Skillet Meatballs & Peppers, For Two!

Say hello to your new favorite easy dinner.

It’s low-carb, high protein, smothered in cheese (yay!), and packed with wholesome veggies. Plus it’s made in ONE SKILLET, because when I say easy, I mean it.

If you’re having a case of déjà vu with this recipe, that’s good. I’ve shared skillet meatballs on WRY before, and when I did I kept things very straightforward and classic. Homemade sauce, fresh meatballs, loads of cheese? You know it. But for this variation I made the meatballs larger, added a TON of peppers and onions, and surprisingly enough those two little changes made a very big difference.

Let’s discuss.

Like all of my Italian recipes, you start by prepping homemade sauce, because jarred sauce is preservative-laden garbage. Next you make the meatballs, which is a simple combination of extra-lean ground beef, egg yolk, breadcrumbs, and seasoning. Personally I like my meatballs meaty, not bready, so I enlist only 1 1/2 tbsps of breadcrumbs here. And when it comes to the beef, you know the drill — grass-fed, no hormones, no antibiotics, yada yada.

Your health is worth the extra dollar, so invest in good meat.

Normally I’ll convert 1/2 lb of ground beef into six meatballs, but for this recipe I made four larger ones. Doing so keeps the meatballs in proportion to the peppers and onions, plus the less ball-rolling, the better!

{also: “ball-rolling” is easily the most scientific term I have ever used}

Anyway, once your meatballs are prepped, transfer them to a cast iron or greased, oven-proof skillet, then bake for 25 minutes until browned but not fully cooked. When you’re ready, surround the meatballs with peppers and onions, then smother everything in homemade sauce. Cover the skillet with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes more, then remove the foil, top with cheese, and bake again till melted. It might sound like a bit of a process, but trust me, it isn’t!

This is a simple, seamless dinner that you’re gonna be making ALL the time. Promise.

As expected the meatballs cook up tender, juicy, and flavorful, just like any good meatball should. But while the meat is clearly a standout, it’s the peppers and onions that really steal the show. A delightful pop of autumnal color, the veggies add tremendous flavor + hearty texture to this dish. Once added to the skillet they tenderize while still maintaining a touch of bite, so they’re cozy and fresh all at once. And if you love pepper & onion pizza (duh), meatballs (obv), and cheese (HELLO!), then this dish is seriously meant for you.

I’ll lastly add that this recipe demands a few fresh slices of Italian bread, so have at it!

A little bit of crappy carbs won’t kill you, trust. xo

Skillet Meatballs & Peppers, For Two!

Ingredients:

  • SAUCE:
  • 28oz can peeled or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 tsps basil
  • 1 1/4 tsps oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed or minced garlic
  • several dashes salt
  • a few pinches black pepper
  • a few pinches granulated sugar
  • MEATBALLS:
  • 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef (I used 96%/4%)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tbsps breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • a pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1 – 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • fresh Italian bread for dipping
  • grated parmesan for serving
  • fresh basil for garnish
  • VEGGIES:
  • 3 bell peppers (any color!)
  • 1/2 yellow onion

Directions:

  1. Begin by preparing the sauce. In a large saucepan combine all sauce ingredients over a medium-low flame, adjusting the seasonings as needed and mashing the tomatoes with a potato masher if using peeled tomatoes. Cover and simmer, occasionally stirring and mashing as appropriate.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the extra lean ground beef, egg yolk, breadcrumbs, onion, basil, oregano, and salt & pepper. Using damp hands, roll the meat into four baseball-sized rounds, then transfer to a cast-iron skillet or greased, oven-proof skillet.* Use a pastry brush to coat each round in EVOO, then bake on oven middle rack for 25 minutes until crisped on the outside but not fully cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the peppers and onion into 1/2″ – 3/4″ squares. Try and be uniform, roughly!
  5. When ready, remove the meatballs from the oven and surround with the peppers and onion. Smother everything in sauce, then cover the skillet with aluminum foil and return to the oven to bake for 15 minutes more. Lastly uncover the skillet, top with mozzarella cheese, then bake an additional 5 – 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through to an internal temp of 140 – 145F. Immediately plate and serve, topping with grated parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and pairing with sliced Italian bread.
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