BBQ Meatballs with Pepper and Cheese Animal Cut-Outs


A whimsical after school snack which is sure to please hungry kids. Serve with extra BBQ sauce and a cold glass of milk.

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
25 meatballs


  • 2 slices bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • teaspoon garlic powder

  • teaspoon onion powder

  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning

  • ¼ teaspoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • ¼ cup grated sweet onion

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, plus additional for serving

Animal Cut-Outs:

  • 1 green bell pepper

  • 1 orange bell pepper

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 4 (1/4-inch) slices Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

  • 4 (1/4-inch) slices mild Cheddar cheese

  • Animal vegetable cutters

  • 25 4-inch toothpicks


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. Soak pieces of torn bread in the milk in a bowl for 5 minutes. Gently squeeze out milk. Add beaten egg to the soaked bread and mix well.

  3. Mix garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt, Italian herb seasoning, sugar, and Parmesan cheese together in a small bowl. Add to bread-egg mixture.

  4. Place ground beef in a mixing bowl. Add seasoning mixture and onions; mix together with a fork. If mixture is too dry, add up to a tablespoon of milk. Roll into 25 meatballs and arrange on rimmed baking sheet.

  5. Bake in preheated oven until browned and cooked through, about 18 minutes.

  6. Drain meatballs on a paper towel. Remove grease from the baking sheet. Transfer meatballs back to the baking sheet. Drizzle 1 cup BBQ sauce over meatballs.

  7. Return sheet to oven and bake 12 more minutes.

  8. Use a small animal vegetable cutter to make animals out of green, orange, and red peppers. Cut animals out of Colby Jack and mild Cheddar cheese.

  9. Drain meatballs on a paper towel and add more BBQ sauce if desired. Add cheese animal cut-out and then animal pepper cut-out to the toothpicks. Work quickly to add toothpick to each meatball.

Cook's Notes:

Pair with a glass of chilled, organic whole milk.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

413 Calories
24g Fat
26g Carbs
23g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 413
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 12g 62%
Cholesterol 113mg 38%
Sodium 1011mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 23g
Vitamin C 79mg 394%
Calcium 209mg 16%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 410mg 9%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love