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Chili Meatball Bites with Cheesy Dipper


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus extra for drizzling

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2-2 cups crushed tortilla chips (just use the bits in the bottom of the bag)

  • 1 can kidney beans (14.5 ounces), drained, rinsed and patted dry

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • 1 cups beef stock

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic to the pan and cook until the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the spices to the pan and cook another minute. Season the veggies with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl to cool. Spread the crushed chips out on a plate or in a pie dish. When the veggies are cool, add the beans and meat to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and combine. Shape the mixture into bite-size balls and roll each of them in the crushed chips. Arrange the meatball bites on a baking sheet, drizzle lightly with EVOO and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes. While the meatballs are baking, place a pot over medium heat with the butter. When the butter has melted, sprinkle the flour on top of it and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk the stock and milk into the butter-flour mixture and bring up to a bubble. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and whisk in the cheese until melted. Serve the chili meatball bites with the cheesy dipper alongside.