Tex Mex Potato Chowder

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To celebrate the start of “-ber month season,” I bring you this wonderfully hearty potato chowder recipe. This has became a fall time favorite as it is easy to throw together on busy school nights, and it is packed with flavor that lasts a couple of meals. This recipe is great as is, but I think that there are so many things you can add to customize the taste. The next time I make this I may add some jalapenos or maybe a serrano to heat things up.  I bet a topping of queso fresco and/or seasoned tortilla strips would set this chowder off as well. I’ve also considered adding extra broth and thickening it up with some Masa flour to enhance the dish with a “tortilla-esque” flavor. The possibilities are endless. I was inspired to give this dish a try by Aunt Bee’s Recipes which is a great recipe blog that I recommend checking out. Aunt Bee’s recipe (found through the above link) offers a slow cooker version of this recipe. If you are interested in making this in a slow cooker her recipe is the way to go. Keep in mind that her ingredients and directions will be slightly different from mine.

TIME: approx. 45 minutes

SERVES: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 (10oz) can of rotel tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28oz) bag of potatoes O’Brien, frozen not thawed
  • 2 (32 oz) cartons of chicken broth
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 8 oz bar of cream cheese, softened/room temperature
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, reserve a few sprigs to top when you dish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat oil over medium flame. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and minced garlic. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning, cumin, and chili powder until the beef mixture is well coated. Next, add rotel tomatoes, black beans, corn, potatoes, chicken broth and milk.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
  4. Simmer while covered for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in softened cream cheese and fresh cilantro.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Dish topping with the reserved cilantro and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

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Mediterranean Meatball Soup

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This soup is the epitome of comfort. The spices add a distinct warmth while the meatballs and couscous fill you up. It isn’t too heavy which is something I love about this recipe. It’s on the brothy side which is a nice base for the meatballs. It is also one of the best soups I’ve made to reheat. I worried about using couscous because I know that pasta and grains usually suck up the broth and get mushy when put in the fridge to be reheated. This recipe did not do that which was a pleasant surprise. I found this soup to be quite easy to put together, but you do need to use a couple different pots so expect a bit of cleanup. One thing that could turn you off is the spices used in this recipe. I always have these bold spices in my cabinet as a staple but if you don’t the grocery bill could creep up quickly. Do keep in mind though that these spices last a long time and there are so many lovely recipes you can add them to. They are definitely a kitchen investment but I think it’s worth it.

Serves: 8-12     Calories: approximately 360 per serving     Time: approximately 1 hour

Ingredients for Meatballs:

  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef, the more lean the better

Ingredients for Soup

  • 8 oz package of Israeli pearl couscous
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line your baking dish with foil or parchment paper.
  3. In a marge bowl add all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix thoroughly.
  4. Form small-ish meatballs with about 1 tsp of the mixture and put on the prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until browned.
  6. While meatballs are in the oven prepare the couscous according to the package.
  7. In a large pot heat 3 tbsp of cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic and zucchini and saute until fragrant.
  8. Add vegetable broth, 2 cups of water, turmeric, curry and tomato paste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and add in the meatballs and couscous. Simmer for 10 minutes and add salt/pepper to taste.
  9. Before serving toss in the chopped parsley.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.littlespicejar.com