The Country Cook: Crock Pot Marinara Sauce with Meatballs

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Crock Pot Marinara Sauce with Meatballs

I think I have made marinara sauce pretty much every kind of way. In full disclosure - 9 times out of 10 - I am just buying a good jar sauce. It works for me and I love pasta and hate dirtying up a lot of dishes just to make a meal. That's just how I roll. And I eat frozen pizza. And I like pizza rolls. And most of the time, my salad comes out of a bag. And I'm good with using frozen meatballs. And I don't eat organic food, unless it's on sale (it's pretty much an over-priced racket.) And I eat GMO's (hello seedless grapes!) So there you have it. I am a simple yet complicated gal all-in-one. 
But every now and then I like to bust out a full-on meal. When I have time, cooking is super enjoyable for me. I like the process. I like feeding my family. And it makes the house AH-Mazing. Is there anything better than the smell of garlic cooking in olive oil? I think not. 
I know the key to any good marinara is to let it hang out and simmer all day. So I figure that the crock pot is the perfect man for the job. I don't have to constantly babysit it on the stovetop and I can leave the house and do other things while it cooks. And these meatballs? They are tender and crazy-flavorful. 
Use fresh herbs in this if you can. I grow some basic herbs in pots outside on my back porch: Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Thyme & Rosemary. They are easy to grow and take care of. But you can make this with dried herbs too. Serve it all up with a Caesar salad and some garlic bread (frozen or homemade, however you're feeling at the moment.) 
For the sauce:
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 cup water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Romano cheese blend
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp. pepper
Note: You can used dried herbs instead of fresh. Just use half the amounts given above (oregano not pictured)
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
2 large Eggland's Best eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs (Italian or garlic & herb)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Romano cheese blend
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
For the sauce: Heat up 2 tbsp. olive oil. Note: I am using a Ninja Cooker and it has a stovetop setting. I just turn that on high. It really helps cut down on the number of dirty dishes. However, you can skip this part or use a small skillet to cook the garlic.
Add minced garlic and cook and stir for about a minute - you don't want it to burn. 
Now, pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and water. 
Then add cheese, sugar, herbs and seasoning. 
Give it all a good stir. 
Cover and put on the low setting. 
For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Just like when I am making meatloaf, I just get in there and mix it together with my hand. Makes it so much easier and quicker. 
Shape into 12 meatballs. I am using one of those 1/4 cup spring-loaded scooper. Makes the job faster.
In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
Brown the meatballs. We're not cooking them all the way through. Just browning the outside. 
Add meatballs to the sauce in the crock pot. Cover and continue to cook with the sauce for about 6-8 hours (until meatballs are cooked through.)
When ready to serve, prepare your spaghetti according to package directions. And enjoy! Perfect with a Caesar salad and garlic bread! 

*Amazon Affiliate links are included in this post. 


  1. I'm a fairly new subscriber & am really enjoying your blog. Thank you for your down to earth approach to cooking. :o

    1. Thank you SO much for taking the time to leave a comment and letting me know that. I sure do appreciate it!

  2. I am just like you, eat frozen pizza, don't buy organic. We are two peas in a pod

    1. There are more important things to stress over, right? :)

  3. this recipe looks so good. Love using the crock pot in warm weather. Actually I use it all year round !

  4. Homemade is Always best but I do use my own grown tomatoes.
    I'm trying to teach my husband in cooking a very easy recipes but he likes to follow the step by step instructions. Is there a way for you to set it up so that I can print out the step by step instructions / pictures for him to follow?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Colleen! Well, it might use a lot of ink but there is a way to do it! :) At the very, very bottom of the blog post, you'll see a green button - it says "Print Friendly" (you should see it under the words 'Posted by The Country Cook) Click on the button and the entire post will come up for you. Just click on any words or pictures you don't want to include on the print out and then hit print! Hope that helps!

    2. Found the green button and printed it out. Thank you so very much and my husband especially thanks you. You made his day. :} 14 pages and that isn't counting the original page of the recipe that I had already printed out earlier in the week but he's happy now.
      I Tried to tell him that if you just read the instructions, which are very clear by the way, he should have no problem but seeing the pictures he knows that he each step is done correctly.
      His idea of cooking was opening up a can of soup or putting hot dogs in a pan of water and heating. I think every man should learn how to cook.
      Thanks again


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