Friday, October 7, 2011

Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs with Smokey Marinara

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I recently signed up for Pillsbury's daily newsletter.  I'm not a huge fan of their recipes mostly because they are not very healthy and they constantly use name brand items.  But, I did see this reicpe and thought it was a fun easy dish to make for me and my girls.
I wanted to add a bit more pizzazz, so I made my own smokey marinara (you can find the recipe here:  Smokey Marinara)  I really wanted to use bucatini noodles, but I couldn't find any at the store.  So, I settled for good ol' spaghetti.  I think next time I'll try a different cheese...the string cheese didn't melt very well.  But, all in all, it was a great dish.  :)

sticks (1 oz each) mozzarella string cheese, cut into 18 (3/4-inch) cubes
cup Progresso® Italian style bread crumbs
jar (48 oz) tomato pasta sauce (any variety)
1 1/2
lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
tablespoons finely chopped onion
teaspoon salt
teaspoon dried oregano leaves
oz uncooked spaghetti
cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese


Place cheese cubes in small resealable freezer plastic bag; seal bag and freeze at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 375°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix bread crumbs and 3 tablespoons of the pasta sauce. Stir in beef, onion, salt, oregano and egg. Shape mixture into 18 (2-inch) balls. Press 1 cheese cube into center of each ball, sealing it inside. Gently place in pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour remaining pasta sauce into 5-quart Dutch oven. Cover; heat to simmering over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Gently stir in meatballs; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are thoroughly cooked and no longer pink in center.

Meanwhile, cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package; keep warm.

Serve meatballs and sauce over spaghetti. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

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