I’m still tallying up the winner from yesterday’s shenanigans but had to sneak this amazingness into your life ay-sapp [that's ASAP if you don't speak crazy]
Baked Mozzarella Balls
-aka mozz ball soup-
3-4 cubes of mozzarella cheese
1 egg white, whisked
1/4 cup flour [or a little less]
approx 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning blend [like Ms Dash]
advance prep: The first order of business is to cube/ball your mozzarella into one-inch cubes. [a little smaller will work too!] In order to survive the baking process, they’ll need to be frozen. Place them on a plate, spaced, and pop them in the freezer. The key here is to prevent them from all sticking together from moisture… otherwise you’ll need to take a hammer to the frozen block of cheese. Once they’ve hardened, move them over to a freezer baggie and continue the freezing process. I usually keep them no less than 4-5 hours in the freezer – though overnight is always better. I make this so often that I keep a little container of frozen mozz balls in my freezer at all times.
[This post] has details and photos of the process if ya need em! Preheat oven to 425F. Keep mozzarella cubes frozen until you have everything set up and ready to go! *Ahem* Don’t let your balls thaw. Combine seasoning blend and panko in a shallow bowl, and egg white and flour into separate bowls as well. Next, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a wire cooling/baking rack. Ready? Grab your mozzarella from the freezer and prepare to be amazed at how easy this is. Dip the frozen cheese in the flour, then the egg, and finally roll around in panko to coat. Pop it on the wire rack and repeat for the remaining mozzarella cubes. Spray each ball with cooking spray and bake at 425 for approximately 10 minutes. When golden brown, remove from oven and serve atop a piping hot bowl of tomato soup. Grilled cheese is so 10 seconds ago =)
Note: since our ovens march to the beat of their own drum, the balls could take anywhere from 8 minutes to 12 minutes. While they bake, get started on the soup!
These golden balls of cheesy goodness can easily be whipped up for a simple solo lunch or even a hungry crowd — without slaving over measurements =) I’ve learned to pre-slice a block/ball of mozzarella and keep the cheesy little cubes in my freezer at all times so I can have balls whenever I want. They’re also really stinking good with pesto.
So once you get past the title and my childish sense of humor, put some balls in your soup:
- ½ of a 14.5oz can of tomato sauce [pureed tomatoes]
- ½ of a 15oz can of low-sodium fire roasted tomatoes
- ½ an onion, diced [approx 1.5 cups]
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp grape seed or olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic, smashed and minced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced [approx 4 Tbsp]
- 5 baby carrots, chopped
- 3 ounces cream cheese [or ¼-1/2 cup of milk or cream]
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp freeze dried basil [or fresh] plus extra to garnish
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- tools needed: immersion blender or a fairly decent blender/processor. After borrowing my neighbor's immersion blender, I've decided that I need to run out and buy one -- stat! I've never been able to get my soups super creamy and smooth until now. It's like a magic wand for foodies!
- note: for a creamy vibrant bisque [as pictured above] follow recipe as directed, for a redder, tomato-packed soup feel free to add extra pureed tomatoes to the mix. I simply made the recipe as written and then split it in half. Half stayed as is, the other half got extra tomato added. Both were deeelish -- I'll let you decide which one is your fav! <3 Ooh! and if you want a cream-free tomato-basil soup recipe to add to your collection [click here]
- Saute chopped onions, celery, and carrots in 2 Tbsp oil until tender.
- Once the onions are translucent, add garlic and saute for about a minute or so to bring out the flavor.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Next add tomatoes, tomato sauce, cream cheese and broth and let simmer for 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have shacked up together.
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and the sugar, if needed.
- Next add your basil. If you're using plain dried basil, start with ½ Tbsp and then slowly add more to taste.
- Next, puree using a hand held immersion blender until fabulously smooth and bisque-like. You can also blend the soup, in two batches, in your blender or food processor.
- Serve piping hot topped with fresh basil and deliciously cheesy mozz balls. You'll have a grand old time dunking your balls in this soup.
- You're welcome.