Stuffed meatballs: it?s what?s inside that counts

I don?t know that my family ate meat?balls all that often during my childhood. We ate a lot of delicious meat sauce on our spaghetti, but that was about the extent of the meat in my pasta.

The Young family, on the other hand, has a tried and true meatball recipe that my mother-in-law makes several times a year and is greeted with cheers from the rest of them.

While I?m not at liberty to share that particular recipe with you, I did run across an easy meatball recipe that not only tastes awesome because of its seasoning, but also because each meatball has a big hunk of cheese in the middle.

This recipe comes from the blog ?Cr?me de la Crumb. You can find the original at lecremedela?crumb.com/2014/10/slow-cooker-mozzarella-stuffed-meatballs.html. The original recipe was meant to be made in a crock pot, so I included those instructions as well, but I made mine in the oven.

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Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko, which is a finer crumb)

2 eggs

3-4 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon basil

1/2 tablespoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

3-4 mozzarella cheese sticks

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (or prepare a slow cooker by spraying the crock with cooking spray).

Cut the cheese sticks into sixths and place the pieces in the freezer while completing the other steps.

In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, crumbs, eggs, garlic, onion powder, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and mix it until it?s well-combined (use your hands to really make it easier).

Roll the meat mixture into balls about the size of golf balls.

Remove the cheese from the freezer and push one cheese stick piece into each meatball, forming the meat back around it.

Place the finished meatballs in a 9×13-inch baking dish coated in cooking spray (or into the prepared crock).

If cooking in the oven, bake for 20 minutes until the meat is browned through.

If cooking in a slow cooker, cook on high for 1 to 2 hours or low for 3 to 4 hours until the meat is browned through.

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We ate our meatballs with spaghetti, and it was delicious, but you could also make a great meatball sandwich with these or eat them as an appetizer or a meal by themselves. The blog author also suggests that you can mix these up and freeze them in order to cook them later on (just remember your cook time will be longer if you?re cooking from frozen).

They?re definitely not Young family meatballs, but they still pleased the Young in my house, so I suppose that means they?re pretty darn good.

When not helping husband Joey with newspaper work, Lindsey teaches speech, debate and forensics at Haven High School. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.