Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Can Resist Everything Except Temptation

Hello All!
My name is Tonia and the above quote by Oscar Wilde pretty much sums up my opinion on anything food related. I grew up in a home that centered all holidays, birthdays, and Sundays around food and I can still smell mom's bread baking, taste grandma's Christmas fudge, and tear up over the bags of onions grandpa chopped for Thanksgiving stuffing! Growing up I had a desire for culinary school. The dream is still in the future but I still love to learn all about cooking anyway I can. From the lovely lady next door who makes the perfect divinity to our Dutch friends, I badger everyone to show me their secrets! I tend to lean toward comfort food but with a recent diagnosis of reactice hypoglycemia I am learning all about sugar free, unprocessed, and high fiber. That means I now spend my days with the new, fun, fattening, and sigh....healthy meals my family loves. Armed with a spatula and the help of at least one of my five daughters I can't wait to hear your reviews, recipes, and opinions of the foods I love!
As the weather here in West Texas gets a little cooler I start craving Lupe's Restaurant. Growing up in California we ate at this little tucked away place at least once a month. My mother grew up with the owner's granddaughter and my grandparents had been frequenting Lupes since they opened. I remember being in elementary school and walking in to the waitress asking us if we wanted our 'usual'. We always started with Albondigas Soup and then went on to the Chile Verde. The owners never did give us the recipe but over the years my mom and I have found our own versions that are just as good! With the cooler weather, albondigas soup is yummy and freezable!
Albondigas Soup -
(I apologize for the camera shots. I am hoping I have been good enough this year that Santa might bring me a new camera for Christmas!)
 Ingredients -
Meatballs -                              
2 pds ground beef                     
1/2 cup uncooked rice              
2 tsp minced garlic              
2 Tbs flour                               
salt and pepper   
        Mix all meatball ingredients together and form 1 inch meatballs                
Ingredients -
2 quarts water
3 Tbs Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base (or equivalent chicken broth or cubes to equal 8 cups)
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 16 oz cans crushed tomatos
1 large onion - chopped fine
4 lengths celery - chopped fine
4 carrots - chopped fine (I shred my carrots and celery in my cuisinart)
2 potatoes washed and cut in small pieces
1 tsp minced garlic

Bring soup to boil. Drop in meatballs. Reduce to simmer (point where the bubbles have all but ceased, looks like it's just about to boil). Keep at a simmer for 35-45 minutes. I know, it takes awhile but it's so delicious and this amount feeds my family for 2 dinners. I freeze my extra in sealable tupperware.

 Now some people get a little nervous about the uncooked rice. The rice in the meatballs will not taste exactly like 1 minute rice. It is suppose to be a little al dente (that does not mean uncooked). If in doubt, try it - I think it's lovely!  If you don't like it that way you can use leftover or precooked rice and add that to the meatballs. Just make sure to adjust simmer time to 10 minutes instead of 30-45!

The final dish. We like ours with warmed corn tortillas or crusty french bread.
~Just a sidenote. I love Better than Bouillon. It is a base instead of a bouillon cube and the richness of the flavor is hard to match unless you are making your own broth. It costs more, and I am all about cheap, but if you can find a base in your store it is totally worth it! The bases are usually in a glass jar next to the soups. I have always found them on the top shelf.

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