Meatballs and Marinara Part Two

Spaghetti and meatballs is probably my family’s favorite meal. Meatballs and a robust marinara need time for the ingredients to cook so the flavors can mingle a bit and produce that deep rich flavor that makes them taste so heavenly. Who has time for that during a busy work week? I sure don’t! So on Saturdays when I don’t have much planned outside the home, I work hard to batch cooking both marinara and meatballs and freeze them to use later. I shared my marinara sauce recipe this weekend, now to share my meatball recipe!

For meatballs, I like to make my own breadcrumbs from whole grain bread. Simply process slices of bread in a food processor until fine. You can use the bread plain or toasted. I prefer to toast the bread first and then process it. If you would like your breadcrumbs even drier, place them on a baking sheet once they are nice and fine and let them toast a few minutes further in the oven.

I used a combination of ground turkey and Italian pork sausage to make these meatballs. Turkey is more tender than beef and as expected, these meatballs did not disappoint. Neither did any of the fellas suspect I used turkey instead of beef. They never do, they just think the meatballs are delicious!

I cooked these meatballs in a crock pot on high for three hours. It is best to have a meat thermometer on hand and use it to ensure meat has reached the proper internal temperature. This practice gives me confidence that the meat I serve my family is well done and safe to eat.

A serving size  from this recipe is 4 meatballs and they are not low calorie but if you wish to cut back on calories and sodium intake try limiting the meatballs to two. One or two is just right for me! Or you could cut the size of the meatballs in half when you make them (if you did this then you could put half of them back in the freezer to use another day!). You may also consider leaving out the cheese which will decrease the amount of calories and sodium, if needed.

I made a batch of both marinara and meatballs this past weekend and the fellas enjoyed them so much that I didn’t have enough to put back in the freezer. I just stored the rest in the refrigerator and they polished them off yesterday. So since I was off  work yesterday I picked up more ingredients and made another batch of both marinara and meatballs in the afternoon. That’s two meals tucked back for an evening when we don’t have time to fully prepare a meal. Simply transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator in the morning so they can thaw then warm them up in the evening while preparing the pasta. Easy peasy!

I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Print Recipe
Hearty Meatballs
This spaghetti and meatball recipe will draw a crowd so be prepared! The sauce is sweet and savory served over tender meatballs on a bed of spaghetti. Pair with a bright and colorful salad and you've got a meal brimming with nutrition!
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 - 4 hours
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 - 4 hours
  1. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs.
  2. Stir in breadcrumbs, onion, cheese, basil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add in ground turkey and sausage, gently mix until combined well. Do not over mix as this will lead to tougher meatballs.
  4. Roll into 16 meatballs, measuring them to approximately 1/4 cup each. They are a bit sticky and messy to work with but they will be worth it!
  5. Line meatballs up in a 6 quart crock pot.
  6. Cover meatballs with a quart of my Sweet and Savory Marinara, set the crock pot to high, and let it do it's magic. Once the meatballs have set, stir them occasionally. It takes approximately 3 hours to cook, depending on your crock pot. Using a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature of your meatballs. When they register 165 degrees or greater, they are ready.
  7. Serve on a bed of the pasta of your choice with a colorful side salad and crusty side of bread and enjoy!
Recipe Notes
Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 761
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 47 g 73 %
Saturated Fat 22 g 109 %
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 282 mg 94 %
Sodium 1248 mg 52 %
Potassium 356 mg 10 %
Total Carbohydrate 17 g 6 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g 12 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 64 g 128 %
Vitamin A 18 %
Vitamin C 5 %
Calcium 75 %
Iron 19 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
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