Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

This Italian Wedding Soup has become my signature soup for “soup’s on” at church. The original recipe comes from one of my favorite food network stars, Ina Garten. I have made a few variations of the soup, so the original recipe can be found linked to this site. This recipe can easily serve 8-10 people and is filling on its own.  This is also a great soup to prepare ahead. On most occasions, I prep the vegetables and make the meatballs the day before. I always make sure to have enough left over to freeze for lunches during the winter months. In Ina’s original recipe, she uses ground chicken and chicken sausage as the base for the meatballs. I have tried all sorts of combinations of meat from beef and sausage to ground pork and Italian sausage. The following recipe includes my latest batch, but I found the ground beef to add a nice flavor too. I think next time, I’ll make extra meatballs to freeze for Ella. She loves them!

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 pound ground chicken

1/2 pound mild Italian chicken sausage, casings removed

2/3 cup bread crumbs (fresh if you have them)

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons milk

1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Soup:

2 tablespoons good olive oil

1/2 chopped yellow onion

1 cup diced carrots

3/4 cup diced celery

10 cups chicken broth or stock

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 package small pasta

1/4 cup minced fresh dill *It’s crucial that this is fresh

16 ounces spinach

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop meatballs onto a sheet pan. Make smaller meatballs to serve a larger crowd or bigger meatballs for your family. Bake for 30 minutes, or until meatballs are browned and cooked all the way through.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

*Note: If you make the meatballs ahead or time, add to the soup right before adding the pasta to ensure they are warmed thoroughly.

**Original recipe courtesy of Ina Garten & Foodnetwork.com.


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Broccoli-Cheddar Cheese Soup

Almost Famous Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

This was my first time making broccoli soup and I absolutely LOVED it! It was a great way to get veggies in Ella.  I served this soup with baked potatoes instead of bread bowls. It was very flavorable and filling. I followed this recipe almost exactly to the original.

Ingredients:

6 Tbsps unsalted butter

3/4 onion

1/4 cup flour

2 cups 1/2 & 1/2

3 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

kosher salt and pepper

4 cups broccoli

1 large carrott, diced

2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender.  Wisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened.

Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth.

Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network magazine.


 

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

I found this to be a great leftover meal with plenty for the following day, along with a nice one dish meal for kids. Ella loved the mushrooms and the sauce!

Ingredients:

3 cups of beef broth

1 carrot, chopped

1 tsp dried thyme (fresh if you have it)

1 bay leaf

1.5 lbs chuck roast, cut into 1/2 inch thin slices

kosher salt and ground black pepper

1/2 onion, chopped

1 package of mushrooms

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsps sour cream

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 package whole wheat fusilli pasta

Heat the beef stock with the carrot, thyme, and bay leaf. Season the beef with salt and pepper and cut into 1/2 inch thin stripes. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Fry the meat so that it is browned on all sides. Lower the heat to medium and add the onions. Cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beef stock after discarding the carrot and bay leaf. Cook, partially covered, over low for 1 ½ hrs.

In a smaller skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms, garlic, and cook until the mushrooms are browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and add to the meat. Fold in the sour cream, mustard, and parsley.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water until tender. Drain the noodles well and toss with 2 tablespoons butter, and season with salt. Serve the stroganoff over the noodles; garnish with more sour cream and chopped parsley.

* Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence.

Whole Wheat Bread

My newest baking challenge has been to find a perfect, and basic, whole wheat bread recipe. The side challenge to this, has been to make the bread last several days by not consuming the entire loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven. This proved to be most difficult after trying the following recipe yesterday. It was not only one of the easiest bread recipes I’ve tried, but turned out to be incredibly good. I did in fact, eat the entire loaf in one day. The second loaf served as breakfast, snack, and now sits waiting to be devoured tommorow. Completely, guilt ridden, I plan to go for a run this afternoon.

Here is the recipe and the additions I made to it.

Wholesome Homemade Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 envelopes yeast
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups white flour
  • * 1 Tablespoon oats, plus extra to sprinkle on top
  • * 1 Tablespoon quinoa
  • * 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
  • * 1 Tablespoon ground wheat germ

Directions:

  1. Dissolve yeast in water.
  2. Mix butter, molasses, honey, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add yeast mixture then gradually add flours, oats, quinoa, flax seed, & wheat germ.
  4. Knead dough until smooth.
  5. Put in oiled bowl and cover to let rise until doubled. (About 1 hr in warm place)
  6. Punch dough down and let sit for a few minutes.
  7. Divide into 4 loaves and shape. Place in greased pans, cover, and let rise another hour.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Note: I cut this recipe in half and it worked perfectly. The starred * items I added to the recipe for extra nutrition! (This way, I felt less guilt about eating an entire loaf… well Ella had a few bites!) Enjoy!!!