Italian Wedding Soup

WIN_20160107_170133Teenager wanders through the kitchen grazing for cookies and skids to a halt…

“Oh! Are you making that wedding soup again? Awesome!”

Yes, here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, Italian Wedding Soup falls squarely into the “Awesome!” category. Half-Pint likes any soup made with chicken broth (“yellow soup”), and Pickle-in-the-Middle loves the little meatballs. What’s not to love about little meatballs?

Traditionally, Italian Wedding Soup also contains orzo. Feel free to add a cup or so if you like. I’m sharing this soup with a loved one who is watching their carb intake, so I left the orzo out. The soup is still delicious!

WIN_20160107_152704Ingredients (Serves 6 – 8) Continue reading

Cranberry Cheese Ball

1231151714aIt’s football season, and this Cranberry Cheese Ball would make a perfect halftime snack! This recipe is easy to make, easy to transport to your next party, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. You can even make a Cranberry Cheese Ball ahead of time. This will keep in your refrigerator for several days. Alternatively, you can freeze it for several weeks. It will thaw nicely if left in the fridge for 24 hours.

Ingredients (Makes 1 large Cranberry Cheese Ball)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup finely chopped scallions

1/3 cup finely chopped fennel (or substitute celery)

1/3 cup chopped nuts (hazelnuts and walnuts work well)

Directions

Combine all ingredients except chopped nuts; mix well. Shape into a ball (or a log shape, if you prefer). Roll in chopped nuts. Wrap Cranberry Cheese Ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. To serve, allow Cranberry Cheese Ball to come to room temperature. Serve on a platter surrounded by crackers.

 

Omelette à la Leftovers (or, “How to Feed a Teenager!”)

picture422Teenagers are curious creatures, particularly when it comes to their eating habits. My teenager can – quite happily – make short work of a freezer full of frozen pizzas, a storage container full of cookies, or a box of breakfast cereal. Any unattended carbohydrates are fair game for after school snacks! However, when I suggest heating leftovers from the mysterious rectangle in the kitchen known as a refrigerator, the look which comes my way makes me wonder if I have suddenly sprouted a unicorn horn in the middle of my forehead. I’m not suggesting foraging through the compost bin, for goodness’ sake, but apparently reheating last night’s roasted vegetables has the same lack of appeal.

Enter omelettes. Happy was the day I discovered that my teenager loves omelettes… and can prepare them independently! Something about being able to get creative with ingredient and seasoning combinations appeals. And how wonderful… eggs are a whole lot less expensive than frozen pizzas!

My teenager took these photos, and seemed pleased that I wanted to include a soon-to-be-famous “after school omelette” on Crowded Earth Kitchen. Share this with the teenagers (or other budding cooks) in your life, to encourage healthy and economical food choices.

picture416Ingredients (Makes 1 omelette)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon butter

1/2 cup diced leftovers (any combination of cooked vegetables and/or meat)

1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

picture417pinch of cumin*

pinch of chili powder*

1 tablespoon of salsa or diced leftovers for garnish

[*Seasonings are subjective. If you don’t like cumin and chili powder, try a pinch of seasoned salt, or just plain old salt and picture418pepper.]

Directions

Step 1) Melt butter in a medium, nonstick pan over medium heat. It’s important to use a nonstick pan when making omelettes!

Step 2) Beat eggs in a small bowl and pour into pan. Shake the pan back and forth over the heat, gently, until the bottom of the egg has “set” (is cooked and solid). It’s OK of the top of the egg is still a little runny.

Step 3) Season the surface of the egg and sprinkle leftover veggies and/or meat onto the egg. Top with cheese.

Step 4) Use a flexible spatula to fold the omelette into thirds, so that the veggies and/or meat, as well as the cheese, are hidden inside.

Step 5) Use the spatula to help slide the omelette out of the pan and onto a plate. Garnish and serve immediately!