Meatballs the size of your head. Only slightly kidding. This is the kind of food that makes family dinners and family memories. Plus this recipe here comes with lots of options, from making everything from scratch to using pre-prepped ingredients to even using store bought. It’s all about what works for you to be able to get a dinner on the table that will bring your family together. Because in the end that’s what really counts. And is there a kid on the planet that doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs? Oh yeah, my 4 year old. Actually, to be accurate, she like spaghetti and meatballs, she just doesn’t like the sauce. So I do what any good mom would do and I wash off the sauce by putting her food in a colander. Awesome. I know.
So, let’s get to talking about all these options. If you planned ahead, then you have some of these meatballs ready to go and you can just use them. I had actually used mine all up making this recipe and so I ended up making some new ones based on the same recipe but subbing out the pork for all ground beef and using the really lean stuff so that I could cook them entirely in the slow cooker. If you are in a serious time crunch, then use the frozen store bought ones. Who’s gonna judge? We’ve all gotta get dinner on the table somehow, right?
Next let’s chat sauce. Again, here is the recipe for all you planner aheaders out there who made this up and stored it away for a rainy day. You could even add your meatballs to this sauce and make it all at the same time. Or, again, if you need a quicker/easier solution…. store bought jars of sauce. My little secret? I’m sort of a big fan of the Ragu Light Tomato Basil. Nobody even asked me to say that!
Okay, so finally, the big thing that’s changed my slow cooking life? The new Pronto! noodles from Barilla! Wow, I sound like an ad but these are just seriously the things that make my life easier. These noodles are awesome for the slow cooker and they’ve been super easy to find. They only take like 10 minutes and don’t seem to get to that “too soft” point quickly like regular noodles sometimes can. And there you have it!! A family favorite dinner as easy or as homemade as you want it to be!!
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 pound lean ground beef (at least 93% lean)
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning blend
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups spaghetti sauce
- 10 oz spaghetti noodles uncooked (preferably Barilla Pronto! Noodles)
- Parmesan cheese for serving optional
Using hands, mix all meatball ingredients in a large bowl
- Once well mixed, form about 6 tennis ball sized meatballs (about 6oz each) and place in bottom of slow cooker
- Add sauce and cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 until meatballs cooked through (internal temp of 165 degrees)
- Remove meatballs and cover to keep warm
- Add pasta to sauce in slow cooker and stir well to coat noodles with sauce
- Let cook for 10-20 minutes (depending on slow cooker temp) and stir occasionally until noodles are done
- Serve with meatballs and Parmesan cheese if desired
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