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Speed Prep Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce

If you love the hearty taste of meatballs in your spaghetti but lack time to roll and fry...
this recipe may be just what you are looking for.
Your Italian Mama might not be happy with you opening a jar of spaghetti sauce but we all need a quick trick in our pantry for busy days.  
This sauce can be made spicy or mild simply by the Italian sausage you purchase.

  • 1 large jar Prego Pasta Sauce
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound Spicy or Mild Italian Sausage
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 8
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup parsley leaves
  • 2 cups cornflakes, crushed with your hands
  1. Bring the Pasta sauce to a very light simmer.
  2. Using a blender or food processor, pulse the onion, garlic, parsley and egg and salt until finely chopped.
  3. Add to the ground beef, Italian sausage and crushed cornflakes. Combine with your hands.
  4. Use a large spring loaded ice cream scoop,  drop balls of meat into the sauce and simmer without stirring for 30 minutes.  After this time the meatballs should be set and the sauce should be able to be gently stirred.  Continue to simmer on the stove top or bake in your oven at 325 for several hours.  Alternately, place the meatballs and the sauce into your crockpot for 8 hours on low.
  5. Serve over your favorite pasta.


  1. Mmmm - this is making me hungry. Looks delicious Lovella! And yes, it's so handy to use Pasta Sauce - there are some wonderful ones out there to save us some time.

  2. Yum and Super easy!!! Love it:) Thanks for all your hard work ladies it brings a ton of joy to alot of families!

  3. been doing this method w/ meatballs for yrs now... Pauline Martin

  4. Perfect snowy day supper. I find meatballs keep their shape better when you simmer them in the sauce. Mine tend to come out kind of square when I brown them first. And you know, the eye is as important as the fork when we eat.


  5. Sounds wonderful EXCEPT for the cornflake crumbs, why not use good breadcrumbs, like the Italian flavored ones? Its just my prejudice I guess, never even liked cornflakes as cereal!

    Jo in MN

    1. Jo..thanks for making me smile. OH of course you could use fabulous breadcrumbs. I got this meatball recipe from my husbands aunt that married an Italian. =)

  6. If you're home and going to be using a pan or the oven to cook this, I have a tip to shorten cooking time. I use a stainless steel cooling rack placed inside my jelly roll pan (lipped cookie sheet). I place the portioned meatballs on that and bake for about 10 minutes at 350. This cooks off some of the grease in the meat, browns the meatballs and hardens the outside just a bit. I then place my meatballs in the sauce and place either my pan on my stovetop or in my oven and cook the lot for another 15-30 minutes. The meat is cooked though, the sauce is heated and everything is yummy. You can still do this in a crockpot, it just takes longer. And you can cook everything for longer if you want. But if you need an under 30 minute meal, fix the meatballs and get them in the oven. While they're baking put your water on to boil for the pasta. Take the meat out, place in pan with the sauce and heat through. While the sauce is heating, cook the pasta. So...meatballs on the fly two different ways! Yours and mine. lol

    Been following your blog for several years now. Love your posts! Thanks for sharing with us.

    1. win! That is such a great way to speed up dinner. I have often made my meatballs on a pan but somehow it never occurred to me to do them just enough to harden the outside.
      Thanks for that great tip.

  7. I said I would make this and I did. Or not quite. Half way through it became a meatloaf because it's cold and snowy and because I had a lovely Russet potato wanting to be baked alongside. The only ingredient I changed was I added chipotle in adobe sauce to the tomato sauce mixed in with the meatloaf and spread on top for browning.


    1. Sharon..was it yummy? I can imagine that it would make quite a tasty meatloaf. It is snowy already there? We have had sheets of rain all day today. There will be no snow here on the lower mainland for quite some time.

    2. When I want to be especially fast (or lazy!), I mix the meat as directed, spread it into a cookie sheet to a meatball thickness, cut into squares the size of meatballs, and bake! I know they're not balls, but who cares? They taste the same, and I've just freed up 30 minutes or so!

    3. Marge, what a fantastic idea - I'm off to the kitchen now to try it!!

  8. What size of jar is a large jar? All I have is a 6545 ml. Is that a large jar?


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