Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

It’s a cold and wet day in the Pacific Northwest, and frankly, I was running out of time and inspiration for dinner. I had thawed some ground turkey, so I started wracking my brain to think what I could do that wasn’t the same old thing and didn’t take too long.

I remember seeing Rachel Ray make a mozzarella stuffed meatball on the Food Network and thought how easy and yummy.  Her recipe uses sausage and doesn’t add anything extra to the meat mixture, but concentrates on a special sauce and garlic mashed potatoes.  All yummy and done in 30 minutes, but hers is still more complicated than mine.

1 ½ lb pkg. of ground turkey, ground beef, pork or sausage (Better yet, a mixture!)
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
½ med onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
10-12 Mini mozzarella balls, drained

16 oz jar of your favorite Pasta Sauce
Fresh veggies to add to your sauce if you like- Suggestions include spinach, mushrooms, sautéed onions

Saute the onions in a tablespoon of olive oil until transparent and starting to take on some pale golden color.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey with the breadcrumbs, egg and Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Add the sautéed onions and mix thoroughly.

Taking a small bundle of meat, a little bit larger than a golf ball, flatten out to a rough patty and place the mozzarella ball inside.  Wrap the meat around the cheese, and make sure to round out the meatball completely covering the cheese. 

Place the meatball on a baking sheet and continue until all the cheese and meat mixture is used.  Try to keep the balls uniform so that they all cook in the same amount of time.  I found myself pinching a bit of meat off the balls here and there,  to make sure I had enough to cover all my cheese balls and had uniform meatballs going into the oven.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Turkey doesn’t brown too much, but you might find that ground beef does.

I tossed my pasta with my sauce and made a bed for the meatballs and served it up hot.  You could add parmesan cheese if you desired.

Side Dish Inspirations
This a main course kind of meal, but here are some ideas to serve with it:
  • Green Salad and crusty French bread
  • Serve the meatballs on their own, with sides of mashed potatoes and a vegetable

What else would this technique work on???
You could easily use this technique on:
  • Serve it as an appetizer instead of a main course.
  • Use cubes of any cheese (cheddar cheese with a Mexican meat mixture???) instead of mozzarella.
  • Use a mixture of ground meat, or your favorite meatloaf recipe.

If you want to test your seasoning of any raw meatloaf type mixture to make sure it’s to your liking, take a rounded tablespoon of the meat and microwave it for 15-30 seconds.  It should be sufficiently cooked through (but HOT!) to taste and make sure you like it before you finish cooking the entire meal.

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