Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Now while I don’t know any Jewish wedding that this amount of soup would fit the bill for, you can feed about 8-10 people with it as a nice starter. Think of it as an Italian chicken soup, but with meatballs instead of matzo balls! Not that the edition of matzo balls would be a bad idea… hmm…

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ teaspoon salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
⅓ cup coarsely chopped onion
⅓ cup coarsely chopped carrot
⅓ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 ½ quarts chicken broth
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
salt to taste
1 cup seashell pasta (or other small-shaped noodle)
2 cups spinach – packed, rinsed* and thinly sliced

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined, but do not over mix. Shape the meat into ¾ inch balls, and set aside. In a large stockpot, on medium-high heat, add the oil and sauté the onion, carrot and celery until the onion becomes slightly translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic, and let cook a few minutes more until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the broth, bay leaf and peppercorns and any salt that is desired, bringing the broth to a boil. You may wish to put the bay leaf and peppercorns in a little cheesecloth bundle, to make for easy removal later, but you can skip this step, and simply fish them out later. Once boiling, slowly drop in the meatballs and pasta. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, at a slow boil for about 10 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the meatballs are no longer pink inside. At the last minute add the spinach and wilt it into the soup. Serve hot with crusty bread and enjoy!

* click here to check out how to clean spinach properly.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

These sweet and tangy meatballs are wonderful and filling, as a main course or served as smaller portions for an appetizer. Have the kids roll the meatballs for you, to get them involved in the kitchen (and to save you the work!) Easy tip: Want the same size every time? Invest in a small sized ice cream scooper! Just make sure to label it clearly “MEAT” so that you don’t accidentally use it on dessert!

When serving a crowd, this recipe easily doubles.

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs. ground meat
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 cups cola/ginger ale
1 ½ cups ketchup
1 can sliced mushrooms

Directions:

In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients, save the soda, ketchup and mushrooms. Form 1 inch sized meatballs. Set the crock pot on low and add the soda, ketchup and mushrooms. Stir to combine. Add the meatballs, and let cook for 3 to 4 hours. Check after 2 to make sure the sauce is still liquid enough. You can always add water/chicken stock or more soda if needed. Once cooked through, serve over rice.

In order to make this ahead of time, prepare the meatballs as above, and then lay them out on a cookie sheet or other flat surface that you can stick in your freezer. Allow the meatballs to freeze at least half-way through, before removing them from the cookie sheet and storing them in a gallon sized freezer bag. On the day you wish to prepare your meatballs, add the liquids and the mushrooms as you would above, then add in the frozen meatballs and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Check half way through to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot, adding more as needed. Once done, serve up over rice.

Crock Pot Week Day 3 – Where Were We?

I'm Back

Dear Readers… yes, all 9 of you (thanks Mom!), sorry for the short break in blogging, but I was away on a brief business trip to the exotic land of Bangkok, Thailand! At a later date I will blog all about the trip and maybe even post a few pics, but for now, let’s pick up where we left off on those great meals that waiting for us to come home at the end of the day. While I probably should have saved the curry dish to post today, instead let’s serve up some fun and delicious sweet and sour meatballs. These sweet tangy meatballs served up over rice make a great meal that the whole family will just love.