Spicy Stuffed Spinach Meatballs


I know, I know. It has been nigh a month since my last post. I would feel really guilty if I didn’t have a pocket full of really good reasons for being so negligent. First and foremost, I am pregnant, which means that lately a lot of my recipes have consisted of  “you know what sounds good? THIS chocolate and THIS fruit! let’s put it in the Vitamix! whee!” which really doesn’t make for an interesting read, or a recipe that isn’t completely basic and boring. Also I was a bit wrapped up in marrying this guy. Isn’t he the cutest?


We wrote our own vows and escaped for the day, just the two of us. Oh and we made dirt cake. With love snails.

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That dirt cake was fantastic, by the way. We made it with homemade caramel pudding and freshly whipped cream and reached a new level of cookies and cream nirvana. If you are coming to our baby shower at the end of June, be excited, because I am making another one.

See, told you. Great excuses. But I’m glad to be back.

Occasionally I will have a really, really good idea, in response to which Evan’s eyes bug out a little, and he just says “YES! NOW!” In the flurry of marriage vows and blended drinks, one such idea came to me. On my list of “truly great, yet very-doable-for-a-weeknight” foods, spinach loaf, meat loaf, and meat balls all come out near the top. On my list of favorite flavors, “cheese” and “spicy sweet” are probably top 5, maybe even top 3. There was a day recently when I wanted all of those things in my mouth, simultaneously, asap. So I went home and made it happen.

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These meatballs/mini meat loaves are based loosely on a recipe given to me by my grandmother, but they have been altered a considerable amount.  They are a perfect storm of meatloaf, meatballs, spinach loaf, cheesy goodness, and spicy sweetness and they will wreak absolute and amazing havoc on your taste buds. I halved the amount of meat, added a pack of thawed, drained spinach, and about tripled the amount of bread crumbs. I also added some crushed red pepper for good measure, then loaded them with pepperjack cheese.

These balls are coated in spicy-sweet glaze based on my favorite meat toppings, ketchup and sriracha. If you have yet to try the genius combination of slightly sweet, salty ketchup and distinctly spicy sriracha, then make your first time really special with this recipe. You could even light some candles if you’d like. I didn’t eat them in the bath, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t. Yes, they’re that good. I am already counting the days until I make them again.

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Spicy Stuffed Spinach Meatballs
recipe largely my own, partly my grandmother’s

1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 egg
1 stale hard roll or hamburger bun (or a fresh one, dried out in the oven a bit)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
about 1.5 oz pepperjack cheese (I used two deli slices), cut into 18 chunks

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sriracha
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp diced jalepeno

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine spinach, spices, meat, and egg (you can use your hands, a fork, a potato masher, or my personal favorite, a pastry cutter). Tear bread into small pieces and incorporate into meat mixture. Grease a 9″x18″ casserole dish. Form the meal mixture into 18 walnut-to-golfball-sized balls (if you find that the mixture is sticking to your fingers, try wetting your hands a bit first). Insert a cube of cheese into the center of each ball, then reform the ball around it so that the cheese is completely covered.

In a medium bowl, combine all sauce ingredients and mix well. Pour over meat balls and turn them to completely coat them in the sauce. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, basting once. Serve with pasta or mashed potatoes and green salad, or pop a few into a toasted hoagie bun for a new experience in meatball sandwiches.


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