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Make Fantastic Italian Meatballs In A Crock Pot

Updated on October 8, 2014

I put this recipe together to complement the Olive Garden pasta e fagioli copycat recipe that I posted elsewhere. The soup is an excellent meal by itself, but after a day or two (you can only eat so much soup) I like to use it as an appetizer.

If you are ambitious you can make your own spaghetti sauce, but I have found that store bought sauces are fine if you doctor them up a little.

First the sauce. 2-3 jars minus 1 cup of sauce go into the slow cooker on high heat. While that's heating, chop 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and 1 medium onion and sweat them in 2 tbs of olive oil. add this, including the oil, to the sauce along with a tsp of basil and a tsp of oregano.

In a large bowl combine 1 lb of ground beef with a half lb of Italian sausage. Add 1 large egg, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, and 1 cup of spaghetti sauce. A 1/2 tsp of high bulk index garlic powder is a wonderful thing here as well.

Mix thoroughly, and form into 1 inch balls. bake covered at 350 degrees for an hour then add to slow cooker and switch to low heat. makes about 40 meatballs that are great with whatever pasta you like. I think they're especially good with gnocchi.

Hint: The longer they're in the slow cooker, the better they are. This also improves the sauce.


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  • profile image

    marjorie thomsett 7 years ago

    is there a rack to go inside my HB slow cooker 33967

    thank you marjorie

  • rmr profile image

    rmr 7 years ago from Livonia, MI

    Steveo- They're great without bread crumbs, too. If you're going for lower fat, try putting them on a rack inside the baking dish.

    Thanks for commenting!

  • SteveoMc profile image

    SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

    I love meatballs and I love the sausage mixture. I am going to try this recipe without the bread crumbs. I am so glad you don't have to use oil. I think this could come out being a low fat meatball. Thanks

  • JPSO138 profile image

    JPSO138 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

    I will surely try this one. I love meatballs. Thanks for sharing.

  • Live N Learn profile image

    Live N Learn 9 years ago from Las Vegas

    Only a true cook will dare to 'doctor' commercially-prepared sauces. I sometimes do some doctoring but because I was a bit intrepid, my sauces taste like what I feel, too. Thank you for giving some insightful advice!

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    It was your awesome avatar that got me to stop by here first. I loved the angel on my shoulder a lot too.


  • rmr profile image

    rmr 10 years ago from Livonia, MI

    Thanks for the comments. I've seen a lot of recipes that suggest water to offset the effects of breadcrumbs, but when I add liquid to a recipe, I like to add flavor with it. Beef broth might work as well.

    And to Zsuzsy, you've won a place in my heart by being my first fan! I've been reading your hubs, and have joined your fan club as well. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Great suggestions!

    I'm going to try, never thought of cooking meatballs in the slowcooker.

    regards Zsuzsy

  • Blogger Mom profile image

    Blogger Mom 10 years ago from Northeast, US

    Hi rmr...I never thought to add sauce to the meatball mixture - I bet that makes for a moister meatball? I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the recipe!