Though I can still hardly believe it, I am already in my third trimester of pregnancy. I’m only counting down the weeks and days now and the big day is approaching quickly. With the impending arrival of a fourth baby to my already busy house, I am taking meal planning very seriously these days. Both the freezer and my slow cooker will be my best friends over the next few months. These delicious and easy Slow Cooker Meatballs are at the top of my new mom menu plan.
Even without a new baby in the house, the slow cooker is a kitchen tool that I rely on often. Being able to pull dinner together first thing in the morning before the business of the day takes hold is always such a relief to me. With dinner simmering away in the slow cooker all day long, I am free to work, take care of kids, and run errands without fearing the 5:00 P.M. panic that hits when everyone is hungry and I haven’t set foot in the kitchen (or the grocery store) all day long.
These Slow Cooker Meatballs are the kind of easy, make-ahead meal that everyone needs in their recipe reserves. The prep work is minimal but the payoff is huge! The meatballs and sauce are excellent over rice, pasta, or on toasted bread for a hearty meatball sandwich. You can easily adapt them to your diet preferences by substituting lean ground turkey for all or part of the hamburger. Best of all, you can freeze any leftovers or double batches for later.
Having crossed the third trimester threshold, I have to admit I have my panicked moments where I question my ability to handle one more baby or one more meal. Can I really do this? Then I plant my feet firmly in the kitchen and whip up a batch of meatballs. Yes, I can do this, one meatball at a time.
Looking for more slow cooker inspiration to round out your meal plan? Katie’s Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup recipe is just the ticket. Or maybe you’d like Shelly’s Cheesy Jalapeño Popper Style Crockpot Pulled Chicken instead.
Slow Cooker Meatballs Recipe
- 1.5 Ground Beef
- 1 Italian Style Bread Crumbs (Progresso)
- 1 Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Egg lightly beaten
- 0.5 Fresh Parsley chopped
- 5 Fennel Seed divided between meatballs and sauce
- 3 Olive Oil
- 1 Onion chopped
- 2 Garlic minced
- 0.25 Boiling Water
- 0.25 Crushed Red Pepper (McCormick)
- 1 Tomato Paste
- 30 Tomato Puree 2 15 ounce cans
- 2 Oregano
- 1 Granulated Sugar
- 3 Fresh Basil chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan, egg, parsley, and fennel. Shape the mixture into balls, approximately the size of golf balls (using a cookie scoop works well).
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil and sauté onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until onion is soft and golden.
- Stir in the tomato paste and sugar. Add the water and stir until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato puree, oregano, red pepper flakes, fennel, basil and stir. Pour sauce into slow cooker. Place meatballs into the sauce mixture.
- Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.