Friday, December 11, 2009

Sopa de Albondigas

So this poor site has laid dormant for such a long time, I figured I'd give it a kick in the pants and post my FAV-O-RITE recipe for Sopa de Albondigas.

This recipe came from a cheesy Mexican cookbook of my mother's (that included things like "Tamale Pie" and what-not) and is the only recipe in the entire cookbook that isn't completely lame.

I love this soup so much, and Phoebe enjoyed it too when I made it last week.

It's easy, delicious and cheap. "How bad could that be?"


1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (I always use more)
2 T. cooking oil
4 cups water
2 10.5 oz. cans condensed beef broth (I usually use 1 beef, 1 chicken)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (I also add 1/4 c. chopped mint)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed slightly with your fingers
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup long grain rice

**Note: I usually also add a healthy dash of cumin to the soup because cumin is awesome -- it's up to you!

In a large saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot oil until onion is tender, but not brown.

Stir in water, broth, and tomato paste. Bring to boiling; add potatoes and carrots. ((I usually add the tomato paste first and fry it in the pan for a little while to develop some more flavor))

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile combine egg, cilantro, salt, oregano, and pepper. Add ground beef and uncooked rice; mix well.

Form mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Add, a few at a time, to the simmering soup.

Return soup to boiling; reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes or till meatballs and vegetables are done.

Serve with lemon wedges and fresh cilantro to garnish.

I also like to serve it with Mexican rice because I LOVE the way the rice sops up the delicious broth.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Microwave Lasagna

Yes, you read that right.

And this recipe is SO GOOD, too! My mom made it all the time (though truthfully I never have) ... I just had to post it so I can find it later :D

My aunt Elaine gave this recipe to my mom and I and she called it "One-Step Lasagna". My mom and I call it "microwave lasagna". Either way, you get the idea. The lasagna noodles used are the REGULAR ones -- not the "pre-cooked" ones, or whatever - you know the "no boil". This recipe uses just NORMAL lasagna noodles.


1 lb lean ground beef
2 jars (~ 30 oz) spaghetti sauce
3/4 - 1 cup hot water
1 package (7 oz) uncooked lasagna noodles, trimmed to fit 12x9 baking dish
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese (cottage cheese works just as well)
3 cups (12 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
parsley (fresh is best if you have it)

1. Crumble beef in 2 qt casserole, cover and cook on high 5 minutes, stirring halfway throughtime. Pour off fat. Add sauce and water, mix well.

2. Sspread 1/3 meat sauce in a 12x9 dish. Arrange 1/2 the uncooked noodles over sauce. Spread 1/2 the ricotta (or cottage) cheese. Top with 1/3 of the meat sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat layers, with remaining noodles, ricotta and meat sauce. Top w/ parmesan cheese.

3. Double wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Cook on high 15 minutes. Turn 1/2, cook on 50%, 12-15 minutes. Unwrap, and sprinkle w/ remaining mozzarella. Cook on high 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Brownie Bites with Mocha Frosting

Yesterday, I was heading over to a friend's house for his annual Bocce Ball tournament and BBQ. I never like to show up at a BBQ empty-handed, but I hadn't had time to run to the store to make the mango salsa I usually take. I was looking through the pantry, trying to think of something quick (so the baby would put up with me spending time in the kitchen, and not with him on the couch!) I remembered that my in-laws had left almost a full box of these brownie bites with us the last time they were in town, so I pulled them out of the freezer to thaw. Well, I couldn't just take brownie bites in a Ziploc bag with me to a party, so I decided to top them with mocha frosting. They were a hit! And I'm so glad I was only able to stay at the BBQ for only an hour, because I would have finished a whole plate myself. I'm sure of it.

If you can't find brownie bites, anything chocolate and cakey would do, I'm sure! If you want to get fancy, grate some chocolate over the top of the frosted brownie bites, or sprinkle them with some toasted, chopped hazelnuts or almonds for crunch.

Mocha Frosting
Makes enough to top 30 brownie bites

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp good vanilla extract
1 T instant espresso powder
1 T water or milk (for dissolving the espresso powder)
1 T Kahlua or coffee liquor (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar, cocoa, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer. (Start slow, or you will end up with sugar and cocoa all over the place!)
2. Dissolove espresso powder in water or milk, and add to creamed mixture along with the Kahlua (if using). Continue to mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.
3. Scoop into a plastic bag, clip the corner, and pipe onto tops of brownie bites, or spread on with a knife.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Baby friendly banana pancakes

3 small bananas
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup of applesauce
1 cup of soymilk (milk, water, liquid of some sort)
2 eggs
2 cup oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 T flaxseeds (optional)

Blend ingridients in a blender until smooth. Heat up a griddle or skillet on medium-high heat. Spray generously with cooking oil. Drop 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle or skillet until bubbles begin to form and then flip pancakes.

I modified this from a recipe in The King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook so that my kids could eat it! Husband approved

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Italian Beef Soup

As you guys may know I've been following a Jillian Michaels-approved diet and exercise plan lately (on her website free for 30 days) and this came up the other night for dinner.

And with a few tweaks (adding herbs and half an onion) oh my it's really good. Geoff even approved.

And it was easy. That's probably the best part. Jillian says this makes 4 servings to be served with a whole wheat roll (80 calories). I just cut a pita in half and then cut it open and toasted that -- 80 calories and it was HEAVENLY with the soup -- nice and crispy.

Anyway, here's the soup as I made it (but with her info about calories, etc. -- the onion adds a minimal amount of calories)

Italian Beef Soup

Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Makes 4 Servings:
Per Serving: Calories: 328 , Total Fat: 10 g , Carbs: 28 g , Protein: 33 g , Cholesterol: 70 mg , Sodium: 1228 mg

1 pounds beef, lean ground
3 clove(s) garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 - 3 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper, black
1/4 teaspoon salt
28 ounce(s) broth, beef (I used a 32 oz. box)
14 1/2 ounce(s) tomatoes, stewed, Italian-style
1 cup(s) carrot(s) (chopped)
1 can(s) beans, cannellini
1 medium zucchini (chopped)
2 cup(s) spinach, fresh

Saute the beef, garlic and onions until browned, breaking the beef up into 3/4" pieces (like mini meatballs). Add herbs, salt and pepper halfway through so the meat gets seasoned.

Drain the beef and wipe out the pan. Put beef back into pan, add broth, tomatoes and carrots, bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer 10 minutes.

Add beans and zuchhini and boil for another 4 - 5 minutes.

Take off heat, add spinach and devour.

I added some fresh basil to each bowl. This soup is sooo delicious.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Whiskey Pork Chops

Like most of my recipes, this is another one that came from a quick look through the fridge and pantry. I will throw all modesty aside and say these are the best pork chops I have ever had. Although I've never tried it, I think the sauce would work great on chicken or turkey breast, too. My husband, Mike, usually requests that these are served with prosciutto wrapped asparagus and mashed potatoes, but I think buttered green beans are a great accompaniment, too. These cook quick, so prepare your sides while they are marinating. The first time I made these, I was living in an apartment with a tiny kitchen that had no vent hood, and plywood cabinets right above the stove - basically, I came pretty close to lighting the whole place on fire, so please be careful with this!

Whiskey Pork Chops

4-6 Thick Cut Pork Chops

Zest of 1 Orange
Juice of 1/2 Orange
1 Sprig of Rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
1-2 Sprigs of Tyhme, leaves removed and chopped
1/2 Shallot, minced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2-3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh-Ground Black Pepper

1/2 Shallot, Minced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup Whiskey or Bourbon
Juice of 1/2 Orange
2-3 Cups Chicken Stock
1/4 Cup Dried Sweetened Cranberries (Craisins)
1 Sprig of Rosemary, Whole
1 Sprig of Thyme, Whole
1 T softened butter mixed with 1 T flour (make a paste)

  1. Heat oven to 500° (don't be scared!)
  2. Combine marinade ingredients in a zip-top bag and add pork chops. Seal bag and massage marinade into meat. Let sit for at least 1/2 hour.
  3. Heat a large skillet, and add 1-2 T canola oil. Brown pork chops on both sides, remove from pan and place in an oven-safe dish or on a sheet pan. Place pan in oven and cook until pork chops reach desired doneness (5-8 minutes for medium).
  4. Pour off any excess fat in pan. Cook shallots and garlic until fragrant, REMOVE PAN FROM BURNER and deglaze pan with whiskey. Re-light flame, and set to low. Replace pan on burner and allow alcohol to burn off. Make sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a whisk or wooden spoon.
  5. Add chicken stock, orange juice, cranberries, rosemary and thyme sprigs. Allow sauce to reduce by at least half.
  6. Remove herbs, and whisk in the butter/flour mixture to thicken the sauce. Serve over rested pork chops.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Macaroni Salad

My mom would probably kill me if she knew I was posting this, but I just made it this morning and it's so good I just can't help myself. I have to share. I prefer using the large olives and cutting them myself because then you get bigger slices of olives, but obviously you can just sub sliced if you're not motivated to slice a can of olives.

Like most mayonnaise-based "salads", this tastes best when it's left to sit in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.

Macaroni Salad


1 16 oz. bag salad macaroni (sometimes called ditalini)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 - 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped (I always use 3)
1 large can large olives, olives cut into thirds (or just use sliced)
1 bunch green onions, sliced (white and green parts used)
1/2 bunch radishes, chopped (or more or less to taste - I prefer more)
2 T. sweet pickle relish
2 T. dill pickle relish
1 1/2 - 2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 c. mustard
1/4 c. ranch dressing
Lawry's seasoned salt and pepper to taste


Cook macaroni per instructions, run cold water over, then combine with everything else, adding more mayo as needed.

Before serving, you may need to add more mayo as the pasta will absorb quite a bit.