thegingerchef

Recipes from My Kitchen

Meatball Soup

I loooove new recipe night!  Since it’s getting colder out, it was only fitting to have a hot soup.  The recipe calls for frozen meatballs – saves a lot of time in cooking – but I prefer the homemade kind.  I took a photo…sorry it’s of my leftovers, but it was so good I ate two bowls before I could get the camera out.  It was even *better* when I added a sprinkle of blue cheese over the top.  This is so easy to make.

 

Italian Meatball Soup

2 Medium carrots (I used the already shredded in a bag, cause it’s what I had on hand)
2 stalks celery (sliced and diced pretty fine)
1 small onion
2 Tbsp tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning mix
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
1.5 cups water
Meatballs (I used a one pound pack)
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice and dice the celery pretty thinly – I usually cut my stalks into three long strips before slicing, makes more bite-sized pieces that are easier to eat.  Put the diced onion, carrots, and celery in a stock pot with a little oil, and turn up the heat, stirring occasionally.

When the veggies are translucent, push them over to the side and add the tomato paste, cook for a couple minutes.  Add in the pressed garlic and seasoning mix (I don’t have an Italian mix, but I had poultry seasoning…close enough 🙂 ).  Stir in the tomatoes.  I only had one can of crushed, so I added a can of whole tomatoes.  Seemed to taste just fine to me!!  Add in the broth, a little water, and simmer.

For the meatballs – you can either used frozen ones (thawed and sliced in half), or you can make some – super easy.  Mix 1# of ground beef with some breadcrumbs (panko) and an egg.  Roll into small walnut-sized balls and place into a mini muffin tin (I’ve always wanted to try baking them like this!).  I baked at 350 for 10 minutes.  If they’re not quite cooked all the way through, don’t worry – they will finish cooking in the simmering soup.

Add meatballs to the soup when it’s simmering, cook about 10 more minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste (I only added a pinch of each).  I sprinkled some blue cheese over the top of the soup – and it was so hot I couldn’t stop eating it.  But the blue cheese definitely added some great flavor!!  You can also use some bread to dip into the soup, or bake the bread into croutons to place in the bowl.  So many options – good thing it made a lot!!

 

20131023_204026Do not be dissuaded by my tupperware – the soup was delicious!!

 

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Been gone, too long…

Sooo sorry that I haven’t been around!  The last few weeks have been busy ones, and really, I haven’t felt much like posting.  But I’m back!  I have about 5 posts in the queue and I will try to get them finished up this week so I at least have things to post, even when I don’t feel like it.

Today, however, I felt like making cupcakes!!  Really, I have since Christmas – my cousin’s girlfriend made cake balls using strawberry cake mix and they were heavenly.  So when I got back home I went straight to the store and got strawberry cake mix.  And there it sat in my pantry for 2+ months.  *sigh – I need to be better about baking!!!

Anyway, today sounded like a great day for cupcakes (I know my husband’s office-mates love when I bake, they usually are the benefactors).  But since it’s really just a mix from a box, with a little icing, I thought “what can I do to make these a little more special?”  Idea!!  I had some leftover melting chocolate from Christmas and decided I would make chocolate strawberries to top the cupcakes with.  As it turns out, I can’t draw a strawberry with icing to save my life 🙂  but the general idea comes through and they look pretty good.  And they’re very tasty!!

The easiest way to do this is lay out a sheet of wax paper.  Melt a few of the chocolates in a ziploc bag (30-40 second intervals so you don’t burn the chocolate).  Then pipe it onto the wax paper and stick it in the fridge to harden.  Then, eat the rest of the melted chocolate out of the ziploc bag, because, well, it’s spectacular.   When you assemble the cupcake, stick a knife in the middle to make a space for the chocolate to go – otherwise you will break the chocolates (good thing I made extra!!!)

 

 

Then, for dinner, I made an open-faced steak sammich.  We originally had this in an Irish place a while ago, and I’ve made it twice since.  It’s really messy, but delicious!! (And super easy – do I ever make anything not easy?? 🙂 )

I bought a big chunk of flank steak and only used half of it.  Salt and pepper on each side, then broiled on High ~5-6 minutes on each side (turning twice).  Then I cut off a few slices of bread and lightly broiled them.

I sautéed a few slices of white onion in a little butter, then made a gravy.  Now the gravy is the only complicated part of this – and I had to make it twice, since I screwed it up the first time :-p  Mix a little dark beer (you only need a cup or so) with some flour, then cook on low until it thickens (should happen pretty quick – if it gets too thick, add a little water or more beer to thin).  It will have a slightly dull taste to it, so you will probably need to add some salt and pepper to it to taste.

To assemble the sandwich – Lay the bread on a plate, top with a few pieces of Romaine lettuce.  Slice the steak very thin, then layer on the lettuce.  Add on the onion pieces, drizzle on some gravy, and top with blue cheese.  Delicious!!

 

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