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Pirate Ship Cannonball Bites

Land Ho!  Make way for these adorable and tasty little Pirate Ships. These yummy little meatballs nestled into pastry dough topped with marinara and melted cheese make a fun dinner for your little swab!  They would also make a delicious appetizer for your half-time table at any football party!



  • 2 Packages refrigerated crescent roll dough (Like pop & fresh- we used the generic version from our local supermarket)

  • All-purpose flour

  • 1 egg

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey

  • 2 Tablespoons basil pesto

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley + 2 Tablespoons minced

  • 3 slices of white or sourdough bread w/o crusts

  • 3 Tablespoons milk

  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese + 2 Tablespoons

  • ½ cup grated Mozzarella cheese

  • Marinara sauce

  • Mini muffin pans- Makes 24 meatball pirate ships

  • Kosher Salt and pepper

  • Favorite marinara sauce

  • Sail printout, toothpicks, and small hole punch



How to make it:


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

  2. Print out and cut out your sail shapes.  Use a small hole punch to make a hole in each sail at the top or bottom and insert a toothpick through the two holes to make the sails.  If you do not have a small hole punch you can use the end of the toothpick to make the holes.

  3. Take the crescent dough out of the cans and unroll the triangular sections on a lightly floured board.  Cut each triangle in half and line each of the mini muffin tins filling in with little pieces if necessary.  For 24 mini muffins, it should take about 1 ½ cans of the dough so don’t be stingy. Use the 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese and sprinkle each of the dough cups with a pinch of the cheese.  Set aside while you make your meatballs.

  4. Cut the crusts off of 3 slices of white bread and chop the bread up into little pieces.  Take the pieces and place them in a small bowl and add the milk to the bread and let the bread soak up the milk for a few minutes.

  5. In a large bowl add your meat, parmesan cheese, pesto, parsley, egg,  ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and a sprinkle of pepper.  Drain your bread and add it to the bowl.  Gently mix all the ingredients until combined.  Do not overwork the mixture so your meatballs stay tender.

  6. Form your meatballs so that they will fit into your dough cups.  They should be about the size of a ping pong ball.

  7. Over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Brown the meatballs in batches taking them out and letting them drain on paper towels as you cook all of them.

  8. Once all your meatballs are browned on all sides, place one meatball in each dough cup nestling them into the dough.  Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 11-13 minutes.

  9. Remove the meatballs from the oven after they are cooked, Top each meatball with a dollop of marinara and a pinch of the mozzarella, and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted.  Remove and top with a sprinkle of minced fresh parsley.

  10. Remove the meatball boats from the mini muffin trays.  You can use an offset spatula or butter knife to go around the edges if they are sticking a little.  Place your meatballs on a tray, insert the sails and serve with a side of marinara for dipping – Yum!

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