Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs

2 lbs. lean ground beef
2/3 c. uncooked white rice
1/2 c. milk
1 beaten egg
2 cloves, garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (14 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 c. beef broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. red wine
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen pepper & onion stir fry vegetable blend*
3 cloves garlic, minced
(*You can substitute fresh red and green bell peppers and yellow onion, cut into strips, for the frozen pepper mix.)

Thoroughly combine ground beef, rice, milk, egg, two cloves garlic, one teaspoon basil and salt in a bowl. Form mixture into about 16 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and brown meatballs well on all sides, about 15 minutes. Place spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, beef broth, red wine, one teaspoon basil, cayenne pepper, bay leaves and three minced garlic cloves in slow cooker and stir to combine. Put meatballs into slow cooker and stir gently to cover with sauce. Shake frozen vegetables over sauce, without stirring, and cook on low, covered, for six – eight hours until meatballs are tender and vegetables are cooked. About an hour before serving gently stir sauce, being careful not to break the meatballs, and remove bay leaves. Cook for one more hour to blend flavors and thicken sauce. Serve over pasta or with crusty bread.