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7.30.2012

Mini Meatball Soup

What's up, dinnertime?


You kinda caught me off guard today.  I've been busy.  I wasn't prepared to deal with you yet!

What's that you say?  You're on the agenda every day, and being busy is no excuse for pretending you don't exist?  Whatever.  I'm not arguing with you.  You have no effect on me. 

Except for the loud rumbling of my stomach and my complete lack of energy you have no effect on me.

It's true, sometimes making dinner feels like a conundrum.  After working all day, I'm usually left with a limited amount of energy.  And I can't make dinner.  If I have to plan and make dinner, I'll DIE.  But then, I need a healthy dinner to fuel the remainder of the day and to avoid the chocolate dreams.

Do you ever dream in chocolate?  If you haven't eaten a proper dinner you're in for it.  I can't be held responsible for what you'll do to your fridge at 1am.  You know what?  I'm a little weird.  We could have a lot of fun together.

Where were we?  Oh yes, conundrum: no energy to make dinner.  Drama aside, sometimes it takes more energy than I can muster to just come up with a plan for dinner, let alone implement it.

Implement = Cool project management lingo.  Get into it.

But wait!  I forgot!  I already planned and shopped for this weeks' dinners on Sunday!  Haha, dinnertime, you sucker.  I'm making mini chicken meatball soup tonight.

In tonight's recipe, cute little chicken meatballs simmer away in a pot of tomato-y soup laden with spinach, zucchini, and other yummy goodies.  It's so easy and good for you!  And in the spirit of making life better, crusty bread for dunking and extra cheese for sprinkling are musts.

Two meatball-making notes:  1) Try to make all the meatballs the same size.  This will ensure they all cook evenly.  No one will want to eat the giant, uncooked meatball amidst the cute little baby ones, and 2) try to brown all the meatballs at the same time, rather than in multiple batches.  I used two spoons to help me flip 'em over since the pot was so crowded.  F-bombs also helped turn over the sticky ones, oddly.

Make a plan, and do it!  Don't let dinnertime tell you what's up!

Mini Meatball Soup
Adapted from HowSweetEats
Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 lb ground chicken breast
1 large egg
1/4 c grated romano or parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Salt/pepper
1/4 c Panko bread crumbs
2 tbs canola oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 c raw spinach
1 32-oz box low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
2 c water
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes (with no added salt)
1 c small pasta (I used ditalini)

Preparation:
Combine the first 8 ingredients (through salt/pepper) in a large bowl, and mix until just combined.  Taking 1 tablespoon or so of the mixture, roll into meatballs of desired size.



Heat a large soup pot over medium heat, and add 1 tbs of the canola oil.  Add the onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add the zucchini, and cook an additional 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add in the spinach and garlic, stirring continuously until the spinach wilts.  Remove the mixture from the pot, and set aside in a bowl.

With the heat on medium, add the remaining 1 tbs canola oil.  Add in the chicken meatballs and cook 2-3 minutes.  Then flip each meatball over and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.


Once browned, add back in the onion and spinach mixture, then add in the chicken broth, water, and diced tomatoes in their juices.  Stir gently, making sure meatballs have started to float.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Add in the pasta, and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes before serving.  Serve hot with crusty bread.

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