Monday, February 23, 2015

Albondigas Soup


This is a Mexican style soup that's rich in taste. Albondigas means meatballs in Spanish, and this soup is a combination of meatballs and vegetables. I've used cilantro throughout the recipe, but know that cilantro is sometimes an acquired taste. Feel free to omit it! Serve this with a simple salad and you've got a hearty lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

3/4 lb. ground turkey
1/4 cup cooked brown rice or rice/quinoa mixture
1/2 tsp minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic salt)
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using garlic salt)
1 egg white

Soup:

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped red or green pepper
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
1 cup tomato salsa (or canned Mexican style tomatoes)
1 cup peeled, diced potatoes, or chopped zucchini
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbs jalapeno peppers (optional)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large bowl, gently mix the ingredients for the meatballs. Form into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. There will be about 18 to 20 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes.

Prepare the soup while the meatballs bake. Heat the olive oil in a stockpot. Cook the onion, garlic carrot, celery and peppers over medium heat until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes or salsa. Add the potatoes, cumin, oregano, jalapenos, and about 1/4 cup of the cilantro. Bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs to the simmering soup stock and cook until the vegetables are done. Serve, using the remaining cilantro as a garnish.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Because both prepared salsa and canned tomatoes have salt, you won't need to add any to the soup. With either choice, you'll be done in 20 minutes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cajun Style Dirty Rice


Just in time for Fat Tuesday! I've heard various reasons why this dish is named "dirty" rice. One theory is that the rice gets a dirty look when made the traditional way, using chicken gizzards. Another theory is that jazz was called "dirty" music, and that this rice is jazzed up. It's fun to sit around the kitchen table theorizing why someone came up with the name dirty rice, then trying to figure why you'd give it that name. Sometimes a little discussion is what makes food fun! Regardless, Fat Tuesday is a day that those getting ready to celebrate Mardi Gras want to eat well, and this recipe fills that bill!

Ingredients:

1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped red and yellow peppers
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbs. minced jalapeno
2 Tbs. flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup cooked brown rice or rice/quinoa blend
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
2 green onions, sliced
Directions:

Heat olive oil and butter in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, peppers, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the flour. Stir the flour and vegetable mixture for about 1 minute, until the flour begins to brown. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, stirring so that there are just a few clumps. Add the rice and pepper, stirring to combine. Add the parsley and green onions right before serving, or serve, and use the parsley and green onions as a garnish.

Serves 2, easily doubled

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Here's another recipe that has been jazzed up with vegetables. I've lightened this significantly, by browning the flour in the pan with the vegetables. Traditionally, this is made with a roux of equal parts oil and flour, cooked for a significant amount of time on the stovetop. I've also lightened this by omitting the chicken gizzards and sausage. Instead, I served this with a spicy chicken breast. It would also be good with any blackened fish or chicken.