It is no secret my daughter is a picky eater. In fact on more than one occasion I have thought she may have food neophobia or the fear of new foods. Even at 7 years old she has a limited number of foods she eats. Mostly she likes pasta and will eat any fruit and a few veggies. Meat is the real struggle. She likes chicken nuggets if you can even call them meat and my meatballs.
I come from an Italian family so I naturally make sauce on Thursday and then we finish it off on Sunday night. Luckily my daughter loves my pasta and meatballs. I came to the realization the other day that meatloaf (one of my husbands favorites) is basically a big meatball. And thus Italian Meatloaf was born. Since it is summer and I hate heating the oven, plus I need to prep dinner when the baby is asleep, I decided the crock pot would be the perfect cooking vessel.
I have made this several times now and each time my family has gobbled it down. Even my picky daughter who now says this is her favorite. Best of all I can prep it early and have it ready at dinner time so it is perfect for diving or soccer nights.
To start spray your crock pot with cooking spray. Make two balls of crippled aluminum foil and place them in the crockpot. I do this so that I can add water to cook veggies with the meatloaf, otherwise I would have soggy meatloaf. You can add any sturdy crockpot veggies you wish. I happened to have a giant bag of organic baby carrots so I used those. I would have added potatoes too but I was out.
Place meat in a medium bowl. Add cheese and egg. Microwave for 45 seconds. When my momma first taught me to our family recipe for making meatballs, she told me she did this because she hated handling cold meat. I have tried to not microwave the meat before but it just doesn’t come out the same without this step.
Next add the garlic, parsley, pepper, onion, and breadcrumbs. Mix throughly but not so much as to make the meat tough. Shape into loaf shape. Place on top of foil in crock pot.
Place on top of foil in crock pot. Pour 1/4 cup sauce on top of meatloaf. I use leftover sauce from pasta night which is usually twice a week in our house. If you don’t have sauce you can always use jared sauce or add the same seasoning as you did to the meatloaf to a can of tomato sauce. Set crock pot for 6 hours on low.
Check the meatloaf at about the 6 hour mark to ensure it cooked throughly, though I have never had a problem with doneness.
I serve the meat loaf with extra sauce if you wish.
Crock Pot Italian Meatloaf
1 1/3 lb Ground Beef
1/3 cup Grated Romano Cheese (Parmesan works fine too)
1/4 tsp Powered Garlic
1/4 tsp Onion Power
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Parsley
3/4 c Italian Style Bread Crumbs
1/4 c Tomato Sauce plus some for serving later (I use leftover from pasta night.)
Spray your crock pot with cooking spray. Make two balls of crippled aluminum foil and place in the crockpot.
Place meat in a medium bowl. Add cheese and egg. Microwave for 45 seconds. (I do this so I don’t have to work with cold meat or at least that what my momma taught me). Next add the garlic, parsley, pepper, onion, and breadcrumbs. Mix throughly. Shape into loaf shape. Place on top of foil in crock pot. Pour 1/4 cup sauce on top of meatloaf. Set crock pot for 6 hours on low.
If I want a complete meal I sometimes add carrots and potatoes around the meatloaf. I will usually add 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the crock pot so the veggies don’t burn.