You know a recipe is good when it pushes you out of your blogging slump. These Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs did just that. I couldn't wait to share them with you guys and I managed to schedule a few more posts while I was at it.
I saw these meatballs on my friend Jaida's blog and she raved about them, so I figured I'd give them a shot. I've been in a cooking rut lately, remaking a lot of old favorites rather than trying new stuff. We've been on a fresh mozzarella kick lately and I knew you couldn't go wrong stuffing it into a meatball. This was an incredibly easy meal to make, perfect for a weeknight. It took less than 10 minutes to make the meatballs and, bonus, I had frozen sauce in the freezer. It took longer to chop the ingredients for the salad I served on the side.
What I didn't expect was for these to be the most flavorful meatballs I've ever made. We were all blown away. Baby Girl said, "these aren't just good, Mommy. They're amazing, awesome and wonderful." It's been awhile since I've photographed dinner outside, so Baby Girl jumped at the chance to have her plate next to mine for a picture.
Despite the fact that I thought I'd sealed the meatballs well, most of mine broke open while they cooked. Fortunately, the cheese didn't really melt or leak out. Just make sure you really, really seal them well. I had 14 mozzarella balls, but you may want to stick with the 10-12 in the recipe below so there's more meat to fully encase the cheese.
Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
As seen on Sweet Beginnings
1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 lb lean ground beef
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
10-12 mini balls fresh mozzarella (bocconcini), or fresh mozzarella cut in small pieces
3 cups pasta sauce
Whisk the egg in a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, ground beef, chili powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and garlic and mix with your hands until combined.
Divide the meat into 10-12 balls (a couple of tablespoons each). Flatten each section of meat, then wrap it around one mozzarella ball. Squish the edges together to be sure it's sealed. Repeat this process until you've used up all the meat.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat (no need to add oil, there's plenty of fat in the meat). Add the meatballs and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, until well-browned.
Add the pasta sauce (enough to coat the bottom and come up about halfway up the meatballs) to the skillet. Simmer for about five minutes, turning the meatballs occasionally to coat them in the sauce.
Serve the meatballs over pasta or rice, as a sandwich, or by themselves.