Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mashed Taters

I can't explain why, but every time I think about mashed potatoes, I always think in my head mashed taters. Rest assured when the phrase "mashed taters" runs through my head, there is a STRONG southern twang. I'm weird like that.

Tis the season to make absurd amounts of food to share with friends, family and co-workers! I've made a million different mashed potato recipes over the years but I think from this point forward, I will stick with this super simple and very tasty version. The thing that I like about these mashed potatoes is that they taste really great without gravy but on the other hand the flavor isn't too distinctive so gravy can definitely be a welcome addition.

I have made these twice and both times it was extremely well received. I made them as part of my contribution to the Thanksgiving dinner and again for a holiday potluck. The kids devoured them which is always a good sign. Then at the potluck, a co-worker said she was going back for mashed potatoes because she rarely enjoyed them. I loved hearing that. Well not the part about rarely enjoying them but you know what I mean.

I used Make-Ahead Potatoes from Allrecipes with a few changes. I used 5lbs of red potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, 3 cloves of garlic, salt and butter.

After peeling and dicing the potatoes, I added them to a large pot along with the three garlic cloves. Make sure the garlic skin is removed but leave them whole.

Boil the potatoes and garlic cloves for about twenty minutes or until the potatoes are tender. I generously salt the water to boil the potatoes. I essentially treat them like pasta I guess. I once heard the only time you can truly season pasta is when you boil it. The water should be salty like the sea! Now while I know that flavor can DEFINITELY be added to potatoes after the fact, I like to begin the process of flavor as soon as possible. That's also why I added the cloves of garlic.

When draining the potatoes I reserve some of the water. I'll keep this handy to use to thin out the mashed potatoes if they're a thicker consistency than I prefer. I also removed the three garlic cloves and after mashing them into a paste, I added them to my KitchenAid bowl.

To the garlic paste, I added 8 ounces each of cream cheese and sour cream and 6 tablespoons of butter. Honestly next time I'll probably use only 4 tablespoons of butter. I doubt it would make them taste less tasty and I've saved a smidgen on calories.

I then added the potatoes and 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt. Now I know what you're thinking... but no, that's not a typo. I put 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt into these babies. Listen, I like salt and for me, potatoes have a way of needing salt. So I went bold and used a tablespoon. I'll tell ya what though, not a single person will think these potatoes are over-salted. Trust me.

I used my KitchenAid mixer with the flat beater and thoroughly combined the ingredients. I added about a half cup or so of the potato water to thin the potatoes to the consistency I liked. I also saved the rest of the water in case I need to use some for when I served the potatoes the next day.

Oh man, these potatoes are supposedly better the next day but nothing beats piping hot, freshly beat mashed potatoes. Don't get me wrong, these potatoes were fabulous the next day but right out of that Kitchenaid mixer bowl those potatoes were heaven.

Quick tip on how I served them at the potluck. I popped these potatoes out the morning of the potluck and set them to warm up using a double broiler of sorts. I just took the big pot I used to boil the potatoes, filled it about half way up with water then set the crock pot dish of potatoes on top. I set the stove top to about medium to get the water hot, but not high enough that I couldn't leave it unattended. I was able to go about my morning, getting ready and helping Skywalker out the door and in the meanwhile the potatoes were warming up nice and slow. When it was time to head into work, I simply set the crock pot to warm and didn't change the setting again.

One tip I read was to put a towel or something between the lid and the potatoes so the condensation doesn't water the potatoes down. I used paper towels at work and probably replaced the paper towel every hour until it was time for the potluck. Since this keeps the potatoes from getting soupy it is basically removing moisture from the crock pot so if the potatoes get too thick, use some of the saved potato water.


5 lb bag of red potatoes
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces of sour cream
4-6 tbsp butter
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp of salt


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in potatoes and garlic, and cook until tender but still firm, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove garlic and mash into a paste.
  3. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl, and mix in the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic paste, salt and butter.
  4. Serve immediately or cover, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.
  5. Reheat using double broiler.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pecan Pie Bake-Off

I know it’s been too long since I added a new post. I really try to have at least one new post a week and here it’s been a few weeks with nothing! On top of that, my last post wasn’t even a true recipe. Though I will say I’ve made the heck out of some flautas these last few weeks but I digress.

To shake off the cobwebs, I’ve decided to share with you my experience with pecan pie. My mom is a huge pecan pie fan so I decided to make some for Thanksgiving. I knew I wanted to try Pioneer Woman’s version but then I came across this version from Simply Recipes. It was a bit different and had received RAVE reviews so then I decided “Heck, I’ll make ‘em both!”. This IS Thanksgiving after all. I decided to take pictures of them as I made them side by side and then ask my family which they preferred so what we’ve got here folks is a PECAN PIE BAKE-OFF!!!
I liked Pioneer Woman’s version because she coarsely chops all the pecans. In the past I’ve always used whole pecans in my pecan pie so while it is of course scrumptious, it is kind of tricky to slice. The Simply Recipes pecan pie used molasses and less sugar so for anyone who likes pecan pie okay enough but finds it a bit too sweet, this might be the way to go. I adjusted the baking times so they could bake together so the first thing you’ll want to do is preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Quite side note about pecan pies. They are SUPER easy to make as far as putting them together but they are SUPER tricky to bake properly. You want them to have a little bit of jiggle but too much jiggle and the filling won’t properly set, not enough and you’ve over-baked it. I moved last November but in my old house I’d perfected the baking time for my pecan pies. Then I got a new oven and never could get it right again. This is the first time I’ve done pecan pie in probably three or more years. Tricky indeed!
Here’s what I used. On the left hand side are the ingredients needed for molasses pecan pie which include molasses, eggs, salt, flour, butter and pecans.  On the right are the ingredients for the classic pecan pie which include salt, eggs, butter but also brown and white sugar. Straight center I set the ingredients that both pies used which are corn syrup and vanilla extract.

Mix all the ingredients together except for the pecans. I’m not sure if you can tell from the pictures, but the molasses pecan pie has less liquid so I know it will make a thinner pecan pie. The batter was also a bit darker from that tablespoon of molasses.
I considered making my own pie crust because really and truly, one day I would like to attempt and then master the art of making my own pie crust but I was also making a couple of other dishes to contribute to the turkey day feast so I opted to use these lovely little things. 

Hey, it’s one step above what I used to do which was buy the pie crust plates already set into the aluminum tins! The Pillsbury pie crust box recommended lightly flouring the pie plate and then setting the pie crust into it for pies with high sugar content. This will help prevent the crust from sticking to the pie plate. 

I set the pie crust into the pie plate and gently pressed the bottom down all the way across the bottom of the pie plate.

Then I pressed the dough up the sides of the pie plate.

I tucked the excess dough under (for the one plate that had excess dough) and pinched the edges to create a uniform pattern. Next time I will make the pattern a bit more dramatic because after baking, it wasn't nearly as noticeable.

I then added the chopped pecans to each pie plate.

And poured the respective pecan pie filling into each pie plate. To make it look all fancy for the holidays, I took four whole pecans, coated them in the leftover pecan pie filling and placed them on top in the center. Next time I'll add a few more to make it look more like a sunburst. Up the fancy factor on this easy pie! I baked the pies uncovered for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes had passed, I went ahead and tented them both with aluminum foil. What that means is you basically take a square of aluminum foil, fold it in half to create a tent, and set over the pie. This helps prevent the crust from getting overly brown. I used to wrap the crust in foil but this was SO much easier and just as effective. 

I baked them both for 20 minutes more minutes. After 40 minutes total I checked the jiggle factor on both. The molasses pie was perfect! I went ahead and pulled that one out of the oven and gave the classic pecan pie 10 more minutes. 

 After 10 minutes had passed, I checked on the remaining pecan pie and the jiggle factor was excellent so out it came. 

Mmmmm… pecan pie!

So after we had stuffed ourselves silly with turkey (BEST EVER MOM!!!!!!), stuffing, collards, mashed potatoes, etc., etc., I made sure to tell everyone who was having pecan pie to have a bit of both and tell me which one they preferred. Granted this was only a few people because the kids (who totally outnumbered the adults) were leery of the pecan pies. The general consensus was that the classic pecan pie was the preferred pie. 

Here’s the kicker… when I went to my mom’s the next day, the molasses pecan pie was GONE! They’d gobbled it up, assuming they were eating the classic pecan pie!

So obviously neither pie is bad at all. Nobody is going to eat a slice of the molasses pecan pie and think it’s not tasty.


2 9-inch pie crusts, prepped per directions
flour for sprinkling into bottom of pie plate

Molasses Pecan Pie -

1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Classic Pecan Pie -

1 cup White Sugar
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
½ teaspoons Salt
1 cup Corn Syrup
¾ teaspoons Vanilla
⅓ cups Melted Butter
3 whole eggs Beaten
1 1/4 cups Chopped Pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix together all of the ingredients for each pie except for the pecans. Set aside.
  3. Place each pie crust into floured pie plate.
  4. Add proper amount of pecans into each pie plate.
  5. Pour pecan pie mixture over pecans.
  6. If desired, dip whole pecans into pecan pie mixture left in bowls. Place atop pies as decorative touches.
  7. Bake 20 minutes uncovered.
  8. Tent with foil and bake 20 minutes more or until set.
  9. If pie too jiggly, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes at a time until pecan pie jiggles only a bit.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


This is another one of those "more of a tip or technique than recipe". I'd made that pork roast and wanted to figure out a way to use leftovers up. The pork roast (Pernil Asada) is very flavorful so transforming those flavors by adding more spices might not work. I essentially wanted to add something to the meat without having to add too many more seasonings to try to make the dish work. I'd recalled seeing a recipe that made taquitos baked instead of fried which I liked for two reasons: healthier and EASIER. Guess which of those reasons is the biggest plus to me. :)

I wanted to use what I had in the house and I recalled this recipe and confirmed I had a can of pinto beans. I also had flour tortillas on hand and in doing some research I learned something new. Flautas are essentially taquitos that are made with flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas! So I preheated the oven to 425 and grabbed the leftover pork roast, some cumin, the can of pinto beans and the flour tortillas.  

I rinsed the can of pinto beans and added them to the pork roast I'd already added to the pot to heat up. I also added 1/2 tsp of cumin to the mix.

I knew the pork would be easier to shred once it was heated through so I left it as is and heated on medium, covered for about 5 minutes.

Once the juices from the roast were liquid again and the meat seemed heated through, I grabbed two forks and shredded the meat up.

Once the juices from the roast were liquid again and the meat seemed heated through, I grabbed two forks and shredded the meat up.

One "ingredient" I left out of the picture! Cooking spray... I have a couple different version but I went with the Canola Oil cooking spray. For the flautas, I used maybe 1/4 of a cup of the meat and bean mixture in each one? Just eyeball it. I was going for about the size of a fat cigar but this recipe is flexible. After you've rolled the meat and bean mixture in a flour tortilla and placed them seam side down, spray each rolled tortilla with cooking spray. Since I was only making a couple for Skywalker and I, I also sprayed the open space then slide one roll over, sprayed, slide, spray slide. Basically I wanted to get some cooking spray on the bottom of each roll. Why yes, I did forget to spray the bottom of the pan before putting the rolls in! Good guess.

Once they're all ready to go, bake them for 5 to 6 minutes, flip and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes and they're DONE!

Skywalker really enjoyed these and so did I. I'm making them again this weekend (except with homemade tortillas) along with another version with shredded chicken, black bean and cheese. To accompany this weekend's flautas, I'm making salsa and white cheese dip to dip them in. You know that white cheese dip you can order at Mexican restaurants?? I *hopefully* found a recipe to recreate it at home. *fingers crossed*

This technique is so versatile and easy enough to execute that experimentation is encouraged. Make them bigger, make them smaller, use whatever leftover meat, beans, cheese, veggies or anything you think will taste good for the filling. This is a super simple meal that can be fitted to any one's tastes. Give it a try! (I admit, I totally started chowing down on one before I realized I hadn't taken a final picture)


1 can of Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp cumin
flour tortillas


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Add pork roast, cumin and beans to a pot.
  3. Cook over medium heat until the pork is heated through.
  4. Shred meat, reduce temperature to medium low and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add about 1/4 of a cup of meat and bean mixture just off center of a flour tortilla and roll up.
  6. Place seam side down on a baking pan that's already been sprayed with cooking spray.
  7. Continue until desired number of flautas are created.
  8. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes, then flip tortilla rolls over and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pernil (Pork Roast)

Pernil, which is a pork roast, is a classic Puerto Rican dish. The smell of one reminds me of Christmas. We do the traditional turkey for Thanksgiving but Christmas Eve dinner usually consists of Pernil and Arroz con Gandules, along with a millon other things. We like to eat in our family! Let me warn you that this is not my mom's recipe. She has yet to provide that to me although I'm certain she's willing. I came across this Puerto Rican Pork Roast recipe on Allrecipes a few years back and have used it a couple of different times with only slight changes. When I pulled up the recipe again, I read my review and saw that I used minced garlic at the time... JARRED minced garlic. Yeah, I don't do that anymore. It's TOTALLY worth that tiny extra bit of effort to use fresh garlic. Fair warning, this recipe has a lot of steps mainly because I like to reduce the fat count as much as possible and a pork roast is VERY fatty. That being said, you will completely melt into a puddle of happy after your first bite of this roast.

First I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F and started gathering all of the ingredients. I pulled out all the garlic cloves I could find along with Adobo, pepper, oregano, white vinegar, the pork roast and olive oil.

First thing I wanted to do was get the seasoning mix ready to go. I bashed the garlic to easily remove the skin. Take a look at that fresh garlic! *double entendre alert* You see what I saw?? Put some pants on garlic clove!!! I'm sorry... I couldn't help it. I promise to keep my dirty mind in check for the remainder of this post.

As I gazed longingly at my pilon and wondered where the masher part was, I knew I wanted to mash the garlic as best as I could. I finely diced it and then went all MacGuyver. A bit of parchment paper and a mallet worked like a charm. By the way, want to feel real old? Ask a kid if they know who MacGuyver is.

After I mashed up my garlic, I started throwing together the rest of the ingredients and realized I was COMPLETELY out of black pepper in that little canister. Here's the problem. If you've read this blog you might have noticed several references to "freshly ground pepper". I use my pepper grinder ALL.THE.TIME. So I just had no idea I was out of the pre-ground stuff. Can I just say that having to hand grind 3 tablespoons of pepper takes a good minute?? Yeah totally sucked. I can't even pretend that was fun.

Once that task was done, I combined all of the remaining ingredients: 3 tbsp FRESHLY ground black pepper, 1 tsp of oregano, 3 tbsps of Adobo, just under 1 tbsp of white vinegar, 2 tbsp of olive oil and the minced garlic.

Next I removed the pork roast from the wrapping and trimmed some of the fat. Just a bit of the fat off the skin side and all of the fattiness on the side with no skin. I left the skin intact for the most part because I was going to use a different cooking technique that would create a crispy skin. A lot of people LOVE the crispy skin off of a pernil but I just wanted to see if I could do it more than anything. After trimming the roast, I stabbed it a bunch of times. I think women will really enjoy this, ESPECIALLY during the holiday season. Releasing a bit of pent up anger can't be a bad thing right?? What you want to do is create a bunch of incisions in the roast. These pockets (try to go about an inch or two deep) will hold the seasoning paste so you'll want to space them out all over the roast. I only did the sides that didn't have skin. The skin was so thick it was hard to cut through and I knew if I tried too hard, I'd probably end up accidentally slicing my hand. You'll want to do twice as many inciscions as what's shown below.

With the remaining bit of paste or really even with just what's on your hands and already on the roast, you'll want to rub the paste all over the outside of the roast. I HIGHLY recommend using plastic gloves. Although I used a small spoon to put the paste into the inciscions, I still use my fingers to help it along. The smell of the paste is strong and stays on your hands for hours even after a couple of good scrubs with soapy, hot water. I'm sure someone out there has some miracle smell remover (lemon juice??) but just to give everyone fair warning.

I don't have a roasting pan yet. I know! Terrible. So I shoved that roast into my cast iron pot. It wasn't easy cause of that dang bone but I got that roast as snug as a bug in a rug. I roasted it skin side down for 2 hours COVERED.

After two hours (of sleeping in since I put that sucker in at 6am), I flipped the roast to cook for 2 more hours. Pre-flip you can see how the skin has already shrunken back quite a bit to expose the bone.

For the last two hours of roasting, I kept it uncovered to produce that crispy skin I mentioned earlier.

Look at how crispy the skin is!! Can you even tell in pictures? It was super crispy. I tasted a tiny bit and it was nummy.

At this point, after the roast had cooled and while it was still in the pot, I set it in the refrigerator and went off for a couple of hours. The advantage to having to shove that roast into the pot was that it was a bit suspended over the bottom so it hovered over the fat for the most part. When I returned home, I got to work on breaking the roast down.

By breaking it into chunks I was able to remove most of the fat, gristle, bones and pretty much anything that wasn't meat. As I broke it down, I added it back to the pot which had the juices from the roast sans the congealed fat I'd already skimmed off.

As I was cutting the roast up, while already DELICIOUS, I felt it needed to cook a bit more. Plus I had time since I still had to start the rice and let the beans finish cooking. I set it to medium low, added about a cup of water and simmered for about 20 minutes. I added the extra water because I knew the additional cook time would concentrate the juices more. Without that extra water, the flavor of the roast juices would have been too strong. After everything was ready, I turned the heat off and waited 20 minutes to eat. That way we could enjoy dinner without singeing our mouths. :)

This dinner totally hit the spot. The meat was super tender (I cut into bite-sized pieces using a spoon!) and of course with the rice and beans, a little went a long way. I'm totally having leftovers for lunch... and a repeat for dinner. AND leftover meat can be used for carnitas or pork tacos or toasted sandwiches. Oh how I love a tasty roast. Yes this took time but again, it was totally worth it!

(Adapted from Puerto Rican Pork Roast)

8 lb pork picnic roast
6 garlic cloves
3 tbsp Adobo
3 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp of dried oregano

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mash the garlic cloves or add to a food processor.
  3. Add to the mashed garlic Adobo, pepper, oregano, olive oil and the white vinegar. Thoroughly mix until a smooth paste.
  4. Using a knife, make numerous incisions all over the roast. With a small spoon, insert the paste into each incision.
  5. Place the roast skin side down and covered in the oven for 2 hours.
  6. After 2 hours, flip the roast and leave it uncovered. Cook for an additional 2 hours.
  7. Let roast cool. Skim fat off juices and cut roast into chunks, removing excess fat from the meat.
  8. Place the roast chunks back into the pot with the roast juices.
  9. Add one cup of water and simmer on medium low for 20 more minutes or until tender.


My four-legged canine babies TOTALLY got in on the action. Both got to enjoy a hefty pork bone AND a chunk of crispy pork skin. Remember kids, NO CHICKEN BONES, but pork bones are safe.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veggie Meatball Soup

I have a confession. I have never made meatballs before. I always feared a bland meatball or a dry meatball and well, let's be honest here... most meatballs require quite a bit of work. The art of laziness is a fine art that requires constant practice and attention. Meatballs are counterproductive to the refinement of my laziness skills. Still, I had some ground beef I wanted to use and I wanted to try something new. I'd eyeballed a few versions of Italian Wedding Soup but I wanted something with a bit more substance. I came across this Hearty Meatball Soup and decided I would use this recipe with a few changes. Here's what I gathered to start the soup: chicken broth, dry onion soup mix, diced tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, ground beef, orzo pasta, Italian bread crumbs, frozen mixed vegetables and black pepper.I also used water, a small can of tomato sauce, salt and adobo (you can use Lawry's or poultry seasoning).

The first thing I decided to do was put the meatball mixture together. I realized at this point that I had 2.25 pounds of ground beef but the recipe only called for 1 pound. I decided I'd make all of the meatballs and just freeze the extra for another day. To the ground beef I added the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, used 3 eggs total, 2 cups of bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons of adobo, 1 teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper. I used my Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment to mix this up.

I set aside the meatball mixture to move on to the next step. I added the chicken broth and 4 cups of water to a pot. I used a box and a can of chicken broth so it equaled about 46 ounces total. To the liquid I added a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes and a packet of dry onion soup mix.

The broth veggie mix needed to simmer for 15 minutes so while that was doing it's thing, I began rolling out some meatballs. Skywalker was going to help me but I have a sneaking suspicion that the bulk of meat to roll into mini balls seemed rather daunting to her because all of a sudden she had homework to do. What can I do? Encourage my daughter to set aside homework for my own selfish needs?? Of course not.. though let me tell ya, I was tempted! So off I went, all on my own, and rolled out oh, about 150 or so baby meatballs. Before I got too many meatballs made, I realized I wanted the meat mixture to be better combined so I got in there with my hands and kneaded the meat mixture until I felt it was well mixed. I figured squishing it through my hands, besides making me feel like a kid at play, would also help to distribute the flavor throughout. This is how I'll probably always make meatballs from now on. I feel like if I used my hands to mix the meatball mixture from start to finish, a lot of the fattiness from the ground beef would stick to my hands and potentially lead to dry meatballs. Fact? Fable? No idea, but this is what is logical in my mind. 

That's a lot of meatballs!! 

I added about 54 meatballs into the soup. Did I purposely line up all the meatballs and then count them all in order to do the math to determine approxiamtely a pound of meatballs to add to the soup? No! Cause that would be weird and neurotic. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not weird and neurotic... okay so at the very least they know I'm not neurotic... becuase at least THAT I do a better job at hiding. One by one I plopped in the totally random number of 54 meatballs into the soup, trying to evenly distribute them around the pot. Once they were in, I simmered for about 20 minutes. 

After 20 minutes had passed, I added a cup of orzo pasta. I love orzo pasta. I'm not really sure why. Maybe because it's a rice-look-alike and as a kid I used to sit around and eat my mom's white rice like it was the bestest meal ever? No idea. Now the original recipe called for a cup of alphabet pasta which I'm sure would be totally cute. One of the pictures uploaded showed the mini-shells which I'm sure is another good option, but I had orzo in the house and I wanted to use orzo. I debated on adding more than a cup but I'm glad I didn't because it really turned out to be the perfect amount. 

This soup was so delicious!! Keep in mind that the meatballs release a LOT of grease while cooking so you definitely want to skim the top of the soup before it is time to serve. 

All in all, I was super happy with this recipe. I froze part of it into two separate containers for future meals, left one container in the fridge for leftovers and both Skywalker and I really enjoyed this soup for dinner. The broth was flavorful, the meatballs were tender and tasty and every spoonful included veggies and pasta. Yum! I have to wonder if orzo isn't the best option because a bigger pasta would have taken up too much room. I prefer to have a bit of everything in every bite and that's how this soup turned out. 


1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
4 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with juice
3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (16 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
2.25 pounds ground beef
3 egg
2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp adobo (can substitute poultry seasoning or Lawry's)
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
8 oz can tomato sauce


  1. Combine the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, Adobo, black pepper and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium high heat, combine the onion soup mix, frozen mixed vegetables, chicken broth, diced tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, roll the meat mixture into tiny, bite-sized meatballs.
  4. Add the meatballs and a small can of tomato sauce to the soup.
  5. Simmer for another 20 minutes, then add the orzo pasta. Simmer for another 15 minutes or until the meatballs and pasta are fully cooked.