Slow Cooker Meatball Subs

These Slow Cooker Meatball Subs are extra tender and flavorful thanks to a low and slow simmer in marinara sauce.

The post Slow Cooker Meatball Subs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I think I just fell in love with my slow cooker again. These slow cooker meatball subs are so incredibly tender, flavorful, and just all-around decadent thanks to that low and slow simmer in marinara sauce. It’s magical! And the best part is that this recipe makes a pretty big batch, so you can freeze half for later (use them in subs or on pasta)! Cook once, eat twice. 🙌

Overhead view of slow cooker meatball subs lined up in a row.

Do I Have to Use a Slow Cooker?

You don’t have to use a slow cooker to make these amazing homemade meatball subs, but I’m telling you right now that you want to. That low and slow simmer in the sauce makes the most incredibly tender and flavorful meatballs you’ll ever eat. If you don’t have a slow cooker, follow the cooking instructions for my basic homemade meatballs, then pile them into your buns, top with cheese, and bake till the cheese is melted.

What Kind of Sauce to Use

I tested this recipe with the most basic, inexpensive, generic marinara sauce I could find at the grocery store to make sure they were still totally delicious even if you can’t spring for an expensive sauce. But feel free to use your favorite store-bought or homemade marinara sauce for these meatballs. You’ll need 3 cups of sauce, in total.

Freeze Half for Later!

This recipe makes about 24 hefty meatballs so if you use three meatballs per sub you’ll get 8 sandwiches. If that’s a little too much for your household to eat within a few days, go ahead and freeze half of the meatballs and sauce to use on pasta or more subs later! You can reheat the frozen sauce and meatballs in the microwave or in a saucepot over low heat.

P.S. We reheated the assembled meatball subs from the photos in the air fryer the next day and they were BOMB! We air fried at 350°F for about five minutes for the most delicious leftovers ever.

Side view of a meatball sub on a plate with the baking dish in the background.
Side view of a meatball sub on a plate with the baking dish in the background.

Slow Cooker Meatball Subs

These Slow Cooker Meatball Subs are extra tender and flavorful thanks to a low and slow simmer in marinara sauce.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $19.43 recipe / $2.43 each
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 subs
Calories 506kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs $0.32
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan $0.88
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 2 large eggs $0.39
  • 1/4 cup milk $0.05
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage $4.99
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (90% lean or higher) $6.99

Subs

  • 8 buns or rolls $3.50
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella $0.62

Instructions

  • Lightly whisk two large eggs in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the Italian sausage and ground beef to a large bowl with the whisked egg, breadcrumb mixture, and milk Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. Avoid overmixing the meat.
  • Divide and shape the meat into 24 meatballs, about 3 Tbps each. The easiest way to do this is to first divide the meat mixture into four equal portions, then divide each of those in half to make eight equal portions. Finally, divide each of the 8 portions of meat into thirds and shape them into balls to make 24 meatballs.
  • Place half of the meatballs in the bottom of a slow cooker in a single layer and cover with half of the marinara sauce. Add the rest of the meatballs then top with the remaining sauce.
  • Cook the meatballs on high for three hours or low for six hours.
  • After cooking, use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the meatballs has reached 165°F. Give the meatballs and sauce a good stir to remix the sauce (there will be some fat pooling on the surface).
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the buns on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, then pile three meatballs into each bun. Spoon some of the extra sauce over each one. Top each sub with a little shredded cheese.
  • Bake the meatball subs in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the buns are toasty. Enjoy hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sub | Calories: 506kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 943mg | Fiber: 2g
Close up side view of slow cooker meatball subs lined up and garnished with parsley.

How to Make Slow Cooker Meatball Subs – Step by Step Photos

egg and breadcrumb mixture

Lightly whisk two large eggs in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine ½ cup breadcrumbs, ½ cup grated Parmesan, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Pre-mixing these ingredients helps them incorporate more evenly into the meat without having to overmix the meat.

Meatball ingredients in a bowl

Add the whisked egg, breadcrumb mixture, ¼ cup milk, 1 lb. Italian sausage, and 1 lb. ground beef to a bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together.

Shaped meatballs one held in a hand.

Divide and shape the meat mixture into 24 meatballs. The easiest way to divide the mixture evenly is to first divide it into four equal portions. Divide each of those in half to make eight equal-sized pieces. Finally, dive each of the eight sections into three meatballs.

Sauce being poured over the meatballs in the slow cooker.

Add half of the meatballs to the slow cooker in a single layer, then cover with half of the marinara sauce. Add the rest of the meatballs in a second layer and pour the remaining sauce over top, making sure all the meatballs are covered in sauce.

Lid being placed on the slow cooker.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for three hours or low for six hours.

Slow cooked meatballs in the slow cooker.

After cooking, use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the meatballs has reached 165°F. You’ll see some fat pooling on the surface, but don’t worry, that deliciousness will be stirred right back into the sauce.

Finished slow cooker meatballs in the slow cooker.

Stir the meatballs in the sauce to make sure everything is evenly combined. These meatballs can now be used in subs or even on a plate of pasta!

Meatballs in subs in a baking dish.

To make the meatball subs, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place your buns on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Fill each bun with three meatballs and spoon some of the sauce over top.

Shredded mozzarella on the meatball subs.

Top each sub with a little shredded mozzarella.

Baked meatball subs in the baking dish.

Bake the meatball subs in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the buns are toasty.

Overhead view of baked meatball subs garnished with parsley.

Enjoy the meatballs hot! I garnished with chopped parsley for some color, but the parsley isn’t needed for flavor. :)

Side view of a meatball sub on a plate with the baking dish in the back.

TRY THESE OTHER MEATBALL RECIPES:

The post Slow Cooker Meatball Subs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches

Slow cooker recipes are always nice to have in your back pocket. I love a good set it and forget it recipe. Josh and the boys absolutely love these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches. They request them often and I don’t mind because they are eas…

Slow cooker recipes are always nice to have in your back pocket. I love a good set it and forget it recipe. Josh and the boys absolutely love these Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches. They request them often and I don’t mind because they are easy to make. There is only a little prep involved…

The post Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

These Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches are an easy vegetarian dish with plenty of options for customizing to fit your tastes and budget.

The post Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I had a craving for a grilled eggplant sandwich the other day but 1) I don’t have a grill and 2) that sounded like a lot of work, so I made this quick skillet version instead. The resulting Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches are a “meaty” combo of sautéed eggplant drenched with marinara sauce, piled high onto a garlic butter toasted bun, then topped off with melty mozzarella cheese. YES PLEASE.

Three Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches on a wooden board

What to Serve with Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

These eggplant sandwiches are pretty filling, so I would pair them with something super simple, like a very basic side salad (greens + vinaigrette) to kind of lighten up the plate. Or, if you want something more vegetable-packed, they would be awesome with Marinated Cauliflower Salad, Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes, Garlic Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower, or Simple Sautéed Vegetables.

Sandwich Sizes and Servings

This recipe makes about 3-4 sandwiches, depending on the size of your eggplant and the size of your rolls or buns. I used hoagie buns that were about 6 inches in length and an eggplant that was about 8-inches long and I was able to make three large sandwiches. If you were to use round rolls, you’d probably get four piled-high sandwiches.

How to Store Leftovers

These sandwiches definitely need to be consumed right when they’re assembled, so if you’re in a smaller household that won’t be eating all three or four sandwiches at once, make sure to store the components separately. Keep the sautéed eggplant with red sauce in its own container and reheat either in a skillet or in the microwave. Butter and toast your bread just before assembly, then add the eggplant and cheese, and briefly heat to melt the cheese.

Mozzarella Options

I used fresh mozzarella because it melts so beautifully and I can get it for a decent price. If fresh mozzarella is not available or not available at a reasonable price, you can use shredded mozzarella instead. Full-fat mozzarella will always melt better than part-skim, but part-skim will work in a pinch.

three eggplant mozzarella sandwiches in a line, angled away from the camera
front view of one eggplant mozzarella sandwich

Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches

Total Cost $6.41 recipe / $2.14 each
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 to 4 sandwiches
Calories 455kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant (8" length) $1.49
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning $0.10
  • 1 cup marinara sauce $0.50
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 4 rolls $1.53
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.11
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 4 oz. mozzarella $2.00

Instructions

  • Cube the eggplant into ½-inch cubes. Mince the garlic.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add the cubed eggplant and Italian seasoning. Continue to sauté until the eggplant is soft (5-7 minutes).
  • Add the marinara sauce to the skillet with the eggplant, stir to combine, then heat through (3-5 minutes). Taste and season with salt (about ½ tsp).
  • Preheat the boiler on your oven and make sure the oven rack is positioned in the middle. Combine the second 2 Tbsp olive oil with the butter and garlic powder. Microwave for 15-30 seconds to melt the butter, then stir to combine.
  • Place the buns on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Brush the butter and olive oil mixture over the cut surfaces of the rolls. Bake under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they are just barely golden brown (watch them closely as broilers can vary).
  • After removing the rolls from the oven, switch the setting from broil to bake (350ºF). Pile the eggplant mixture onto the toasted rolls, then top with mozzarella. Return the sandwiches to the hot oven and bake for about 5 minutes more, or until the mozzarella is melted. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 1110mg | Fiber: 6g
front view of one eggplant mozzarella sandwich

How to Make Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches – Step by Step Photos

Cubed eggplant

Cube one eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Mince two cloves of garlic.

Minced garlic in oil in a skillet

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Cubed eggplant in the skillet with Italian seasoning

Add the cubed eggplant and 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Continue to sauté until the eggplant is soft (5-7 minutes).

Marinara sauce being added to sautéed eggplant in the skillet

Once the eggplant is soft, add 1 cup marinara sauce.

Finished eggplant with marinara in the skillet

Stir to combine the eggplant and sauce, then heat through. Taste and season with salt (about ½ tsp).

Garlic butter and oil being brushed onto rolls

Preheat the broiler on your oven and make sure the oven’s rack is in the middle position. Place your buns or rolls on a baking sheet, cut side up. Combine the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp butter, and ¼ tsp garlic powder. Microwave for 15-30 seconds, or until melted, then stir to combine. Brush the butter and oil mixture over the cut surface of the rolls.

Eggplant mixture being spooned onto toasted rolls

Toast the rolls under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until they are barely golden brown. Watch them closely, as broilers can vary quite a bit. Once toasted, switch the oven’s setting from broil to bake (350ºF). Spoon the eggplant mixture onto the rolls.

sandwiches topped with mozzarella

Top the eggplant mixture with mozzarella (about 1 oz. per sandwich).

Baked eggplant sandwiches on the baking sheet

Return the sandwiches to the oven and bake for a few minutes more, or until the mozzarella is melted.

Eggplant sandwiches ready to serve

Serve the eggplant mozzarella sandwiches while they’re still hot! (I added a little chopped parsley for color, but it’s not needed for flavor)

three stacked eggplant mozzarella sandwiches on a wooden board

The post Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwiches appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Craving BBQ, but don’t have a pit? These Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches only take about 30 minutes to make and cost only a couple of bucks a piece, making them a really fast, inexpensive, and tasty way to kill that BBQ craving. Keep this recipe in your back pocket because you’ll be pulling it out […]

The post Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Craving BBQ, but don’t have a pit? These Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches only take about 30 minutes to make and cost only a couple of bucks a piece, making them a really fast, inexpensive, and tasty way to kill that BBQ craving. Keep this recipe in your back pocket because you’ll be pulling it out often for quick weeknight dinners!

Two Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, one on a wooden cutting board

This recipe utilizes my Quick BBQ Chicken recipe, which I created as a sort of “à la carte” meat option for households who are trying to feed both meat-eaters and vegetarians. In addition to adding this super simple BBQ chicken to other recipes, it can also be used to make sandwiches and wraps, like this one! 

Coleslaw Options

I really like the combination of BBQ and ranch dressing, so I made a quick “ranch slaw” for this sandwich using bagged coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) and a thick ranch dressing as the dressing. If you’re not into ranch (many people aren’t), try my classic creamy coleslaw recipe instead. It also goes great with BBQ!

Other BBQ Chicken Sandwich Topping Ideas

I kept my BBQ Chicken Sandwiches simple, because that’s how I roll, but if you like to get fancy, here are some other things you can add on top of your sandwich:

  • Pickles
  • French Fried Onions
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Fresh red onions
  • Sliced avocado
  • Bacon
  • Pineapple slices

What Kind of BBQ Sauce is Best?

You can use pretty much any type of BBQ sauce for this recipe, so I suggest going with whatever brand or flavor that you like the best. I’m not too picky about BBQ sauce, so I used what I had on hand, which was a Kroger brand hickory smoke flavored BBQ sauce. I also tend to like Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauces, so that’s another affordable option. Or, you can even try making your own Homemade BBQ Sauce.

What to Serve with BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

I’m a big fan of sweet potatoes with BBQ, so I love Spicy Sweet Potato Fries as a side for these BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. Thick cut Steak Fries (and maybe some Comeback Sauce) would also be awesome on the side. If you’re looking for something a little more fresh and vibrant to lighten up the plate, try Cowboy Caviar!

Front view of a single Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwich on a wooden cutting board

 

 

Front view of a single Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwich on a wooden cutting board

Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

These Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches are a fast, easy, and delicious way to satisfy your BBQ craving. No grill needed! Perfect for busy weeknights.
Total Cost $7.04 recipe / $1.76 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 415.23kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs $2.99
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce $0.11
  • 7 oz. coleslaw mix* $0.65
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.20
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing $0.37
  • 4 buns $2.49

Instructions

  • Combine the smoked paprika, garlic, powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Cut any large chicken thighs in half to make them more sandwich-sized (you'll want four pieces total). Season both sides of the chicken thighs with the prepared spice mix.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the seasoned chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken thighs are well browned and cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the heat and brush BBQ sauce over both sides of each piece.
  • Add the coleslaw mix, sliced green onions, and ranch dressing to a bowl. Stir until everything is combined and evenly coated in dressing.
  • To build the sandwiches, place one piece of BBQ chicken on each bun and top with a heaping scoop of the ranch slaw. Serve immediately.

Notes

* This is a bagged mix of pre-shredded cabbage and carrots. I used half of a 14oz. bag.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 415.23kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.28g | Protein: 28.18g | Fat: 18.73g | Sodium: 1552.98mg | Fiber: 2.3g

Looking for a vegetarian option? Try my BBQ Tofu Sliders.

How to Make Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches – Step by Step Photos

Seasoned chicken thighs on an orange cutting board

In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Cut any large chicken thighs in half to make them more sandwich-sized. You’ll need about 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with the prepared spices.

Cooked chicken thighs in a skillet

Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, swirl the oil in the skillet to coat the surface, then add the seasoned thighs. Cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, or until they are well browned and cooked through.

BBQ sauce being brushed onto chicken thighs in the skillet

Turn off the heat and brush BBQ sauce over both sides of the chicken pieces (about ¼ cup in total).

Ranch slaw ingredients in a mixing bowl

To make the ranch slaw, combine 7 oz. (half of a 14 oz. bag) of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots), 2 sliced green onions, and ¼ cup ranch dressing.

Finished ranch slaw in a mixing bowl

Stir until everything is combined and coated in dressing.

BBQ chicken sandwich being built on a wooden cutting board

To build the BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, place one piece of chicken on a bun and top with a heaping scoop of the ranch slaw.

Two BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, one on a cutting board, the other in the background.

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