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Little Cheesy Meatballs

cheesy meatballs_edited-1

Little B requested meatballs. Since there was some ground beef in the fridge, how could I refuse? She wanted to ‘have a conversation’ (her favorite phrase lately) about what else to include in the balls besides meat. We decided on garlic, black olives and cheese. We tossed it all into a bowl and had a blast smooshing it all together with our hands. They were just yummy, especially for me with the spicy sauce on top. Little B ate them plain with a side of veggies. I was tempted by pasta and currently in the absence of spaghetti squash, but decided to serve these meatballs over some sauteed zucchini and top with some spicy sauce, which Little B did not care for. She has a pretty diverse palate, but has not yet acquired a taste for the hot side of spicy. We will work on that. Eat up!

Little Cheesy Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¾ cup black olives, chopped
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp dried parsley leaves
1 Tbsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper, ground

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set out mini muffin pans to accommodate approximately 40 meatballs (large baking sheets will work too, but the cheese might leak out a bit and leave the meatballs). In a large bowl add all ingredients. Pull up your sleeves up. Using your hands, squish all the ingredients together until well combined. Mold balls to about one inch in diameter and place one in each muffin spot. Bake for about 20 minutes until bubbly. Remove and let cool about five minutes before plating and serving.

To serve the meatballs as shown in the picture, it is easy to prepare stuff while the balls are baking. For the sauce combine a small can of tomato paste and medium size can of tomatoes and chiles (or just diced tomatoes if you want mild sauce). Let simmer with a sprinkle of salt until heated through. For the zucchini, cut up squash in two-inch pieces. Heat 1 – 2 Tbsp of butter, then add zucchini. Saute with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until softened a bit, about five minutes. Add the meatballs on top of the zucchini and under the sauce.

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