I love a good homemade meatball and I have experimented with many different recipes and cooking methods, but I think these are some of my favorites. Pizza Hut with their cheese stuffed crust pizza has nothing on these meatballs because they have a hunk of mozzarella stuffed right in the middle of them. This makes them really moist and yummy and if you have your kids help making these, they love to 'hide' that cheese in the middle. These are perfect for spaghetti and meatballs, meatball subs, or even cut in half and used in pizza casserole or lasagna. Here are the ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. ground chuck (ground beef is too fatty)
1/2 lb sausage (Italian or just breakfast sausage, you can also just use 1/2 lb ground pork)
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 pkg. dry Italian salad dressing mix
2 tsp. dry basil
1 tsp. dry oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup pasta sauce, tomato sauce, or ketchup
8 oz. block of mozzarella cheese cut in bite size cubes
Since I have a ton of fresh basil and oregano, I substituted about 1/4 cup of each of the fresh herbs that I snipped in small pieces with my kitchen shears. You have to use more of the fresh herbs than the dried ones. The dried herb's flavor is more concentrated.
For the pork, I used my old standby Purnell's medium flavored breakfast sausage. Italian sausage would be great also, but guys don't like the taste as well. Purnell's make an Italian sausage packaged just like the breakfast sausage also which would work great in these, but this is what I used:
Best sausage on the market...I promise!
This is what your mixture will look like. You really have to use your hands to do this. If that makes you queasy, get you a box of gloves to wear in the kitchen. It's more sanitary and keeps it off of you.
I use my smaller ice cream scoop to scoop the meatballs up. It helps to keep them uniform in size. I don't like a huge meatball so these are a little smaller than a golf ball. You do have to scoop enough meat to cover the cheese cube.
Cube the mozzarella cheese into bite size cubes. Make sure the cheese is cold, it cuts better and it is less likely to not cook out of the meatball.
Roll your meat ball and then stick a cheese cube in the center. Wrap the meat around the cube to completely cover.
Place these on a cookie sheet or pizza pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. I lined mine with nonstick Reynolds wrap...best thing ever invented. You can slide these back in the fridge until you are ready to cook them or cook them right away. I do think that the cheese stays in the middle better if they are chilled. Place these in a preheated 400 degree oven on the top rack for 30 minutes.
Halfway through the baking time, take a spoon and turn each meatball over to brown on the other side. If you don't do this, you will have a meatballs with one flat side and one rounded side.
You can put these right in the spaghetti sauce you are using once made or just put the number people want on each serving of spaghetti and then cover with the sauce, which is what I do. They are great for meatball subs also.