Petite Inspirations

In the name of inspiration and all things interesting to me and hopefully you.

Archive for the category “Food”

Albondigas Soup

It was a bit cold in the evenings a few weeks ago and Mr. Wonderful wanted some soup to warm up, so I decided to make Albondigas (Meatball) soup again. This recipe is adapted from here. The key is fresh herbs from the garden and great broth! This version has no bread crumbs which still works great and is gluten-free!

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup cooked rice
salt to taste
1 pound ground beef
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1/4 + 1/4 cup fresh oregano, minced
1/4 + 3/4 cup onions, chopped (divided)
1/2cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 – 1/2 cup of oil (i used grape seed oil)
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 – 15oz can diced tomatoes
3 quarts beef broth
2 cups chayote, cubed
1 1/2 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper2 Limes, wedges

 

Prepare the meatballs: Mix first 5 ingredients, 1/4 cup oregano, 1/4 cup onions, and  1/4 cup cilantro in a bowl and make 1″ meatballs. You can stick them in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden them up a bit if they’re too mushy, but if you work quickly, you can heat up your dutch oven while your making the meatballs and toss them to pan fry it with a bit of oil on medium high heat. Brown on all sides. It’s not necessary to make sure the insides aren’t pink because you will be cooking it in the soup later. Do this in 2 or 3 batches, you don’t want to overcrowd your pan because they won’t brown properly. The brown crispy bits when frying will give the soup a really good flavor!

Tip: I pan fry a small sample of the meat and try it to see if there is enough seasoning and adjust accordingly, before frying all the meatballs.

When all the meatballs are done, reserve some of the drippings from the pot and add the rest of the onions, carrots, and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions are see through, then add the tomatoes, broth, and the rest of the oregano. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add the chayote,  meatballs, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the chayote is fork tender. Take a taste of the soup and adjust with salt and pepper.

Serve with cilantro and lime. Enjoy and warm up.

Tips:
I like using chayote because it has a neutral flavor and picks up the flavor of the soup nicely without overpowering any of it’s flavor to the soup. If you don’t have chayote, use any other summer squash you like.

Double the batch of  meatballs to save time the second time around,  for another quick  fix of this awesome soup. Lay the second batch of meatballs separately on a cookie sheet and stick it in the freezer. After a few hours (when it’s frozen), I seal them up in a ziplock.

 

Dried Bay Leaves

I cut back the bay tree again. It’s not a huge tree. I’ve had it for at least three years now and kept it no bigger than three feet tall and growing in a pot. The smell reminds me of Christmas. My goal is to get this tree bigger for next fall so I can prune enough of the branches to create a wreath for the front door! Then when the leaves are dry, I can give them out again.

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I dried the leaves and gave them away to my family. These leaves are great for soups and stocks. Some of my family members mentioned they used it for Chicken Adobo and spaghetti.  I really never tried it on spaghetti. Maybe I’ll try that next time. My mom mentions that if you want to help with the ‘meaty’ smell of dishes, you can just add a leaf to the dish. I kinda like the ‘meaty’ smell when it’s cooking to tell you the truth.

My dad, what’s the word……..detests these leave. Every time he sees them or if anyone mentions them he goes on this rant of how they make your stool loose and how much he hates them. Come to find out, his dad, my grandpa used to use them a lot in his dishes and I think my dad accidentally ate a few of them, thinking they were vegetables. Make sure you don’t eat the leaf!!! They just impart a flavor and aroma to the dish.

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Flattening the bay leaves so that they store easier in plastic bags.

Adobo tacos

Mr. Wonderful and I love to try different foods. We were at a location that had a bunch of food truck and we found this one truck that had Adobo tacos. Adobo is a filipino dish that I grew up with. My mom cooked it all the time. I decided to try it, and it was amazing!! I love adobo and i love tacos. This was a brilliant combination. So, Mr. Wonderful and I decided to try to make it. It turned out so good!! We also tried entertaining with it and it was a hit. Here is our version of it. I hope you enjoy. This recipe makes at least 25 slider tacos (the smaller sized tortillas). Let me know what you think.

Update 9/23/13: We’ve previously used chicken thighs in the recipe, but we tried using chicken breast this past weekend. It turned out so dry. The texture was also unappealing. So, we’re going to stick to the thighs from now on.

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Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken thighs, chopped into 1/2 – 1 inch pieces
1/2 lb pork belly, chopped int 1/4″ pieces
2 large onions, sliced
1/2 cup Tamari (or soy sauce)
1/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon ground garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
Corn tortillas
Cilantro
Limes
Sriracha (optional as a side for heat)

In a large pot on medium heat, cook the chicken, pork, onions, tamari, vinegar, garlic and sugar for about  50-60 minutes. You want to cook it uncovered to evaporate most of the liquid. Don’t forget to stir it up occasionally. You don’t want it to burn on the bottom. When it’s done more than half of the liquid should have evaporated and will thicken slightly.

Serve over warmed corn tortillas with red cabbage, cilantro and lime. Add sriracha for heat.

Gluten Free Banana muffins with mini peanut butter cups

 

Luckily before this heatwave hit us, I had a chance to make these banana muffins.  I usually use nuts for this muffin recipe. I also tried dark chocolate chips. All were fantastic, but I think this tops it. The mini peanut butter cups keep the muffin very moist and just melts in your mouth.

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Makes: 12 muffins

1 1/2  cup mashed bananas
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup palm shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1  1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini peanut buttercups

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix bananas, sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract.  Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir until dry ingredients are mixed in.

Grease muffin pans. Add batter to pan and sprinkle peanut buttercups on top of muffin. Bake for 20-23 minutes.

Tip: Leave a space in the center of the muffins without the chocolate buttercups so that you can stick a toothpick to check for doneness, without getting chocolate all over the toothpick.

Sweetheart Cheesecake

Oh to be loved or be in love…. it does come with great benefits, like a dessert. Who doesn’t like dessert? Mr. Wonderfuls’ favorite dessert of all time is cheesecake! Yummmo. I decided to spice it up a bit with a big heart in the center. It was fairly inexpensive and easy!

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I started out by carving out a shape of a heart with a knife as a guideline.

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Then scoop out the cheesecake. I went about 1/4″ deep.  You can make the well deeper if you want more of the preserves.

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Then fill the well/shape with the preserve. I found that mixing the preserve first made for easier spreading.

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Voila!

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Ingredients

1 Plain cheesecake
1 jar of strawberry preserves
A dash of creativity

Hope you had a sweet valentines!

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