Today, my husband, Steve, and I were pretty out of sorts. I woke up at about 5 am with a panic attack (you know how it is, worrying about things you legitimately can do NOTHING about) and felt off for the rest of the day. I was grumpy, which caused Steve to become grumpy. Then I would try and rally and cheer up, but then he’d be grumpy because I was grumpy, which would make me grumpy in retaliation, which would make him try to rally and try to cheer up, but then… it was just a super vicious cycle all day. AND the house was a mess. AND the money was tight because the CAR was having issues. AND the babies were being mouthy.
Needless to say, by the time dinner rolled around, mommy was in NO mood.
So, for once in my life, I kept it simple.
And for that, I think I deserve a medal, because generally, simple is pretty much going against everything that I am as a person and, especially, as a home cook (My business card says “chef,” but sorry I’m not sorry, I lied.).
I made something that was inspired by a real life chef (Pamela Gram of The Pit Stop BBQ in Acton, CA) that has been something of an online mentor to me because she and I had a conversation about making keto-friendly meatballs last month. She was adamant that I not worry about the lack of breadcrumbs by doing something elaborate, and just stick with the basics by using more parmesan cheese. To prove her point, she made meatballs doing just that, but stuffed them with mozzarella. I’ve never made stuffed meatballs, but I figured that tonight was the night because I had about a cup left in the end of my mozzy bag from BJ’s, and I didn’t really want to be bothered with anything that required a great deal of effort today.
The result was actually fabulous, and I know that because everything that I made was eaten in its entirety, thanks, in no small part, to Aunt Angie stopping by to swiftly scarf down a plate, say hello to the girls, and fly off into the night again.
The following recipe is one of the few meals I made that truly took less than an hour.
Stuffed Meatballs with Bacon and Parmesan Broccoli
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 c fine grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 c coarse grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- 2 tsp dried Italian Herb seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbs roasted garlic olive oil (or regular olive oil plus another tsp garlic powder)
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 c shredded mozzarella
- 1 c Rao’s marinara + 1 c water (I blend these because I like smooth sauce, but that’s an extra step you don’t HAVE to take)
- 6 c frozen broccoli florets
- 4 oz (appx 4 tbs) butter
- 4 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled, and fat reserved
- 2 tbs roasted garlic olive oil (or 2 tbs olive oil plus 2 cloves minced garlic)
- 1/2 c parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400.
- In a large pot over medium heat, add all the ingredients for the broccoli EXCEPT the parmesan and bacon crumbles and cover. The only thing you’re going to do with this is stir it from time to time just to make sure nothing burns. Easiest side dish ever.
- Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the burger meat, the two different grates of parmesan, the egg, herbs, garlic powder, and pepper, and mix by hand to fully incorporate everything. Using a little over 2 oz of meat at a time, make a ball roughly the size of a golf ball in your hands, splat it down into a 1/4″ thick pancake, stick a clump of mozzarella in the middle, and package it all up like a little sack. Roll it up into a ball again and place it into the baking dish. Repeat to create 12 meatballs. (I actually ended up with 14, but the last two were tiny and I fed them to Hazel as a snack. Just for the sake of macros, I’m calling it an even 12 because that’s probably about right for what you’ll get if you’re super accurate.) Place in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the meatballs are browned.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest a few minutes.
- While the meatballs rest, remove the broccoli from heat, and toss with bacon bits and 1/2 c parmesan.
Seriously. That’s it.
Yield: 12 meatballs
Time: Roughly 45 minutes