February 9, 2015

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs & Roasted Red Pepper Sauce {Chopped At Home}

What would you make with Sargento® Chef Blends™ Shredded 6 Cheese Italian cheese, boneless skinless chicken breasts, red bell peppers, and Greek yogurt?  Challenge yourself with the "Chopped At Home" contest and see!  Thank you to Sargento for giving me the opportunity to rise to the "Chopped At Home" challenge, and sponsoring creation of my  Chopped-inspired dish featuring Sargento shredded cheese ~ Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce.

I'm sure most of us are familiar with the cooking show, "Chopped."  Oh, how I love, love, love to watch that show!  It's one of my all-time favorites, combining my love of competition shows with my love of cooking.  I mean, what's not to love?  Watching cooking professionals challenge themselves to create wonderful dishes with a crazy combination of ingredients, all while under the pressure of a very  limited amount of time?  I'm always so impressed and amazed with what they come up with.

But with that pressure of the clock??  Oh, there's absolutely no way  I could do that.  Cooking, I love.  Cooking with serious time pressure?  Not so much.

And that's why I was so excited to be asked to rise to the Sargento "Chopped At Home" challenge ... I got to have all the fun of creating a Chopped-style dish with mystery-basket ingredients ... without  the time pressure.

And you could have that fun, too ... along with the opportunity to win $10,000!

That's right!  Simply by getting creative in the kitchen, coming up with your  best Chopped-inspired dish featuring Sargento shredded cheese and entering your dish in the "Chopped at Home" contest, you could win $10,000.

Are you ready to see your basket ingredients?

Oh, of course you are!

Your {and my} Chopped-inspired dish must contain ... {being written in my best Ted Allen voice, of course} ...

... Sargento® Chef Blends™ Shredded 6 Cheese Italian cheese ...

... boneless skinless chicken breasts ...

... red bell peppers ...

... and ...

... Greek yogurt.

{End Ted Allen voice.}

What a great basket!  No candied octopus.  No mashed potato candy.  Or 100-year-old eggs.  Or ... countless other ingredients I would have no idea what to do with.

I immediately thought of the Chopped judging words ... taste, creativity, and presentation.  And thought of the countless times I've heard the Chopped judges say, "Yes, it was good ... but did she really transform the ingredients?"  

Oh, the pressure!!

Not really ... just the pure fun of coming up with a tasty, creative dish.

I decided to go with Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce for dipping.  Perfect for the appetizer round, don't you think?  Of course, toss it all with a little pasta, and it could easily transform for the entree round, too.  {Dessert round?  Probably not so much.}

I started by mixing up a little meatball filling ... Sargento Chef Blends™ Shredded 6 Cheese Italian cheese combined with some Greek yogurt to form a moldable cheese mixture. 

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

Then I ground the chicken in a food processor, seasoned it, and formed the mixture into cheese-stuffed chicken meatballs.

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

With it's amazing blend of flavors ... featuring Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, Romano, and aged Asiago cheeses, ... the bite of  Sargento Chef Blends™ Shredded 6 Cheese Italian inside each meatball was a wonderful cheesy treat!

And while the meatballs cooked, I whipped up a little roasted red pepper and yogurt dipping sauce.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

The dipping sauce complimented the cheese-stuffed meatballs beautifully.  Just as I had crossed my fingers it would  planned.

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

Well, I sure hope my Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce would do the Chopped judges proud!  Tasty? ~ yes, if I do say so myself.  Creative? ~ I think so!  Presentation? ~ decent.  Probably not awe-inspiring ... but decent.

What do you  think?  Did I do okay?

And what would you  make??  Go enter it in the "Chopped at Home" contest!  Maybe you'll  be the one to win $10,000!

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce
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Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs
Source:  A Tracey creation

Meatball Mixture:
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized onion, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
Cheese Filling:
  1. PREPARE THE MEATBALL MIXTURE: Combine all meatball mixture ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a spoon or your hands until well combined, but do not over handle as over handling will cause the meatballs to be tough.
  2. PREPARE THE CHEESE FILLING: In a small mixing bowl, mix together shredded cheese, 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt, and salt. Add additional tablespoon of Greek yogurt, if needed, to bring the cheese together into a moldable paste.
  3. PREPARE MEATBALLS: Spray a rimmed baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Divide the meatball mixture into 20 equal parts. Flatten one piece in the palm of your hand. Place about a teaspoon of cheese filling in the center and wrap the meat mixture around the filling, sealing the cheese in the center.  Roll a bit between your palms to shape into a ball.  Place on prepared baking pan. Repeat to form remaining meatballs.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 18 minutes, or until cooked through.
  5. Serve with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce.
Makes 20 meatballs.
* 1 lb. ground chicken may be substituted.

Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce
Source:  A Tracey creation

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 c. Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  1. Roast peppers: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Place whole peppers in the pan and roast, turning every minute or so, until charred on all sides, about 10 - 15 minutes. {Or, rub outside of peppers with oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 15 - 20 minutes.} Place hot peppers in a zip-top baggie, seal, and let peppers cool for a few minutes {the steam formed in the bag helps the skins come off more easily}.
  2. When cool enough to handle, use your hands to peel the charred skins off the peppers. Cut peeled peppers in half and remove seeds and ribs.
  3. Place peppers, basil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper in a food processor; process until peppers are well chopped, about 10 to 20 seconds.
  4. Add Greek yogurt; pulse until well combined.


Available in 30 versatile varieties, unique blends and distinct cuts, Sargento Shredded Cheese is always cut from blocks of 100% real, natural cheese. For more inspiration, check out the Sargento Pinterest page  or visit Sargento.com for more information. The Chopped at Home Challenge gives viewers a chance to create their best recipe using the selected basket ingredients, including Sargento Shredded Cheese, for a chance to win $10,000!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sargento®. The opinions and text are all mine.

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