Full Belly Sisters: February 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Spicy Meatball Orzo Soup #FreakyFriday

My blogger buddy—Michaela, from the wonderful An Affair from the Heart—had this really fun idea: Freaky Friday! No, this doesn't involve Jodie Foster or Lindsay Lohan. But do you remember the premise of that movie? Mom and daughter switch bodies and get a taste of each other's life and learn valuable lessons. C'mon, you know you loved it.

For this Freaky Friday, a bunch of food bloggers are getting a taste of each other's recipes! And learning valuable lessons, maybe? We've each been randomly assigned to another participant's blog; from that blog we choose one recipe to make, taste, photograph, and write about. More fun than freaky, if I'm being honest.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to the fantastic PicNic. Nicole, the brain (and palate) behind the blog, is a New Zealander who loves fresh ingredients, limits processed foods, and creates food that is simple and tasty. I mean, were we separated at birth? A girl after my own heart, that's for sure.

There were lots of recipes that were calling my name: the Chili Chicken Pita Pizzas looked like a wonderful weeknight meal. These divine Triple Chocolate Cookies would certainly thrill my son and husband, who are both chocolate chip cookie fiends.

And then...I saw the Spiced Beef Risoni Soup. Now, this is my kind of recipe. Hearty and spicy, simple and satisfying—a perfect meal for a cold winter's night. Plus, my husband loves meatballs even more than he loves chocolate chip cookies!

I'm always on the lookout for meals for my clients. This would be a fantastic postpartum meal, in those weeks recovering from childbirth. This soup is loaded with protein and carbs—for energy and satiety—as well as iron and Vitamin C, so crucial in healing. It's a great meal for rebuilding your body's strength.

For the record, I slightly altered the name of the recipe for my readers, the majority of whom are in the United States—maybe it's a U.S. versus New Zealand thing but I never hear anyone call this rice-shaped pasta risoni ("big rice" in Italian). It did make me wonder how orzo became the name of choice in the U.S. for this pasta...but that's neither here nor there.

  • about 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red chili or bell pepper, chopped
  • cayenne pepper
  • 2 16-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup orzo/risoni
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef stock
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine beef, egg, breadcrumbs, and half of the chopped garlic. Form into teaspoon-sized meatballs.

Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high with a bit of oil. Brown the meatballs, then add the rest of the garlic, as well as the chili (or bell pepper). Cook for a few minutes, then add the cayenne.

Add the tomatoes, orzo, stock, and sriracha. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for about 10 minutes. The meatballs should be cooked through and the orzo should be tender.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more hot sauce. Serve in big bowls with bread on the side (I served it with garlic naan).


And go check out the deliciousness at all the other Freaky Friday blogs!
*A Dish Of Daily Life *An Affair from the Heart *Aunt Bee’s Recipes *Big Rigs ‘n Lil Cookies *CafĂ© Terra Blog *Honey & Birch *Life Currents *Simply Sated *Stephie Cooks *The Foodie Affair *Who Needs A Cape?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Almond Joy Cowboy Cookies

Anybody know where Cowboy Cookies got their name? Loaded with oats, chocolate, coconut, and pecans, these cookies are hearty and big and...macho? Tough? Mustachioed? Even Martha Stewart says "the origin of the name is unclear." I was never able to figure it out. And then someone told me the cookies got their name because they, like cowboys, have nuts. Ahem.

The great news is: I love nuts. Ahem. (Shall I keep winking every time I say "nuts" so you get the double entendre? Or can I just pretend to be a grown-up from here on out?)

Anyway, I've had nuts on the brain (seriously, stop laughing, you guys!) because Nuts.com asked me to come up with an almond-centric recipe for them to share. I love almonds and use them all the time in my baking, swapping out half the flour for almond flour; my son also takes an almond butter-and-jelly sandwich to school most days. 

What's so awesome about almonds? They provide monounsaturated fats that may help reduce the risk of heart disease; protein for energy; calcium for healthy bones; and magnesium, which aids a healthy metabolism. Did I mention that almonds are delicious and versatile? So, instead of the traditional pecans, these cowboy cookies feature almonds in two ways: chopped and as flour.

These cookies were inspired by one of the yummiest, most underrated candy bars around. Of course, these are much healthier than a supermarket candy bar. You're welcome.

yields about two dozen cookies
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped sliced almonds
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate (about 2.5 oz)
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Note: If you don't have the whole wheat or almond flours, you can use all-purpose to replace them. Want to use all dark chocolate or all chocolate chips? Go for it. Want to use 1/2 cup butter instead of butter + coconut oil? Sure! You can substitute a lot of these ingredients or just play around to see what you like best.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use your hands to get everything fully incorporated. You will think it's not going to come together, but—patience, friends!—it will. 

Roll the dough in your palms, pressing into about 1 1/2 to 2" balls. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake 11-13 minutes.

Remove cookie sheets from the oven and place on wire racks to cool for about five minutes. Then transfer the cookies from the sheets to cooling racks so they can cool completely.

I hope you enjoy these hearty, chewy cookies as much as I did. Would love to hear what you think!

More in the mood for candy than cookies? Try my Almond Joy Bites!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Charred Onion Dip in Potato Cups

I've been obsessed with this Charred Onion Dip since I first made it. I seriously make it once a week now, always to rave reviews. So, when I recently hosted my book club, I knew what was going on the menu.

I decided to switch it up a bit, though. I used the smoky, creamy mixture as a filling for potatoes—it seemed a bit fancier to serve as little bites instead of dip. They looked lovely and my friends swooned over it!

You can use red or gold potatoes...

or blue taters for a really striking party dish. 

They were incredibly simple, too. Just get a bunch of mini potatoes—the ones that are about two bites big—and give them a good scrub. Cut off the rounded ends, just a thin slice so that the top and bottom of the potatoes are flat (these will be the bottoms of your "cups"). Then cut the potatoes in half.

Using a steamer insert, steam the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a knife. Should take around 15-20 minutes with these tiny potatoes, but times will vary depending on the size of your taters.

Let the potatoes cool fully. Using a paring knife, make a circular cut around the top of the potato cup, leaving about ¼-inch-wide edge. Make sure not to cut all the way through the bottom or the cup won't successfully hold the dip. You can also use a spoon to scoop out the flesh; I found that a knife was easier and more precise. Sprinkle the cups with some sea salt.

Using a teaspoon—or, hey, a pastry bag if you're feelin' fancy—fill the cups with the dip. So pretty, right?

It's a perfect finger food for guests who eat grain- or gluten-free, too!

This post contains affiliate links, so I make a small commission if you purchase through my links—which helps to keep this blog running. 

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