I don’t normally go for recipes like this (frozen meatballs as an ingredient, and baked beans are more my husband’s thing than mine!), but I was hoping for something quick and easy and tasty–and it delivered.  Even better, this recipe was great as-is, but I believe it can be easily adapted to use up leftover ingredients you may have on hand in your fridge.  Click through here for the original recipe; I’ve also posted it below, but here are my comments:

  • The original recipe suggests cooking the veggies in the last 30 minutes.  Me, being impatient, threw everything in the crock pot all at once and let it do its thing–I didn’t let the frozen vegetables thaw before throwing them in, either.  I think the vegetables were a bit mushier than if I had added them at the end, but I did not mind the texture as a trade-off for convenience.
  • I bet this recipe would be successful using another type of canned beans (does anyone else have random beans at the back of their pantry?), any leftover vegetables you have on hand, and homemade meatballs.  I just love recipes like this which is adaptable to your taste and on-hand ingredients!
  • I would recommend keeping the stewed tomatoes because of their Italian seasoning.  If you choose to use other tomatoes (crushed, etc), you may want to add oregano and other seasonings.  And, add salt and pepper!  It’s not called for in the recipe, but it needed it.

Slow Cooker Meatball-Bean Stew
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 can (16 oz) baked beans, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1 box (12 oz) frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, sliced (2 cups)
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 1In 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix onion, baked beans, tomatoes and meatballs.
  • 2Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 to 7 hours.
  • 3Stir in zucchini and mixed vegetables. Increase heat setting to High. Cover; cook 20 to 30 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
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