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.

Burrito Bowl

I admit I’ve never had a burrito bowl.  I hear a lot about them but never actually ate one.  I mean I guess, essentially, it is just really a salad of sorts but with the contents of a burrito without the actual burrito.  Ok. 

So for this month’s swap with the Mexican theme hosted by Sarah at http://tasteofhomecooking.blogspot.com I was given the burrito bowl from Jenni’s blog doughseedough I was pretty excited. It looked delicious and I love burritos! It didn’t disappoint. What a great recipe. It came together pretty quickly (it took less than an hour including all prep and rice cooking from start to finish on a weeknight) and was just good all around.  Jenni’s recipe called for brown rice but since I’m not really a fan I used white. I also added some green chilies and corn. That’s what was so nice about her recipe-the ability to add or remove something to taste easily. So go make one to your taste!!!

burrito

Burrito Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice, cooked
  • 1/2 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped small
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast trimmed of fat and cut into evenly sized strips about 1 inch thick
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp granulated dried onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Goya Salsita Chipotle sauce (optional)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped small, guts removed
  • 1/4 red onion chopped very small
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can yellow corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small can green chiles, drained and rinsed

Topping ideas:

  • Fat free sour cream
  • Freshly grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese
  • Sliced avocado
  • Hot sauce (same as  above or different)
  • Jalapenos

Instructions:

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions.  When cooked stir in half of the cilantro, half of the lime juice and half of the lime zest.  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix the chili powder and other spices through the italian seasoning and set aside.
  3. In a skillet set over medium/high heat warm the oil. When hot add the chicken and cook until cooked through.  Place the chicken on a cutting board and chop into small pieces. Put it back into the same pan.
  4. Into that pan add the spices from step #2 and stir to combine for a minute until spices are fragrant.  Into the same pan add the beans, corn and chiles and lower heat to medium/low to heat the new ingredients and stir to evenly distribute the spices.  If desired add a few splashes of salsita for a kick. 
  5. In another small bowl mix the tomatoes, the remaining cilantro, zest and juice of the lime and the onion and stir. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  6. Assemble your bowl! Start with some rice on the bottom, some chicken and bean mixture, some of the tomato mixture and top with whatever you’d like!

I made mine this way: rice then chicken mixture then grated cheese (so it would melt-YUM), tomato mixture, sour cream. I sliced half of an avocado and put the pieces around the plate.

This recipe makes about 2 medium sized soup bowl’s worth.

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Check out the other great swap recipes here:

Chicken Enchiladas-a lighter version

I’ve made many chicken enchilada recipies over the years. I found this one on the Cook’s Illustrated website and decided to give it a try. The flavor was great. The recipe stated that it made 12 enchiladas but I ended up with only 10. I’ve adapted it to my own taste.

Make sure that the cooked chicken is finely shredded, or the edges of large pieces will tear through the tortillas. Serve these enchiladas with lime wedges, low-fat sour cream, sliced avocado, shredded lettuce, and hot sauce.

Chicken Enchiladas-a lighter version

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 5 medium garlic cloves minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts), trimmed of excess fat
  • Ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilis
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro plus extra for garnish
  • 10 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)
  • light sour cream (for serving)
  • avocado (for serving)

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the onion, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. 2. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. 3. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Toss together the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup of the cheddar, the jalapeños, and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. 4. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40 to 60 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
  5. 5. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Pour 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas to coat them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. 6. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Serve, passing the remaining 1 cup sauce and the lime wedges separately.

Black Bean and Avocado Quesadillas

 

These quesadillas are easy to make, take almost no prep time and are delicious!! The black beans, avocado and cheese create somewhat of a uniform texture so next time I make them I will add grilled chicken or crisp red peppers.  I also did not cook them stove-top but in my panini press as the tortilla gets nice and crispy and leaves pretty grill marks.  I also didn’t feel like washing a pan.  If you’re going to cook on a press just heat it up (I used the ‘low’ setting on mine), put the quesadillas on, close the cover, watch for the melty cheese magic and remove.

Try to avoid using pre-shredded cheese as there is a substance added to keep the cheese from sticking together in the bag-so it won’t melt as well as if you just grate your own.

After you rinse the beans well let them sit in a colander in the sink for a few minutes to let the excess water drain off. 

Black Bean & Avocado Quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheese-I used extra sharp cheddar. I also used about 1/2 cup more
  • 1 ripe avocado, roughly mashed
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • sour cream for dipping
  • lime wedges, if desired
  • chipotle powder for seasoning the sour cream

Instructions:

  1. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
  2. Place 1 tortilla down flat and spread the cheese and beans onto it.  On the other tortilla spread mashed avocado then lay on top of the bean and cheese tortilla.
  3. Cook until the bottom tortilla is slightly browned and little crispy, then flip over with a spatula.
  4. Cook until cheese is melted and bottom is slightly browned and crispy.
  5. Remove from heat and cut into 4 triangles. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.
  6. Serve with lime wedges and sour cream sprinkled with chipotle powder.

Makes 2 quesadillas.  Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: about 5 minutes. Like I said-fast!

Adapted from Sing For Your Supper and http://sweetsbeginning.blogspot.com/2011/06/black-bean-avocado-quesadilla.html