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Weekly Menu Plan

Weekly Menu Plan
Weekly Menu Plan



Recipe: Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce with Meatballs

 Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce with Meatballs from Walking on Sunshine

Do you have a recipe that you've made for years but have never actually written down? 

You know, you just gather all the ingredients together and start cooking without really measuring? For me it's my recipe for Homemade Tomato Sauce with Meatballs.  I've been making this recipe for 30 years and this is the first time I'm actually writing it down.  Silly, I know.  But like any other good Italian cook I've always just added a little of this, a little of that and my delicious tomato sauce was made! 

I love to use my slow cooker to make meatballs and tomato sauce.  Cooking the sauce low and slow all day just makes it amazing.  Not to mention the house smells like Little Italy!  

When I was first married I had no clue how to make homemade tomato sauce.  No, I had no clue how to make ANYTHING.  But my hubby loves pasta so I asked my mom and sure enough, she didn't have a recipe written down either.  She told me over the phone how she makes tomato sauce.  I took notes, but over time started adjusting the recipe to the flavors and seasons that my husband and I enjoy.  

Which is what you should do too!  Use this recipe as a guide and adjust the seasonings to your family's taste.  Some people like oregano.  I'm one of the very few Italians that doesn't.  Go figure.  In the summer time I like to add fresh parsley and basil from my garden but the rest of the year I use dried herbs. 

The one thing I insist on is using fresh garlic.  And not the stuff from the jar.  Buy real garlic and use a garlic press.  I've tried other garlic presses over the years, but really the one from Pampered Chef is the best.  

And I love to use the Mix 'n Chop for so many recipes.  It's amazing and yes, you can find out more information about both tools by checking out my Pampered Chef site.  

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce and Meatballs Recipe

After the meatballs have been formed, refrigerate them for 15 minutes to firm up before browning them in the frying pan.  I know some people like to bake their meatballs.  I've tried that but the taste is different.  Trust me.   
Refrigerate the meatballs for 15 minutes before frying.

Brown the meatballs in just enough oil to cover the bottom of a heavy frying pan.  You don't need a lot of oil, just a tablespoon or maybe two.  
Meatballs cooking in the pan from Walking on Sunshine

Drain the meatballs on paper towels before adding them to the slow cooker. 
Drain meatballs before adding them to the sauce from Walking on Sunshine

Add the tomato sauce ingredients to the slow cooker and then the meatballs.  Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until the meatballs are cooked through.  Your house will smell amazing.  
Ingredients for Homemade Tomato Sauce from Walking on Sunshine

Serve the homemade sauce over cooked pasta.  Don't forget freshly grated Parmesan cheese! 
Enjoy your homemade slow cooker tomato sauce and meatballs over cooked pasta from Walking on Sunshine.

 Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce with Meatballs from Walking on Sunshine
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Slow Cooker Homemade Tomato Sauce with Meatballs


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic; crushed
  • 1 TBS dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
Tomato Sauce
  • 1 - 28 oz. can tomato puree
  • 1 - 28 oz. can whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic; crushed
  • 1 TBS. dried basil leaves
  • 2 TBS. dried parsley
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. In a bowl, combine the meat, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper, parsley, and milk together in a large bowl.
  2. Shape into meatballs and then chill for 15-30 minutes so they firm up.
  3. Heat just enough oil to cover the bottom of a heavy frying pan. My heavy pan needs 2 TBS. oil.
  4. Add the meatballs to the frying pan and brown on all sides. You are not cooking them all the way, you are just browning them.
  5. Remove the meatballs from the pan and place on a baking tray that is covered with paper towels to drain.
  6. Continue with the directions for the homemade tomato sauce and then add the meatballs.
Tomato Sauce
  1. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker.
  2. Gently break up the plum tomatoes using the back of a spoon, potato masher or a Pampered Chef Mix 'n Chop Kitchen Tool.
  3. Add the meatballs.
  4. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.
  5. Serve over pasta and enjoy.
  6. Store unused tomato sauce and meatballs in the refrigerator or freezer.
  1. If you want a more smoother tomato sauce you can add the plum tomatoes to a blender to get the consistency you like before adding them to the slow cooker. My family likes chunky sauce, so I usually use my Mix 'n Chop Kitchen Tool from Pampered Chef to break up the tomatoes before adding the meatballs.
  2. I also like to add a little wedge of Parmesan cheese to the slow cooker to give it extra flavor.
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Click on the Photo for more information: 
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 Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce with Meatballs from Walking on Sunshine

Homemade Bread Sticks using store purchased pizza dough. 
Homemade Bread Sticks go great with Homemade Tomato Sauce and Meatballs from Walking on sunshine.

Homemade Ranch Dressing for your salad. 
Homemade Ranch Dressing is perfect for salad from Walking on Sunshine.

Check out the great Tomato Recipes my Foodie Friends are also sharing this week! 


  1. Your meatballs look fabulous and made my mouth water! I agree with you about the Pampered Chef garlic press, I've had mine for 13 years and still love it!

  2. I love making sauce in the slow cooker. It makes the whole house smell good all day! Thanks for joining us at Tasty Tuesdays this week.

  3. Wow, I'm so impressed with all of your recipes, they look amazing! Pinning this meal and the breadsticks too and following you on Pinterest so I can keep finding more of your recipes:) Thanks for linking up at the Home Matters Link Party! We hope to see you again next week:) #HomeMattersParty


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