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.

Cheese Tortellini Soup

19 12 2013

After we enjoy appetizers, I like to start our family’s Christmas dinner with a homemade soup. Traditionally I’ve made Italian wedding soup, and one year I made a rustic minestrone. This year however, it’ll be tortellini soup with the homemade turkey stock that I made using the bones from our Thanksgiving turkey. First I roasted the bones, then I let the stock cook on low all day (with the bones, onions, carrots and celery) to develop a deep, rich flavor.  I froze the stock knowing I’d use it to make soup for Christmas.

I grew up enjoying my Mama’s tortellini soup quite often, but I haven’t had (or made it) in years. Hence this post….thought I’d whip up a bowl for the hubs and I before making my army-size Christmas Day batch! I did make this a little different from my Mama’s, and I’ll be making it a little different for Christmas Day too (will be using turkey stock instead of chicken broth and white beans instead of mushrooms)…but sharing this before Christmas in case it sparks an idea for your own holiday meal planning.

Cheese Tortellini Soup

Cheese Tortellini Soup

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

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 container portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 boxes reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 package cheese tortellini, like Buitoni whole wheat cheese tortellini you find in the refrigerated section
  • 1 bag fresh baby spinach
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and thyme springs (don’t worry about taking off the leaves, add the whole sprig) and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add mushrooms and brown, stirring often, another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Deglaze the pan with wine, scrapping up any brown bits from the pan. Cook for another minute or so until the wine reduces to half.

Next add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook to al dente according to package instructions. When you have a few minutes left on the pasta cooking time, add the spinach and wilt into the soup, stirring often.

Remove the sprigs of thyme, season soup with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with grated parmesan cheese.

Lemon and Orzo Soup With Kale and Chicken (or Turkey)

2 12 2013

I logged onto my blog today to see a slew of visitors checking out my Turkey Tetrazzini recipe I posted about last year ( Thank you for visiting, makes me feel all warm and cozy….just like a homemade soup! I’ve been on a let’s-eat-out-of-a-bowl-kick lately! And all the recent visits inspired this soup, which is light and lemony, and a great use for leftover chicken or turkey during the holidays! Enjoy, and thanks again for stopping by 🙂

Lemon and Orzo Soup With Kale and Chicken (or Turkey)

Lemon and Orzo Soup With Kale and Chicken (or Turkey)

The following serves 2-3 (compliments of Cuisine at Home and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 3/4 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup each of diced carrot and celery (didn’t have these veggies so I used leftover roasted cauliflower)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1/2 cup dry orzo
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 to 1 package fresh baby spinach (I used kale instead)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions, carrot and celery in oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until softened, 7-9 minutes. (And don’t feel trapped by the recipe, if you don’t have all the veggies it calls for, sub for something else like me – I used cauliflower instead of the carrot and celery!).

Add garlic, thyme and pepper flakes to pot, cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo, cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.

Stir in chicken or turkey, spinach, zest and lemon juice. Cook briefly until chicken or turkey is heated through. Off heat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional zest if desired and grated parmesan cheese.

Note: the broth in my picture is dark because I used homemade stock. The broth will be lighter if you’re using boxed broth.

Roasted Corn and Zucchini Soup

5 11 2013

This is a light, yet hearty soup. It has different textural components thanks to the crunchy bacon. And because it comes together pretty fast, it’s a great fall-time, weeknight dinner option.

Roasted Corn and Zucchini Soup

Roasted Corn and Zucchini Soup

The following serves 2-3:

  • Turkey bacon, chopped
  • 2 small bags of frozen corn
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • Half a large onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic (use more or less depending how much you like garlic and the size of the cloves)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ground thyme
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Non-fat half and half

Preheat oven to 425.

Chop up a few strips of turkey bacon and saute in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove to a paper towel.

Coat corn, zucchini, onion and garlic with the drippings from the bacon, along with salt, pepper, a little ground thyme and a pinch of red pepper flakes. If there wasn’t enough bacon drippings you can add a little olive oil as well. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or so, turning occasionally.

While the veggies roast, heat the chicken stock in a large pot. Reserve some of the corn kernels to use as garnish, then add the rest of the roasted veggies to the pot of warm stock and puree with an immersion blender (or transfer to a food processor or blender to puree).  Put the soup back over a low heat and slowly add in a little half and half (one good turn of the pan). Taste and season with salt and pepper.

This addition is optional: for a little more substance, I decided to add some sautéed salmon to this dish. I keep a bag of frozen salmon burgers in the freezer for quick weeknight meals. I crumbled up one of the patties, seasoned it with salt, garlic powder and paprika and sautéed in the skillet I used to cook the bacon.

To serve, I put the salmon crumbles and some of the reserved roasted corn in a large soup bowl, then topped with the soup and garnished with black pepper and bacon bits.

Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup

17 10 2013

This toasty recipe comes from Food Network Mag’s 50 things to make with canned pumpkin (and if you couldn’t tell from my last few posts, I’ve been on a pumpkin kick!). It’s a super quick go-to for cool fall nights! Pumpkin puree is so easy to use and loaded with fiber and key vitamins – it’s great to use all year round and not just around Halloween or Thanksgiving!

Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup

The following serves 2 (along with a salad):

  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup non-fat cream (I used half-n-half)
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 limes

Simmer pumpkin puree, chicken broth and cream, whisking 5 minutes. Toast curry powder in olive oil for a few minutes, and add to the soup along with the lime juice. Simmer all ingredients together for a few more minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with plain yogurt and cilantro if desired.

This Girl’s Tips: I recommend adding a little more cream, and possibly giving this soup a quick whip with an immersion blender. While it’s good as is, I would have liked the texture to be a bit creamier – I just didn’t have anymore cream on hand!

Green Minestrone

6 10 2013

Minestrone is a thick, Italian soup, perfect for fall. This is a great make ahead meal too. I made this soup over the weekend so I’d have an easy weeknight meal. All I have to do is bring it to a boil, add pasta and cheese and poof….a delicious homemade soup during the week!

Green Minestrone

Green Minestrone

The following serves 4 (compliments of Rachel Ray and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 4 slices pancetta or 1/4 pound thick cut prosciutto, chopped (I used turkey bacon)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 2 cans white beans, cannellini (Rachel uses half white beans and half chickpeas, however I just doubled up on the white bean)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups chicken broth or stock (I used homemade stock)
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta or mini penne pasta (I use whole wheat orzo)
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces triple washed spinach, stems removed and coarsely chopped, or any other dark greens
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, plus extra to pass at the table
  • 12 to 16 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded or 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves

Heat a soup pot over medium high heat. Add oil and pancetta or prosciutto. Saute 2 minutes and add onions, celery, garlic, zucchini and bay to the pot. Season vegetables with salt and pepper, to your taste. Saute vegetables 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add beans, and chicken broth to the pot. Cover soup and bring to a boil. Add pasta and green beans to the soup and cook 8 minutes, or until pasta is just tender. Stir in spinach to wilt, 1 minute. Stir in grated cheese and ladle soup into bowls. Top soup with torn or shredded basil or chopped parsley.

This Girl’s extra tip: To make this soup ahead of time, follow all of the directions except adding the pasta, cheese and basil. Cool soup and store in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat it, mix in the grated cheese and bring the soup back to a boil (I add the cheese before bringing to a boil so that it melts evenly into the soup and doesn’t clump). Next, add the pasta and cook 8 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Top with basil and enjoy (be sure to serve with extra grated cheese)!

Chickpea and Spinach Soup with Lemon and Couscous

1 04 2013

I love zesting lemon into soups because it adds a nice bright finish to a warm, comforting meal. This soup doesn’t take a lot of prep work….a little sauteing and combining of ingredients and you’re done. You’ll spend more time waiting around for it to cook itself 😉

Chickpea and Spinach Soup with Lemon and Couscous

Chickpea and Spinach Soup with Lemon and Couscous

The following serves 4:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced (use more or less depending how much garlic flavor you’d like to taste)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cans (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cheese rind
  • 1 box frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous (you could also use whole wheat orzo or brown rice)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 3 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and pinch of red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Next add the rosemary, thyme and pinch of salt.

Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, broth and stir to combine. Add the cheese rind and bay leaf and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the spinach and lemon zest and continue to cook, another 10-15 minutes. Taste and add salt as needed.

Meanwhile make the couscous (or orzo or brown rice) according to the package directions. Add the cooked couscous to the soup and stir well to combine.

Remove cheese rind and bay leaf and serve soup hot with parmesan cheese and ground black pepper.