It’s Friday and we’re eating cheese.

spicy mini meatball grilled cheese I

And balls of meat. !!! What does that sound so much more terrible than meatballs?

Anytime I hear the words “meat” and “cheese” together, my head automatically starts playing Melissa McCarthy’s scene in Bridesmaids that runs during the credits. Do you want this bear sandwich? It’s full of meats and cheeses.

This is not that. But still.

spicy mini meatball grilled cheese I

If I even told you how many times we ate meatballs last week, you’d die.

Four. Four times. Four times in seven days. GAH. It wasn’t purposefully.

As you can imagine, meatballs are not my thang since I don’t love tomato sauce. But every once in a while,  like maybe twice or thrice (never will get over that word) a year, I crave them.

Last week, I was craving them. So was Eddie. He even asked for them for dinner one night and it’s rare that he provides dinner suggestions. I made them with the thought in mind that we would have them with pasta the first night and leftovers the next night in the form of meatball subs.

spicy mini meatball grilled cheese I

We did just that. They were so fantastic both nights. Happy campers.

Then. Sunday afternoon we ended up eating them again at a birthday party. And we promptly left the party, went to my parents’ house for the superbowl where my mom was serving… meatballs. More meatballs.

To say we were meatballed out would be an understatement. The only thing was that we still had a few leftover meatballs at home and I couldn’t bear the thought of pitching them. There were just enough left that it would be too wasteful.

SO. Grilled cheese it was.

spicy mini meatball grilled cheese I

At first I was afraid it would be too similar to a meatball sub or even these meatball sliders. But really? It wasn’t at all. Yes, there was still meatballs. Still cheese. And sauce, albeit a very minimal amount. But the toasty, buttery crunchy bread is what made this different. Obviously the texture – but also the taste. Our meatball subs were focused on the meatballs.

This grilled cheese was focused on the CHEESE.

One of the only things in life we should really focus on, in my opinion.

I mean, right?

spicy mini meatball grilled cheese I


Spicy Mini Meatball Grilled Cheese

Yield: serves 2 appropriately, 1 obnoxiously

Total Time: 45 minutes


1 pound lean ground beef
1/3 cup romano cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons softened butter for spreading
4 slices seedy whole grain bread (or your favorite bread)
4 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
2 ounces provolone cheese, freshly grated


To make the meatballs, combine the beef, cheese, bread crumbs, garlic, basil, parsley, pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix until just combined (don't overmix!) and them form meatballs that are a little less than 1-inch in diameter. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the meatballs and cook until they are browned on all sides (don't worry about them being cooked through yet), about 5 minutes total.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the diced tomatoes, butter, another pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Now, do what you want with your meatballs! Like make grilled cheese.

To make the grilled cheese, spread the outsides of the bread with a 1/2 tablespoon of softened butter. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add some grated fontina to the bottom slice of bread, cover it with a few meatballs (I sliced mine in half), add a bit more fontina and another bread slice. Cook the sandwich until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden and toasty. Serve immediately!

spicy mini meatball grilled cheese I

I think that’s just the cutest.

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87 Responses to “Spicy Mini Meatball Grilled Cheese.”

  1. #
    Cate @ Chez CateyLou — February 10, 2014 @ 2:17 pm

    4 out of 7 days?? Meatball heaven!! It is February after all, so why not eat meatballs everyday! Especially if they are mini, and made into such a delicious looking sandwich! Pinning!


  2. #
    katelyn — February 18, 2014 @ 12:55 am

    next time you are craving them, make sure you come down to check out sienna mercato’s emporio! so many other options that a tomato sauce or ‘sunday gravy’ as they call it!


  3. #
    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — February 27, 2014 @ 12:49 am

    This might be one of the best things I’ve ever seen. I spend a lot of time focusing on cheese. I’m so glad I’m not alone.


  4. #
    Tammy — February 27, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

    My kids would love mini meatballs and grilled cheese. It sounds perfect for Friday – we have a movie night with cool food together.


  5. #
    Lindsay C — December 19, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

    My boyfriend and I have been meal planning lately to try to minimize the, “So… what’s for dinner?” conversation at 7pm after the gym on a work night. The other day, he asked why I never plan any sandwiches, so I threw this into the mix the following week. We both enjoyed it so much!! The sandwich is amazing, and I paired it with creamy tomato parmesan soup to go with the dreary weather we are having lately. Love!


  6. #
    heather — April 17, 2015 @ 2:47 am

    these meatballs are a staple in my home…. and a favorite of all 3 of my picky eaters!



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