not your grandmother’s Italian meatballs

Jeanne here.

My Jersey-born-Italian brother-in-law Neal will attest … I am not Italian (not that you could tell, what with me being a six foot blonde).

But I’ve got a few Italian-inspired dishes in my repertoire that your grandmother from the Old Country might not love, but our motley crew seem to like well enough.

Like this spicy-basily-delicious tomato sauce.


Even my tomato-hating sister Teri likes this sauce.

And it takes all of about 15 minutes to make.

And then there are these meatballs.


These easy slow-cooker meatballs.

That taste good over cooked pasta.

Or in a sandwich.

Or sliced and piled on a homemade pizza.

They’re not very big (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) … I don’t dig big meatballs.  Every time I’ve tried to make them bigger they end up dried out or undercooked.  This size keeps ’em juicy … and manageable … and that makes this recipe yield about 30-32 meatballs … and feeds us for dinner and sometimes 2 or 3 meals after.

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  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup asiago cheese
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons Italian parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 5 cups tomato sauce


Combine beef, breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, parsley and egg in a lagre bowl. (I take off my rings, wash my hands and get into it … it’s a sure way to make sure the ingredients are good and blended.)

Form into 1 1/2 inch balls and stack gently in the crockpot.

Smother with tomato sauce.  Set on “Low” for 6-8 hours and serve ’em up.


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