Italian Wedding Soup

This is by far my favorite kind of soup! I made my own lighter and healthier version by adding more vegetables and homemade turkey meatballs. I always use reduced sodium broth so I can control the amount of salt in a dish. For this recipe, I used the “Fit and Active” brand from Aldi’s. I also love this dish because it is simple and it can be cooked in one pot! My family of 5 ate for one night (my husband and I had seconds) and we still have left over for lunches!
Ingredients:
For the meatballs
  • 1 container of lean ground turkey
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs (if the meatballs still are hard to mold you can always use more breadcrumbs)
  • 2 TBSP grated parmesan
  • splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil for sauteing
Combine all ingredients, do not overmix. Using a teaspoon of meat mixture, shape into a ball. Sautee in EVOO but do not cook through . This makes them super tasty!
For the Soup:
  • 3 containers of reduced sodium, no MSG chicken broth (I use the ones that have a lid so if there are any that is left I keep in the fridge)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 onion, cut
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, cut
  • 1 can of rinsed cannellini beans
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of italian seasoning
  • 1 cup pf baby spinach
  • 1 cup of acini di pepe pasta
In the same pot that you cooked the meatballs, set them aside in paper towels. Add a little bit more of EVOO and add all the veggies. Cook until onions become translucent. Add the broth and get to a boil. Reduce heat and add pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes and add the meatballs and beans to finish cooking. Add salt, pepper and italian seasoning. Add the spinach until it wilts. Serve with crusty bread and you got a yummy, healthy meal!

This is the only reason I like cold weather!

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Uruguayan Pancakes

Our version of “pancakes” in Uruguay is different than the classic American pancakes. Ours are more like crepes than pancakes but are called “panqueques”in Spanish  They are usually made for dessert or for “merienda” which is a n afternoon snack.They are super easy to make and we really like them. They are filled with dulce de leche (caramel) and they are sinful with Nutella!
You can also use this recipe for any dessert crepe you’d like and fill them up with fruits. They are also delicious with cinnamon sugar!

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp pf salt
  • 2 cups of milk (I use 2% milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 TBSP of  melted butter plus more for the skillet
Combine all ingredients and put the batter in a Pyrex for easy pouring into the skillet

Step one: put a little butter in the pan, and add about 1/3 cup of batter into skillet.

 Keep turning the skillet so the whole surface is covered by the batter. With a spatula keep loosening the edges and when it is brown flip so it can cook on the other side.

Yummy!

Spread a little dulce de leche, roll up and sprinkle with powder sugar.

Enjoy!

Easy Arroz con Pollo

Today I will share with you a classic in Hispanic food, Arroz con Pollo. It is such a simple, healthy and tasty dish that your family will be begging for seconds.

Ingredients:

  • Slices of turkey bacon (you can use any kind of bacon, we try to eat healthier so we use the turkey kind)
  • 6 to 8 chicken thighs, depending on the size of your family
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut 
  • 2 cups of brown rice (uncooked) note: instant brown rice will get really mushy.
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of chicken broth + 1/4 cup
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Fresh parsley
Directions:
First, season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Then put some oil in a skillet and cook the bacon, set aside. Add the chicken to the skillet (add more oil if you need to), brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.

Take the chicken out of the skillet, add a little bit more oil and add the carrots, onion, pepper, garlic and rice and cook a little bit. Add the chicken broth, cumin, oregano and some salt and pepper. Cook until it boils.

Transfer the rice into a greased 9 x 13 dish. Add the chicken on top.
Cover with aluminum foil and cook in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. Then, take the aluminum foil off, sprinkle cheese and put back into oven for 5 minutes. Take it out of the oven and add bacon and parsley on top.

The chicken turns out very moist and very flavorful. You can try it with chicken breasts but the result is not the same and the meat is a little dry. Great dish!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Shortbread Cookies

Summer is over now for us and so are our cooking lessons with the kids. We still love to cook together but we will not be doing this as often. My middle son loves the Christmas “Linzer”cookies, and since he also loves peanut butter and jelly he decided to combine these together and this is what came out! They were really good!

He melts my heart!! 
Sorry the pictures are not very good, but after we were done he asked me “Mom aren’t you going to take some pictures to put these in your blog? He really wanted to see his cookies here!
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • Peanut butter
  • Strawberry jelly
Directions:
 Place dry ingredients in a bowl and combine. In another bowl beat granulated sugar and butter until creamy, add vanilla and egg. Gradually add flour. Divide dough in half and refrigerate for two hours.
After the dough is chilled, roll out not too thick and cut first the bases. We used stars cookie cutters. Then roll out again with the leftovers and cut the bases again but this time use the smaller cutter and cut in the middle as well. Repeat this with the rest of the dough. You will also be left with yummy little “snack” cookies. My oldest son  does not like jelly so we left those for him, plain. Bake @ 375 for 7 minutes be sure they do not brown too much. If you cut them really thin they will. 
Let them cool completely.

After they are cooled, spread a little peanut butter on the base and then top with the jelly. Put the top cookie of the cookie sandwich and there you have them! It is kind of fun to do this with the kids! You can dust with powder sugar if you’d like but my son did not want to…
You can see here the little “snack cookies” that were left plain. I tell you, they lasted only one afternoon…

Give them a try and tell me if you liked them. Involve the kids in the kitchen and they will have sweet 
memories for a lifetime!
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Easy Artisan Pizza Dough

Every Friday it is pizza and movie night at my house. We try several kinds of pizza (well, my husband and I, the kids eat only cheese) from Pizza Bianca, to Margherita, to Figazza. I try different kinds of dough, some take couple of hours, some in the bread machine and some that are for the grill. Today I am going to show you the easy, fast, fool proof recipe I have found that yields 4 thin crusts pizzas or 2 thick crust. It will also yield several little pizzas for a party or for the grill! The kids like medium crust and my husband and I like thin. This recipe is adapted from Artisan Bread in Five.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of lukewarm water + 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup of EVOO
  • 1 TBSP of yeast
  • 3 tsp of salt
  • 2 TBSP of sugar (we sometimes use honey instead of sugar)
  • 7 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • cornmeal
  • Parchment Paper
For Pizza:
  • Marinara sauce (see below)
  • Italian Blend shredded cheese (mozzarella, provolone, asiago and parmesan)
  • Toppings suggestions: basil, prosciutto, tomatoes green or black olives
Put the pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500. Meanwhile, put the 1/4 cup of lukewarm water, a little of the sugar (about 1 tsp) and the yeast in a little bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. In a container with lid, put all the dry ingredients and mix. When the yeast is foamy, add to the flour and incorporate the water and the oil. Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated well. Let rise for about 2 hours on the counter, you can put the rest in the fridge and use within two weeks. We have made breadsticks, pita breads, bread for scones, etc with this dough!
If the dough has been chilled in the fridge, let it come to room temperature before using it. If you are going to use it the same day, take an amount of dough from the container and roll into any size of pizza you like. The dough will be sticky and it works better after it has been chilled.
Cut parchment paper the size of the pizza baking sheet or grease the stone with a little EVOO and sprinkle some cornmeal. Roll the dough into the rolling pin and transfer into the stone. Top with homemade marinara sauce and the toppings you like, sprinkle cheese. We use marinara, basil, olives. I am not a fan of meat in my pizza, I like them very simple.
Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending in thickness of the dough and also the size.You have just made yummy pizza at home!
Here is the dough after two hours:

Here’s a recipe for my marinara:
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste (start with little, you can always add more)
  • EVOO, about 2 tsp
  • 1 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning
  • pinch of brown sugar
In a saucepan put a little bit of EVOO and add garlic. Pan fry until cooked a little bit. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Easy!
A closer look at the crust, it is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside!
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Peanut Butter Blossoms

My oldest son is continuing with his cooking classes. This time he wanted to try one of his favorite cookies, so easy to make and super fun! He even requested the help of his little brother and they had a good time together!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 TBSP of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Hershey’s kisses
Preheat the oven to 350.  Beat peanut butter and shortening until well mixed. Add the sugars, beat well. Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat until fluffy. In another bowl, add the flour, baking soda and the salt and add the the butter mixture gradually. Shape into 1/2 inch balls, roll in cinnamon sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Insert a kiss on top and push it in a little bit. Let cool.

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