Tag Archives: Meatball

Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

Since my son started eating “real” food, meatballs have become one of the most frequently served dinners in our household. I like to mix it up, sometimes using beef, sometimes turkey, and I use a variety of seasonings and sauces. But sometimes it’s nice to stick with traditional Spaghetti and Meatballs. This recipe doesn’t require hours of your time. It’s fast enough to make for a weeknight dinner though still hearty and satisfying so you feel like you’re sitting down for a relaxing family meal.

Easy Spaghetti & Meatballs

The meatballs include standard ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs (I used panko), garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and an egg white to help bind everything together. Easy so far. I’ll admit this recipe “cheats” a little and includes jarred tomato sauce. I love to make everything from scratch but I have my hands full with a full time job and a toddler and sometimes (okay, realistically, always) there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes to do it all. So jarred sauce it is.

Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

After forming the meatballs from the ground beef mixture, I lightly browned them in a nonstick skillet coated with a little olive oil cooking spray. I then added the prepared tomato sauce, spiced it up with a little basil, and let simmer for 10 minutes. I made the pasta while the sauce was simmering and the dinner was ready before I knew it, about 40 minutes max. Save time after work by chopping the onions in advance or preparing the meatballs in advance and refrigerating the uncooked meatballs until you’re ready to brown them. I bet this would freeze well too!

Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

Like all the meatballs I’ve shared here, my son was a HUGE fan! No leftovers for us! He’s only 18 months old but I’m sensing my grocery bills are going to be nuts when he’s a teenager since he can already down quite a bit! But I love cooking for him. And seeing his excitement when he finds something really yummy, like these Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs, is so worth it!


Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs (adapted from Cooking Light Five Star Recipes)

Yield: serves 4

1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup minced fresh onion

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1 jar (about 25 ounces) of tomato sauce (tomato and basil flavor works great), divided

cooking spray

1/2 tablespoons dried basil

8-12 ounces uncooked spaghetti


1. In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, egg white, and 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Shape into 20-24 meatballs, about 1.5-2 inches in diameter.

2. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides for 6 minutes. Pour in the remaining tomato sauce and add the dried basil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. While the sauce is simmering, boil water and prepare the pasta according to package directions. Serve meatballs over spaghetti. Garnish with basil or cheese if desired.


Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs

What’s for dinner tonight AND tomorrow? How about Slow Cooker BBQ meatballs? Minimal effort for maximal flavor!

Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs

We have some weeks that are really crazy. My husband and I can get really busy with working nearly opposite schedules leaving us with minimal time to cook thanks to a clingy toddler who wants to be held all the time and/or climbs up the oven door to check out what’s happening on the stovetop. (He is very familiar with the word “hot” but still loves to explore!) To avoid takeout or quick prepared freezer food every night, we try to do some cooking in advance to have food ready to go. Just pop in the microwave after work and 2 minutes later, dinner is served…

These tasty meatballs fit the bill. They’re great right from the slow cooker, reheat really nicely, and don’t take too much time to prep up front. I’ll give you our meatball recipe if you want to make them “from scratch” but you can totally sub in the already prepared meatballs from the freezer section of the supermarket and just make the quick and flavorful sauce if you really want to do things quick and easy. Aside from a simple dinner, they also make a nice appetizer at a party…though they’re a bit sticky so caution with white shirts and clean tablecloths!

To make the meatballs, combine ground beef (or turkey if you prefer) with panko bread crumbs, garlic, onion powder, black pepper, dried oregano, and some eggs to bind things together. Mix everything really well by hand. When my husband and I first starting dating he made me meatballs but didn’t do such a great job mixing things and hence, “variety pack” meatballs were born, since you never knew which variety you’d get in a bite…so to avoid “variety pack,” mix thoroughly. Form into meatballs. We got 75 small (about 1 inch in diameter) meatballs. Then pop in the oven for about 15 minutes until no longer pink inside.

For the sticky sweet sauce, in the crockpot combine the meatballs, honey, apricot jelly, your favorite barbecue sauce, and 3 tablespoons of your favorite grill spice. We use McCormick Smokehouse Maple because it is both sweet and smoky and imparts great flavor to the sauce. Then turn the slow cooker to high until the meatballs are hot. Our meatballs were cold at the beginning (since we made them the day before and refrigerated them overnight) so it took about 2 hours, but if you make the meatballs then put them in the sauce immediately, it’ll be even shorter. Once the meatballs are hot, turn the slow cooker to warm until ready to serve.

We’ve come back to this recipe again and again to have an easy and tasty meal prepped in advance allowing for quick dinners on crazy weeks!

bbq meatballs


Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs

Yield: 75 small meatballs

For the meatballs:

2.5 pounds ground beef

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 large eggs


1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Combine the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly by hand. Form into meatballs approximately 1 inch in diameter (a heaping tablespoonful). Place into pyrex baking dishes.

3. Bake until no longer pink inside, approximately 15 minutes.


For the sauce:

1/8 cup honey

1/8 cup apricot jelly or preserves

3 cups barbecue sauce

3 tablespoons grill seasoning (recommend McCormick Smokehouse Maple)


Combine the meatballs and the above ingredients in the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook on high heat until the meatballs are hot, about 2 hours. Turn to warm until ready to serve.


This recipe was featured at the Sunday Sharing Pinterest Party at Adventures with Jude!

Want more meatballs? Try Fajita Meatballs or Gingersnap Meatballs!

Gingersnap Meatballs

Did you get too many gingersnaps at your cookie exchange? Did you bake the White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies but not dip them in the chocolate yet? Do you just love gingersnaps and their spicy tangy flavor? Gingersnap meatballs are fantastic year round but they’re an especially good use of leftover ginger cookies around the holidays, even the slightly stale ones at the bottom of your cookie exchange container.

Gingersnap Meatballs

This recipe really is one of my favorites. I’m not a huge meat eater, but this is one of those dinners that I crave. How much do I love this? The night before I went into the hospital to give birth to my son, what did I do? I should have slept. But no, instead I made a big batch of these meatballs to freeze for a treat on one of the (many) nights I was too exhausted from my newborn to cook. Granted in my 9 month pregnant state I’ll admit I ate quite of few of them before freezing but anyway, they’re that good.

Gingersnap Meatballs

The meatballs are fairly standard to start with, ground beef, minced onion, bread crumbs (I use panko), salt, pepper, and some lemon juice and water. I browned them lightly in a skillet then removed them. They still get more cooking time later so they were still a touch pink inside.

Gingersnap Meatballs

The amazing part of these meatballs is their sauce. It’s almost like eating candy! The gingersnap crumbs and brown sugar caramelize and become a thick delicious, almost syrupy, sauce. Combined with the pan drippings from the browned beef, the sauce is unforgettable. After letting the meatballs simmer in the sauce for 15 minutes, they, too, become delightfully sweet. I like to serve these meatballs over pasta as a nice plain contrast to their sweetness. This recipes doubles well, if you want to freeze some for later…that is, if you can keep yourself from eating the leftovers.

Gingersnap Meatballs

A few notes:

-I use panko bread crumbs because they are dairy free. Other plain bread crumbs would be fine as well

-Save time by mincing the onion in a mini food processor. Since you have to grind up the gingersnaps anyway, you’re not adding extra dishes to wash

-It can be a bit challenging to find dairy-free gingersnaps at the store. Check the organic foods section; I usually have better luck there. Or just make your own…


Gingersnap Meatballs (adapted from The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking)

Yield: about 25 1-inch meatballs (serves 4)

1 pound lean ground beef

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 medium onion, minced fine

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided

2 tablespoons water

4 tablespoons margarine or shortening

2 1/2 cups beef broth

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup gingersnap crumbs (approximately 15 gingersnaps)


1. In a large bowl combine the beef, bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and the water. Form into 1-inch meatballs.

2. In a large skillet, heat the shortening on medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook until lightly browned and almost cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the skillet.

3. To the pan drippings in the skillet, carefully add the beef broth and remaining tablespoon of lemon juice (there may be steam) and gently scrape the bottom of the pan to combine the drippings with the liquids. Once it comes to a boil, add the sugar and gingersnap crumbs and stir until combined.

4. Return the meatballs to the skillet and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Then stir gently and simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes. Serve over pasta.


Ground Beef Two Ways: Part 2-Fajita Meatballs

I needed to figure out something to do with the other pound of ground beef we bought this weekend. I happened to be sitting on the couch while meal planning and was flipping through a recent edition of Parents magazine where they had a spread on various meatball concoctions. The fajita meatballs sounded like something that would fly in my household so I proceeded. They were super fast to make! I had them prepped and ready to bake well before Ground Beef the first way, the Cottage Pie, was even out of the oven.

In my mini Cuisinart food processor, which by the way, is a really useful appliance and for small things saves a lot of time over dragging out the full sized Cuisanart, I chopped up half a green bell pepper and half a yellow bell pepper. Altogether I had about a cup of chopped pepper, the specific color doesn’t really matter, those were just what I had on hand. I also chopped up about a third of a red onion and then tortilla chips, to end up with half a cup of finely chopped tortilla chips. The tortilla chips are subbing in for the typical breadcrumbs in this meatball recipe. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the veggies by hand and put the tortilla chips in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin or something.

I combined the peppers, onion, and tortilla chips in a medium bowl and added a pound of ground beef, a teaspoon of chili powder, an egg, and a little bit of freshly ground pepper. I mixed them together by hand and formed them into a dozen meatballs.

I placed the meatballs, touching each other, in an 8×8 baking dish that I had coated with a tablespoon of olive oil and baked at 450F for 30 minutes, until they were cooked through, without any pink.


I think these meatballs have a lot of potential but as I made them, lacked a bit in flavor. Next time I would add more seasoning, possibly a fajita or taco spice blend. Also, I would have liked to have drizzled a little salsa on top to add some color and moisture. I plan to try them again sometime soon and will update when I do.


UPDATED December 6, 2013: Made these meatballs again tonight and with a little tweaking they were SO much better! I’ll edit the recipe below the reflect the new and improved Fajita Meatballs but in short, this time I used half a red and half a yellow bell pepper and blue corn chips (neither of those changes were really critical, just what I had on hand). The main change was that I added 1 1/2 teaspoons of fajita seasoning which made all the difference. You can use pre-mixed/store bought fajita seasoning or you can make your own. My husband made a bunch of fajita seasoning a while back so I just used that. Success! Easy, relatively quick (at least the hands-on part), and kid friendly meal.


Fajita Meatballs (adapted with minimal changes from Parents magazine, November 2013)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup finely chopped bell pepper (any combination of colors is fine)

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 cup chopped tortilla chips

1 pound ground beef (I used 93% lean)

1 egg

1 teaspoon chili powder

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons fajita seasoning

salsa and tortilla chips, for garnish

The Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Coat an 8×8 baking pan with the olive oil.

2. Finely chop, by hand or food processor, bell pepper to equal 1 cup, and red onion to equal 1/3 cup. Then crush tortilla chips to equal 1/2 cup.

3. Add the pepper, onion, and tortilla chip crumbs to a medium bowl. Combine with the ground beef, egg, chili powder, ground black pepper, and fajita seasoning.

4. Form into 12 meatballs.

5. Place the meatballs in an 8×8 baking pan. They will be touching each other.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they are full cooked through. Serve with tortilla chips and salsa.

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