Albondigas Soup…………..

Every year, I get so excited for soup weather. Nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cool, drizzly day. Soups are so much fun to make since you can just totally get crazy with it and make it your own.

A few years ago I went to this fabulous little Mexican restaurant here in San Diego. I ordered a bowl of albondigas soup. Albondigas soup is basically a meatball soup. It was very different from most albondigas soups that I have had. I was hooked. It had so much stuff in it. Recently, I went to a local restaurant and ordered a cup. It was a bland broth with one giant meatball in it. That was it. One lonely meatball. BORING!!!! Other places put a chunk of carrot and maybe a chunk of potato.  Other places load it up.

So, you albondigas experts out there may have your favorite way of making it and maybe mine isn’t a traditional albondigas, but it’s really, really good.  In the second picture, forgive the “steamy” pic.

Albondigas Soup

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
2 Tblsp water
1/2 cup cooked and cooled rice (I also add some rice to my bowl of soup)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp taco seasoning
Mix together the ingredients listed above. Form into little 1 inch balls. In a skillet, brown them all around.

In the meantime, in a large pot, add the following:
6  cups of water
2 cups of chicken broth
1 chicken buollion cube
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 large red potatoes, cut in large chunks
1 – 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced plus a few sprigs for garnish
1 can green beans (or fresh beans)
1 cup corn (optional)
1 Tblsp taco seasoning (I use spicy)

Note: I have used a jar salsa instead of the taco seasoning, but I prefer the taco seasoning.
Note 2: You may need to add more water, to your liking. I like my soup thick with stuff. 🙂

Add the meatballs and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Test the potatoes to make sure they are done. Pour the soup over some rice in a bowl. Garnish with whatever the heck you want! This is a great soup to serve with some tortilla chips.

YUMMMMMM

 

Ham and Cheesy Stromboli….

Happy New Year friends! I’m sorry that I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been a little under the weather. Hmmm, “under the weather”…..what exactly does that mean anyway? I’ve been sick, ok? The holidays were busy, busy. I painted a lot of cookies, had a little holiday party, put away all the Christmas crap and now I’m sick. So much for the “good luck/good health” Japanese soup that i made. Honestly, why do I even make it year after year. Hahahahha, my friends are always suggesting that maybe I skip it. But it’s tradition. Oh well.

I hope your holidays were great. I hope you are managing to stay away from this flu and cold bug thing that is going around too! Let’s hope that this is a great new year for all of us. I thank you all for sticking with me. I would also like to welcome my new followers. Thank you for joining me!

Ok, so I will try to post some healthier recipes this year. I said “try”. Hahahahah. But if you have looked at the “Healthy Recipes” section of my blog, you can see I definitely need something there. Hahhaha. But we will start that later. Not today.

Have you ever had a Stromboli? My friend Patti A. introduced me to this so many years ago. It’s basically a dough wrapped around stuff and baked. It’s kinda like a calzone. You can pretty much stuff it with anything. I posted an Italian Stromboli awhile back. You can even do a dessert Stromboli. Yup, so good. But today we have ham and cheese Stromboli. I love that word…….strom-bo-leeeeeeeee. I was going to add some scrambled eggs to this, but forgot.

Anyway, this is a really quick and easy dish. It’s also fun. You will make it again and again, using all kinds of stuff inside. You just use a store-bought pizza dough and whatever you have in your fridge to stuff it with. Here we go.

Ham and Cheesy Stromboli

1 roll of pizza dough (I use the Pillsbury canned dough)
2 cups of cheese (I used a combination of Swiss, Monterey jack and American)
a few slices of good ham (I used about  5 oz.)
2 Tblsp good mustard

Heat oven to 350.

Line a  baking sheet with parchment or lightly spray the pan with cooking spray.
Carefully roll out your dough to a good sized rectangle. Spread the mustard on. Lay down the slices of ham down the middle of the dough. Top with cheeses. Bring up the 2 long sides of the dough, lightly pinching together. Pinch together the ends as well.

Poke the top with a fork in 2 places, to allow the steam to escape. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to set for about 5 minutes. Slice in 3-4″ slices or just cut in half if you want a bigger piece. Sooooooo good.

Variations:

Turkey and cheese with green chiles
Bacon, egg and cheese
Egg, egg and chorizo
Chicken, cheese and green chiles
Ground beef and cheese
Italian sausage, pepperoni and provolone

Buttery, Crispy, Chewy, Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookie…

This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie. It’s pretty much everything I look for in a CCC. It’s buttery….see the butter stain on the parchment paper in the photo below. It’s chewy. It’s crispy. I’ve posted this recipe before and called it my 2nd favorite chocolate chip cookie. But this time I did something different. This one is loaded with much more chocolate and I added nuts. It’s very rich. It’s perfect. I have made this recipe for years, but without nuts. Let me tell you what inspired me to put nuts this time…

Recently, I discovered a cookie called THE COOKIE, at a local specialty store. OMG, as soon as you walk into the store, you see them baking these and the aroma…………..ohhhhhhh the aroma. It’s a big fat cookie….BIG. They serve them warm. Well, I bout fainted when I took a bite. The chocolate was intense. While I browsed around the store, I finished my cookie. Now, you know I went back and got another to take home. This was a special cookie. However, as I analyzed this cookie (as I do with all my food) I had to ask myself just why I liked it so much. It was not chewy. It was thick and I don’t usually like thick cookies. The thing I found interesting was the cookie dough to chocolate chip and nuts ratio. It was so loaded with chocolate and nuts, that there really was very little cookie. Hmmm. Well, that got me thinking….excessively….obsessively….what if I just overloaded my go-to recipe with chocolate and toasted nuts. I’m not kidding when I say I obsessed over this cookie. It was bad! Hahahahah. But adding the additional chocolate and the toasted nuts produced the same great taste as the specialty cookie I purchased. But mine were better since they had the chew!!! YAY!

So, today I made a batch. My first batch got forgotten as I left the kitchen to do laundry. I overbaked them by a good 2 to 3 minutes. I panicked…I cursed. Some bad, bad words came out of my mouth! But to my surprise, I had perfect thin and crispy, buttery CCC’s. So, if that’s the kind of cookie you like, do like I did! Go do some laundry and overbake your cookies! My second batch, baked at a lesser time, were delicious. Perfect. I may put more nuts next time….who knows.

I am highly recommending these! Even if you aren’t a nutty person, you will love this recipe. Just leave out the nuts.

The cookies are this beautiful caramel brown color.

 Buttery, Crispy, Chewy, Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1  1/4 cup flour plus 3 Tblsp flour. Use 2 Tblsp if you want a thinner crispy cookie
1  1/2 cups of chopped good chocolate (semi sweet or bittersweet)  I used Ghirardelli (see picture)
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

In a mixing bowl, mix the butter and sugars just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Gently stir in the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Don’t over mix.  Stir in the chocolate and nuts. Chill dough for about 20-30 minutes. Roll dough into 1″ balls and place them 2″ apart, on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

Chewy, rich deliciousness awaits you!

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cupcake…….

I have my two favorite chocolate cupcakes that are my go to chocolate cake. This is pretty much the same recipe as those, but these have a secret ingredient. Cranberry juice. You don’t taste it….you would never even know it’s there. But it does cut the sweetness a bit and makes for a fluffy cupcake.

If a cake or cupcake recipe ever calls for water, I rarely use water. I will use hot coffee, leftover coffee, milk, ginger ale, 7 up, fruit juice and even beer. I highly recommend trying this especially if you are using a boxed cake mix.

Anyway, let’s get back to this cupcake. Yum. The frosting is a milk chocolate frosting and it is DELICIOUS. It’s creamy, rich and decadent.

Just plop a fresh cranberry or two on top to make it look holiday-ish.


Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cupcake

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cranberry juice (or water if you don’t like cranberry juice)
1/2  cup sour cream
1/4  cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Line standard muffin pan with paper liners. Sift cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, cranberry juice, sour cream, oil, and vanilla. Mix until smooth by hand whisk or mixer.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 15-18 minutes or until you poke a toothpick in the cake and it comes out clean. Let cool. Frost (makes 18-20 cuppies)

Milk Chocolate Frosting

8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2-3 Tblsp unsweetened cocoa powder (add more if you like a more intense chocolate flavor
1 tsp vanilla
1  16 oz box of powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the butter and cream cheese until very creamy and smooth. Add the vanilla, cocoa and sugar. Whip until very fluffy. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of milk or cream. If it appears too thin, add more powdered sugar.

Frost cupcakes and top with fresh cranberries or any berry, or some shaved white chocolate, dark chocolate, etc.

 

Leftover, Leftover Turkey Rice Soup….

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Did you eat too much? I know I did! I cooked a 22 pound turkey for 4 people. Oh my…..I sent my daughter home with half of the leftover turkey and I still have tons! I’ve had turkey sandwiches, a complete leftover turkey dinner, turkey enchiladas and now I have made some turkey rice soup with green chiles and salsa.

I made the turkey enchiladas tonight. I sautéed some shredded turkey with green chiles and some onion and made too much. I tend to do that. Oops. So I made soup from my leftovers!

I think my favorite leftover turkey thing, is just a plain ol turkey sandwich on white bread, with mayo and salt and pepper. But tomorrow I shall enjoy this soup. Then I think I am DONE with turkey for a while.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy your leftovers? Tell me!


Sprinkled with a bit of Monterey Jack Cheese

 

Turkey Rice Soup with Green Chiles

Adjust ingredient amounts to your liking, but here is what I did:

6 cups of water
approx. 2 cups of shredded turkey
approx. 1/2 cup green chiles, diced
1/2 cup salsa
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooked rice (if you don’t have cooked rice, add 1/2 cup uncooked rice. It will cook as your soup cooks)

Just dump everything in a pot. Add more or less of the ingredients, according to your taste.  Allow to cook for at least half an hour. If you are using uncooked rice, cook your soup until the rice is tender.

Sprinkle with a bit of shredded cheese.