Saturday, June 11, 2011

This Ain't No 30 Minute Meal

I am no longer surprised to hear myself say I love to cook.  I cook because there is nothing more satisfying than watching my family eat something I created with love.  Some of the greatest conversations I've had with my husband and children have been in the kitchen making a meal.  My new passion is finding healthy meals.  Okay, it's more of an obsession.  After cutting all the fried, saucy, fatty stuff and more than 500 calories out of our diets, eating right and well has become a major priority.  Here's one of my husband's favorite dishes, albondigas soup, made with taste and nutrition in mind.  Enjoy!

Albondigas Soup
Ingredients for meatballs:
1/2 lb. Lean ground beef/pork
1/2 lb. chorizo (peel casing off and break apart)
Minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 beaten egg
1 carrots minced 
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 tspn. salt
1/2 tspn. pepper
1 tspn. ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Ingredients for soup:
Low sodium chicken or vegetable broth 1 carton (6 cups)
1 small onion chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
1 cup diced tomato (I like fresh, but canned is ok)
1 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn oregano
1/2 cup cilantro
1 tspn mint (you can use mint from teabags)
1 large zucchini or 1 cup peas (we like peas)
salt and pepper to taste
1.  Combine all meatball ingredients and roll large meatballs between your palms tightly so they don't break apart in the soup.  A good size for a meatball is about a small orange or a tangerine. 
2.  Heat broth, onions, celery, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, mint and cilantro in a large pot.
3.  Bring the soup to a boil and slowly drop the meatballs in one at a time.  If you're afraid they'll fall apart, you can simmer some in a sauce pan so they're more solid, especially if your soup doesn't cover them completely.  I usually do this with half of them, while the other half are covered in the pot before dropping them in.
4.  Return to simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.
5.  Add zucchini and cook for 10 more minutes.  (I've never added this, but it's in traditional Albondigas, I've always wondered if kundot (squash) would work).
6.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
7.  Put the peas in right before you serve them.  Don't worry about the raw rice, it will cook nicely inside the meatball. 

Good ol' Cheesecake 
I love dessert, but I am also intimidated by baking.  As of lately, I can make a mean lemon meringue, awesome pumpkin shortbread, fresh fruit ambrosia and a pretty good homemade gingerbread.  This cheesecake is my first merely because it isn't the no-bake, let's mix up some cream cheese and whipped cream kind.  I aced that and all I needed was a 2nd grade reading level.  I love cheesecake, but only the good kind and I wasn't too sure if I could do it.  Which of course meant I had to try.
8 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cup sugar (1 cup tastes just as good)
3/4 cup lowfat milk
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour

1.  Preheat oven to 360 degrees
2.  Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
3.  Add milk and eggs one at a time.  Add sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth.
4.  Pour in premade crust or crush 15 graham crackers and mix with 2 tablespoons of butter and press into a pan.
5.  Bake for one hour.  I don't know how to prevent my cheesecake from cracking, but some say covering it with a bowl or leaving it in the oven to cool before putting it in the fridge help.  Whatever, it tastes awesome so I'm not worried about looks too much.   
Next time: I'll add less eggs and cook it shorter.  We thought about topping, and put some strawberries on the girl's slices, but decided it was perfect just the way it is.  I rocked the cheesecake!

1 comment:

Rick said...

That looks delicious, Boni! And it looks like your kids enjoy it as well. :-)