I’m a big collector of cookbooks and one of my weekly “go-to’s” is the Skinnytaste Fast & Slow  cookbook.  Usually when I am reading through a cookbook I put markers on which recipes I want to cook. But with this book I’ve literally marked every page. This book is opened at least once a week sometimes more. There’s no doubt that Gina’s recipes are simple, easy to make and above all delicious. Her ingredients always inspire me to get out my confidence gloves and change it up a bit and create dishes that satisfy my palate and my families as well.   I’ve taken her Slow Cooker Italian Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini and changed it up by using Organic grass fed ground beef, grated onions, and Gluten free Panko breadcrumbs instead of whole wheat bread crumbs.



I kept the Zucchini, which I think is a great addition to any meatball to gain some veggie points for the day!  So give these meatballs a try and experiment for yourself  and remember even with certain dietary restrictions or if your just looking for a change in ingredients you can still have a Pasta Night in your house that will be delicious!


Here’s how to make it…



Serves 4


MEATBALLS (makes about 16-18)

  • 1 lb. Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef
  • 1 large Zucchini grated (squeeze out excess liquid)
  • ½ yellow Onion grated (squeeze out extra liquid)
  • ½ cup of Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Large egg
  • ½ tsp. Red Pepper Flake
  • ½ cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper



  • 1 can whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh Thyme leafs
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • ½ cup veggie stock (homemade preferably)
  • 1 tbsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 8 Oz of Pasta Noodles
  • Fresh Herb for garnish (I like Rosemary)




  1. In a large bowl combine all the meatball ingredients and mix well to combine.



  1. Form the meat mixture into meatballs. (Any size you want) Set aside.



  1. In a large skillet sauté the onions, garlic, and thyme until soft about 5-7 minutes.


  1. After the veggies are sautéed transfer the mixture plus the diced carrot to your Slow Cooker vessel and spread evenly on the bottom of the pot. I use an Instant Pot.



  1. Add the Stock and tomatoes to the Instant Pot and stir all ingredients together.



  1. Place the meatballs snug on top of the sauce and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.


  1. Once done remove the meatballs from the Instant Pot and set on a dish.


  1. Take an immersion Blender (or you can use a stand alone blender) and blend the sauce until it is a smooth consistency.



  1. After it’s all blended put the meatballs back into the pot, cover it and let it stay warm until your pasta is cooked.


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package in boiling salted water.


  1. Drain the pasta, get out a serving platter, layer the Pasta on the bottom and top it with the Meatballs and Tomato Sauce. Grate fresh Parmesan Cheese and garnish with your favorite herb.  Enjoy!





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