Easy Weeknight Meals with Five Ingredients or Fewer

Today’s families keep busy schedules between work, school, homework, and extracurricular activities. The last thing any parent wants to wrestle with is deciding what’s for dinner and having to sweat over a hot stove for an hour. If you’re familiar with this nightly debate, here are some easy recipes with five ingredients or less to help save you from having to spend so much time in the kitchen and stressing over what to cook for dinner, so you can get to other things that really matter. In fact, these dishes are so simple and easy, older kids who help cook won’t even mind fixing dinner. The main ingredient for each meal is meatballs, so just buy frozen meatballs in bulk and get ready for an easy week of hassle-free meal prep. 

Spaghetti and Meatballs in the Slow Cooker

Spaghetti is usually an easy go-to dinner that almost everyone loves to eat (and day-old leftovers are even better!). In your slow cooker, pour a jar of spaghetti sauce in the bottom; place uncooked spaghetti noodles broken in half over the sauce; add four cups of beef broth; top off with meatballs. Cook on low for five to six hours; mix spaghetti, sauce, and meatballs well right before serving. 

Meatball Sandwiches in Marinara Sauce

There’s just something extra tasty and comforting about the combination of meatballs, melted cheese, and marinara sauce soaked in bread. Heat frozen meatballs in the microwave according to package instructions. In a hoagie roll, line meatballs along the entire length of the hoagie and drizzle marinara sauce on top, then top with slices of provolone cheese. Return to the microwave and heat in increments of 30 seconds until cheese is melted. If there are any leftovers, they also make great lunches the next day. 

Cheeseburger Meatball Sliders

Sliders of any kind make excellent serving sizes for kids, so these will be winners among the kids. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice dinner rolls in half and separate. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper and line with the bottom portion of the rolls. Put a slice of your favorite cheese over each bottom half, then add a meatball on top—one meatball per roll. Add another slice of cheese over the meatball and brush the tops with butter. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes until tops are golden brown. 

Italian Meatball Soup

There’s no food more soothing than soup on a cold day—or any day—and the longer it cooks, the better the meshing of flavors get. Just throw these few ingredients together in a slow cooker and forget about it until dinner. Combine four cups of chicken broth, frozen Italian meatballs (the best frozen meatballs to buy for this recipe and eliminates other ingredients you’d need), one 14.5-ounce can of Italian-style diced tomatoes, and one 15-ounce can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed). Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 1 1/2 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, stir and add two cups of chopped kale. 

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