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Mozzarella-Stuffed Kale-Wrapped Meatballs

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Back quite a few weeks ago, my neighbors brought me over a little kale plant! It was very wilted and very scrawny, but I planted it immediately and began taking good care of it. Below is after just a week or two, and already it was 5x’s it’s original size!! It was loving it’s new home, but sure did hate the sun!

Every day I had to move it back and forth on the deck, because, even just 30 minutes in partial sun, and it would totally collapse flat as a pancake. I tried to give it some sun a little at a time, hoping to “harden” it, but it just didn’t want any part of it.

So I just continued to nurture and spoil it. So be it.

 

kale plant before

 

 

It ended up doing spectacularly in it’s little pot on the deck! In only maybe a month, it was huge!

I needed to start harvesting the leaves, so this “little plant that could”, became my inspiration for this recipe! 😀

 

kale plant after

 

My hubby is NOT a fan of kale, though I love it. I sneak it in every chance I get from mac ‘n cheese to replacing iceberg lettuce on a burger!

It’s extremely versatile, and this time, it was going to be a cozy blanket for some homemade meatballs!

 

stuffed meatballs

 

They were going to need a bit more than just kale, though, so I decided to stuff them with fresh mozzarella before baking!

Don’t forget to pepper them before popping them into the oven! 😉

 

meatballs peppered

 

They smell heavenly baking, and my hubby was already drooling! I knew he wouldn’t put up too much of a fuss once he realized my evil plan… 😉

(Some of the cheese will leak out during baking. Don’t worry about it, just pile it right back up on top.)

 

stuffed meatballs baked

 

So, I went out to the deck and gave my babied kale it’s first real haircut!

 

kale ready

 

The leaves were just gorgeous!! Some type of flatter-leafed variety as compared to the frilled-edged kale that I was used to using from the store.

This was even better! 

 

meatball on kale leaf

 

I removed the thickest end of the stem, then wrapped each meatball in a leaf like a package. (Same as you would do stuffed cabbage).

 

meatballs wrapped in kale

 

I poured a little spaghetti sauce onto the bottom of a pan, and tucked the pretty little packages in, snuggling closely.

 

kale meatballs in pan

 

They then received a nice topping of more sauce…..

 

kale meatballs sauced

 

….and nice big handfuls of mozzarella & provolone cheese!

Lastly, I sprinkled the top with a pinch each of garlic salt, italian seasoning and oregano!

 

kale meatballs topped w cheese

 

And into the oven they went! 😀

 

kale meatballs baked

 

They smelled H E A V E N L Y baking!!!

 

kale meatballs baked close

 

And look how pretty they turned out!

 

kale meatballs corner

 

The kale was just slightly crisp-tender, not mushy like spinach, and made such a beautiful presentation on the table!

 

kale wrapped meatballs main

 

We enjoyed ours with some cooked pasta tossed in the extra sauce, a side salad, and a nicely toasted piece of garlic bread!

But you can serve these over a white, brown or wild rice pilaf, or even plain, buttered egg noodles. They can also stand by themselves and be enjoyed alongside some risotto, or even be served as an appetizer!

These really turned out delicious! I can’t wait to make other dishes from my still-ever-growing little kale plant! Hope you give these a try soon, too! I think you’ll really enjoy them! 😀

 

Yield: 4 servings

Mozzarella-Stuffed Kale-Wrapped Meatballs

Mozzarella-Stuffed Kale-Wrapped Meatballs

Ingredients

For Meatballs:

  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef, broken up well
  • 1/2 lb. mild or sweet ground Italian sausage, broken up well
  • 1/3 cup italian-seasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, Kraft canned kind ok
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried minced onions
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 6 thick slices fresh mozzarella

Rest of Ingredients:

  • 12 large fresh flat-edged kale leaves
  • one jar of your favorite spaghetti or marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella & provolone blend cheese, such as Sargento's
  • pinch each of italian seasoning, dried oregano and garlic salt

Instructions

  • For Meatballs: In large bowl, mix all ingredients WELL with hands. Pat into a mound, divide into fourths, and make 3 small thick mini patties out of each section totaling 12.
  • Tear fresh mozzarella slices into fourths, place two torn pieces into center of a meat patty, and form meat around cheese into a meatball. Continue with all making 12. Make sure they are sealed WELL.
  • Place onto sprayed or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in 375º oven for 20 minutes. Remove from sheet with spoon scraping away any fat and place onto plate. Cover and set aside. (*Some will leak, make sure you get the cheese and just place the excess cheese on top of each meatball. They will be fine when wrapped with the kale leaves.)
  • Rinse kale leaves and trim out bottom end of thickest part of stem. Spray a 13x9 (or smaller) pan or baking dish. Spread a thin layer of sauce (1/4 cup) onto bottom of pan.
  • Wrap each meatball like a package with a kale leaf and place into pan seam side down.
  • Top with 1 cup sauce spooning over kale packages. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, as much or little as you like, sprinkle top evenly with a little italian seasoning, oregano and garlic salt.
  • Pop into preheated 350º oven for about 30 minutes until cheese has melted and lightly browned if desired.
  • Serve hot.
  • Notes

    These are wonderful served with pasta, noodles, rice or alongside risotto.
    The rest of the sauce can be tossed with hot cooked pasta or frozen for a later use.
    These also make nice appetizers!


     

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