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. #
    Rachel — February 7, 2014 @ 7:49 am

    I can only eat cheese made with milk that is not cows milk, but this sandwich is so happening with mozzarella. It is just perfect!


  2. #
    Tara — February 7, 2014 @ 8:06 am

    Does this mean you’re not excited about Emporio opening this week?, so many meatball choices! :)


    • Jessica — February 7th, 2014 @ 8:10 am

      haha! i was looking at pics yesterday and it looks delicious… i just need a minute. :)


  3. #
    Shalon — February 7, 2014 @ 8:15 am

    This looks absolutely amazing!! I can’t remember the last time I wanted meatballs before breakfast – but I think it’s going to be a loooooooong day until dinner!!!


  4. #
    Matthew Horbund - mmwine — February 7, 2014 @ 8:27 am

    What a delicious idea! We make meatballs ALL the time … we love Italian food. This is getting made this weekend!!! Of course, I’ll have to pair wine with it! Maybe a nice Chianti… sounds pedestrian, but it’ll rock some socks!



  5. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — February 7, 2014 @ 8:28 am

    I love that it stayed focused on the grilled cheese! I love the melty cheese pics!


  6. #
    Madison — February 7, 2014 @ 8:38 am

    These are super cute!


  7. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — February 7, 2014 @ 8:40 am

    When I was little, my parents used to feed us those frozen boxed meatballs, which should really be called salty cardboard balls because that’s what they taste like. Homemade, on the other hand, are amazing!! These sound awesome. PS Congrats on your Foodiecrush feature today!! :)


  8. #
    Brie @ Entrée the Giant — February 7, 2014 @ 8:49 am

    Careful what you wish for, right?! Meatball overload isn’t such a bad thing though – especially when you morph them into that sandwich.


  9. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — February 7, 2014 @ 8:51 am

    Balls of meat!!! Hahahaha. I’m so immature.


  10. #
    Belinda@themoonblushbaker — February 7, 2014 @ 8:54 am

    I think meat ball over load is the best kind of loaded. Cheese in most unadulterated from need meatballs; they are both just as delicious as each other and who will complain of this 4 nights in a row?


  11. #
    nancy k — February 7, 2014 @ 8:55 am

    I have to say, your photos are beyond amazing. I almost feel like I am looking at an IMAX grilled cheese sandwich . Really, the sandwich looks like it is drooling cheese and tomato…in a good way.I want a bit this instant!


  12. #
    Genn — February 7, 2014 @ 8:56 am

    These look delicious!!!! As I do like meatballs, but generally don’t love meatball subs, I have a feeling that the emphasis on cheese in this sandwich is perfect for me!


  13. #
    Annie — February 7, 2014 @ 9:06 am

    Yum! Looks like the ultimate comfort food to me!


  14. #
    Kerry — February 7, 2014 @ 9:17 am

    Oh my yum!! I am a lover of all things grilled cheese, add some meatball and this is a winner! Perfection.


  15. #
    Kelly Jo — February 7, 2014 @ 9:18 am

    You had me at mini :)


  16. #
    Jenny Flake — February 7, 2014 @ 9:32 am

    This grilled cheese is beyond fabulous girl! Happy Friday! xo


  17. #
    Jen@topateplate — February 7, 2014 @ 9:33 am

    I love everything about this!


  18. #
    Tieghan Gerard — February 7, 2014 @ 9:59 am

    Anything with all that cheese and butter is a good thing in my book. Especially on a friday!


  19. #
    DessertForTwo — February 7, 2014 @ 10:05 am

    I’m such a fan of your meatball recipe (the ones you made to serve with spaghetti). I’ve even got my mom, brother, and grandma hooked on your recipe. And now you post another one?! Hooray!

    Balls of meat for life! I’m a hungry bear! Ok, enough. It’s too early for that lol.


  20. #
    Paula — February 7, 2014 @ 10:17 am

    Wait, hold the phone. Red birch beer? Is this… I don’t even… is it from a red birch tree or did they add some other flavor to it? I’ve never seen this before. I’m not even sure they have Boylan in Florida, but now I’m going to track that down.


  21. #
    Tracy | Peanut Butter And Onion — February 7, 2014 @ 10:29 am

    We just had meatballs subs… but this looks good… next time I’ll try this instead of subs.


  22. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — February 7, 2014 @ 10:43 am

    What a great spin on grilled cheese! Monday is meatball night in out house and i am soooooooo making this for my Husband!!


  23. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — February 7, 2014 @ 10:47 am

    Aaaaand I’m dead.


  24. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — February 7, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

    This takes grilled cheese to a whole other level!!! Looks AMAZING!


  25. #
    Beth @ bethcakes — February 7, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

    This is the perfect Friday sandwich! Wish I had one for lunch today. :)


  26. #
    Sarah @ the gold lining girl — February 7, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

    Okay, these are definitely happening. I loooooove Italian food and live with a 100% Italian who is perpetually working on his perfect meatball recipe.

    We are making these with leftovers (which are majorly abundant in my house), for sho! They look amazing.


  27. #
    Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen — February 7, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

    You always pick the best bread for things! It looks so crunchy and toasty.


  28. #
    Mondo | I bake he shoots — February 7, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

    I would take meatball grilled cheese over meatball sliders everytime.


  29. #
    Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut — February 7, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

    Yum! Question for ya: When you add the tomatoes/salt to the meatballs in the pan, how exactly do you stir everything together without breaking up the meatballs? Sorry if I misread something – just want to make sure I get it right!


  30. #
    Rachel — February 7, 2014 @ 2:12 pm

    Excellent. Simply excellent. I ate meatballs for lunch AND dinner last night, but now I wish I’d seen this first!


  31. #
    courtney — February 7, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

    new meatball restaurant on penn ave!!! i tried to go monday night because i heard they opened last weekend. but apparently the had a “soft” opening…whatever that means. so now all i’ve been thinking about is meatballs…and your brussela sprouts caesar salad.


  32. #
    Alicia Greenrabbit — February 7, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

    Didja know Melissa McCarthy is Jenny McCarthy cousin???
    So back to cheese and meatballs ,I’m hungry for something beefy to ,so that will take care of dinner tonight!
    Red birch beer? What makes it red?
    I bought some regular Birch Beer last week and came home and my daughter said “MOM it’s diet”! How gross.


  33. #
    Victoria Bakrdjian — February 7, 2014 @ 2:37 pm

    Any form of grilled cheese is a win in my book!

    Quick question about the meatballs, though: if it requires one pound of beef, how many meatballs would that be (approximately)? I always prepare a weekly menu so I wanted to know how many meals I’d have (apart from the grilled cheese). I’ve never made meatballs without my mom before so I have no clue! :(


  34. #
    Amy Walker — February 7, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

    Wow, I am so making this for my hubby!!! It’s been pinned to my pinterest!

    I just started following you, pretty please follow me as I just got started on my blog and need some love!!

    On bloglovin I am here!

    Much love,
    Amy Walker


  35. #
    Jamie — February 7, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

    This looks truly amazing! Yum!



  36. #
    allie@sweetpotatobites — February 7, 2014 @ 3:46 pm

    I want.


  37. #
    Kathy @ Olives & Garlic — February 7, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

    I was going to make tacos tonight, but I’d rather have this. You have such a beautiful blog. New fan!


  38. #
    Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs — February 7, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

    Um, yes please. So many good things in one sandwich!


  39. #
    Ilona @ Ilona's Passion — February 7, 2014 @ 5:07 pm

    Spicy.. sounds perfect for me!


  40. #
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit — February 7, 2014 @ 7:56 pm

    Focusing on the cheese is what life is about, right?


  41. #
    Joy — February 8, 2014 @ 12:53 am

    Made this tonight for supper! So easy and delicious! Thanks for sharing :)


  42. #
    Judy — February 8, 2014 @ 8:04 am

    Have you tried mushroom sauce instead of tomato which I don’t like either?


  43. #
    Mimi — February 8, 2014 @ 9:44 am

    Wow. These look pretty incredibly wonderful!


  44. #
    Sophia @ NY Foodgasm — February 8, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

    Dayum, I think I am having one of these this week!


  45. #
    Paula – bell’alimento — February 8, 2014 @ 7:01 pm

    This sandwich is calling my day! I am drooling all over my keyboard right now! Yum! Pinning


  46. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — February 8, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

    I will only eat hot sandwiches. This is like the Olympics champion of sandwiches. And that bread – that is some fabulous bread.


  47. #
    Laura — February 9, 2014 @ 5:12 am

    I’m the same with meatball cravings – once every few months but after seeing this post I need them NOW! Looks so delicious!


  48. #
    Alex @ Kenzie Life — February 9, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

    Do you think I could sub in lentils for the meat? It’s one of my new culinary goals to make good vegetarian “meat”balls without using that weird processed store bought madness. Also, loved the Bridesmaid reference. I think that line is hilarious.


  49. #
    Lexie — February 9, 2014 @ 9:38 pm

    Oh my, my fiancé is might ask me marry him again if I make him this! :)


  50. #
    Karly — February 10, 2014 @ 9:13 am

    Girl, my dream is to eat meatballs 3 times in 7 days. Looooove.



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