Recently on Betty Crocker

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Helllloooo! Just checking in between feeding sessions, diaper changes, snippets of sleep, and endless cuddles with my main squeeze, Casper.

I have plans to share some of my experience with this whole motherhood thing and some of how things went down labor/birth-wise (which ended up being not at all what I wanted/expected)…are you all interested in any of that? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Anyhoo (yeah, I just wrote “anyhoo…”), here are a few recipes that went live recently on BettyCrocker.com. Lots of delish end-of-summer fare before we transition into fall (YAY)!!

I hope summer treated you well!!

XO, Cindy

Easy Strawberry Ice Cream Shortcake

Easy Ice Cream Strawberry Shortcake

Slow-Cooker Bacon Caprese Dip

Slow-Cooker Bacon Caprese Dip

Waffle Donuts

Waffle Donuts

Skillet Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chip Streusel

Skillet Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chip Streusel

Raspberry Mint Limeade

Raspberry Mint Limeade 

Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes

Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Jalapeño Fruit Relish

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Jalapeño Fruit Relish

Cilantro-Chicken Meatball Soup

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Albondigas!

That’s what I think/say when I make anything with meatballs. It’s just a reflex and since it means “meatballs” in spanish, it works. Don’t test me on my knowledge of foreign languages, though…okay? Cause, I will surely fail. Food SO is much easier to understand.

Anyway, this soup begins with searing little, spoonable chicken meatballs flavored with lots of fresh cilantro, some sauteed onion and garlic, and a bit of minced jalapeno for heat and excitement. Once the meatballs are brown and crispy-golden we sauté some more onion and garlic, another jalapeno, plus some carrots. There’s some corn (frozen is totally acceptable) and zucchini in there for health and science. Dried New Mexico chiles ground into a powder and cumin flavor and color the broth. More cilantro is added to brighten the party and bring the soup together. This soup is hearty, but not heavy. The clear broth is light but packed with subtly spiced chile flavor and the meatballs are tender and so flavorful with the cilantro and aromatics. This soup is so warming and with a super cheesy quesadilla on the side, it’s perfection on a cold day.

Cilantro-Chicken Meatball Soup

I find whole, dried New Mexico chiles in the international aisle of my regular supermarket. They are always affordable and pack a lot of flavor. The chiles vary in spiciness, but aren’t ever really super-hot-blow-your-top way. The spice is mild to medium, but you could certainly sub in your favorite chile powder. 

Meatballs:

1-2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed if desired), minced

1 lb. ground chicken

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

salt/pepper

In a sauté pan heat olive oil and sauté onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook over medium until onions are tender and translucent  Scrape into a bowl and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl mix together the cooled onion/jalapeno mixture with the ground chicken, cilantro, egg, and breadcrumbs. Add salt (I used about 3/4 teaspoon) and pepper. Mix gently to combine well. Refrigerate the mixture until ready to shape and sear meatballs.

Soup:

meatballs

2 Tablespoons oil (I used grape seed, light olive or vegetable oil work too)

1/2 large onion, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed if desired), sliced

4 dried New Mexico chiles

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 carrot, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

1 cup frozen corn kernels

6 cups low-sodium chicken stock

cilantro to garnish

salt and pepper to taste

Shape meatballs, I shoot for something that fits nicely in the spoon and can be eaten in one bite–think larger than a marble, but smaller than a cherry tomato. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil over medium high heat in the bottom of a dutch oven or soup pot. Sear the meatballs in batches until deep golden brown all around. Place seared meatballs in a dish and set aside.

Over a gas burner (you could also do this in a hot oven, it may take a few more minutes), lightly char the chiles–the idea is to make them extra dry for easier grinding and to add a touch of smokey flavor. Cool chiles and grind in a spice grinder to a medium-coarse powder. Mix chile powder with cumin and oregano in a small bowl. Set aside.

Add the onion to the remaining oil and whatever brown bits are left in the pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt and sauté, being sure to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan, add the carrots. Cook until onions are just translucent and carrots begin to soften, add the garlic and jalapeno, cook an additional minute. Stir in the ground chile and other spices. Add the corn, zucchini, meatballs, and chicken stock. Bring the soup to a boil, taste for salt and season as needed. Reduce the soup to a simmer and cook an additional 15 minutes, until the zucchini is tender and meatballs are heated through. Serve hot with additional cilantro for garnish.

 

 

Spaghetti Squash Pancakes

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If I’m being real, which is how I try to be with you all–a real deal human being, not some faceless internet blogging cyborg–I often struggle with everyday decision making. For the most part, I’ve got the big stuff on lock, but it’s the little, seemingly inane things that I can’t get a grip on. I know I can’t be the only one (read, please tell me I’m not…), who has this harrowing problem.

For example, it takes me far too long to choose a lip balm. Like, an average of 15 minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES…choosing a dang lip balm. I will waffle over my decision, sometimes even making a choice, only to turn back at the last minute to choose another. As if, somehow, my life hinges on this decision…which it certainly does not. I know this and yet, it still happens on the regular.

This applies to other things besides lip balm–pretty much all bath and body products fit in here–and even when I do have a preffered product, if something is a mere dollar cheaper, it will throw off my game. I blame it on too many choices…and, well, my crazy brain.

It’s silly, really, but indecision is totally in my nature.

This wishy-washy way also translates to recipe naming. I almost never follow a recipe word for word. I gotta freestyle, you know? While I usually don’t have trouble switching it up recipe-wise, I still struggle with the name game. I mean, I try not to get too long winded with the titles–I don’t want to just have a list of ingredients up there–and sometimes I try to be clever, but it often comes out weird. When I was making these pancakes, I couldn’t decide what to call them–a fritter? pancake? cake? Le sigh.

These pancakes are made with spaghetti squash, but their flavor is super similar to a potato pancake. I added some carrot for sweetness and lots of onion for that savoriness I love in a vegetable pancake. These make a great side, but also a little snack to go with something cold–beer or a cocktail would be my preffered accompaniment. I served these with a cooling sour cream and spicy hot sauce. The edges where the squash tendrils fray, are the perfect lacy-crisp bite. In the end, it was simple…when in doubt, go with something familiar.

Spaghetti Squash Pancakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart

The yield here depends on how large and flat you like you pancakes. Since I live for the crispy bits, I made mine pretty thin and yielded about 18-3inch pancakes. Be sure to squeeze/drain as much liquid from the squash as possible, ensuring a crisp and light cake. Leftover spaghetti squash is perfect for this recipe, but you could prep one just to make it…I wouldn’t judge ya. I followed this recipe from Tracy for the squash prep. 

2 cups cooked and drained spaghetti squash

1/2 onion, finely diced

1 carrot, shredded

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

2 eggs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

oil for pan frying, I used grapeseed

preheat the oven to 300*F.

Whisk together the eggs and flour until combined. Add the spaghetti squash, onion, carrot, jalapeño, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Fold into the batter.

In a non-stick skillet pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, about 1/8 inch up the sides. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and drop heaping spoonfuls of the vegetable batter into the pan, pat the batter into a flat cake with the back of the spoon. Fry the cakes a few minutes on each side until golden brown and crisp. Place the finished pancakes on a sheet pan and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm.