We spent a week in a condo on fabulous Tybee Island, Georgia not long ago. I wanted to maximize our time on the beach, which meant that I wanted meals that I could prepare with minimal effort and time. Slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs was the perfect choice. And it was mighty tasty too. Yummy meatballs in a flavorful sauce, with the spaghetti already mixed in. It really doesn’t get any easier. I always like a little kick in my spaghetti and meatballs, whether they’re from the slow cooker or not, so I added a bit of red pepper flakes. You can leave them out if you like.
I was going to change the name of this dish to just ‘spaghetti casserole’ because (before I made it) I thought that calling it Million Dollar Spaghetti was a bit pretentious. Well, as you can tell, I didn’t change the name. That’s because, yeah, Million Dollar Spaghetti is the perfect name for it.
If you close your eyes and take a bite of this spaghetti you’ll almost think you are eating lasagna. Actually, it’s very close in flavor to my mom’s easy lasagna, a recipe I make and devour regularly. Spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage, pasta, a little Italian seasoning and plenty of cheese. What’s not to love?
Million Dollar Spaghetti was a huge hit in our house. We were sad when the last piece disappeared. But not super sad since we knew it won’t be long until we make this again. And again.
You can easily change this recipe up to meet your own tastes. Maybe add some fresh mushrooms in when you cook the sausage. Or a few bell peppers. For me, a pinch or two of red pepper flake is always a good idea too. You don’t have to use an expensive jarred spaghetti sauce, either. Good ole Prego (I used Italian Sausage and Garlic) works just great!
Yes, sometimes I just grab a big ole jar or two of spaghetti sauce at the grocery store instead of making a big batch of homemade sauce. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I don’t just heat up the sauce and toss it over cooked pasta. Nope, I gotta make my shortcut spaghetti. It’s a dish I started making in my bachelor years, and have perfected over time.
You can use ground beef instead of Italian sausage, but I wouldn’t. The first years I made shortcut spaghetti I used beef. Sausage is better. Much better. And my homemade Italian sausage is fantastic. I make a batch and freeze it in one pound packages. Perfect for a shortcut dish.
Oh, and I almost forgot! Instead of pasta, serve the meat sauce mixture on a hoagie or sub roll as a sandwich and top with tons of shredded mozzarella. It’s the perfect messy Sloppy Italian Joe sandwich. Or substitute meatballs for the sausage.
I have a slow cooker (er, crockpot) for the same reasons everyone else does. I on occasion like a great, easy meal that I can toss into the pot and not have to fuss with. A Dutch oven over low heats works just as well, specially if you need to brown something first. For this spicy spaghetti and meatball soup it doesn’t matter whether you go low-and-slow in the crockpot or Dutch oven, the end result is great. It’s like having Campbell’s SpaghettiOs™ but with much better, richer flavor, and a nice kick. And really big meatballs. Who didn’t want more meatballs in their SpaghettiOs™ when they were a kid? Well, problem solved! I used packaged frozen meatballs for this slow cooker spicy spaghetti meatball soup, but our homemade Italian meatballs (made on the stovetop or in the Char-Broil Big Easy) would be great too. Outstanding, even.
You can leave out the red pepper flake, but I think you’ll want to add at least a little. And don’t be shy with the basil either.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try out my homemade SpaghettiOs. They’re fun to make and even more fun to eat.
We’ve really been enjoying the big batch of Creole meatballs we made. As appetizers, on subs and over pasta, they are tasty and my favorite part, they have kick! This Creole meatballs and spaghetti came out quite tasty, and it definitely has some great spicy kick to it. Our Creole meatballs are so tender and tasty. Definitely not bland like plain old meatballs. Topped with a great spicy tomato sauce, this is a great dinner dish. Just add some of our Gotta-Have-It garlic bread and a little salad on the side, and you’ll be in heaven!I keep these meatballs and sauce on hand for a quick meal. Just heat them up and serve over pasta with some Parmesan and you’ve got dinner.