How to make slow cooker ravioli with meatballs

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Sometimes putting even the smallest twist on an old favorite gives you a completely different dish that becomes the new number one. And that's just what happened when I switched out regular spaghetti for frozen ravioli in this ravioli with meatballs slow cooker meal. The results were amazing, with the ravioli becoming super soft and delicious, and the meatballs hold their shape without losing any of their texture. It's truly one of the easiest dinners to pull together, but it will taste like it took hours to make.
To make things easier, I used frozen ravioli, but I did spend a few minutes beforehand pulling together a quick marinara sauce and making the meatballs. Trust me when I tell you the prep really doesn't take very much, and it will bring a bit of freshness that using frozen ravioli and frozen meatballs just wouldn't be able to match.
Ravioli and Meatballs
20 minutes
7 hours, 25 minutes
7 hours, 45 minutes
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup (60 ml) wine (white or red, your choice)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) dried oregano, divided
2 tablespoons (30 ml) dried basil, divided
2 tablespoons (30 ml) garlic powder, divided
2 tablespoons (30 ml) onion powder, divided
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound (450 grams) lean ground beef
1/4 cup (60 ml) bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 pound (450 grams) frozen cheese ravioli
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml) mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons (45 ml) parsley, chopped
In a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat combine: crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes (with juices), wine, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, olive oil, and crushed red pepper flakes. Season generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix to thoroughly incorporate all ingredients, then bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. The sauce doesn't need a long cooking time, just enough so all the ingredients get to know each other.
While the sauce is simmering, prepare the meatballs. In a large bowl combine: ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, balsamic vinegar, and remaining herbs and spices (except the fresh parsley). Mix well and then form meat mixture into 1" balls.
When the sauce is ready, line a 6-quart slow cooker with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Add half of the sauce to the bottom of the slow cooker. Add meatballs, then the frozen ravioli. Top with remaining marinara sauce, and sprinkle the sliced peppers on top.
Place the lid on the slow cooker, set to low and cook for 7 hours.
Add the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the entire dish and sprinkle with the parsley. Replace lid and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
Pro tip: To make this dish even easier and faster to prepare, use a prepared spaghetti sauce and frozen meatballs!
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