Mini Meatball Soup

This recipe comes directly from Rachael Ray.  We’ve had a few cold, rainy days lately and this was an absolutely perfect dinner to warm up with.  A couple of notes…  I do not like store-bought bread crumbs that are the texture and taste of saw dust.  However, Ian’s brand makes an Italian Panko which I used in the meatballs.  My mini meatballs were not as mini as they should have been; lazy.  I also sprinkled fresh parmesan on our soup right before serving.  I looked for this recipe online to copy it, but it was not exactly the same as in her cookbook 30-Minute Meals.  (By the way, 30 minutes to make this soup is a joke.  I can’t make any of her recipes in 30 minutes.)  The version in her cookbook is a bit simpler, so I will list it below.  However, the version online (mini meatball soup) looked pretty great and included spinach, which I would have enjoyed.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 medium onion chopped, plus 1/4 minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS. extra-virgin olive oil
2 pinches ground nutmeg
3 cans (15 oz. each) chicken broth
1/2 cup small pasta
handful of chopped parsley

FOR THE MEATBALLS: combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic powder, 1/4 minced onion and salt & pepper.  Form 1/2 inch mini meatballs.  Either bake at 375º or cook on the stove top about 12 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

FOR THE SOUP: sauté carrot, celery, 1/2 onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat.  Sprinkle veggies with nutmeg and cook for 5 minutes.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Drop in pasta and simmer until pasta is al dente (about eight to ten minutes).  Drop in meatballs.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley (and parmesan) and enjoy.

Crispy Yogurt Chicken

Best crispy chicken I’ve ever made!  (Well, that does not include an excellent parmesan chicken recipe I make, which is also crispy.)  My entire family enjoyed this dinner, even my extremely picky eater.  Loved the garlic and lemon flavors in this chicken.  The recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman; crispy yogurt chicken.  The only change I made was to use plain, Greek yogurt instead of plain, regular yogurt.  The cooking time also did not work out for me.  I was supposed to bake the chicken covered for one hour and then uncovered for 15 minutes.  I had to bake my chicken uncovered for 45 more minutes before it got crispy – so it cooked for nearly two hours (and still was not too dry!).  The next time I make this recipe, I will bake it covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 45.  (I sometimes think that my oven does not get as hot as it should, so this could have been the problem.)

CRISPY YOGURT CHICKEN

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain, Greek yogurt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • chopped parsley to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • chicken breasts (or whatever parts you prefer)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • butter (1 pat for each piece of chicken)

Preparation Instructions

Pour yogurt into a mixing bowl. Peel and mince garlic; add garlic to the yogurt. Chop up a small amount of fresh parsley and add it to the yogurt. Add lemon juice. Mix together to combine.

Rinse chicken and pat it dry. Sprinkle with (kosher) salt.

In another bowl, place the bread crumbs. Sprinkle with salt and stir lightly.

Butter a baking dish. With a pair of tongs, place the chicken, one piece at a time into the yogurt mixture. Turn it over thoroughly to coat. Then roll the chicken in the Panko bread crumbs. Cover each piece thoroughly with bread crumbs and place in the baking dish.

Place a slice of butter over the large part of each chicken piece. Cover with foil and bake in a 350º oven for 1 to 1 ¼ hours, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking. When the chicken is nice and golden, remove from the oven and enjoy!

Chicken Satay & Cilantro Peanut Sauce

This was a fun and very tasty dinner!  I marinated the chicken strips in the morning and also made the dipping sauce at that time.  I soaked the skewers in water about ten minutes before I threaded the chicken onto them.  Then I grilled the skewers on my panini maker (which doubles as a grill).  They cooked for about two minutes and were done (my grill cooks on both sides).  I served the satay alongside pilaf and marinated cucumbers.  The chicken marinade & directions can be found at Steamy Kitchen (with better pictures and step by step instructions), but here is the quick version:

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless chicken breast or thigh
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
bamboo skewers, soaked in water

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, peanut butter and sesame oil. Set the marinade aside.  (I have to admit, I doubled the ingredients for the marinade.)

2. Slice the chicken breasts into long, thin strips. Add the chicken strips to the marinade and mix well. Refrigerate 1 hour or for up to overnight.

3. When ready to cook, preheat the grill – high heat on one side and low heat on the other side. Thread the chicken strips onto the bamboo skewers, keeping the chicken as flat as you can so that they cook evenly. Grill the chicken skewers, starting on the high heat side for 4 minutes each side. The move the skewers to the low heat side, cover and finish cooking, about 1-3 minutes more, depending on the thickness of your chicken.

I adapted the cilantro peanut sauce from an old fondu cookbook:

Cilantro Peanut Dipping Sauce

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup sugar
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
dash or two (or more) of chili oil
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Put all ingredients into food processor and blend.

Feta, Cranberry & Almond Salad

This is a pretty, green salad with a great combination of flavors and textures complimented by a balsamic vinaigrette.  I served it along side rosy lamb chops and onion roasted potatoes.  I also had it on its own for lunch the next day.

Feta, Cranberry & Almond Salad

1 bag salad greens
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup toasted almonds

dressing
2 TBS. balsamic vinegar
1 TBS. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil

Toast almonds on cookie sheet at 350º for about ten minutes, or until golden.  Toss salad ingredients together.  Mix dressing ingredients and drizzle over salad.

Chocolate Chip Gingersnaps

It felt like autumn arrived in Seattle today.  Instead of sunshine and eighty degrees, we dropped into the cloudy sixties; a perfect excuse to make cookies!  These little babies are one of my favorite fall cookies.  They are lightly crispy on the outside, while soft and chewy on the inside.  The warm whoosh of molasses, ginger and a hint of cloves each time I opened the oven door today was pure heaven.  Bring on the crunchy leaves and sweaters, I’m ready!

Gingersnaps

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Half bag of mini chocolate chips, if desired.

Cream together first four ingredients.  Sift together dry ingredients and stir into molasses mixture.  Stir in chips, if using (it’s surprising how complimentary chocolate is in this recipe).  Form into small balls and roll in sugar.  Place two inches apart on greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375º for about nine minutes.  Cool and enjoy!

Sugary balls of cookie dough waiting to be baked:

And the finished product:

Totally yum!

Panini #6: chicken & balsamic onion marmalade

This was a winner and it came together with what I had on hand in the kitchen;  deli sliced chicken, avocado, Harvarti cheese and ‘wichcraft balsamic onion marmalade (William Sonoma).  I thought it was a great sandwich, but I love balsamic vinegar, which definitely flavored the crispy panini.  (I’m sure I could caramelize onions in balsamic vinegar myself, but it was awfully nice to have it done for me.)

My Favorite Bagel Sandwich

This is a veggie & cheese bagel sandwich which I discovered on The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  We have this sandwich regularly at our house.  (Honestly, I do make more than sandwiches for dinner.  Just tonight I made marinated salmon and a zucchini lentil salad with a yogurt tahini dressing – I just didn’t take pictures.  Check out my Going MediterrAsian blog on the blog roll for some non-sandwich recipes which I’ve made in the past.)  To make this sandwich:

toast a bagel

spread on cream cheese with chives

add sliced tomato, sliced cucumbers, sliced avocado, sliced red onion

in the center, sandwich a slice of cheddar between two pieces of Muenster

And yum!  Unfortunately my grocery store no longer carries alfalfa sprouts, which are included in the original recipe.  Something about too much risk of e coli.  Boo.  For much prettier pictures of this awesome sandwich, click here: veggie & cheese bagel sandwich.