Prior to every Super Bowl Sunday, Ben sits me down and sketches an Xs and Os football strategy refresh. Instead, all I see are toothpicks for Xs and Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs for Os.
I’ve never claimed to be a football strategy whiz.
At the beginning of the game, I mentally note my team’s uniform color and the direction they should be marching down the field, then hope the rest will be intuitive. I cheer when others cheer and scowl when others yell expletives.
Occasionally, I forget which direction we are supposed to be going and clap at an inappropriate moment.
With a plate of Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs at my disposal, however, I’m immediately forgiven by even the most fervent of fans.
To make Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs, we start with a tasty combination of tart shredded apple, spicy red onion, and healthy ground chicken.
For extra warmth, we add a pinch of cinnamon, garlic for oomph, and panko breadcrumbs for their binder-prowess. It’s a yummy, meaty, tangy-sweet meatball mix.
I know what you are thinking—let’s stuff that juicy apple chicken meatball with extra sharp cheddar cheese. Good, I was thinking that too.
Each succulent chicken meatball is a mini package of decadent, gooey cheddar ooze. Sharp cheddar bursts in every bite, complementing the apple-y sweetness of the meatballs.
As with any self-respecting meatball, the crowing glory of our Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs is the sauce.
Inspired by the flavors of my Apple Butter Cheddar and Turkey Grilled Cheese (a reader favorite recipe), I created a killer 10-second meatball sauce by stirring together two easy ingredients apple butter and barbeque sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s to be specific).
The mellow fruitiness of the apple butter enhances the fresh apple flavor in our meatball mix, and the barbeque sauce adds savoryness and sass.
Stir in a pat of butter for richness, and we have a 5-star sauce for minimal effort. Touchdown!
If the prospect of juicy meatballs exploding with cheddar cheese hasn’t convinced you to add Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs to your Super Bowl menu, one final selling point: Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs are slow-cooker friendly.
Place the baked meatballs in your slow cooker, pour the apple butter barbeque sauce over the top, and boom! Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs are ready to party.
Sassy apple chicken meatballs, bathed in a sweet-tangy sauce, exploding with cheddar cheese: whichever team wins on Sunday, Cheese Stuffed Chicken Apple Meatballs are a guaranteed victory. Vegas can keep its odds—my bets are on the balls!
Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
- 1/4 small tart apple grated
- 1/4 small red onion grated
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic 2 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup apple butter
- 1/2 cup homemade barbecue sauce or store-bought prepared sauce
- Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with tin foil, then set an ovenproof wire rack on top. Coat rack with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together apple, red onion, garlic, cinnamon, salt, pepper, egg white, and panko. Add ground chicken and lightly mix with a fork until just combined, being careful not to compact the chicken. Divide the mixture into quarters, then separate each quarter into 4 balls. Press a cube of cheddar into the center of each ball, then close chicken around the cheese to seal it. Arrange meatballs on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until cooked through.
- To finish the meatballs on the stove: In a large skillet, stir together the apple butter and barbecue sauce. Add butter and stir until melted. Add cooked meatballs to the skillet, with a spoon, gently coat the meatballs in sauce. Place a lid on top of the skillet and reduce heat to low to keep warm.
- To finish the meatballs in a slow cooker: After step two, place the cooked meatballs in the bottom of a slow cooker. In a small sauce pan over medium low, stir together the butter, apple butter, and barbecue sauce until the butter melts. Pour sauce over the top of the meatballs, toss gently to coat, and keep warm in the slow cooker.
- Unbaked meatballs can be prepped up to 1 day in advance. Place formed, unbaked meatballs in an air-tight container lined with plastic wrap, fit the container with a lid, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Baked meatballs can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to two days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stove.
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