Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup

*This soup is slightly more rich than I would prefer, but it is soooo good and very filling. Like the title of the soup describes, it is probably better for a special event or celebration. Its really good! I got it from 'food network', Ina Garten's 'Barefoot Contessa' show. Here is the link for the recipe. And I did cook it with the dry white wine (the alcohol burns off), but I don't really like the taste it brought, so you could leave that one out ;).

Making chicken stock is not too hard. With about 10 cups of water boil some chopped onions, carrots, celery, and a family size package of chicken (like the on sale $3 pack) legs/thighs/wings -roasted- (the bones add a lot of flavor) for about 45 minutes. Than, strain the broth and you have stock. You can reuse the leftover stuff a few more times to maximize its use (just add it to water and boil until you have your desired flavor of broth).

Italian Wedding Soup


For the meatballs:

  • 3/4 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (*I used Italian parsley; I think that's what she intended...)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 10 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (*I, Amy, say this is optional. Even though the alcohol burns off, I still don't like the taste so much)
  • 1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock (and wine) and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chicken Veggie and Arugula Pizza

*Don't worry, you don't have to make home made crust (I wouldn't even say I went that far. I used 'Bob's Red Mill' pizza crust mixture).

Chicken Veggie and Arugula Pizza

*Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
*Roll/spread dough on greased pizza pan (or flat cookie sheet pan)

-6 oz. can tomato sauce
-1 tsp dried basil
-1/2 tsp dried cilantro
-1 tsp each: onion powder, garlic powder, salt
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1/2 tablespoon agave nectar (or 1 tsp sugar)
-*I used 1/2 tsp dried parsley, but I was experimenting, so don't worry about using it if you don't have it

*Stir and leave out 1/4 cup (see topping), and apply to rolled out dough

-1/2 white onion, diced
-1 cup total of: chopped green bell pepper, red bell pepper
-1 small tomato, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 cup arugula
-1 tbls olive oil (to cook chicken and saute vegetables with)
-1 large, or two small chicken breasts, browned and cut up (season with salt and pepper while cooking)
-1/4 cup of earlier made pizza sauce
-3/4 cup shredded monterey jack or mozzarella (freshly shredded if possible)

*Add onion, bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic to chicken in saute pan. Add 1/4 cup sauce. Saute on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
*Sprinkle half of cheese first, after sauce, on the pizza dough. Evenly spread out arugula, and than add chicken and veggie mixture, and top with remaining cheese.
*Bake 15-18 minutes.

If you prefer to go vegetarian, just leave out the chicken and its still delicious!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Popped Amaranth

Are you in the mood to try something new? If you are thinking, 'What is amaranth?', I don't blame you. Its not very popular in the US (crazy), but in South America it is like a super grain, even though it is actually a seed. It is very similar to quinoa, but not as bitter, and much smaller. Here is my favorite way to make it:

Popped. Toast a tablespoon of amaranth seeds a time in a hot, dry skillet. Continually shake or stir until the seeds pop -be sure to put a (glass) lid over it while it pops. They should pop fairly quickly after they are put on the heat. If not, just try again and turn the heat up, but not too much.
I toast about 3 tablespoons per serving. Just toast one tblspn at a time though.
I add a little unsweetened, vanilla almond milk (which, by the way, if you haven't tried you have to try. So much better tasting than milk), agave nectar (or 100 % pure maple syrup), and cinnamon. Its sort of like eating rice puffed cereal, but crunchier and better tasting, and really good for you!

You have to try it!! Check it out next time you are in the store.