Monday, January 20, 2014

Cheesy Meatballs with Couscous

Melbourne had been extremely HOT last week... We were suffering in the heat of 42-45°C for four continuous days. Some suburbs couldn't cope with the heat and had power failure for hours. Fortunately, ours was ok and we managed to stay cool in the house with sufficient air-conditioning.

Due to the weather, I tried not to cook or bake too much last week. Luckily, I had a portion of frozen meatballs that I had cooked before this heat wave... All I need to do was to re-heat these meatballs and prepare these couscous. Goodness me... These meatballs saved me!!

What is nicer? These life-saving meatballs have pleasant creamy surprises! ... resulting many slurps and thumbs up on our dining table...

This recipe is an accidental discovery that I saw at Kraft. I knew that these simple-looking meatballs made with cream cheese are going to be very surprisingly moist and delicious! Spot-on! ... I was totally right!

How did this discovery happened? It started at first when I had this odd amount of cream cheese (half package) as leftover. For some fussy reason, I wanted this leftover cream cheese to be used but can't decide how should I use it. Scratching my head, I thought of exploring Kraft recipes at its website to source any idea... Eureka! Happy that I found this fantastic recipe!

Cheesy Meatballs with Couscous
Cheesy Meatballs with Couscous
Ingredients to make these cheesy meatballs
Surprise that the cream cheese held itself very well when I cooked these cheesy meatballs
Ingredients that I used to make my own pasta sauce
Add salt and pepper to taste...
Return the meatballs into the sauce and allow them to simmer for 30 minutes...
Making couscous is always super easy!

Are you ready to have a bite of these cheesy meatballs? Munch...
Cheesy Meatballs with Couscous
"Hey! I might be simple-looking but I am surprisingly VERY delicious!"

Here is the recipe from Kraft
(with my modification in blue) 

1 lb ground pork
(replaced with 500g minced chicken)
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup Philadelphia 1/3 less fat than cream cheese
(I used the original non-fat-reduced one)
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
(I used 1 medium onion)
1/4 cup finely chopped stuffed green olives
(I didn't add that)
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups marinara sauce
(I made my own pasta sauce, see below)
2 cups hot cooked couscou

Mix first 8 ingredients (excluding olives) until well blended; shape into 24 balls, using about 2 tbsp for each. - Based on this quantity, I have made 28 balls.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add meatballs; cook 5-6 min. or until evenly browned, turning occasionally. Add sauce (or cook sauce); simmer on medium-low heat 10-15 min or until meatballs are done. - I have cooked mine for 30 mins to cook the onions thoroughly. 

Please note that this recipe is very freezer-friendly. I have cooked this amount and managed to freeze half of this amount for subsequent dinners.

This is how I cooked my pasta sauce, adapting the recipe from

40ml (2 tbs) olive oil
1 small onion, peeled, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
4-6 canned flat anchovy fillets, drained and roughly chopped
2 tsp tomato paste
410g can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
125ml chicken stock
60ml water

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over low heat until the onion is softened. Add
anchovies and cook for about 2-3 mins until fragrant. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, herbs and chicken stock and water. Season with salt and pepper.

Simmer for 30 mins (with meatballs) until thick.

To make couscous:

Bring 1 cup chicken stock (or water), a pinch of dried Italian herbs and 1-2 tbsp olive oil to boil. Remove boiling stock from stove. Add 1 cup of couscous and allow mixture to sit for 5 mins to allow liquid to be fully absorbed. Use a fork to make the couscous fluffy.

Serve meatballs with couscous.

Happy Cooking
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  1. Wait, meatballs with cream cheese? OMG, I'll go crazy with anything meatballs (and cheese somemore), wahlah, I already feel hungry by just looking at your post.. I can eat this everyday..Even fussy eaters will have nothing to complain I can guarantee..

  2. Melbourne weather I find really strange :)
    Your recipe actually reminded me that haven;t had couscous for ages.. :)

  3. Definitely a life saver on super hot days like we had last week. Your meatballs look very delicious.

  4. Couscous is one of my favourite food on Earth, especially when you mixed with herbs, and probably topped with so feta cheese will do a great side dish :D

  5. Zoe, I've heard about the sweltering heat over on your side. Hope you guys are keeping hydrated all the time. These meatballs are such a brilliant idea to whip up in a quick span of time.

  6. Cheesy met balls with couscous is a filling and really kids love this recipe. Like a one pot meal.

  7. these looks sumptuous! i like it even more that you used minced chicken.... another keeper for me! meanwhile, keep cool ^^

  8. This will be tasty eating with spaghetti, i am hungry now...

  9. I like the sound of a cheesy meatball. Have had something similar before and it's really nice, I agree!

  10. Zoe, I never eat meatballs with cream cheese, your pics convinced me! yummy!
    oh so many recipes with cheese I want to try!
    thks for linking this up to LTU cheese :)

  11. oh btw Zoe, you take care! I heard about the heatwave in Melbourne. Real bad...

  12. May you be blessed with cooler weather soon, Zoe. In the meantime - omigosh, that looks so good. I never knew cheese and meatballs could go well together. Thank you for this brilliant recipe! ^.^

  13. Zoe, I like this recipe. Everyone loves meatballs and I prefer chicken. The cream cheese? Well, that just throws this over the top!

  14. Hi Zoe, do drink more water and stay indoors! I hope the weather take a change soon... The meatballs look so delicious! Great idea to add cream cheese inside!

  15. Rico y contundente muy bien preparada me encanta,abrazos.

  16. Hot Hot. My mum lives in Melbourne and said the heat was suffocating. Those meatballs look like they're perfectly browned!

  17. Hi Zoe , this is different and a must try , thanks so much for sharing :)

  18. Wow, I've never tried meatballs with cream cheese, it sounds incredible Zoe! Hope you are trying to stay cooler in the hot weather :)

  19. Cream cheese in meatballs sounds delicious. Shall try one day.