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Cream Cheese Stuffed Chorizo Meatballs from ZestuousWhat a day. I woke up to a phone call from my husband saying they were under attack in Afghanistan. The phone connection was poor, so I was only hearing every other word. He sent me a quick email and said he had to take cover.

I immediately turned to the Internet to get the full story. Early reports said that embassies and NATO military camps were taking small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

As I monitored the news, they were pretty much repeating the same story over and over with no updates, so I turned to Twitter. Because I work in public affairs, I’m an information junky. It’s probably not a healthy addiction when monitoring news about a war that your husband is involved in, but I’d rather know than be left in the dark.

It’s not that I can do anything about what I’m hearing. I can’t stop the attackers. I can’t save anyone from danger, but it helps me understand why it may be a while before I get a phone call or email.

Reporters and residents in Kabul were tweeting as they heard explosions and gunfire. I could compare their tweets with my husband’s location to see if they were in his area. Unfortunately, some were.

After many hours, things finally calmed down for the night, and my husband updated his facebook status, sent me an email and called to let me and everyone else know that he was okay.

It’s truly amazing how connected we can be to our Soldiers compared to past wars. Just hearing his voice or seeing his name on an email makes this deployment so much more tolerable.

I planned on creating a recipe this morning and going to a winery this afternoon, but all that changed with his a.m. phone call.

Once I talked to him after things had calmed down, I definitely needed to get into the kitchen. I was in a zesty mood. A co-worker had asked for some tips on making meatloaf – something I NEVER make.

I just don’t like a big loaf of ground beef with ketchup on it, so I had to zestify it, which means it needed a little kick and it would be more fun bite-sized.

I had ground beef and chorizo in the freezer, and I had a few types of peppers in the fridge, so I decided to go with triple pepper chorizo meatloaf cups. I didn’t have any bread in the house, so I used oats instead of breadcrumbs.

I wanted to add cream cheese to balance the heat of the peppers; just like jalapeno poppers, so I rolled the meat around the cream cheese before baking it.

They turned out great; which is more than I can say for the news in Kabul. A handful of people continue to tweet that the fighting continues into the wee hours of the night. Eagerly awaiting my next phone call or email, but hoping the hubby is in a safe place getting some needed rest.

UPDATE: My husband was able to text and call the next morning. He and his fellow Soldiers are safe.

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Cream Cheese Stuffed Chorizo Meatballs

Servings: 30 Meatloaf Cups


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, diced (1 pepper)
  • 1 cup onion, diced (1/2 onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, diced
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 small can green chiles
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • ½ lb. 2 links chorizo (out of casing)
  • ½ block cream cheese


  • Heat butter and olive oil in a pan. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper and sauté, until tender. Add salt and sugar.
  • Combine sautéed vegetables , green chiles, oats and meat.
  • Roll the combination into a one-inch ball and flatten it. Add about a teaspoon of cream cheese.
  • Wrap the meat around the cream cheese to seal it inside.
  • Place the balls into a mini-muffin pan and bake in a 375-degree oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from pan and allow grease to drain. Then, place in mini muffin cup liners to serve.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Cream Cheese Stuffed Chorizo Meatballs from Zestuous


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Christie Vanover

About Zestuous

Hi. I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and have dozens of top ten category finishes. People know me as the girl who is forever hovering over a grill, smoker or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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  1. I tried these last night. The flavor was wonderful. But the grease ran down into the oven and caught fire even though I put a sheet pan underneath. I ended up having to pull the pans out of the oven and douse the fire Witham baking soda. Had to go get my two sons to help me get all the smoke out of the house. But even with the added excitement, they said, “if you can figure out how to do it without the fire, this one’s a keeper.”

    1. Oh my gosh. How scary. I’m so sorry you had that experience…I’m glad everyone is safe…and I’m glad the boys liked them.

  2. I’ve made this for dinner several times and my hubby adores it! It’s simple to make and really satisfying to devour! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, and all the best to you and your husband <3

  3. You are so brave!! I look up to ladies like you! i dont know if i could ever handle that! Your recipe looks divine, im going to make it this coming weekend! 🙂

    God Bless!

  4. You dear, sweet lady. This is a wonderful post – what a glimpse into today’s world of technology. I’m sad for all who are deployed, for their families and loved ones, but how fortunate that you can keep in touch with your husband, and share your creativity via the internet! Thinking of you, of all the families who are waiting, of all the military who are not at home.

    Your recipe is an inspiration – your photography is lovely!

    Thank you for sharing. I love this post.

  5. I don’t know how you do this day in and day out and I have alot of admiration for military wives. I do have a little experience with the “not knowing” ~~ my husband is from Togo, Africa and it took 2 years for him to join me here in the states after we got married. As the connection is sometimes not good.. it would be days before we could communicate. Shortly after we got engaged, their country had elections with lots of riots… I couldn’t get a hold of him and knowing that there were deaths at this time I was beside my self with worry.. everything was ok with him and his family but the stress of not knowing what is going on and only getting glimpses of information is not easy. I know that this is not the same as your situation but I can sympathize a little. Be proud of your husband and hope he is safe.
    Also this recipe looks delightful… Will have to try it.

  6. You are so strong! I don’t know if I would fare as well as you! I agree, too much information is better than nothing.
    My husbands grandmother once told us that in WW2 she didn’t hear from her husband for 3 years. He was in a remote place often and didn’t want to let her know what he was seeing I guess. (I’m sure there’s more to the story)

    Your husbands group, as lwell as the other service members, are in my thoughts. I know this is hard, it was m brother who only recently got back from 3 tours. But a husband , unimaginable.

    What better way to work off your worry than on these meatball cups! I love this recipe 🙂

  7. Oh, Christie…reading your post brought back so many emotions when my Andrew was deployed…I would hear things on the news, attacks in Ramadi, and all I would do is hold my breath until I heard from him…and sometimes not hearing from him was good news…that was back in 2006, so even now the media is more on top of getting news to us about what is happening…regardless, I know the depth of your emotions and how you sit on pins and needles…God Bless your hubby and YOU…the families of our soldiers carry heavy burdens…creating food, working in the kitchen, and sharing your foodie love is a way to maybe assuage some of this angst. These look awesome!! Well, everything you do is stellar!! xoxo 🙂 Ally