Did you know the makers of Mini Babybel cheeses have a new flavor to their lineup of great tasting cheeses?
It's Mini Babybel MOZZARELLA! It has all the creaminess and melt-ability you expect from mozzarella cheese at just 50 calories each. Like all Mini Babybel cheeses, it comes wrapped in that cute little red wax you can't wait to "zip" open. This cheese is delicious as a snack on it's own, but becomes extraordinary when paired up with things like whole grain crackers, grape tomatoes, candied walnuts or turkey pepperoni. I found this flavor to be more mild and creamy than the original Mini Babybel cheese. My teenage son loved them so much I had to tell him to leave some for me to use for this post!
Now let's get creative. How about cooking with them?
Um...maybe stuffing some of it inside turkey meatballs?
Tender turkey meatballs stuffed with gooey melty Mini Babybel mozzarella cheese smothered in marinara sauce on top of rotini pasta and arugula. Yum.
Mini Babybel Mozzarella is currently available at Sam's Club, Safeway, and Kroger with distribution building throughout 2013. So keep your eyes peeled for it's appearance at a grocer near you! (The Laughing Cow® provided me with product for this review for free. However, the opinions and photos are exclusively mine.)
So now you probably want to know how to make these yummy meatballs, right?
Start by cutting up Mini Babybel Mozzarella cheese rounds into quarters and then pop them into the freezer. (Freezing them for awhile will help the cheese from leaking out as the meatballs cook.)
Next take a package of ground turkey and add in ricotta cheese, Parmesean cheese, egg, and spices. Mix well. Use a small scoop to get up just the right amount of meat mixture. (I'm particular about wanting my balls to all be the same size! Is it just me?)
Form into a flat patty and add 1/4 of the Babybel Mozzarella Cheese round to the center.
Fold up the sides and form into a ball. Repeat with the remaining cheese cubes and meat mixture. Brown the meatballs in a non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray and then plop them into the marinara. ( A good recipe for marinara is this ONE ) The meatballs don't need to be cooked through, they will finish cooking inside the sauce.
Serve over al dente cooked pasta and fresh arugula. Garnish with Parmesean cheese, if you like.
Babybel Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
Servings - approx. 5 (3 meatballs per serving) Serving Size - 3 meatballs Points Plus per serving - 8 Points+
Nutrition information for MEATBALLS ONLY - Calories - 321.5, Total Fat - 17.9g, Carb. - 3g, Protein - 0g
4 Mini Babybel Mozzarella cheese rounds, taken out of wrappers and sliced into quarters
1.2 lbs. Ground turkey (93/7)
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, slightly beaten
salt and pepper, to your liking
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
a pinch of fresh nutmeg
2 - 3 TBS dried parsley
1. Put the cut up Mini Babybel Mozzarella cheese into the freezer while you mix the turkey for the meatballs. ( this will help the cheese from oozing out while cooking)
2. Heat your favorite marinara sauce in large pot until simmering. I like to use THIS recipe, but you could use a jarred sauce if you like. (you will need enough sauce to cover approximately 16 meatballs)
3. In large bowl, combine the ground turkey, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, and seasonings. Mix well. Remove Mini Babybel Mozzarella cheese from freezer. Portion out meatball with a number 20 scoop. (Golf ball sized) Press out to a flat round and insert a piece of cheese into the middle. Fold up the side and shape into a ball. Proceed with all turkey mix and cheese. (you should have approx. 16 meatballs)
4. Turn large non-stick skillet on med-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Cooking up the meatballs in batches, brown on all sides. The meatballs do not need to be cooked through, they will finish cooking in the sauce. As soon as the meatballs are just browned, drop them into the simmering marinara. Allow to cook in marinara until done, about 15 - 20 minutes.
5. Serve over pasta, if desired.
I have to admit, this is the first time I have ever used ricotta cheese as a binder in meatballs, and I have to say, that may be why they remain so tender. The three cheese combo (ricotta, Parmesan,and mozzarella) is perfect!
Remember, when seasoning ground turkey, go heavy on seasonings, as it is pretty bland without any or enough.
My family really enjoyed this product. My favorite way to enjoy it was just eating it right from the package. I know many people who like to use the Mini Babybel Light cheese grated up and melted on things like pizza and sandwiches. This flavor would be perfect for that. It melts really nice! I hope that I will be able to find this product at my store soon, because I am now out of the samples I received!