To make the meatballs I used:
1lb of ground chicken (you can use your favorite lean ground meat)
1 cup of cooked rice (brown or white)
1 tsp each of the following: garlic powder, paprika, cumin, oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Mix all the ingredients well and form walnut size meatballs. Now you can do two things with these meatballs. You can cook them in the soup as it is done traditionally, or you can pan fry them and give them a little color. I decide to pan fry them because I like the texture of the meatball better when it is sauteed and not boiled. The method is up to you.
1 large onion chopped
2 carrots diced
2 small zucchini diced
1 large green bell pepper diced
2 large jalapenos seeded and diced
Saute them in the pan with the oil until tender.
1 inch cinnamon stick (optional)
2 bay leaves
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)
1-2 Tbs chili powder (con carne) or taco seasoning
1 drained can of black beans
1 drained can of corn
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of salsa
Once liquid is added, bring soup to a boil.
Note: Before you begin to boil the soup, fish out the cinnamon stick so there is only a mild hint of cinnamon in the back ground.
Simmer on the stove for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Just before turning off the stove add the juice of half a lime to the soup.
Note: If you enjoy cilantro, please feel free to add it to the soup as a condiment. Mexican food is very compatible with cilantro.