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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Turkey Meatball Soup

My belief about food is simple: Homemade is better. Usually homemade is better for you and tastes better. It is also better in that you know what is in it and you can customize it to your own tastes. When I find recipes that I like I often tailor them to meet my requirements. I usually have an idea in my mind of what I want to eat and take some time to read recipes to get an idea of the flavors and ingredients that are typical of the dish. Frequently, however, I wind up straying from the recipe or combining a few recipes and doing what works for me. This recipe is no different. One of my fiance's favorite soups is Italian Wedding soup. Until recently, my only experience with Italian Wedding Soup had been out of a can and I was not impressed. Nonetheless, about a year ago I agreed to try to make Italian Wedding Soup, knowing that regardless of the outcome it had to taste better than what I had from the can. Since then, the recipe has morphed into what I call Turkey Meatball Soup. One thing I like about this soup is that it is so versatile. No kale at the grocery store? Use spinach! Is escarole your favorite green? Go ahead, use that! You don't like beans? No need to add them. Everything can be adjusted to your liking.

Fit Girl Fare Turkey Meatball Soup

 I like to use all white meat ground turkey for the meatballs. I would guess you can use ground pork or ground beef if you are inclined, but all white meat ground turkey is the healthiest option. Plus, with all of the spices and the simmering they are bound to be tasty regardless of the meat you use.

I typically make smaller meatballs, closer to 40-50, but I was pressed for time so I made larger meatballs this time. I also bake my meatballs. You can brown them in a pan if you would like. I find that I can bake all of my meatballs at once while if I try to brown them in a pan, it takes a few cycles. Also, baking means less oil and makes it healthier!

I also like to saute my onions, carrots, celery, garlic and spices before adding the broth. I like the way it makes my house smell and I think it deepens some of the flavors. This is especially true if you don't have time to simmer the soup for a long time. The veggies will still be soft and flavorful with shorter cooking time.

Top it with some grated Parmesan cheese and serve with some nice crusty bread!

Turkey Meatball Soup
Total Time: 1.5 hours
Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6, freezes well, makes great lunch leftovers

Turkey Meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey
2 eggs
1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh, minced Parsley
2 teaspoons of dried Oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less depending on your taste for heat)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil and rub a little bit of oil on the tin foil. While the oven is preheating, mix all of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Once it is properly  mixed, form meatballs and place on the oiled, tin foil wrapped pan. When the oven is preheated, put the meatballs in the oven for 4 minutes or until browned a little bit on the bottom. Turn the meatballs over and return to the oven for a few more minutes. You don't need to worry about cooking them through, they will cook more in the soup. Take them out and set them on a paper towel lined plate until you are ready to add them to the soup.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 cups of chicken broth
1 15.5 oz can of Cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1 10 oz package of fresh Kale, washed and chopped
1 cup of small pasta such as, Ditalini or Stars

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, oregano and salt. Cook 7-8 minutes until the onions are translucent and the carrots and celery are starting to get soft. Add the beans and the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Sitr in the cooked meatballs and the kale. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Add in the pasta and cook for another 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.

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