I have a problem – I can’t stop stuffing things with cheese! I recently saw arancini (Italian rice balls) filled with cheese on Lisa is Cooking and Brown Eyed Baker, and immediately started drooling. Of course, I wanted to add my own little twist, so I drew inspiration from a yummy rice dish I had in New Orleans a few months ago that featured shredded pork and kicked up BBQ sauce.
I mixed brown rice with eggs, BBQ sauce, turkey bacon, and panko, and then used the mixture to encase little chunks of cheddar cheese. Then I carefully coated the rice balls with more panko so they would be crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside after I baked them. We both really enjoyed these little bites, and I managed to convince myself that they were healthy since I used brown rice and turkey bacon and baked them instead of frying them… Thanks to Lisa and Michelle for the inspiration!
BBQ Rice Balls Stuffed with Cheddar Cheese
3 cups cooked brown rice
4 slices cooked turkey bacon, chopped
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
2 cups panko
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 20 small cubes
Mix rice, turkey bacon, BBQ sauce, eggs, and 1 cup panko in a medium bowl.
Encase each of the cubes of cheese with the rice mixture, shape into balls, and roll in the remaining cup of panko. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Place sheet in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400˚F. Bake balls at 400˚F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 5 servings (of 4 balls each).
Nutrition: 389 calories, 11.2g fat, 3.2g fiber, 14.8g protein per serving
Cost: $0.75 per serving