Sometimes I just get tired of “normal” food. This soup recipe is not your regular run-of-the-mill soup. It has meatballs in it! I tend to think of meatballs with spaghetti or as a party food, not in soup!

I saw this recipe it the October issue of Southern Living. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but I think it turned out delicious!

soup

First, make the meatballs.

Chicken Meatballs

1 pound ground chicken

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 tsp. rosemary

Combine these ingredients and shape into approximately 30 meatballs. Sauté meatballs in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until browned.  Remove meatballs and set aside. You’ll want to do this in a couple of batches. Just use a Dutch oven so you don’t have to wash a skillet.

Next, make the soup.

Lemony Soup

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

3 carrots, sliced thinly

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (32 ounce) containers chicken broth

5-6 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp. rosemary

3/4 cup orzo pasta (I didn’t have any orzo. I substituted broken spaghetti for the orzo, and it was still yummy.)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

Sauté onion, carrots, and garlic in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until tender.

Stir in broth, lemon juice, lemon zest and rosemary. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Add orzo (or spaghetti). Reduce to a simmer for 7-9 minutes, or until pasta is almost tender.

Stir in the meatballs. Simmer another 5-7 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Top with cheese and parsley.

Meatball soup

This soup was so yummy and fresh tasting! I reminded me of this recipe a little.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: This may be the first time I’ve ever had a lemon-flavored soup, but it was fantastic. All of the ingredients worked together well for a unique flavor that was really good.

Megan: It was too lemony for my taste.

Katie: It was rather yummy, but it just had too much of something.

This recipe for Coconut Cake Supreme is a family favorite.

I got this recipe from my Mom. I’m not sure where she got it. She made it for Christmas one year, and we all loved it!

It is so moist and yummy!

It has become a must-have at my family’s Christmas table every year. I usually end up making it for Easter as well. I don’t dare make it in between the two holidays, unless I’m taking it somewhere. I do think I could eat it every day and not get sick of it. It is that good.

This year, the cake was such a hit at Christmas, we had it again for New Year’s Day! These are pictures of the 2014 cake! My mother-in-law actually made this one using my (Mom’s) recipe. It’s a family thing!

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Coconut Cake Supreme.jpg

Coconut Cake Supreme

1 package yellow cake mix (The recipe calls for the 18 ¼ oz. size.  Mix sizes have changed, so get as close as you can.)

2 cups (16 oz.) sour cream

2 cups sugar

1 ½ cups flaked coconut

1 carton (8 oz.) Cool Whip

Cake:Bake cake, according to box directions, in two 9” pans. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack.

Filling: Combine sour cream and sugar; mix well. Stir in coconut (filling will be soft). Set aside 1 cup of filling for the frosting.

Assemble: Split each cake into 2 layers. Place one layer on serving platter. Cover layer with 1/3 of filling. Repeat with other layers. Fold reserved filling into Cool Whip; frost cake. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

10-12 servings

Yes, I realize we are more than half way through January! I guess it isn’t “cool” to say Happy New Year at this stage in the game.

This is the first time I have actually sat down at the computer to write a blog post all year. I’ve been thinking about doing it. For some reason it just has not happened.  I just have not been able to get in the groove.

I have enjoyed everyone else’s posts about how they are cutting back on their social media time, mostly Facebook and Twitter. I have seen all the obligatory “Best of 2013″ posts. I have heard about your goals and resolutions for 2014. All the while, I have written nothing! I have made new recipes, taken pictures, even loaded the pictures! Still nothing.

You know blogging is a funny thing. When it was new, everyone was excited to just share. Now, like anything, folks have discovered there is money to be made in the blog world. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with people making money off of their blogs. It is, however, a different approach to blogging.

In my “time off” I have been considering why I blog anyway. To start with, it wasn’t even my idea! My husband talked me into it to share recipes and such. While that is what I do here, I wanted, and still want, more. I want that COMMUNITY feeling. I don’t want the sharing to be a one-way street.

I really like Pinterest. Ironically, most of my traffic comes from Pinterest. I have read recently that it is not as “shiny and new” for some bloggers. I still like it! For one thing, I can see people whose tastes are similar to mine. However, if I am in “Pinterest Mode” I am bad about just pinning something to my board and not leaving a comment for the blogger. I do try to go back and leave a comment once I have tried their recipe, project or whatever.

I’m not very good at Facebook and Twitter, especially Twitter.

Mentally, I am still back in the fall. Did the holidays ZOOM by as fast for y’all? I suppose I have just been in a rut. Well, here at Pork Chop Tuesday we are all about rut-bustin’!

I think this is the most I have written in a blog post without adding a picture. Weird.

I realize I rambled a bit here today. That is just where I am. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, maybe I will be able to actually do some “normal” blogging.

Obligatory Most Popular Post of 2013 (click for link):

Amazing Banana Pudding

What a way to “ring” in the new year…

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This is absolutely the BEST cheese ring you will eat!
You are supposed to make it in a Jello mold. I don’t have one, so I just greased my Bundt pan really well.
When you serve this cheese ring you are supposed to put strawberry jelly in the middle. Some folks didn’t want the jelly, so we just scooped it out of the jar. Our party wasn’t too fancy–just family.

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Cheese Ring
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese (I used mild.)
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup mayonnaise
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of black pepper

That’s it!
Mix it all up thoroughly and press into your mold.
Chill for at least 4 hours.
Serve with strawberry jelly and crackers.

This summer I tested out a daring, new recipe. Well, it was daring and new to me. It was a green vegetable, so THAT was daring in and of itself!

In an attempt to incorporate more vegetables into my diet, I tried Brussels Sprouts! Being part of the cabbage family, Brussels Sprouts tend to get a bad rap. I’ll admit, I was in that camp.

However, here is website that has tons of positive things to say about Brussels Sprouts.

In the spring we tried roasted Brussels Sprouts with bacon and apples. That was yummy! It did have bacon in it.

Since that recipe was a success with everyone, we went bold and tried the stuffed Brussels Sprouts.

I found the recipe on Pinterest which led me here.

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts 2

Let me just say, I thought these would be a lot harder to make than they were.

Most of these pictures are from the first time we made them. I made them again for our Christmas dinner. I was just too busy fixing the food to photograph it.

(The family went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty the other night. There is a line in the movie where a photographer is talking about taking a picture or not taking a picture.  “Sometimes, it’s just for me” was the gist of the statement. That’s kinda how I felt about Christmas “blog photos”. Anyway, I ‘m rambling!)

Jerry James Stone does a great job of explaining exactly how to prep the Brussels Sprouts. He even has a little video on his blog.

Now, at my little semi-super Walmart we don’t always have a large selection of, well, anything. All I could find the first time I made these was frozen Brussels Sprouts-and they weren’t particularly large.

I actually thought that was okay, because I didn’t really have high hopes. I thought, the smaller, the better–less “green” taste.

Prepping Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

Turns out, when stuffing Brussels Sprouts, bigger is better–so is fresh rather than frozen. The picture above is of my nice, large, fresh sprouts from Sam’s.

The frozen ended up tasting good. (That’s why we made them again.) They were just a little harder to handle.

stuffing

And handle you must!

kitchen helper

The recipe calls for 15 large sprouts. Since I knew how yummy these turned out the first time, I made extra. I sure had plenty since I had bought mine at SAM’S!

I did not, however, increase the filling proportions. When I made this recipe this summer, I had quite a bit of the filling left over.

I didn’t go exactly by the recipe on the original recipe. (See link above)

stuffed and ready

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

15-30 large, fresh Brussels Sprouts

1 cup Whole Milk Ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded Parmesan

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs-this is key! The Panko breadcrumbs add more crunch than regular breadcrumbs.

3 cloves minced garlic

1 T dried thyme

1 T dried basil

1 t. dried sage

1 t. salt

Olive Oil

(The original recipe called for 1 t. marjoram but I didn’t have any, so I skipped it.)

•Trim Brussels Sprout stems and cut in half length-wise.

•Blanch sprouts. (To blanch: Drop sprouts into boiling water for a couple of minutes-literlly about 2 minutes. Transfer from boiling water to a bowl of ice water.)

•Scoop out middle of the sprouts, leaving enough for a shell wall. (Watch the video for help on this.)

•Finely chop sprout middles.

•Sauté chopped sprouts with minced garlic in olive oil until everything is tender and smells really good!

•Mix your garlic-sprout mixture with the other ingredients.

•Use a spoon to fill the sprout shells with the mixture. You will have lots of mixture!

•Bake at 400˚ for 20 minutes or until golden on top.

I used a piece of parchment on my cooking sheet just to be sure there was no sticking.

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

I am so glad I tried this recipe. I think it is a keeper! These would be great to take to your New Year’s Eve party. Surely people are getting tired of rich, heavy food. They are ready to at least think healthy!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: The “stuffed” part of this dish was really good. The Brussels Sprout part tasted too much like Brussels Sprouts.

Megan: I think this batch was a little more herb-intensive than the last, but either way, these tasty little things are definitely winners.

Katie: Everyone is always like, “OOOOoooo! Brussels Sprouts! Let’s feed this to the dog!” Ha-ha-ha NO!  Wait’ll they try these! They have this nice blend and blast of flavor.

You’ll eat ‘em, to be polite.

You’ll have some more, to be polite.

You will be very polite.

Trust me on this one. : )

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It’s not too late to make Christmas goodies. I made Cranberry Pistachio Bark for my hubby to take to his Christmas party at work.

It was very easy and very yummy!

Christmas treats

I’m convinced that you can glam up anything by placing it in a cellophane bag!

Cranberry Pistachio Bark

Recipe: Okay, it is not really a recipe. It’s just instructions. I doubt you really even need that!

Line a 10×15 pan with waxed paper. Be sure to let the paper hang over the edge.

Melt Almond Bark. I used the vanilla. You can use chocolate if you like.

Spread the melted Almond Bark into prepared pan.

Immediately sprinkle with chopped pistachios and chopped dried cranberries.

Let it sit until set.

Cut into pieces.

Package in cellophane bags. (optional-only for glamorous gifts)

packaged candies

I was inspired by Ina Garten’s version of this bark. She added apricots to hers.

It’s not too late! Head in the kitchen and whip up some Cranberry Pistachio Bark for your friends!

Christmas candies

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