Crockpot Italian Meatballs and Marinara

MAKES 36 (1 tablespoon) meatballs  |  ACTIVE TIME 25 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 4 Hours 25 Min

2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
meatballs, uncooked (recipe to follow)
2 dried bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in a blender in the order they are listed, except meatballs and bay leaves.  Process until your sauce is the consistency you prefer. Cover bottom of crockpot with sauce crockpot. Reserve remaining sauce to pour on top of meatballs.

Gently place 1 layer of meatballs in crockpot. Pour sauce over top, until covered. Continue adding meatballs until they are all in the slow cooker.  You may have to layer them, just be sure the bottom layer is thoroughly coated in sauce before you add the next layer. Pour remaining sauce over top. Add bay leaves. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours.

Serve and enjoy.

Meatball Recipe
1 pound lean ground beef (I used 88%)
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup marinara
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well, do not over mix or you will have tough meatballs.

Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, portion out meat and place on a plate.  After all meatballs have been scooped onto plate, roll into balls.

COOK'S NOTES:   If you lightly wet your hands the meatballs will form better and crack less.

You can prepare meatballs the night before and refrigerate to cut down on prep time.
Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian
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