My husband is a man’s man. Ryan hunts. He fishes. He likes to watch football and he likes working on his boat. And, like any manly man, the guy loves his red meat. When we order pizza, he wants a supreme. When his birthday rolls around, he’s asking for a big, juicy steak. Heck, he grills for us in the middle of the winter. And me? Well, I like meat, but let’s just say that Ryan considered it a real accomplishment when he got me to move from ordering all beef "well done" to "medium well."
Nonetheless, we try to compromise on our meal planning – we grill a lot and I make sure that we have lean meats on hand. But, I don’t usually go for any ground beef that’s not going to become a hamburger. Recently, though, I spotted this new recipe for Meatball Sliders and I noticed that it called for lean ground beef. That sounded right up Ryan’s alley (I’m a good wife, aren’t I?), so I thought I’d give it a try. It was really quick to make and Ryan was delighted! (In fact, I learned that meatball sandwiches are what lured him into trying a sub-sandwich for the first time in middle school.) And much to my surprise, I really enjoyed the sliders too! As it turns out, these yummy little meatball sandwiches are tasty and would be a great Hors d'oeuvre for your next guys or girls’ night.
To make your tasty Meatball Sliders, begin by heating your oven to 450° F. I recommend prepping a jelly-roll pan for the meatballs by lining it with aluminum foil. It will make clean up so much easier!
Collect all of your meatball ingredients: lean ground beef, egg, Italian bread crumbs, fresh parsley, garlic (if you don’t have fresh cloves on hand, I like to keep a jar of minced garlic in olive oil in my fridge), fennel seed, salt and pepper.
Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl.
I started out using a wooden spoon, but quickly realized that clean hands are more effective for even mixing.
The recipe calls for dividing the meat into 12 equal-sized meatballs, but we made ours slightly larger (seemed like a better size-match for our dinner rolls) and ended up with nine meatballs. Place the meatballs on your greased (or foil-lined) pan and then insert the pan into the hot oven. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the inside is no longer pink. Just remember: larger meatballs will take a little longer to bake.
While the meatballs are baking you have two jobs to do:
1) Pour your marinara into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Let the sauce heat through while the meatballs are baking.
2) Get your dinner rolls ready. Split each roll and place them cut-side up on a pan. I foiled the pan again so any cheesy bits wouldn’t get stuck. Place two cheese quarters onto each half bun.
Check on your meatballs. You will probably need to use a knife and/or fork to separate the center of a meatball enough to check for doneness. When they are cooked through, remove them from the oven.
Transfer the meatballs to the saucepan of marinara. Cook together for 5-10 minutes so the flavors have a chance to blend.
Bake the dinner rolls for 3-4 minutes to melt the cheese and brown the buns a bit. For a little extra crispness, you can turn your broiler on Low for a minute or so to kick up the melting power.
Finally, use a spoon to place one meatball onto the bottom half of each cheesy roll. Drizzle with a spoonful of marinara, then top with the remaining half of the bun. Use a toothpick to secure the slider.
Serve your Meatball Sliders up as a stand-alone snack while watching a game, or make it a meal by pairing with some healthy sides like we did. Both macho men and lovely ladies alike will be able to enjoy these tasty little sandwiches!
Try these Meatball Sliders for yourself, then rate and review the recipe!
Check back in a couple of days when I will share another great dinner sandwich.
Amanda is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.