This fun surprise ingredient is not just for school lunches. And what fun it will be when your family and friends take the first bite. They won’t be expecting this!
Make these for your next party or simply try these Italian style meatballs for a dinner treat. Kids will have fun dipping them into the sauces. Try marinara or alfredo or other ideas you might have for the dipping sauces
We appreciate the author’s tips on how to make ahead for parties as well as the time saver oven method. Very flexible recipe.
SLOW COOKER MOZZARELLA STUFFED MEATBALLS
1 pound ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs (panko or regular, Italian seasoned or plain)
Chop each cheese stick into half inch pieces (about 6-8 pieces for each cheese stick). Place on a plate and chill in the freezer until ready to use.
Add ground beef, bread crumbs, egg and egg yolk, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to a bowl. Mush the ingredients together with your hands until everything comes together.
Remove cheese from freezer. Scoop out about 4 tablespoons of meat mixture and roll into a ball. Gently push a piece of chilled mozzarella into the middle of the meatball. Roll the ball in your hands to cover the hole where the mozzarella cheese was pushed in. Place inside a greased slow cooker and repeat with remaining meat and cheese.
When all meatballs are in the slow cooker (*see note for alternate cooking method), cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or on low 3-4 hours until meat it cooked through (no longer pink). The cheese may start melting out of the meatballs, that’s okay.
If desired, sprinkle with a bit of fresh chopped parsley or dried Italian seasoning for garnish and serve with your favorite marinara or alfredo sauce for dipping. Enjoy!
*For a quicker method, the meatballs can be baked. Follow directions to make meatballs, but instead of placing in the slow cooker, place meatballs 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until browned and cheese is melty.
**These can also be made ahead and frozen! Prepare the meatballs as instructed in the recipe but instead of putting them straight into the slow cooker (or the oven if baking), just place them side by side in a zip lock bag ( you may need two), seal and place in the freezer. When ready to cook them, follow recipe instructions and increase cooking time slightly to allow for thawing.
*This recipe makes about a dozen large meatballs. This works great for an appetizer or side dish. If you want to use this for a main dish, I’d recommend doubling the recipe to be safe.