Meatballs in Sauce (Slow Cooker) and Zoodles

Meatballs in Sauce (Slow Cooker) and Zoodles

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Time: 40 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  •  3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (28 oz) cans Cento Italian peeled whole tomatoes, puréed in blender (or others that don’t contain sugar)
  • 2 tsp oregano, divided
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste (1 t. In sauce, 1 t. In meatballs)
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup ground whole oats, ground in blender
  • 1 t. parsley
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked spaghetti or 6 zucchini for zoodles (4-6 servings)

Directions

  1.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and cook the onion until lightly brown.
  2. Mix in 2 cloves garlic, and cook 1 minute.
  3. Stir in blended tomatoes, 1/2 the oregano, and bay leaves.
  4. Season with 1 t. salt and pepper to taste. Pour in slow cooker and set to low while preparing meatballs.
  5.  In a bowl, mix the ground beef, oats, remaining oregano, remaining garlic, parsley, eggs, and cheese. Season with 1 t. salt and pepper. Roll into 1 inch balls, and drop into the sauce.
  6.  Cook meatballs on low until done, about 6 to 7 hours. (My slow cooker always cooks faster than recipes suggest; it took 5 hours.)
  7.  About 20 minutes before dinner, put zucchini through spiralizer. Cut long strands into 10-in pieces, roughly. Saute in 2 batches, in 1 T. Olive oil for about 5 minutes. Drain in colander, patting with paper towels (can be watery.) Serve the meatballs and sauce over the zoodles (or spaghetti if you prefer).

Notes: This meal is even easier if you purchase fresh, pre-cut zucchini noodles. Or you could prepare the zucchini noodles in advance, even the night before, and cook for 5 minutes just before dinner. The meatballs freeze well in the sauce if you have leftovers.