love meatball subs so much, when my husband was in NYC a few years ago for a conference, the gifts he brought home were toys and t-shirts for the kids and a meatball sub from Carmine’s for me.
He somehow managed to not eat it on the 90 minute train ride, resulting in one very happy wife.
Today I’m sharing my favorite Italian meatball recipe, and a semi-homemade sauce. The extra time it takes to make the meatballs is worth it, but if you are pressed for time you can use two pounds frozen store-bought meatballs and can even use jarred sauce instead of the sauce recipe.
No judgement here. I just want to get meatballs in your life.
This makes a nice large batch of meatballs and sauce, which can be frozen, served to a large crowd, or happily eaten for three days like it was at our house.
Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- For Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley, minced (or 5 tsp dried parsley)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- About ⅛ cup milk
- (Or skip this step altogether and pick up a 2 lb bag of frozen Italian-style meatballs)
- For Sauce
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- To make the meatballs, combine ground beef, ground pork, minced garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, parmesan cheese, minced parsley, salt, pepper, and milk in a bowl and stir until combined.
- Roll into desired sized balls, and place on a cookie sheet that will fit in your freezer.
- When you have nice lines of meatballs on the cookie sheet, pop them in the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until they firm up enough to handle without them falling apart.
- Meanwhile, combine crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
- When the meatballs are ready, remove them from the freezer, and add them to the slow cooker. Toss in the bay leaf.
- Pour the sauce mixture over the top, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles with grated parmesan on top, or make meatball subs by serving inside a roll with melted cheese on top!
It was so fun to have this in the crock pot all day. I used store bought meatballs, but in the delicious sauce, they were perfect! It made lots, which was even better.
We loved the meatballs and thought the sauce was pretty good. Part of it may be the store-bought jar of sauce that I chose (vodka sauce) but I thought it turned out a little runny. I followed the recipe as directed. Next time, I’ll probably make my own version of sauce (which just uses a combination of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes with a bunch of seasonings, sautéed onions and garlic, and brown sugar) and make these meatballs again, yum!
When my husband found out I was making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner we had to spend at least 10 minutes of his lunch break discussing whether or not he like meatballs. I knew he did (just not the store bought kind) and so was glad that these meatballs were so good. He thought so too and so did our kids. The sauce was runnier that we normally have but we both thought it was perfect the way it was. I followed the recipe exactly and wouldn’t change a thing. I really really suggest you make your our meatballs, they are so easy and yummy you won’t be disappointed!
Everyone in our family loved this recipe. We had spaghetti and meatballs the first night, meatball subs the next, and the kids even had a meatball or two as an after school snack.
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