Cheesy Skillet Meatballs with Garlic Toast ~ this easy hot appetizer or light dinner with tender meatballs baked up in an ooey gooey cheese sauce comes with crisp slices of garlic bread for scooping ~ yum!
Everyone has their own definition of comfort food, it’s such a personal thing. For me it’s food that helps erase the stresses of the day, temporarily stops all conversation, and envelopes me in a cozy embrace.
It’s often cheesy, usually warm, and always satisfying. True comfort food shouldn’t stir up guilt or regret. It’s food that inspires what my husband calls my ‘dinner dance’, an embarrassing little jig I do when an especially tempting meal is coming together 🙂 These cheesy skillet meatballs with garlic toast pretty much tick all the boxes for me.
Meatballs of all kinds are on my top ten list of favorite foods. I’m super happy with these because they came out so soft and pillowy — just perfect for scooping up with a crisp piece of garlic toast.
I don’t usually follow a recipe with meatballs, I improvise off a basic formula of 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1 egg to every pound of ground meat. Finely chopped onions are almost always included. I vary the flavorings widely, including some herbs and spices and some kind of sauce. Sometimes I’ll use ketchup, steak sauce or barbecue sauce. Depending on the flavor profile I might use soy sauce, jam, or even milk. These meatballs came out especially soft, which works well for scooping and eating dip-style.
TIP: If you want that classic ‘cheese pull’ (see photo above) be sure to use mozzarella cheese, and don’t skimp!
If you like you can make the meatballs ahead of time. You can freeze them, too, so you can whip this up on a moment’s notice. Put the raw meatballs on a tray in a single layer in the freezer and freeze until frozen solid. Then put them in a sturdy zip lock freezer bag and label them with a date. Use within the year.
A cast iron skillet is perfect for this rustic cheesy meatball dish ~ every kitchen should have one, they’re inexpensive and wear like…iron!
Cheesy Skillet Meatballs with Garlic Toast
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 small red onion, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tsp onion salt
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 Tbsp jalapeno ketchup, or regular ketchup
- 1 Tbsp steak sauce, I use A1
- 16 oz marinara sauce, or spaghetti sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, a little more if you like things really cheesy
- Set the oven to 350°F.
- Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl and beat well with a fork. Add the meat, breaking it apart as you add it to the bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the marinara sauce and the mozzarella cheese. Using your fingers, gently mix to combine everything well. Don't compact the meat, and don't over mix it, you want these meatballs to be fluffy and light.
- Using a 1.5 inch cookie scoop or small spoon, portion out the meat into approximately 22 balls. Using your hands, shape each ball into a round ball, then set on a baking sheet.
- Cook meatballs in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- After 5 minutes of cook time, pour the sauce into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place it in the oven along with the meatballs to cook for remaining 10 minutes.
- Remove both pans from the oven and transfer the meatballs to the skillet, nestling them into the sauce. Return the skillet to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes, If you made your meatballs smaller or larger, the cooking time may vary.
- Remove the skillet again and add shredded cheese over the meatballs. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes, to melt the cheese. Optionally, set pan under the broiler to brown the cheese, but watch carefully.
- Serve immediately with garlic toasts.
- To make the toasts, thinly slice a baguette and brush one side with olive oil. Set the toasts oil side down on a very hot grill pan for a few minutes until toasted. Rub the cut side of garlic along the toasted surface of the hot bread.
Make it your own~
- Make these skillet meatballs even easier by using little balls of sausage instead of the meatballs, just buy the bulk package of country sausage, and roll small balls, then cook as above. These will cook quickly, so watch them.
- You can mix in different kinds of cheese along with the mozzarella, such as sharp cheddar, Gruyere, or pepper jack!
- Arrange this in small size skillets before baking for individual servings.
Don’t forget to pin these Cheesy Skillet Meatballs with Garlic Toast!
more meatball inspiration~