Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno and Cream Cheese Meatballs... yes, meatballs!

One night this week I had pulled ground beef out of the freezer to thaw for dinner, although I had no real plans of what I was going to do with it.  Looking at the ground beef I first thought, cheeseburgers.  After an internal groan, I thought, tacos?  Eh.  Spicy Mexican sounded better than a cheeseburger to me.  But...  that wasn't it either.  I briefly thought, meatloaf?  No.  But I was close.  A spicy Stuffed Mexican Meatloaf?  No... but I knew I was closer.

If you are a regular fan of An American Housewife then you know I love and cook with jalapeno's and cream cheese often - we love them together in many items!

Instead of stuffing it as a meatloaf, the decision was to make it into meatballs and since I use bacon to top my meatloaf to keep it moist, it makes sense to use it for meatballs as well.  I made half wrapped in bacon and left half plain.  If you choose to do this, make sure they are on separate baking pans as the plain meatballs will be done before the bacon wrapped.

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno and Cream Cheese Meatballs

2 lb. ground beef, turkey or a mixture of both
1 egg
1/3 c fine bread crumbs, flour, crushed crackers, almond flour, wheat bran, flax seed, etc. You choose.
Salt and Pepper
1 t MSG (unless you don't use this then it's optional)
1/2 t onion powder or garlic powder (either one is fine)
1/2 t Chipotle pepper (optional)
1/2 t cumin (optional)
2 or more jalapenos, fresh and diced OR 3-4 teaspoons diced from jar or canned**
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 shredded cheddar

**Add more or less jalapeno's depending on how spicy you like your food.

Mix the ground beef, egg, crumbs, salt and pepper, MSG, onion powder, chipotle and cumin  well.  Add half the jalapenos to the meat mixture.  Form walnut sized balls and let them set on a baking sheet, foil or parchment.   In a bowl, mix the cream cheese with the shredded cheese and add the rest of the jalapenos.  I used about 1-2 teaspoons of the liquid from the jar of sliced jalapenos but you can use a little water or milk if you wish to make it a little moister.

To each meatball, make an indentation, add a bit of the cheese mixture and form the meatball around it.  Using a large Pampered Chef scoop, I got 15 evenly sized balls of the meat mixture.  If you choose to wrap in bacon, do so now, wrapping 1 thin slice around each ball and placing back on the baking sheet.  Bake each meatball in a hot oven (about 375 degrees) about 15-20 minutes for the unwrapped meatballs and 20-25 for bacon wrapped.  Roll the balls over so the underside is now 'up' and place under the broiler for a couple minutes to crisp the bottom.  Serve hot.

Add as many jalapeno's to the mix as you wish.

Place cheese in the center and form a ball around it.

Ready for wrapping with bacon... or not.  Your choice.

Ready to go into the oven.

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