Sometimes you plan a meal that you later realize -- like, seconds before you're about to arrive home from work or running errands to actually cook it -- may not excite every member of the family. You brace yourself for the moans and groans and think all the while, I worked hard all day and then slaved over a hot stove to make a healthy dinner that everyone hates. Great -- pass the wine, please!
This Crock-Pot spaghetti and meatballs recipe will create the absolute opposite scenario. You just set it to go in the morning and, nine hours later, you get to sit down and relax with family over a delicious, hearty, healthy, and no-fuss meal that will leave everyone smiling. And if you choose to enjoy a glass of wine, it will be a celebratory one.
Be prepared to spend a little extra time creating these cheesy beef meatballs prior to putting everything in your slow cooker. You can even make the meat the night before you want to cook your meal, since it seems kind of crazy to turn on your oven before you scoot off to work in the morning. Also take note: you will have to cook your spaghetti separately from the sauce and meatballs, but this should take you no more than 20 minutes -- and will keep your pasta from getting too soft.
Crock-Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green pepper, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 large (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 small (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 cup of dry red wine
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon of dried basil
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 3 garlic minced garlic cloves
- 1 tsp dried leaf oregano
- 1 tsp dried leaf basil
- 1/2 cup of Romano cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 egg
Lightly brown garlic and green pepper in 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy frying pan on the stove.
Transfer to Crock-Pot. Add tomatoes, puree, red wine, oregano, basil, salt, and sugar.
Mix meatball ingredients thoroughly and form into meatballs. You can either bake these (about 20 minutes in a foil lined baking pan at 375°) or sauté them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, turning frequently, until browned.
Add the meatballs to the sauce and scrape any drippings into the sauce.
Stir well and cover.
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Serve over hot cooked pasta with Italian bread and more grated Romano.
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