Spaghetti and Meatballs is a favorite dinner for kids. Pack in the veggies in this meatball recipe and it will be a favorite dinner for moms too!
How Do You Make Homemade Meatballs?
We love to use our crockpot for making dinners because it makes your cooking life so much easier on those nights when you really just don’t have time to put dinner together at 5:00 pm. This meatball recipe is great, because you can make them ahead and then just throw them in your crockpot with the sauce. Dinner prep requires only cooking up a pot of noodles and bam – you’re ready! The veggies are included in the meatballs so you don’t have to think up a veggie side dish for this dinner.
We have found some helpful tips when using your crockpot:
- Preheat your crockpot. It is kind of like a small oven, and so turning it on 20 minutes ahead can make a big difference.
- When you are putting ingredients in your crockpot, follow this order: meat, spices, vegetables, other non-liquid ingredients, and lastly, liquids.
- Chicken is best cooked on high, and beef is best cooked on low.
- Unless you are cooking a lot of food, a small to medium crockpot is a good size.
Portion Sizes for Kids
A lot of the time parents don’t think their kids are eating the right amount. They are either eating too much or not enough. The great thing about kids, is when they are little they actually have really good appetite regulation. They know when they are hungry and they also know when they are full and should stop eating. As adults, our appetite regulation has been influenced by so many different factors, that we often use outside cues to tell us when and how much we should eat. Unfortunately, instead of letting our kids regulate themselves, we try and do it for them.
Kids might eat a lot at one meal and not very much the next. Or a lot one day and not a lot the next day. This pattern is completely normal. Kids in general don’t eat a lot at one time. We like to serve our kids smaller portions because it is less overwhelming for them. For spaghetti and meatballs, serving in a small kid-size bowl is a great way to help your kids eat and learn good portion size. Pasta is a food that is really easy to overeat, so the dish you serve it in can make a big difference.
More of Our Favorite Heathy Pasta Dinners:
- Butternut Squash Pasta
- Tangy One Pot Chicken and Veggie Pasta
- Garlic Pasta with Swiss Chard
- One Pot Caprese Pasta Dish
Veggie Packed Meatballs
- 1 medium onion
- 1 medium tomato, red
- 1 medium bell pepper, red
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1 pound turkey, ground
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 2 1/2 cup spaghetti or marinara sauce
- 8 ounce fettuccine pasta, dry
- Roughly chop onion, tomato, and bell pepper. Add to a blender or food processor along with the spinach. Blend until finely chopped, but not pureed. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add veggies and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes to soften veggies. Remove from heat and allow to fully cool.
- Add turkey, veggies, egg and bread crumbs to a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, fully combine and shape into meatballs. Place into slow cooker and cover with spaghetti sauce. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until they are no longer pink in the center.
- Before serving, prepare fettuccine as directed on package.
- Serve meatballs over fettuccine.