The Laughing Cow Mega-Meatballs




Are we really being sucked back into the cold reality that is January 4th tomorrow morning? Although the holidays have been wonderful and busy, I feel like I haven’t spent quite enough horizontal time on the couch in my flannel PJ pants surfing food blogs and watching The Office and Flight of the Conchords on DVD. What I love best about this time of year is that no one expects anything of you – to answer your emails, even – for the week between Christmas and New Years’ Eve. Of course I was back at work last week anyway, covering traffic for the provincial shows on Tuesday and Wednesday – but any work done during the last week of December seems extra-productive somehow, sort of like working on a Sunday.

I also feel like I haven’t quite kept up with my end of the bargain here – over the past few weeks I let a good half the festivities slip through the cracks without keeping you abreast of what was being consumed, where and why; my synapses dulled by butter, cream, wine and Robaxacet. And now it’s not timely anymore. Spinning the tale of my gingerbread trifle the week we all get back to work is about as appealing as spinning some Bing and Bowie on Easter weekend. I do have paragraphs written (that truthfully sound more like an uninspired letter home from summer camp) – I do believe I’ll just go ahead and hit delete and get on with it. Out with the old and all that.

So yes, things have changed around here. Almost as if Santa had brought a Guinea pig for Christmas, W has acquired a new big brother, Ben. B turns seven in a few weeks, and looks just like a slightly larger version of W. The two are inseparable. A few days before the move, W said to us, out of the blue: “when Ben moves in across the street he won’t be my cousin anymore – he’ll be my brother.”
Did I tell you this already? Sorry, it was just too cute to not repeat. So mostly we now have either two boys or none (!! Hello movies and restaurants! I’ve missed you so), and sometimes an 11 year old niece and 19 year old nephew, who luckily (for them) share Mike’s taste in music. As often as not I’m cooking for 7 now instead of 3, which requires a little adjustment but makes sense, since I’m cooking anyway.

(Also? B is hungry ALL THE TIME. For the past two weeks whenever he opens his mouth to say something I could safely bet that it would be on the subject of something to eat. Let’s just say we’ve gone through a lot of banana bread.)

So along with leftover turkey and chocolate I’ve been trying to oust the excess cheese from my fridge. Shrinking wedges of chevre, Piave, smoked Gouda… and it wouldn’t be Christmas without the requisite little triangles of foil-wrapped cheese – my preference is those with the happy cow with dangly earrings on the label, which your New Year’s Resolutioning self might be interested to know allows a creamy cheese fix for a mere 35 calories (and 3 grams of fat) per wedge. (And that’s for the regular stuff – The Laughing Cow now has a light version, too.)

But wait, it gets better: the ultra-meltability of L.C. makes it really great to cook with, if you like melty, cheesy sorts of things. (No, they are not paying me to say this. It really is creamy and melty when heat is applied.) One of my favourite things to do with these little triangles is to make inside-out cheeseburgers by shaping ground bison, beef or turkey around each wedge, which then melts as it cooks and oozes out with the first bite. Of course the same technique can be applied to giant meatballs. Honestly – who wouldn’t love a crispy meatball the size of a small orange that gushes warm melted cheese into your tomato sauce? I know of certain 4 and 6 year olds who would.

The Laughing Cow Mega-Meatballs

One or two of these babies nestled atop your spaghetti is far more exiting than the mere walnut-sized kind; they also make a fine meatball slider, tucked into a soft dinner roll and slopped with tomato sauce. Bison has about half the fat of beef; you can find fresh ground bison at Calgary Co-op and Sobey’s.

1 lb ground bison, lean ground beef or turkey
1 lb mild or spicy Italian sausage (or just use more bison, beef or turkey)
1 slice sandwich bread, whizzed into crumbs
1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
salt and pepper, to taste
olive or canola oil, for cooking
8-12 wedges of The Laughing Cow cheese, unwrapped

In a large bowl, combine the ground meats, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper with your hands, mixing just until blended but not overworking it, which could result in tough meatballs.

Shape small handfuls (as much as you’d use for a small burger) of the mixture around each wedge of cheese, pressing to seal any gaps and make smooth meatballs about the size of a small orange. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large, heavy, preferably ovenproof skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in batches and brown, rolling them around as you need to until they are golden and crispy on all sides. Transfer them to a plate while you finish browning all the meatballs, then return them all to the pan or transfer to a 9”x13” baking dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, just until cooked through. Serve on spaghetti or in soft rolls, with warmed tomato sauce.

Makes 8-12 giant meatballs.

One Year Ago: Walnut Granola Trail Bars

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January 03 2010 06:25 pm | beef & bison

34 Responses to “The Laughing Cow Mega-Meatballs”

  1. Erica B. on 03 Jan 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    That pic of B&W is just too cute!

    I think my kids (including the big one who’s turning 40 this year) would be all over this! I’m pretty sure there are some of those vache qui rit cubes lingering in my fridge from christmas too.

    Off to the freezer to dig out some marinara and get some bison thawing. I’ve been in post-christmas cooking doledrums so thank you for the inspiration :)

    Thanks Julie!

  2. Natalie on 03 Jan 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    I love the picture. I NEED a new brother to move in for my 5 year old…. man, I miss the movies! BTW I made no-knead tonight and I just have to gush. I make it all the time, but tonight I had made two. I didn’t want to bake them separately so just threw them into the pot together – the result was glorious. It was full and golden and almost looked like a cake. I usually use whole wheat but used all white…. so not very healthy but fluffier and thus got rave reviews from our family and guests. but seriously so beautiful! I think I am going to make a double from now on.

  3. ajdoula on 03 Jan 2010 at 7:21 pm #


    What a great pic! How wonderful for W and B to have each other across the street as they grow up – it will pay inconceived-of dividends in the years ahead.
    I made the Forage bikkies with homemade veggie soup (used up the last of the turkey carcass stock) – Yum!

  4. Jen C on 03 Jan 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    Oh how I’ve missed you!!! I was checking your blog off and on for the past day and laughing as it reminded me of the old commercial for a sale at JC Penny or something when the lady was nose to the glass saying “OPEN OPEN OPEN”…..haaa.
    Spag and Bison-Balls look amazing!!! I’ve started, once again, on the healthy kick but have still been continuously snacking so not sure I made much progress today. I think my big thing is portions and snacking…
    Love the pic of W and B – so cute and Ajdoula is right, it will have dividends in the years to come!

  5. Lauren on 03 Jan 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    They are so cute! I love the picture =D. Oh, and these mega-meatballs sound fabulous!

  6. Christina on 03 Jan 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    What is this thing called movies you speak of??? My kids are now 1, 2, and 3 (just for 3 more weeks, then M turns 4) so I figure i have about 13 more years till my shakles come off! Haha! Just kidding …. sort of. 😉
    love that W has a new brother!! Soooo sweet! Meatballs look FAB!
    Happy New Year!

  7. the other Al on 03 Jan 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    “It’s Business Time” darlin! Babysitting across the street, boy who loves his cousins…hmn hmn hmn, it’s business, it’s business, it’s Business ti i ime!!!!

  8. JulieVR on 03 Jan 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Haha! We should share that with everyone, shouldn’t we?

  9. Laurie on 03 Jan 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    For those living in BC, you can get bison at Save On Foods.

    This is a wonderful idea. I have left over melty triangles of cheese from Christmas. This will use them up wonderfully well.

    I don’t do pasta, but meatballs in sauce are excellent with roasted veg.

    Thanks, Julie (yet again!)

  10. Cheryl on 03 Jan 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    That is the best picture ever!

  11. Trissa on 04 Jan 2010 at 1:54 am #

    I was immediately attracted to your recipe when I saw laughing cow… I’ve always had it on toast or crackers – but on meatballs?! WOW!

  12. French Cooking for Dummies on 04 Jan 2010 at 4:03 am #

    OMG! So cute! Happy 2010 to you and your loved ones, Julie 😀

  13. Aimee on 04 Jan 2010 at 4:56 am #

    So, so cute, and I hadn’t heard the line about B becoming a brother. That is so wonderful that your family is closer now!

    Happy New Year to you and your (growing) family!

  14. Amy on 04 Jan 2010 at 5:26 am #

    Your picture is gorgeous and this looks delicious. This will be bookmarked and made in the next week or so! Thanks for posting this.

  15. Kathy on 04 Jan 2010 at 7:29 am #

    That recipe sounds divine! We have 100% grass fed beef in our freezer from a farmer near Rimbey so it’s uber-lean. A little Laughing Cow won’t hurt it none!

    And the pic of the kids is tres cute!

  16. Sue (London, ON) on 04 Jan 2010 at 10:14 am #

    I am so happy for you having your sister across the street. What a wonderful gift for all of your children.
    I love Laughing Cow. For those on WW, 2 points for TWO portions. Its a great cheese fix for sure.
    Thanks as always Julie – Happy New Year!

  17. Joni on 04 Jan 2010 at 11:04 am #

    35 calories?? Who knew?! We eat those all the time and I’m so happy to know that they fit right in with my post-Christmas, pre-Mexico diet plan. Thanks Julie!

  18. rea on 04 Jan 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    happy new year! currently withdrawing from butter, sugar. cutting down on caffeine (again). i cannot live without cheese, literally and metaphorically.

  19. erin on 04 Jan 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    I think your ‘One Year Ago’ recipe is the first of yours I ever tried!

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but did you hear that the Flight of the Conchords will not be doing a Season 3? Here’s the link to the news article if you are interested:

    So sad…..

  20. Avery on 04 Jan 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Oh no! What will we do without the Hip Hop-potomous and the Rhymnocerous?
    I heart FOTC. Julie, that’s the cutest picture ever… its very similar to how Ruby sleeps on to me each morning. (“When did we get a cat?! Oh wait… its just Ruby…”).

  21. Barb on 04 Jan 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    Oh, I have missed you so much! How come the obvious yet very cool ideas just pass me by? What would I do without you and your cravings to inspire my kitchen projects?

  22. Chantal on 04 Jan 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    I LOVE laughing cow!!! What a fantastic idea!!! I wish I would have caught this post before I made 40 meatballs for a crowd the other night. Oh well, it will be a nice surprise for next time ((I scrambled some laughing cow into my eggs the other morning and it was creamy, heavenly bliss for breakfast :))

  23. Manon from Ontario on 04 Jan 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    soo funny and cute…how lucky for W.
    When I was young, I only had boy cousins my age, and we didn’t play much together :(

    Happy New Year 2010 :)


  24. Kathy on 04 Jan 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    Oh and BTW Julie, if you didn’t know, Grazing was featured in the latest issue of Chatelaine (the one with Stacy London on the cover!)

  25. Mairi on 04 Jan 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Kathy you beat me to it. I flipped open Chatelaine yesterday & was thrilled to see Grazing as a book they love. I love it too! Congrats on yet another wonderful review. Thank you for your spirit and enthusiasm Julie.

  26. Anne on 04 Jan 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    yum…. Thanks Julie every recipe I try from your site is a winner

  27. Manon from Ontario on 05 Jan 2010 at 7:24 am #

    Wow did you guys see this, a cougar attacked a boy but his golden retriever saved his life…here’s the link

    Julie is this near your house, is this why you have Lou :)


  28. Dinner In Real Time on 05 Jan 2010 at 7:58 am #

    What a great idea! Do you think this would work with other types of cheeses? I have some fresh mozzarella that I’ll need to use up sometime soon (no fresh tomatoes for Caprese salad :( )

  29. cookiepie on 05 Jan 2010 at 8:35 am #

    LOVE the idea of cooking with Laughing Cow – and the meatballs sound delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  30. JulieVR on 05 Jan 2010 at 9:51 am #

    Dinner in Real Time – for sure, any meltable cheese would work! Just cut it into cubes.

  31. Laurie on 05 Jan 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Manon, the cougar attack that you’re refering to was in Boston Bar, BC. Julie lives in Alberta.

    Thatis a really good dog! Her name is Angel. Poor thing looked so hurt afterwards, but the news said she’s going to make a full recovery.

    She didn’t just bark at the cougar, she actually fought with it.

    Here’s another link to the story:

  32. Janelle Findlay on 06 Jan 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    Yay! Calgary. I’ve been dying to try these meatballs. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Laurie on 07 Jan 2010 at 12:32 am #

    I shamelessly stole Julie’s laughing cow recipe and adapted it tonight. I cut the little cheese triangles into quarters and made small meatballs which I browned in the oven and then served with brocolli and asparagus and sweet potatoes in a mushroom/onion sauce.

    The grandchildren (a 9 year old boy and a 7 year old girl) were delighted by the ‘surprise’ inside the meatballs.

    Thanks so much for the idea, Julie, it was a great success.

  34. Doug Proctor on 02 Jul 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Hi, Julie,

    Even the name makes me uncomfortable.

    Say, you had Slow Cow? checkerout, all the AAA-types might get to know what the rest of us are like.

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