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Hidden Rainbow Albondigas

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke
Yield 12 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)
Category Finalist: Family Dinners. "When I met my husband three years ago, he suggested I try cooking albondigas, a traditional Mexican soup with meatballs and vegetables. His mother taught me how to prepare her authentic version. My children wouldn't eat chunks of vegetables, so I needed to re-create the dish. I pureed a package of stir-fry vegetables, fresh carrots, and canned tomatoes with the broth mixture and added yellow squash to the meatballs. Now I take pleasure in knowing that my children are eating a colorful dish of 'hidden' vegetables." —Emily Almaguer, Fort Worth, Texas

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen pepper stir-fry (such as Birds Eye)
  • 3/4 cup diced carrot
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 2 (32-ounce) cartons fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (32-ounce) carton fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded yellow squash
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Nutrition Information

  • calories 184
  • fat 3.5 g
  • satfat 0.9 g
  • monofat 1.7 g
  • polyfat 0.5 g
  • protein 20.8 g
  • carbohydrate 16.2 g
  • fiber 2 g
  • cholesterol 64 mg
  • iron 1.6 mg
  • sodium 790 mg
  • calcium 26 mg

How to Make It

  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pepper stir-fry to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrot; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, and broths; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until carrot is tender.

  2. Place one-third of broth mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining broth mixture. Return to pan.

  3. Combine chicken, pork, squash, cilantro, 1/4 cup rice, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and egg in a food processor; process 30 seconds or until blended. Bring broth mixture to a boil. Drop meat mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls (about 45 meatballs) into broth mixture. Add remaining 1/2 cup rice to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until meatballs are done. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir in juice.