It is the start of the new year and I love all the feelings around goals and a fresh start. It’s like you magically wake up on January 1st and have a blank slate. It’s a motivating feeling! Justin and I just finished up our yearly goals date. We started this the first year we were married; we set aside time around New Years to go to our favorite coffee shop (hello Please & Thank You! #duh) and reflect on the past year—the good and the bad. We list it all, nothing is too big or small. We then take time to set goals for ourselves. Personal- financial-spiritual-professional. Then we look back on the previous year to remind ourselves what all happen and look at everything we accomplished (or what changed and we didn’t). It really is the sweetest and my favorite date of the year. It has helped us tackle some audacious goals we set for ourselves that I never thought possible. It keeps us on the same page and working as a team together. I highly recommend everyone doing it!
One of my personal goals every year (of course) involves food. Believe it or not I often get very tired of what we eat and get stuck in a rut. Unsure of what to make….nothing sounds good…tired….crazy busy schedule….I dunno NORMAL LIFE 😉 I am weird and I am constantly thinking and dreaming up kitchen creations, looking new recipes, reading blogs and magazines. I love it but sometimes when it comes to actually making those creations come to life, well quite frankly life just gets in the way at times.
So last year I made a reasonable and doable goal of making 1 new recipe a month. That’s it. Just 1. No pressure to cook elaborate meals that take 2 hours every week. Just 1 meal sometime in 4 weeks. Complicated or not, it didn’t matter, just 1. And you know what? It was a great goal! I could do it–I did do it!
I will have you guess what one of those recipes were? Yeah yeah I know, it is cheesy and obvious but this one.
I have said this 100,000 times but as soon as temps drop below 50 I am in full-on hibernation mode. I can be cold and it is 75 degrees out. So since temps have enjoyed hanging out in the 0-20 degree range for the past 6 weeks I have been buried under all the blankets, next to a space heater eating cups and cups of soup.
I had a random craving for this soup in November, just out of now where. So it was my December new recipe goal and I went to town figuring out how to make it. My favorite thing about Italian Wedding Soup is that it is filling but not hearty. It is brothy but substantial. Packed full of flavor, veggies, and protein. It is an all-around win-win.
The base of this soup comes from the meatballs. I like to use ground turkey but pork, beef or a combo can be used. Just a couple ingredients bring the meatballs together then they are formed into balls. Traditional Italian Wedding Soup has fairly tiny meatballs. I do not have time to roll out teaspoon-size meatballs so I just use my smallest ice cream scoop and fill it 1/2-3/4 of the way full and use that as a guide. I ended up with 60 – 1 inch sized meatballs. You will think this is way too many but trust me, you could even use more as the soup comes together!
They key is to brown the meatballs first, just about 5 minutes until the outsides are toasty brown. Take them out and set aside. The rest is very easy. Saute carrots, onion, and garlic. Add broth. Boil. Add in meatballs and bring back to a boil (this will finish cooking the insides of them). Add in spinach and bring back to a boil. Finally, add pasta and let simmer until cooked. I used a tiny pasta called Acini di Pepe which gets almost 4 times the size once cooked. You could also use Israeli couscous, orzo or this awesome Harvest Grain mix from Trader Joes that I love. Soup can be served once pasta is ready or can be kept on low until ready to eat.
This will feed a crowd and makes excellent leftovers. Just store in the refrigerator and when ready to reheat (either stovetop or microwave) add a little bit more broth or water. I found the pasta continues to soak up the liquid as it sits or is stored overnight and needs a little more to thin it out.
So get snuggly under a blanket, serve this soup with some crusty buttered bread and a sprinkle of parmesan and take time to reflect on 2017 and make some audaciously big goals for this new year! Let me know what you’re planning to accomplish in the kitchen in 2018!
- 16 Ounces Ground Turkey
- ⅓ Cup Breadcrumbs
- ¼ Cup Grated Parmesan
- 1 Egg
- ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Parsley
- 1 Teaspoon Basil
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Pepper
- 12 Cups Chicken Broth
- 2 Carrots-diced
- 1 Onion-diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves-diced
- 12 Ounces Frozen Spinach
- 1 Cup Acini de Pepe Pasta - Orzo or Israeli Couscous can be used
- 1 (+) Tablespoon Olive Oil
- Prep meatballs: place ground turkey and the next 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Using a spatula or your hands (with gloves) completely mix until all ingredients are well combined.
- Using the smallest ice cream scooper you have, or your hands, scoop out meatballs and place on cookie sheet. You should get about 60 1 inch sized meatballs.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and drizzle in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Place about ⅓ of the meatballs in the pot and cook until just brown on the outside--about 5 minutes. Scoop out and place back on cookie sheet. Repeat until all meatballs are browned.
- While meatballs are browning, finely dice carrots, onion, and garlic and set aside.
- Once meatballs are finished, place another tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pot and add in carrots, onion, and garlic. Saute for about 5-10 minutes or until soft.
- Add in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling add in meatballs and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add in frozen spinach and bring back up to a boil.
- Add in pasta and turn on medium to medium-low, cover with a lid and let simmer for 15- 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Soup is ready to serve once the pasta has cooked (it will more than triple in size). Can be served immediately or just set on low until needed. Can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.