The Country Cook: Crock Pot Spaghetti & Meatballs {All-in-One}
                                                   

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Crock Pot Spaghetti & Meatballs {All-in-One}

Do you have a special birthday dinner that you request every year? Did your Mom or does your family ask you what you want for dinner on your special day? When I was growing up, Mom always made us whatever we requested for our birthdays. Cake, of course, was always included (I wanted some Duncan Hines lemon cake with some lemon frosting...Mmmmm) and then we had a birthday dinner. 
Sometimes that birthday dinner was McDonald's because that was a rare treat for us back then. But I always asked for spaghetti. Always. Out of all the stuff my Mom could make, I wanted spaghetti. My Mom never made homemade sauce and she didn't fuss with making homemade pasta. I mean, really, she ain't Italian and even if she was, she worked a hard, physical job as a school custodian, she didn't have time to be messing with all that. So even if we couldn't have it on my exact birthday, she always made sure to include it somewhere in my birthday week. Did I care that it was a jarred sauce and a cake made from a boxed cake mix? Heck no. My Mom made it and it was good. 
And do y'all know what I still ask for on my birthday? Duncan Hines Lemon Cake and spaghetti for dinner. It's my thing. And I love it. And it's all still made the same way. Because no matter how grown or fancy pants we think we are, inside all of us, there's just that kid who wants their Moms' spaghetti and meatballs. And Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. And maybe also Kool Aid. 

And because I am all about you busy Mommas and Dads out there, I wanted to share with you how I love to make this dish. Because it only uses ONE POT! Mmm Hmm, that's right. One pot and 4 ingredients. I'm serious! Less dishes, less mess - count me in!
Ingredients:
1 lb. (16 oz.) box spaghetti
1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
4 cups water (vegetable or beef broth)
26 oz. (24 count) frozen meatballs
olive oil

Optional sauce ingredients:
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil (or 2-3 leaves, fresh basil, torn)
Directions:
Spray the inside of your slow cooker (crock pot) with nonstick cooking spray. Or coat it with a bit of olive oil. Then add in all of the spaghetti noodles. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over the noodles and ensure they are all coated (as best as possible.) 
Then pour in the jarred sauce.
Then add 4 cups of water. I just use the spaghetti jar and fill it up about one and half times to get 4 cups. You need enough water here though to cook the noodles. Instead of water, try using vegetable broth or beef broth for a kick of flavor. Give the spaghetti and sauce a gentle stir to coat the spaghetti noodles and to keep them from sticking together. 
Now, this next part is completely optional. If you have the ingredients, go for it, if not - no big deal! 
Add in minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and basil. 
Then top with frozen meatballs. No need to stir these in. Just put them right on top.
Cover and cook on low for about 5 hours. 
What I like about the digital slow cookers these days is after it's done cooking, it will automatically go to a warm setting. If you are gone from home all day,  I really recommend a digital slow cooker with a warm (buffet) setting. That way you don't have to be home as soon as it's done. Also, I would recommend if you are going to be letting this stay warm after it is cooked, add about 1/2 cup more liquid to the sauce to the above recipe to keep it moist. Also, if you need to "revive" it a bit, just sprinkle a bit of water or broth to the mix and stir before serving. 
Enjoy!

38 comments :

  1. Would I set my crockpot to high or low for 5 hours? I do not have a digital one, just a regular crockpot. Thanks! Looks delicious!

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  2. this really does look delicious. i have the same question as Kathleen; is it on high or low for a regular crock pot/slow cooker?

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  3. Whether you have a digital or regular slow cooker, it will be low on 5 hours. :) Hope you love it!

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  4. I just got a Ninja but haven't used it yet. It's still in the box. Do you have any favorite recipes for it? Can pretty much any slow cooker recipe be cooked in it?

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  5. This looks great! I will be trying this one soon.

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  6. What a yummy looking dinner - I will have to try that!

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  7. I was reading your recipe, plus I've also seen the Ninja cooker on QVC. My question is this - when adding 4 cups of liquid to the Ninja or crock pot, does it not water the sauce down? If not, how does is not water it down? I know it would thicken it, but I'm not sure.

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    1. I can answer your question if no one was the heat evaporation and the the noodles are absorbing water also. 5 hours time you loose a lots of moisture that's why she says you may need to add even more before serving. I hope this answers your question.

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  8. My good friend Marybeth makes this with Prego and frozen meatballs and also adds Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage and just a little salsa. The first time I had it, I thought she had handmade everything. It is sooo good.

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  9. It doesn't get watered down. It just gets absorbed by the pasta. :) I love the idea of adding the Italian sausage. Yum!

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  10. I love my Ninja cooker!! This sounds so good!! Do you like the Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning Mix better than what you can get in the grocery store? Pinned it!!

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  11. this recipe is delicious, thanks for sharing. I'm always looking for new recipes to try :-)

    Simon

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  12. How long would you cook it if you were to put it on a high setting?

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  13. So I made this the other night AND the sauce itself was incredible! The noodles, not so much. I used thin spaghetti noodles and they were really mooshie. The recipe doesn't specify what size noodles to use. Should I be using thick noodles?

    Ursula

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  14. Ursula - Sounds like maybe you used angel hair pasta. The package the pasta comes in should say "spaghetti" this is a standard sized noodle. Also, watch for spaghettini which is similar however much more thin.

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  15. If I need to shorten the cooking time down to 4 hours, would you suggest cooking for 1 hour on high and 3 hours on low? (I am a bit inexperienced with crock pots).

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  16. Hey there Jennifer, you could certainly do that to make sure the meatballs cook all the way through. Hope that helps.

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  17. Try egg noodles and shredded cheese

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  18. Looks delicious! How many servings does this make? I need to feed 7 people.

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  19. I have the same question as Brandy. Do we need to check the noodle box/bag? Would it change because of the sauce and meatballs? I need to feed about 8 people.

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  20. I am trying this recipe for the first time - sounds delicious - but I was told that Prego is the best sauce to use - and I am wondering if using Beef broth would ruin the taste. I am feeding four of us at our card club - we do eat twice during the afternoon - evening so I guess I should add more broth or could I mix water with the broth?

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  21. You can certainly use beef broth in this recipe. You can add a little extra water/broth to refresh it after it has sat for a little while. Hope this helps.

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  22. How many servings does this make? I need to feed a crowd & was thinking of tripling it and making it in a roaster. What are your thoughts?

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  23. I followed the directions to a tee and the sauce to noodle ratio was not good. Needed more sauce and I cooked for exactly 5 hours. After that it switched to warm for a couple of hours. The noodles all clumped together and needs a half a jar more of sauce I would guess. Yes I used PAM and yes I used Olive Oil..... Gonna try again....

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    1. Did you add a little bit of extra liquid (the recommended 1/2 cup) before cooking? Leaving on the warm setting too long could cause these issues. I hope next time it turns out perfect for you.

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  24. My sister just gave me the ninja crock-pot and told me about your recipe so i decided to try out for dinner hopefully it comes out good. its my first time cooking with a crock pot shocking i know but i am fairly knew on living on my own and wanted to try something new :) all of your recipes look amazing cant wait to try out more!

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  25. If I were to double the recipe, how much water would you suggest?

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    1. Hey there Gina, I would double to water called for in the recipe. If you are going to be keeping this on the warm setting for a bit, add about another cup if you are doubling the recipe. Hope this helps.

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  26. I tried with whole wheat spaghetti and it was mush. :-(
    Any suggestions? I can't help but love the concept!

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    1. Me too! Maybe we have to use regular... :(

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  27. I did the same but set the Ninja to oven for 30 minutes on 325 degrees. It's my favorite quick meal

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  28. I cooked 2lbs of ground beef with 2 24oz jars of chunky of Barilla sauce and Angel hair pasta. Cooked sauce first in crockpot on low. Par boiled pasta till just tender then it to sauce . Cooked for additional hour on low in crockpot. Came out perfect. Served with tossed salad and garlic bread.

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    1. Yay, so glad it was a hit for you! Don't you just love easy recipes like this?

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  29. I want to use fresh meat balls do I make the meat balls, cook them, freeze them and use as directed or what?

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  30. How many servings is this recipe?

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  31. I so love this recipe! My crock pot is my best friend!!!

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  32. Can you use a crock pot liner with this recipe?

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  33. If I don't add meatballs should reduce the amount of liquid?

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