crock pot week: spaghetti and meatballs

Ugh.  I feel I need to apologize for the pictures on some of these crock pot recipes.  It has started getting dark in Seattle at FOUR O’CLOCK over the past couple of weeks, so it is practically impossible to get pictures of dinner with any natural light.  Since I don’t have any fancy schmancy photography equipment, I am forced to use that awful yellow lighting, hence the sub-par pictures.  Does anyone have any tips (that don’t cost a lot of $$) for shooting food when its dark outside?  Anyone?  Pretty please??

Without the eye-pleasing pictures, I think I need to convince you how good these meatballs are with words.  Here goes: they are beefy…moist…tasty…meaty?  Hmm…  So apparently I’m lacking in the adjective department of my vocabulary today, but I mean come on…they’re meatballs!  How many words do you need?  They’re dang good meatballs.  

The great thing about this recipe is that by mixing up the ingredients and rolling them into balls you feel like you are putting some work into them, but without taking up a ridiculous amount of time.  Then you put them in the crock pot with an easy homemade tomato sauce and let the crock pot do the rest of the work.  Well, except for the clean up and the dishes.  The crock pot doesn’t do that.  

crock pot week: spaghetti and meatballs

serves 4


    For the meatballs:
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs (I used fresh breadcrumbs, without the Italian seasonings)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 box spaghetti pasta


    for the meatballs:
  1. Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt, Worcestershire, milk, parsley, and salt in large bowl.
  2. Add beef and pork and mix together with spatula or hands until just combined. Don't over mix.
  3. Scoop out the meatballs with a spoon, ice cream scoop, or your hands into the size of meatball that you want. Mine were a little bit larger than a golf ball, but smaller than a tennis ball.
  4. Heat large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add meatballs, working in batches, to brown the sides. They should still be pink on the inside. Set aside and make sauce.
  5. To make the sauce:
  6. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions. Saute until onions are translucent then add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  7. Place in crock pot. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, spices, and salt. Stir to combine.
  8. Place meatballs in sauce.
  9. Cook in crock pot on low for 5 to 6 hours.
  10. Serve over cooked spaghetti and top with fresh Parmesan cheese.
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  1. says

    You don’t have excuse yourself for “bad” pictures as long you convince us that your food is great and cook comfy food, that’s all it matters!

    I love making meatballs and love to combine two kinds of meat!

  2. says

    My crock pot is probably in my top 3 favorite kitchen appliances, but I’ve never thought to make spaghetti sauce and meatballs in it (I’m more of a “large chunk of meat + vegetables” crock pot user). I’m excited to give this a shot with my own favorite meatball recipe. :)

  3. says

    I’m hating all the darkness now too! Ryan made me a lightbox out of helps a little but its still not ideal :( Let me know if you want more info on it!

  4. says

    I know what you mean about the pics! While I’m way farther south in San Diego, we are out of light at 5:15 or so and we don’t get to dinner until after that! Hence, I haven’t been posting a lot of dinner recipes, and when I do I save some and take photos in the morning (sshhhh!!).
    On another note, thanks for the time appropriate meatball recipe. I have to admit that I have never really made meatballs that everyone liked. I’ve printed this one and will give it a shot! Sounds really good. Nicely done!!

  5. says

    Taylor – These are the BEST meatballs ever! I was not prepared enough to cook the meatballs in a crock pot, but I did them in a pan on the stove and they were amazing, thanks for sharing the recipe!

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