Mexican Meatball Soup

The recipe for this soup caught my eye for a number of reasons-it’s easy and fast to cook and the ingredients are probably already in your pantry (I just had to buy the carrot and zucchini) yet delicious when put together. You can very easily adjust the heat too-add a bit more or less of the chili powders or add some diced green chiles. I made mine rather mild,  opting for a few squirts of hot sauce later.  I really loved how crisp the veggies stay even after reheating and there’s just enough rice. I served it with a small cheese quesadilla, a bit of refried beans, sour cream and salsa.  It was nice to dip the quesadilla into to broth. I think it would be great topped with some tortilla strips or crunched tortilla chips. This recipe is a keeper!!

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Mexican Meatball Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste
  • 1 large egg
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Goya Adobo
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cups low sodium, low fat chicken broth (I used the last 3 cups of this home made chicken stock plus an additional 3 cups which I purchased)
  • 1 large carrot cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 large zucchini,  halved then cut into 1/4 inch half-moons
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained (I used Muir Woods Organic)
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for topping
  • freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, for topping

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl combine the first 9 ingredients (beef through and including Adobo). Using your hands mix to evenly combine. Be careful not to over-mix. Pinch off tablespoon-sized pieces and roll into balls.
  2. In a large dutch oven heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Place as many meatballs into the pot as you can without crowding them and push slightly on the top to flatten a bit. Brown on all sides for about 3/4 minutes. You do not have to cook them all the way through but they must be mostly done. You may have to work in batches to brown all of the meatballs.
  3. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the carrots, zucchini and rice. Return to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the rice is done and the meatballs are cooked through.
  4. Season with salt if necessary.
  5. Serve garnished with cilantro and cheddar cheese if desired.

This soup reheats beautifully for left overs and I would imagine that it freezes well-although I didn’t try.

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Adapted from February, 2014 issue of All You Magazine.

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Roasted Carrots, Parsnips and Green Beans

Roasting veggies is my favorite way to cook them. Is it your favorite way as well? They stay so crispy and the flavors are so nice! A simple olive oil, salt and pepper is all that’s needed to make them yummy.  And it made for a beautifully colorful dish.

Hmmmm orange, white and green. I’ll remember that for St. Patrick’s Day.

I served these on Christmas Eve along with this Pot Roast and mashed potatoes and they were perfect.  I had intended on making only carrots but there were no purple ones to be found at the store that day so i picked up some parsnips instead. I already had the green beans at home.

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Roast Carrots,  Parsnips and Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 3 bunches baby carrots (the real baby carrots-not the little ones in the bag), about 1 lb, peeled and cut into inch lengths.
  • 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into pieces the same size as the carrots
  • 1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed, cut into the same size as the parsnips and carrots
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • garlic powder

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Spread out all of the carrots and parsnips onto the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, add the green beans, spread them around and add more olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder if needed.
  6. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve right away.

Sformato of Carrots

Sformato of Carrots

Recently I went to my favorite bookstore armed with a gift certificate that my Grandmother gave me for Christmas. I love that they still give certificates (in the form of a greeting card) instead of impersonal plastic reusable cards. Book Revue is the ivory tower of indy bookstores. They have great guests pretty much every night giving talks or signing books, an amazing staff, an outstanding selection of new and used books all at great prices, and a wonderful coffee shop. They put Barnes and Noble to shame. I’m glad. If you’re in town stop by and support a local icon bookrevue.com.

Oops-got off the subject there. Anyway I went 2 weeks ago and browsed with a cappuccino 2 Saturday mornings ago and picked up the ‘Return to Tuscany’ cookbook. It accompanied a series on BBC which I wish I could have seen (but I believe it only aired in Britain, not on BBC America-what a shame). It’s full of great recipes. One that stood out to me was the Sformato of Carrots and the description that they author gave of the dish ‘It’s somewhere between a soufflé, a mash and a puree’. It intrigued me. So I decided that I would make the dish on St. Patrick’s Day instead of cooking the carrots with the corned beef.  I made this delicious corned beef and these great potatoes.

The author was right on with the description. It was light. It was fluffy. It was carroty. And it was pretty simple to boot. Give it a new try-it’s a great ‘something different’.

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Sformato of Carrots

Ingredients

  • 16ozs carrots, chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1oz freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

For the Bechamel Sauce

  • 1.5ozs unsalted butter, plus an extra knob
  • 4 tbsp AP flour
  • 7fl oz milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and cook the carrots until tender.
  3. To make the Bechamel sauce melt the butter in a small pan, then stir in the flour and cook over a low heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously to make a thick paste. Gradually add the milk, stirring well all the time, then increase the heat and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
  4. Drain the carrots and mash them finely or puree in a food processor.
  5. Whisk the egg whites until they form very soft peaks.
  6. Stir the sauce and egg whites into the carrots and mix well. Pour into an oven-proof dish and bake for 10 minutes. Dot the top with a little more butter, scatter the cheese around the top and then bake for a further 10 minutes. The top will form a crust and the carrot will be light and delicious.

Roasted Jewel Veggies

I like doing my grocery shopping on Friday evening, on the way home from work.  My local Fairway Market is only about a mile away and is empty at that time so I have time to browse and pick up some fun stuff.  Last time I was there I noticed they had some really pretty maroon carrots. Next to those were golden beets.  Aren’t they gorgeous? I’d never had maroon carrots or golden beets either at home or out. I was curious how they tasted and really-they’re gorgeous!! They are delicious and pretty and just a nice change all around. I started wondering what a carrot soup made with the maroons would look like-or carrot cake. Might be fun.

I couldn’t name this post just ‘roasted veggies’. They’re too colorful for that.

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So I brought them home and peeled them and cut them up and put them on a cookie sheet with foil to roast.  Watch out-the maroon carrots’ juice stains. Wear an apron.

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What came out of the oven was a veritable stained glass window of veggies. So pretty and DELICIOUS!!

Roasted Jewel Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch golden beets, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds then halved
  • 1 bunch maroon carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 bunch regular carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly ground white pepper

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
  3. Lay the veggies on the foil, drizzle with olive, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and roast for about 15 minutes.

I had to include this photo because it’s just really pretty. Look at that carrot streaked with orange-just gorgeous.

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