Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs

So I have a confession. I’ve been holding out on you with this recipe.  Well okay actually 2 recipes.. this beef and pork version and a chicken version (coming up soon). I have had it in my repertoire for some time that I had every intention of sharing with you but I got side tracked and ultimately I forgot about it.  See at times when I have a ton going on at once I can be that person that you can be having a full, deep conversation with and out of the corner of my eye I spy something shiny.  I will immediately lose focus and follow the sparkly thing. It doesn’t happen often but I’m human and it has happened.  Well this is one of those times.  It was like “so I think that the ITIL standard should be where we require…” SQUIRREL! and immediately I’ve ended mid sentence to concentrate on the other item.

I think as humans we all get distracted for various reasons – overworked, tired, sexy stranger, baby crying, laughter or if you’re like me… shiny/glittery things.  LOL Well these Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs will surely catch your eye and distract you from whatever you are doing.  Those delicate little juicy meatballs just exploding with melty cheese will trump whatever you’re concentrating on every time.  How can you not be drawn into these luscious little browned bits of heaven; so juicy, so tender.  And just barely peeking out is that melty, ooey gooey cheese molten like a river of lava cheese.
Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs

Well these caught my eye but more importantly they caught the eye of Mr. Fantabulous.  He had come into the house after working in his shop for hours starving and tired.  I had just pulled these babies out of the oven and they were at their peak.  He came in complaining about the weather (he is so not a cold weather person), that damn stupid rooster from next door that cannot tell friggen time (crow at sunrise, not all friggen day and night – stupid thing!) and that he was starving.  I mean he went a whole 4 hours without eating or a snack. Inhumane I know! But wait, let me go back to that damn stupid rooster.  Wait, let me go a bit further…. roosters as in more than 1 stupid thing that serves ZERO purpose other than to make more chickens/roosters.

You do NOT need a rooster to make eggs.  Did you know that?  I now do since living next to those people and their flippin’ grand-fathered in pseudo farm. See hens will produce their own eggs without the help of the stupid rooster.  Yes, stupid rooster.  Can you tell this is a sore spot for me?  The ONLY purpose those stupid things serve is to make more chicks.  Now these people do not raise chickens.  They only have them because it started as a science project.  Now these things have reproduced over and over.  We’ve asked 17 ways from Sunday to please get rid of the roosters as those damn things crow ALL NIGHT LONG and ALL DAY LONG! No literally… ALL FRIGGEN 24 HOURS!  But they are jerkface jerkwads and refuse to.  Now I’m not one to wish harm on any living thing but I would not be sad if they ran away… the roosters or the jerkface jerkwads.  Both pretty much suck *wink*

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See… there I go, sidetracked.  LOL  It’s a good thing I’m so pretty huh (as she pets her hair and bats her big baby blues) HAHA So yeah he was starving.  Well as he was mid complaint he spied these and immediately he started with “WOW, what are those?  Can we eat them now?  What’s that white stuff coming out?  Can we eat them? Is that cheese oozing out?  Why aren’t we eating them now?  They don’t look like traditional Italian meatballs, will I like them?  HELLO?  Why are we not eating them yet?” LOL

Dear God help me with that man!  So I plated 2 dishes just like in the pictures.  A few ladles of hot marinara sauce, the meatballs and a few slices of garlic bread. As he sat down the questions continued until he took that first bite and commence silence…

Silence, such a beautiful thing.  The only thing that made those moments even more perfect is his talking, with mouth open trying to suck in/blow out air as these meatballs that I just pulled out of the oven were super hot.  The man LOVED LOVED LOVED these.  Now normally when I serve meatballs they are either in pasta, as a hoagie or stuffed in manicotti. I never have served him just a plate of meatballs and sauce.  Now that type of serving of the meatballs is pretty standard in his family. The meatballs are always served on the side and eaten after the pasta.

Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs1

Spaghetti with meatballs is not an authentic Italian dish. Did you know that? If pasta and meatballs are served in the same meal, the two ingredients will be served separately – the spaghetti as a primi and the meatball(s) (polpettone or polpette) as a secondo. Spaghetti served with “red sauce” and topped with meatballs is an American creation. In general meatballs are inexpensive, hearty fare, and for Italian immigrants in America, they were an easy way to get a taste of home. But once the immigrants settled in “Americanized” meatballs were transformed from delicate to soup fodder into the fat, richly spiced, red sauce covered items we now so identify with Italian food.

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Now these meatballs were awesome the next day in a hollowed out chewy hoagie roll with just a bit of sauce.  Since they are stuffed with cheese there really isn’t a need to add more cheese on top but who am I kidding?  The left side of my body is made up of cheese.. there is never EVER too much cheese.  Ever!  Kind of like bacon… one cannot OD on bacon. Honestly from now on when I make meatball hoagies I will only use these type of meatballs.  The addition of the cheese in the middle was all kinds of awesometastic. Yes… awesometastic.. go with it.  You know me, I’m one for making up words.  It works for me and my personality.

And yes I did try these on top of spaghetti and honestly I didn’t like it.  It was ‘weird’ HOWEVER I did make baked meatball ziti and nestled these into the pasta bake and that I loved BIG TIME! I’m weird, I know.  It’s kinda like one of my girlfriends… she would rather set fire to her plate than eat a raw onion yet she will order onion rings every single time we go out.  No seriously… she’ll order a salad without onions (trust me, she’ll send it back if it comes with them on it), a cheeseburger with no onions (even sautéed) but onion rings instead of fries.  And every single time she gets an odd look from the wait staff.  I just smile and said “go with it”.

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Now as I mentioned earlier I do have 2 renditions of these – this beef and pork one and also a chicken one.  It’s not a simple swap chicken for beef/pork.  I tried it and they were too dry.  But be patient grasshopper.  I’ll be sharing that soon.  Since the SuperBowl is this weekend, this is a PERFECT dish to serve while you watch the commercials… er the game.  Sorry but I can’t get into the game this year as the Steelers aren’t in it and with all the controversy that is around the whole ‘deflated balls’, I just will watch the commercials and look at shiny things while the game is being played.  LOL

5.0 from 2 reviews
Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs
 
Author: 
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Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 XL eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 slices stale white bread, crusts removed and torn
  • 3 1/4 ounces grated Parmesan
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbl oregano
  • 1 Tbl basil
  • 1 1/2 tbl ground garlic
  • 1 1/4 tbl onion powder
  • 4-6 string mozzarella cheese sticks, each cut into 1/4” pieces (5 per stick)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a baking pan with foil and spray with olive oil.
  3. In a bowl add the bread and the milk, press down to soak the bread and let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes, strain the bread from the milk and place the wet bread in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients (except the string cheese pieces). You can discard the milk.
  5. With wet hands, shape half of the meatball and put 1 piece of string cheese in.
  6. Place additional meal on the outside and form into a tight meatball.
  7. In a medium non-stick pan over medium heat, pan sear the meatballs for 4-6 minutes per side until you create a brown pan seared crust.
  8. Remove from the pan and place on the foil lined tray.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until 165F.
  10. Serve with warm Marinara Sauce.

 

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer

It’s time for Tuesday’s Tip with um.. me *grin* So let’s taking baking and eggs; room temperature eggs to be specific.  Do you know why it’s so important to have your eggs at room temperature when you bake (okay there are a few recipes that want your eggs cold but they are few and far between)?

Tuesday Tip
When you add your eggs to your mixture, if they are cold/straight out of the fridge the mixture won’t emulsify properly. In cakes, if made with room-temperature eggs your cake will have a slightly finer, more even crumb. It is extremely important to use room-temperature eggs for cake batters that rely on whipping air into the beaten eggs, such as angel food and chiffon cakes, since cold egg whites don’t whip as well, resulting in a dense cake. With room temperature eggs, the whites and yolks will combine easier when whisking. This means that the eggs will disperse more evenly into the batter, making for even cooking and a lighter texture (because the eggs trap air).

What to do if you’re in a hurry and take your eggs straight out of the refrigerator? Easy. Just put the eggs in a bowl of fairly warm water for about 10-15 minutes. When I am making either a cake or cupcakes I take my eggs out first and put them in warm water while I am getting the rest of my ingredients. By the time I get to the step in the recipe where the eggs are to be added to the batter, they have warmed up to room temperature.

Weekly Menu

Honestly I don’t think I have ever been this happy for a week to be over. Dear God world can I catch a break?  First my website goes down for 24 hours, THEN my windshield cracks all the way across on the car I JUST got back from that damn friggen deer that opted to use my car as its means for suicide, next I lost not only my insurance card but also my registration and lastly my ortho surgeon that I was to see on Thursday for my shoulder that is just killing me had to reschedule due to an emergency.  I’m beyond done.  Wait… is there another step past done?   *raises eye brow, curls one lip and thinks*  Hmmm…

But yeah this week has been hell!  My brain actually hurts from thinking too much.  And now my butt and legs are killing me as I went super hardcore at the gym during spinning (thank GOD I can do that again!  I so missed it though my tummy and thighs missed it more… trust me, my pants are ever so grateful!).  You know it’s a great workout when you have to break out your inhaler (I have asthma) not once but twice during class!  I literally was cherry red face, sweaty in places that are completely unbecoming of a woman and LOVED EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE!

1-25-15

Yesterday I had a super, SUPER busy day as I hit the gym early, ran to 3 stores and then came home to power cook for Mr. Fantabulous for a few days.  See I’m in a conference starting today and will not be home until Wednesday night.  Now to know my husband, you know all full well that I’m getting a HUGE guilt trip for “abandoning him” as he’s “going to starve” and he may die of hypothermia “as the clothes won’t be washed”.  LOL I mean it’s 3 days… you’d think I was leaving for a month. However me being the wife that I am went into  bionic mode today food-wise.  The dinners for Monday – Thursday AND the Dessert of the week are already done so all he has to do is plate them and heat them up.

And yes I’ll get the guilt trip for him having to “do the cooking” as that means he’ll have to make a plate and heat it up.  God, how will he ever manage!  LOL  If you would have heard him on the phone the other night with his best friend and then Mama Fantabulous you would have thought I was flat out neglecting him.  At one point I got annoyed (he’s joking by the way) that I threw the box of tissues at him and told him to wipe his eyes as his mascara was going to run. Big baby!  But it’s endearing when he plays like this.  He’s completely fine with my having to go to this conference.  He just hates being with out me.  Then again I’m the same way.  A few hours, sure but for days in a row… no.  I hate that as does he.

It’s funny when you’re with someone for so long you often say or think “Man I just need time to myself” and we may wish for a week or even a day but honestly after a few hours of him not being around when I’m home I hate it.  I miss him being there. It’s like a part of me is missing and I can feel it.

So this week I’m asking a favor, send him some love on Facebook (he reads everything) or leave him a comment in here.  And to our friends that live near by, check on the man to make sure he’s not malnourished.  Perhaps take him out to eat but um… you may need to bring the credit card or take out a 2nd mortgage *wink* The man can eat!  But you love him; how can you not?  He’s amazing.  He’s truly Mr. Fantabulous!

Here’s to an amazing week for us!

Best Kitchen Wishes!

♥ Monday -Italian Style Pot Roast
Tuesday - Honey Sesame Chicken
Wednesday - Pork Ragu
Thursday - Caramelized Onion Bacon Burgers
Friday - Indoor Grilled Traditional Pizza
Saturday - Roasted Cornish Hens
Sunday - Kickin’ Chicken Enchiladas
Dessert of the week - Fudge Ripple Turtle Brownies

Fudge Ripple Turtle Brownies

So yes I know I’m totally evil and I know you’re trying to lose weight but I just had to… just had to I tell you. It’s been one hell of a week and *I* need cheered up therefore you need cheered up (go with it, k?!) I don’t even know where to start… First my web hosting server crashed my site.  I couldn’t even log in to get my backup files and pretty much was having a heart attack.  Then I was told it would take 24-48 hours to get it remediated.  What?  24-48 hours?  Are you serious?  I have a conniption if it’s more than 30 minutes!  My site not up and running hurts my brand, my followers and my income! Now my brand and income I can deal with… it happens but knowing you guys can’t get to my recipes now that bothers me the most.  I hate knowing I disappointed someone even if it was unintentional.

Fudge Ripple Turtle Brownies3

Now while this had occurred I got home only to notice that on my car that I *just* got back from the collision center there was a dime-sized chip and an 8″ long crack in my windshield.  Yeah I know… seriously!  But I had to run into the house to tinkle (TMI I know) first.  Priorities people! So then I go to get my insurance car only to not find it.  Now in any normal house you have stuff in place or maybe just a few things out-of-place.  Yeah, not in my house.  Since we’ve had this 7-year-long construction project stuff is EVERYWHERE so to find things in this house is worse than a needle in a haystack.  However I actually understand the disarray and keep it as organized as possible (for the 5 minutes Mr. Fantabulous isn’t near the house… *sigh*). Yes I also lost my insurance card and car registration!
Come to the darkside, we have brownies!

Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer

It’s time for Tuesday’s Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer and today we’re going to talk about spices. LOL Wha? I can’t help it. It’s just something that will pop up in my head whenever I hear the word spice. I know, I’m a dork but hey, you love me… right??? <insert excessive batting of the baby blues here>

With the holidays long gone I’m sure it’s about time to restock your pantry with chocolate chips, nuts and spices.  Now while you may still be sticking to your new year’s resolution eat healthier, we can overlook the chocolate for now (yes I’m shocked too that I just uttered those words) and concentrate on your spices.

Tuesday Tip
Dried spices have a shelf life; meaning they actually do go bad and expire. When’s the last time you used that container of paprika or marjoram? Has the paprika changed from a fiery bright orange to more a brownish rusty hue? But the real test to see if they are any good? Smell ‘em. Your nose, knows.  Remove the spice from the jar and take a whiff. *Note if you have asthma you may not want to do this.  Trust me, it’s hell getting a nostril full of nutmeg and the not being able to breath. However when you smell them,  the smell will be really strong. With herbs, you want to go one step further and rub them between your fingers. If the smell still isn’t strong,  they’ve probably lost their luster. (Sometimes herbs don’t smell in the jar, but when rubbed they smell — so they’re still good to go.

So how often should you replace them?  The general rule of thumb is every 6 months but if you keep them in a dark, dry area in an air tight container they can last up to a year.  You want to ensure that the spice jar is tightly capped and kept away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight (don’t store your spices over the stove, dishwasher, sink or near a window). You might also consider refrigerating spices that belong to the red pepper family — like paprika and chili power. This will help them retain color and freshness.

What I will often do is buy the spices in bulk and make up some spice jars for holiday gifts.  It saves me a couple of bucks and this way I know my friends are using fresh spices.  Normally I write a note on the basket saying “Out with the old and in with the new!  Toss your old spices!”

 

Spare some dough

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