Category Archives: Kid-Friendly

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

zucchini cake blog

Just when you thought the zucchini and summer squash recipes were over for the season…

Out comes one more zucchini recipe!

Yes, I’m kind of in a zucchini rut. But there’s just so much of it, and it’s so versatile. Already this summer I’ve made a quinoa-stuffed patty pan squash and a delicious zucchini dip. I also made a zucchini ribbon salad. And that’s just in 2014. Search through the archives, and there’s even more zucchini goodness.

The way I figured it, it was about time for a dessert recipe around here. Thing is, I haven’t made all that many desserts lately. Most days, we don’t have dessert, or we simply enjoy a piece of fruit. No really big reason for it – I just haven’t craved much in the way of sweet treats. But the zucchini was staring at me in the fridge, lonely and starting to go south. I had a few hours before I was to meet up with friends to watch my soccer team play (I’m almost ready to be back playing myself – been a long hiatus with my hip surgery), so I figured this was an excellent time to make a dessert. I’d have someone to help me eat it!

It seems there is never a shortage of helpers in that regard – I show up with food, and people are more than willing to take it off my hands for me. Nevermind that this is a cake with vegetables in it, or even that it’s gluten-free – nobody minded that one bit. It’s definitely not a flashy, pretty, fancy birthday cake, but I don’t think that mattered. Sometimes, simple and homestyle is delicious too. With a tender, moist crumb and the tangy cream cheese frosting, I can’t imagine this cake needs to put on such fancy airs. It speaks for itself.

So if you still have zucchini, why not make a cake? No special occasion necessary.

Print Recipe

Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (gluten-free)

2/3 c superfine brown rice flour (I like Authentic Foods)

2/3 c gluten-free oat flour (if you can’t find gluten-free oat flour, you can process GF oats in a food processor until finely powdered)

2/3 c tapioca starch

1 T unflavored gelatin

1/2 t baking soda

2 1/4 t baking powder

3/4 t kosher salt

2 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t ground nutmeg

1/4 t ground ginger

1/2 c butter, softened

1 c granulated sugar

3/4 c brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

1/3 c Greek yogurt

3 c grated zucchini, packed tightly

For the frosting:

6 oz cream cheese, softened slightly

4 T butter, softened

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 1/2 – 2 c powdered sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 X 9 inch glass baking dish and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, gelatin, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the vanilla and Greek yogurt and mix in. Add the flour mixture, about a third at a time, and mix on low speed until everything is blended. Add the zucchini and mix on low speed until everything is mixed evenly.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly with a spatula as necessary.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs still attached. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth. Add the vanilla and a cup of the powdered sugar and mix in on low speed. If the frosting needs to be more stiff, continue to add powdered sugar, beating on low speed at least until incorporated, and then increasing the speed to medium or medium-high to whip smooth. If your frosting is too stiff, add a tablespoon or two of milk and beat in.

Once the cake is completely cool, spread the frosting over the cake evenly. Slice and serve. Refrigerate the cake, covered, to store.

Serves 16.

Creamed Grilled Fresh Corn with Basil

creamed grilled corn blog

There is an elderly couple that runs a booth at the farmer’s market, and along with (I presume) their granddaughter, they sell organic produce. They are so sweet and kind, and while I don’t buy all of our produce from them, I do make it a point to purchase sweet corn while they have it available. It’s the best corn I’ve ever tasted. And like most seasonal produce, I cherish the all-too-fleeting moments when it’s available. I’ll be sad when it gets too hot and the corn is gone.

The beauty of fresh, summer corn is that it doesn’t need much adornment. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed grilling it. The slightly smoky grilled flavor perfectly compliments the sweet, juicy kernels. Most nights, that’s more than enough for an awesome, easy side dish. But the other night, I wanted a little something special. I started with grilling, but then decided to continue the process to make some creamed corn.

With a little milk, cheese, Serrano chile, and garnished with fresh basil (one of the few things my garden is successfully growing at the moment), this side dish was beyond awesome. It was craveably delicious. It wasn’t overly rich, as some creamed corn dishes can tend to be, but rather a great representation of summer’s best.

I’ll be at the market again this Saturday, and will cross my fingers that there will be more corn. I don’t want this to be the only time we get to enjoy this dish before summer’s end. (And I have so much basil left!)

Print Recipe

Creamed Grilled Fresh Corn with Basil (gluten-free)

4 ears fresh corn, shucked

1-2 T olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 T butter

1 Serrano chile, seeded and minced

2/3 c whole milk

1 oz shredded cheese, such as Gouda or a white cheddar

Salt to taste

1 T chopped fresh basil

Heat grill to medium heat. Rub the corn cobs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 5-7 minutes or until kernels have a bit of color/char on them and are tender. Remove and allow to cool enough to touch.

Place the corn cob on end on a cutting board, and using a knife, carefully cut the kernels from the cob. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat butter to medium heat. Sauté Serrano chile for 1 minute. Add the corn kernels and sauté for another minute. Add the milk and bring almost to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Add cheese and stir to melt. Salt to taste. Serve with fresh basil sprinkled over.

Makes 4 servings.

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

strawberry frozen yogurt blog

Confession: I’ve never made frozen yogurt. Not until this recipe, that is. Truth be told, I’ve tended towards the belief that frozen yogurt was inferior to ice cream. It’s lower in fat. That automatically means it can’t be good, right?

Well, I was wrong.

I didn’t set out with the intention of making something lighter. This was born more out of a desire for ice cream, and the freezer being devoid of said ice cream. Furthermore, the refrigerator only had whole milk, which can tend to get icy when making homemade ice cream. However, I had some plain Greek yogurt. Not wanting to make a trip to the store, I figured I’d give this frozen yogurt thing a shot.

In the blender went the yogurt, a little cream cheese, some frozen strawberries left over from last summer that needed using up, some sugar, and vanilla. Also a splash of vodka, just to keep it from freezing too hard. I blended until creamy, poured into the ice cream maker, and about 15 minutes later, I was rewarded with delicious soft-serve strawberry frozen yogurt. It was way better than I’d even anticipated. But how would it be once fully frozen? That’s the real test.

As it turns out, it turned out pretty darn well! It still freezes quite firm, as most homemade ice creams do, but a few minutes to thaw on the counter, and it’s scoopable, creamy and not a bit icy. It’s delightful on a hot day, and that’s a good thing, as July is almost here, and I’ll be seeing nothing but hot days for a long while.

In my mind, the only thing missing is a waffle cone.

Print Recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt (gluten-free)

2 c plain Greek yogurt

2 oz cream cheese

2 c whole strawberries (frozen or fresh)

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 t vodka (optional, but will make the ice cream a little softer)

1/2 c sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth and creamy. Pour into your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions.

Enjoy as soft serve or freeze until firm.

 

Cheerios Protein Chocolate Almond Munch

cheerios treat mix blog

This is a sponsored post on behalf of General Mills, but the opinions are my own.

Cheerios has another delicious option out there for those of you looking to add a bit of sneaky protein into your day. Their new Cheerios Protein line, which comes in Oats and Honey and Cinnamon Almond, have 7 grams of protein per serving. It’s not the super-high totals of a typical protein shake or a can of tuna, but it has the added benefit of tasting pretty delicious and is something that my picky kids will actually eat. I think it’s pretty tasty myself!

Of course, as much as I love munching on cereal (honestly, cereal is a dessert or late-night snack of choice for me), I thought I’d come up with a little treat mix using the Cinnamon Almond variety. Playing with the almond flavor and upping the protein a bit more, I threw in sliced almonds and a chocolate almond butter. For some sweetness, chocolate and dried cranberries were added as well. What resulted was a slightly indulgent, delicious treat that would please adults as well as children.

This treat mix is perfect to munch on as a snack or dessert. It makes a trumped-up version of my bedtime snack of choice, thanks to the chocolate. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it has a higher protein content!

Print Recipe

Cheerios Protein Chocolate Almond Munch (NOT gluten-free!, dairy-free)

5 c Cheerios Protein Cinnamon Almond

3/4 c dried cranberries

3/4 c sliced almonds

1/2 c honey

1 c brown sugar

1 c Justin’s chocolate almond butter

1/2 t ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/2 c dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is dairy-free)

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cereal, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine honey and sugar. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. This should only take about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate almond butter and cinnamon.

Pour chocolate almond butter mixture over the cereal mixture and stir, mixing until thoroughly coated. Pour out onto prepared baking sheet and spread into clumps.

In a small microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips, stopping to stir every 15 seconds or so, until melted. Drizzle chocolate over the cheerios mixture evenly. (You can do this by using a spoon and drizzling, or by spooning the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag and cutting off a small corner, and squeezing the chocolate out.)

Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until chocolate hardens. Break into bite-sized pieces and store in an airtight container.

 

I received compensation in exchange for writing this review.

Spiralized Hash Browns

spiralized hash browns blog

Confession time.

For over a year, my spiral slicer sat tucked away in a cabinet, unused. I originally bought it back when I was neck-deep in a lot of paleo insanity, briefly interrupted by a few weeks of some random raw vegan diet I tried to follow. I wanted to make noodles out of zucchini with it. I did, multiple times. They were tasty, but they left me hungry, and they definitely weren’t a direct replacement for pasta, gluten-free or not.

During the last year, however, I’ve worked hard to regain a healthy relationship with myself and with food. I’ve healed my digestive system, but healing my relationship with food has taken a bit longer. There are certain foods that I equated with restriction; things I made myself eat in the name of health for so long that I stayed away from them for the past year. I’ve moderated my intake of vegetables, for example. I love veggies, but forcing all-vegetables-all-the-time made me enjoy them less. (Recently, I’ve started embracing them more once again.) Along with this process, I tried to ignore my spiral slicer.

For me, that spiral slicer equaled a time of restriction. A time where I wanted pasta, but instead settled for this lacking representation of what I really craved. So I decided I hated it for a while. I considered it a useless tool to encourage orthorexia. I meant to get rid of it several times, but never got around to it. Poor little spiral slicer – the recipient of so much hatred.

But now, I’ve put enough distance between that old line of thinking and today. I can’t say I’m perfect (who can?), but I’m happy and healthier than I’ve been in a long time. So the other day, I decided it was time to make amends with this recently-despised little tool of mine.

I was making spaghetti for dinner the other night, and a friend had given me a ton of zucchini from her garden. I actually wanted to enjoy the taste of zucchini in my spaghetti, so I drug out the spiral slicer, and made some zucchini noodles. I then opted to pile regular pasta on my plate, top it with zucchini noodles, and then my meaty sauce. While I’m not really a fan of zucchini-only “spaghetti”, zucchini noodles in addition to regular noodles was delicious, fresh, and filling. I’d decided that perhaps my spiral slicer wasn’t so bad after all.

So then, I started to brainstorm on what else I could make with my spiral slicer. The following morning, I was making breakfast, and thought to make hash browns. However, rather than shredding the potatoes, I instead opted to “spiralize” them. I figured that making them in these fine “noodles” that I’d have a better chance of making them crispy and brown in a few minutes’ time.

I wasn’t wrong. After a good squeeze to get all the water out (I use my potato ricer for this – it’s more effective at squeezing the water out than any other method I’ve tried), I spread these potatoes out on a good, hot pan, and they crisped right up. They were brown and delicious, and perfect for breakfast, especially with a drizzle of Sriracha and a side of eggs. They’re also a great option for a Father’s Day brunch (hint, hint – it’s this Sunday!).

This healing of my relationship with food thing? It’s a journey for sure. I’ve been actively working on it for more than a year now. But it’s certainly been worth it. Because now, my journey includes my spiral slicer. And hash browns.

Print Recipe

Spiralized Hash Browns (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

1 lb red potatoes, peeled

2-3 T butter or your oil of choice

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley and Sriracha to garnish (You can certainly top with anything you like – cheese, sautéed onions, bacon, ketchup, etc.)

 

Using a spiral slicer, cut all of the potatoes into “noodles”. Lightly sprinkle salt over the potatoes, toss, and place in a potato ricer and squeeze the water out well. Allow to sit over a bowl for a few minutes, and squeeze again. Do this until you’re no longer getting a stream of water when squeezing.

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add butter to the pan and allow to melt and start to foam. Add the potatoes to the pan, spreading out in a single layer. Don’t move the potatoes for about a minute, allowing them to brown. Use a spatula to “cut” them a bit shorter (typically the spiral slicer makes some long noodles!), and then flip and spread out again to brown the other side. Do this until these are sufficiently browned all over. Season to taste and serve immediately, garnished as you desire.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

brazilian cheese bread blog

I have World Cup fever. It’s been a slowly increasing level of excitement, but last week, hubby and I, along with some friends, attended the Ivory Coast vs. El Salvador friendly game, and that kicked me full-on into World Cup mode. It’s always thrilling, seeing so many people from all over the world, united for the love of a game.

So to help celebrate, I thought perhaps I would make a recipe native to Brazil, to honor the host country. To be honest, I am not terribly familiar with Brazilian cuisine, but I have made Moqueca (which is really a treat!), and I’ve even tried my hand at Brigadeiros. But I thought I’d try something new.

By some miracle, I’ve never tried Pão de queijo. It was simple to make, and boy, was it a hit. Our twin nieces were staying over at our house when I whipped these up, and they gobbled up piece after piece. I had a few myself. They’d be delicious served alongside any stew (or the Moqueca), or even as a breakfast treat. They’re naturally gluten-free, so that makes them a great option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. I definitely think these will be made again – likely when I have family over to help me eat them all.

Until then, if you need me, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the first World Cup game this coming Thursday, and of course, the first United States game the following Monday against Ghana.

GO USA!

Print Recipe

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) gluten-free

1 c whole milk

1/2 c butter

1 t kosher salt

2 c tapioca flour/starch

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 c cow’s milk feta, crumbled finely

3/4 c Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Set the racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, butter, and salt and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat as soon as it comes to a boil.

Add all of the tapioca flour to the milk mixture and stir until you see no more dry flour. The dough will be really gelatinous.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed until it is smoothed out and cool enough to handle.

With the mixer on medium, add the eggs in two additions, waiting until the first addition is fully incorporated before adding the second. Then add in the cheese until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. The dough should be very sticky, stretchy, and soft.

Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop rounded portions into mounds on the lined baking sheets. Space them an inch or two apart.

Place them in the oven on the racks and turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for about 12 minutes and rotate the baking sheets, placing the upper one on the lower rack, and vice versa. Bake for another 12-15 minutes or until they are just starting to brown. Remove and allow to cool enough to handle, and eat. They are delicious hot, but they also remain chewy and tasty even as they cool.

You can store them in an airtight container for several days, but I doubt they’ll last that long.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Sparkling Peach Lemonade

peach lemonade blog

THE PEACHES ARE HERE! THE PEACHES ARE HERE!

Peach season is my absolute favorite. A ripe, fresh peach, perfectly ripe, is the definition of heaven. From the gentle fuzz to the intoxicating aroma to the insanely juicy first bite that drips down your face, peaches are hands-down the best part of summer. So when I visited the farmer’s market this past Saturday and found the first locally grown early peaches, I was ecstatic. I bought a reasonable amount this weekend, but mark my words: I will buy an insane amount of peaches before the season is over.

Most will end up straight in my belly. (I’ve even been known to dig into one in the car on the way home from the market – whether that means I have no shame, or just that I shouldn’t wait for something so delicious, I’m not sure, but I’m going with the latter.) But some will hopefully end up in new, delicious summer recipes, like this one.

I was hoping for something refreshing. It’s warming up this week, and it’s humid, so a lemonade seems just perfect. The addition of peaches means that this lemonade is sweeter, but it’s certainly not sticky. The balance of fresh flavors and the sweet peaches means this is a welcome beverage to accompany an evening sitting on the porch, or out by the pool. It’s kid-friendly, but if you want to make it more of an adult beverage, I have no doubt a few ounces of white rum would be right at home here.

As soon as you find some summer peaches near you, though, I highly recommend you snatch them up. The season comes and goes all too quickly, and this lemonade needs to be on your short list of peach-related treats. Hope you enjoy!

Print Recipe

Sparkling Peach Lemonade (gluten-free, vegan)

1 c water

1/2 c sugar

1 T grated lemon zest

2 large peaches, roughly chopped

1/3 c fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 c cold sparkling water or club soda

Peach slices, lemon slices, and mint sprigs for garnish

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, and peaches. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the lemon juice.

Puree mixture in a blender, and strain in a fine-meshed strainer placed over a bowl, making sure to press the solids to squeeze all that delicious flavor into the juice. Chill the juice thoroughly for several hours.

Pour the juice and sparkling water into a pitcher and add the peach slices, lemon slices, and mint. Serve well-chilled over ice.

Makes about 4 servings.

Udi’s “What The Hack” Contest and Giveaway!

choc chip smores udis blog

Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores

Update: This contest is now closed. The winner is Melissa, who would make pizza hoagies using Udi’s French baguettes as the bread. Sounds like a grand idea! Congrats, Melissa!

Wanna know how to make these super-simple gluten-free s’mores? How about other simple gluten-free treats and dishes that are excellent when you’re short on time, but long on hunger?

Truth is, most of these are SO simple, you can put your own thinking cap on and come up with a ton of different simple gluten-free solutions to breakfast, a handy appetizer for a party, or that all-too-familiar 4 p.m. “Mom, I’m hungry!” call for snacks.

Udi’s has recently launched a campaign called “What the Hack”, where the goal is to break away from recipe limitations, and transform an ordinary recipe into a quick and clever hack.  Food hacks are helpful tricks, like the S’mores made with Udi’s Gluten-Free Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies.

In order to get us all motivated to come up with some food hacks, I’m working with Udi’s to bring you this fun (and rewarding!) contest.

Rewarding? How? Well, Udi’s will share with the winner a lovely care package filled with Udi’s product and some other items, worth about $100. I’ve received these packages – let me tell you, they’re pretty awesome. (If you have kids, though, you may want to be sure to intercept so you have half a chance to enjoy some of the goodies too, as they often include delicious cookies or brownie bites!)

What do you need to do to enter? Simply create a food hack using any one of Udi’s gluten-free products. It ought to be a fairly simple recipe (you can use my S’mores recipe below as inspiration), as the point of a “hack” is that it’s not a complicated practice. Once you’ve created a food hack, either post your recipe (and a quick photo – doesn’t have to be fancy!) on your Facebook page or on your blog (if you have one), and share the link in the comments below. You can also email me a photo and the recipe to enter as well.

The contest is open to all US Residents 18 years of age and older.

The submission deadline for entries is Friday, June 13, 2014 at 11:59PM Central Time.

That’s it! A winner will be chosen once the contest is over and will be announced here as well as via Facebook and Twitter.

This is a sponsored contest written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

And now, the recipe for these S’mores. Udi’s Soft-Baked Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies are pretty delicious on their own, but for my food hack, I opted to take them up a notch. Adding some Hershey’s chocolate squares and a marshmallow, and voila! - the next generation of gluten-free s’more-dom was born! These are perfect for an afternoon snack or dessert and are definitely a kid-pleaser.

Print Recipe

Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores (gluten-free)

1 box Udi’s Gluten-Free Maple Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Hershey’s milk chocolate bar

5 large marshmallows

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place half of the cookies upside-down on the baking sheet. Top each cookie with 2 squares of chocolate, and then a marshmallow.

smores set up blog

Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and top each marshmallow with the remaining cookies.

That’s it! Serve while they’re warm and gooey.

Makes 5 s’mores.

 

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

choc chip pb cookie for blog

Apparently it’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day today. Usually I’m too late on all of these food holidays. I just don’t keep up. But today, it’s a good thing I have these in my pocket, ready to go for you. (Okay, not literally in my pocket – that would create a lot of crumbs!)

These are your traditional chocolate chip cookies, slightly soft, with chewy edges, but with a small twist. I had a partial bag of peanut butter chips in the freezer left over from making some treats for my co-workers, so I opted to use them in place of some of the chocolate chips.

What resulted was my favorite version of chocolate chip cookies, only better. There’s a lovely balance of chocolate and peanut butter in these beauties. My favorite part, though, has to be the texture. I’m very much a soft+chewy fan when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, and that specific texture is sometimes difficult to achieve when baking gluten-free. However, my friends, this seems to be the key.

Feel free to make these as written, or use all chocolate-chips for a traditional version. Unfortunately, peanut butter chips don’t come dairy-free (that I know of), so for a dairy-free version, use all dairy-free chocolate chips. They are, however, gluten-free, so you’re good to go there. Whether you make them with or without dairy, I’m sure you’ll be just as delighted.

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day.

Print Recipe

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free, dairy-free options)

½ cup unrefined coconut oil, softened (can substitute butter)

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups superfine brown rice flour

¼ cup + 3 tablespoons tapioca starch

1 tablespoon gelatin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons water

6 oz chocolate chips or chunks (double for dairy-free – Enjoy Life chocolate chips are dairy-free)

6 oz peanut butter chips (omit for dairy-free)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Put the coconut oil/butter, sugar and molasses in a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Cream together on medium speed for about a minute. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix again.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, tapioca starch, gelatin, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat again on low speed until combined. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. (you may not need all 3 tablespoons) Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough into small balls (about 2 tablespoons each) and place on a parchment-lined (or silicone baking sheet lined) baking sheet, at least 2-3 inches apart. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges just start to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

Bison Albondigas Soup

albondigas blog

Spring in Texas is fun. One day, we have temps in the mid-90s. The next, it’s in the 60s, with lows in the upper 30s. It’s shorts one day, and the next, you’re dragging out a jacket again to keep off the morning chill. I suppose it could be worse – I know many of you received snow yet again this past week.

For those days when I have fresh vegetables in the garden already, and yet get a cold and rainy spell, this soup does the trick. It’s fresh and light, thanks to the herbs and green onion, but it’s also warming and filling. It’s a perfect bowl of spring, nourishing and healthy, and great for giving me much-needed energy to work in my garden. It’s also pretty kid-friendly. I mean, who doesn’t like meatballs?

Today is another day filled with rain, followed by a couple cooler days. While I’m sure it’ll be overly hot all too soon, I’m going to enjoy the cooler temps with a bowl of soup. Wouldn’t you?

Print Recipe

Bison Albondigas Soup (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1 lb ground bison or lean ground beef

1/3 c raw long-grain rice

1 T chopped fresh mint

1 T chopped green onion

1/4 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 egg, beaten

1 t kosher salt

1/4 t black pepper

2 T ghee or olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 1/2 c pureed tomato (can use fresh or canned)

3 c chicken stock (if you follow a gluten-free diet and purchase store-bought, be sure to read labels)

2 c peeled red potatoes, cut into 1-inch dice

1 c carrots, sliced about 1/2-inch thick

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large bowl, add the bison, rice, mint, green onion, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Mix well with hands and form small meatballs, no larger than 1 inch. Place on a platter and stick in freezer for 10-15 minutes, just to firm up a bit.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat the ghee or olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 7-8 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and jalapeno and sauté again for another minute. Add the tomato and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Remove the meatballs from the freezer and add them, the potato, and the carrot and bring again to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender and the meatballs are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with cilantro sprinkled over.

Serves 4.