How to make cheese-stuffed meatballs

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The chances are, any meatball recipe you've ever seen involves some kind of cheese. And while it's standard to incorporate grated Parmesan cheese into the actual meat, there it becomes lost and unrecognizable. So what if you stuffed a block of cheese right into the middle of the meatball, and let it melt and get all gooey inside while it cooks? It certainly won't be lost, and you'll have a great dish to indulge in.
Frozen meatballs won't work here, so there is just a bit of work in assembling them beforehand. After that, though, they'll cook completely through in the slow cooker and become perfectly browned and delicious. The cheese will also stay intact until you cut the meatball open to reveal the surprise inside! If you want to serve them in sauce, just pour that over before setting the slow cooker, or you can choose to serve it on the side as a dip.
Slow cooker cheese-stuffed meatballs
20 minutes
4 hours, 30 minutes
4 hours, 50 minutes
1 pound (450 g) lean ground beef
1/2 cup (125 ml) Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (60 ml) panko bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon (15 ml) garlic powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) dried oregano
1 tablespoon (15 ml) dried basil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) onion powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
3 - 4 mozzarella cheese sticks, cut into 1/2" pieces
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Arrange the cut mozzarella cheese sticks in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Combine the ground beef, panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix all ingredients thoroughly. Scoop out about 3 tablespoons of meat mixture, shape into a meatball, and set aside on a baking sheet.
After meatballs are all formed and mozzarella sticks are slightly frozen, remove the cheese from the freezer. One at a time, gently push one of the cheese stick pieces into one meatball so it sits in the center of the meatball. Seal up the sides so that the cheese is completely encased. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.
Grease a 6-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray, or place sauce inside, if using. Place meatballs inside, cover the slow cooker with the lid, and set to low. Cook for 4 hours, or until the meat is completely cooked through and no longer pink inside.
Pro tip: Want a really unique spin on this recipe? Use ground pork and stuff it with a small piece of crisp apple. It will all cook together for a delicious fall meal!
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