Meatball, Kale and Tortellini Soup With Homemade Veggie Stock

22 01 2014

I love the depth of flavor, and spirit that comes from a homemade stock. What’s even better is turning on the crockpot in the morning and coming home to it at night, having done minimal prep! See my tip below on making homemade veggie stock, perfect for this healthy and hearty soup featuring turkey meatballs, kale and whole wheat tortellini. 🙂

Meatball, Kale and Tortellini Soup With Homemade Veggie Stock

Meatball, Kale and Tortellini Soup With Homemade Veggie Stock

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of Food Network Magazine and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • Dry white wine
  • 7 – 8 cups homemade veggie stock (boxed would work too)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (9 oz) package refrigerated whole wheat cheese tortellini
  • Half a head of kale, chopped

This Girl’s Homemade Veggie Stock Tip: I’ve shared this before, but to easily make your own vegetable stock, save the trimmed ends of veggies (ends of onions, used lemon, leafy tips of celery, asparagus ends, kale stems, cauliflower/broccoli stalks, etc) in a gallon-size Zip lock bag in the freezer. Once you have a full bag, add all the frozen veggies to a crockpot. Cover veggies with water, add a few garlic cloves and whatever herbs you have on hand like bay leaves, thyme, parsley, basil, etc. Turn on low when you leave the house for work, and when you come home, strain the veggies and you have homemade stock! So easy and so much healthier than anything you’ll get in a box!

Combine the turkey, parmesan, 2 Tbsp parsley, egg, 1 clove garlic minced, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl; mix well with your hands until just combined. Form into 1-inch-meatballs and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. The goal here is to get a little sear on the meatballs so they set enough to hold up in the soup. You’re also building flavor in the pan for the base of the soup. Remove seared meatballs to a plate with a paper towel.

Add the carrots, celery and the rest of the garlic to the dutch oven, cook until just softened, 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and deglaze the pan with a little white wine, scrapping up the brown bits on the bottom. Next, add the stock and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Return the meatballs to the dutch oven and simmer until cooked through and float to the top, 3 minutes. Stir in the kale, then add the tortellini and cook until they float to the top, about 3 – 4 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide among bowls and garnish with the rest of the parsley and some parmesan cheese.

Pasta With Turkey Sausage Meatballs

2 04 2013

This recipe reminds me of carbonara, just a much lighter version!  Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish traditionally made with raw eggs, cheese and black pepper (and usually cream or butter). Since spaghetti is usually the pasta of choice in the dish, I switched out the orecciette this recipe originally called for so it would feel more like carbonara.  Mangia friends!

Pasta With Turkey Sausage Meatballs

Pasta With Turkey Sausage Meatballs

The following serves 4 (compliments of Food Network Magazine):

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 box whole wheat spaghetti (recipe called for orecciette pasta, but use whatever pasta you like)
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into bit-size pieces
  • 8 ounces Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (I used hot sausage, you could also use sweet / mild)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 large eggs
  • Ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs, adding the broccoli during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and broccoli.

Meanwhile, roll the sausage meat into about 20 small meatballs. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Add 2-3 more Tbsp of oil to the skillet, the garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring 1 minute. Add the pasta, broccoli and meatballs. Whisk the egg with the reserved cooking water in a small bowl, then add to the skillet (off heat) and stir until the sauce thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This Girl’s tip: try to let the cooking water cool slightly before whisking the egg in, and be sure to whisk quickly and away from any direct heat to prevent the egg from cooking. Incorporating the egg this way should help make a creamy sauce.

Divide the pasta among bowls. Sprinkle with cheese, black pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Slow Cook Greek Meatballs and Leftover Meatball Pizzas

3 11 2011

I tried a new appetizer recipe for Greek meatballs stuffed with cheese from my Cuisine Slow Cooker Menus for a recent party. They were a big hit! Below are two recipes – one for the meatballs themselves, and one for what to do with the leftovers – meatball pizzas (thanks for the idea Martha Stewart)!

Greek Meatballs

Greek Meatballs in tomato sauce (from Cuisine Slow Cooker Menus) – the following makes about 55 meatballs:

  • 1 can dice tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup minced pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp minced lemon zest
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 6 oz feta cheese cut into small cubes

Preheat oven to 400. Coat a broiler pan or baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside. This is to bake the meatballs, although I decided to saute them in a frying pan on the stove – either way works.

Combine diced tomatoes, tomato paste, pepper flakes and salt for the sauce in a slow cooker. Cover, cook on low-heat setting while preparing the meatballs.

Mix together bread crumbs, olives, garlic, eggs, zest, the 1 tsp salt, pepper and paprika for the meatballs in a large bowl. Add ground beef and pork, mix well. Form mixture into 1-inch balls, stuffing each with a cube of cheese. It’s easiest to form the meatballs around the cheese. Place meatballs on the prepared pan, bake until meatballs are cooked through – about 20 minutes.

Transfer meatballs to slow cooker, toss in sauce to coat. Cover, cook on low-heat setting for 2.5 – 3 hours. This Girl’s Tip: I would recommend doubling the sauce recipe, especially if you want these saucy and to use the leftovers in the recipe below.

Meatball Pizza

Meatball Pizzas with the leftover meatballs from the above recipe (from Everyday Food Magazine):

  • 4 large naans or pitas (I recommend using the naan)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup reserved tomato sauce
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 20 bocconcini or 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella (you could also use shredded pizza cheese)
  • 10 to 12 reserved meatballs
  • Grated parmesan
  • Red-pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place 4 large naan or pitas on a parchment-lined baking sheet; season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Divide 1 cup reserved tomato sauce (opposite) among naan and top with 20 bocconcini, halved, or ½ pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced, and 10 to 12 reserved meatballs, crumbled. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

Toss 2 cups baby arugula with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. To serve, top pizzas with arugula, grated Parmesan, and red-pepper flakes.