Welcome to 2022! Italian Wedding Soup was on the menu after seeing this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, IowaGirlEats. I had the ingredients on hand and needed to take a meal to my daughter after giving birth to my 5th grandbaby. Be careful that you don’t eat all for the tiny meatballs when they come out of the oven. They are delicious! Next time I would make a double or triple batch of the meatballs, so I would have them in the freezer when I want to make the soup. Serve with a hearty Italian bread.
Italian Wedding Soup
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (~1 cup)
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (~1 cup)
1 large shallot or small onion, chopped
salt and pepper
10 cups chicken stock
1 parmesan cheese wedge rind (optional)
3/4 cup dry gluten free orzo
3oz fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
For the Pork Meatballs (makes ~75 meatballs):
1/2 cup small-torn pieces of soft gluten free white bread (crusts removed first)
1/4 cup finely grated onion + juices
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, whisked
2 cloves garlic, microplaned, pressed, or finely minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
1lb ground pork (I used Italian Sausage)
For the Meatballs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees then line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or non stick sprayed foil. To a large bowl add torn bread and grated onion then mix to combine and let sit for 1 minute. Add parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper then stir to combine. Crumble ground pork over the top then use your hands to mix until just combined.
Use a teaspoon to portion meatballs out then gently roll in your hands and place on prepared baking sheet – meatballs can be very close together but not touching. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Set meatballs aside – can be done a few days ahead of time.
Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and shallot/onion, season with salt and pepper, then saute until the vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes. If the vegetables are taking too long to soften, I like to add a glug of extra chicken broth to the pot then place a lid on top and let them steam for a few minutes.
Add chicken stock and parmesan cheese rind (if using) then turn heat up to high to bring liquid to a boil. Add pasta then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until pasta is al dente, 20 minutes or so. Add cooked meatballs then stir to combine. Bring soup back up to a bubble (may need to turn heat up a touch) then add spinach and cook until wilted and tender, 2-3 minutes.
Whisk egg and parmesan cheese together very well in a small dish. Give the soup a couple of big stirs to get the liquid swirling in one direction then slowly stream in egg mixture. Continue to stir to create small threads of egg (NOTE: the eggs are NOT curdled, they are COOKED – like egg drop soup!) Taste then add more salt and/or pepper if desired. Let soup sit and thicken for 10-15 minutes before removing parmesan cheese rind, scooping into bowls, and serving.
It’s salad time, again. I love salad 365 days a year but with fresh produce and fruit in spring and summer, it’s the best! This salad is so simple and so delicious and you can have it anytime. Experiment with different greens, fruit and nuts and enjoy!
What a yummy patriotic salad to share this Memorial Day weekend.
STRAWBERRY AND SPINACH SALAD
Baby Spinach salad mix
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh strawberries, rinsed, drained and sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
Sweet Balsamic Dressing
1.5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper, to taste
Blend salad dressing ingredients together and chill.
When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing and serve immediately.
5 oz. organic fresh spinach (4 cups packed)
1-2 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan)
1 1/2 cups low-fat mozzarella
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
8 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
fresh ground black pepper to taste
For 10.5″x14.75″ Pan:
10 oz. organic fresh spinach (I used frozen spinach and skipped the olive oil)
3 cups low-fat mozzarella
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
16 eggs, beaten
1.5 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
fresh ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Spray glass or crockery casserole dish with olive oil or nonstick spray.
If using fresh spinach, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add spinach all at once, and stir just until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. If using frozen spinach, thaw and drain the spinach.
Transfer spinach to the casserole dish, spreading it around so all the bottom of the dish is covered. Layer the grated cheese and sliced onions on top of the spinach.
Beat the eggs with Lawry’s seasoned salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach/cheese combination, and then use a fork to gently “stir” so the eggs, spinach, and cheese are evenly combined.
Bake about 35 minutes or until the mixture is completely set and starting to lightly brown. Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting. Serve hot.
This dish could be served with salsa, sour cream, or hot sauce.
This can be cut into individual servings to keep in the fridge and microwaved for a quick breakfast during the week. Don’t microwave longer than 1-2 minutes or the eggs can get slightly rubbery.
I am a protein breakfast person. Straight carbs just don’t last for me. If I eat cereal or toast, I’m starving in an hour. My typical breakfast is either Greek yogurt or an egg, with a strong cup of coffee. My dear friend, Jan, told me about this wonderful recipe.
I modified the original recipe to fit my taste buds and loved the results. The next morning I reheated in the microwave and they were equally as good and filling. Hello breakfast for the week!
QUINOA OMELETTE BITES
1 cup quinoa, warm
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
1 egg white & 1 whole egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced green or red bell peppers
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Chop and microwave, on high, the onions and peppers, for 1.5 to 2 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix the warm quinoa with the cheese to melt the cheese. Add the eggs, garlic, salt, spinach, peppers and onion. Stir to combine all ingredients.
Spoon mixture into mini muffin tins, filling to the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tins. Run a small knife around the edges to loosen and pop out of the tins.
Can you tell I’m in the mood for spring? My past two recipes have been all about it! This Spring Garden Vegetable Soup has also been in my ‘must make’ stack. I like the versatility of this recipe, easily adapting to Vegan or Vegetarian (using vegetable stock and omitting the cream and chicken) and it is Gluten-Free.
This soup is light and, oh, so healthy. Daughter Sarah served a small bowl to 10-month old grandson, Evan, and he really liked it! I served the soup with the not-so-healthy baked Red Lobster Biscuits (which Evan DEVOURED) but a hearty whole-grain bread would be wonderful paired with this soup.
SPRING GARDEN VEGETABLE SOUP with ASPARAGUS, ARTICHOKES, PEAS & SPINACH
6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
4-6 cups water (to reach desired thickness)
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, cut into half circles
2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
3 carrots, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
1 15-ounce can artichoke bottoms, tough bits sliced off and discarded, remaining parts cut into lengths
16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts (from Trader Joe’s)
8 ounces asparagus, woody ends snapped off, skin pared off if tough, spears cut into one-inch lengths, tips set aside
8 ounces frozen peas
8 ounces frozen spinach
Generous salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
Cream to taste (1/4-1/2 cup)
Optional: 2-3 cups chopped chicken
In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the leek, stir to coat with butter and let cook until just soft.
Add the celery and carrots to the pot, stirring to coat with butter and cooking until soft.
Add the artichoke bottoms, artichoke hearts and asparagus lengths (leave the tips aside).
Add the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer until all the vegetables are cooked through. (Optional: Add cooked chicken at this point).
Stir in the asparagus tips, peas and spinach and let cook through. Add water to reach desired thickness.
Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream to taste. Best if left to rest for 24 hours before serving.
In the New Year, many of us have vowed to lost weight (5% for me) and eat healthier. This recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen grabbed my attention with the healthy vegetables and protein of the lentils. It’s an easy soup to make and full of nutrients. It makes a large batch and I found I added more and more water since the soup gets quite thick. I’ve shared some with a vegan friend and frozen some for a later treat.
SPINACH TOMATO LENTIL SOUP
1 lb. dried lentils
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 carrots, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 large cans diced Italian tomatoes, with liquid
2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon (or replace some of water with vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
12 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bag fresh spinach
In a large pot, heat olive oil and add vegetables, garlic, bouillon, spices and pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté vegetables in oil for about 7-10 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add diced tomatoes, water (or broth), and lentils to vegetable mixture.
Bring soup to a slow boil for a few minutes, then back down to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes, until soup starts to thicken.
Taste for seasoning as its cooking, add more water if it gets too thick.
In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add fresh spinach leaves to soup and gently stir to combine.
This Friday I’m feeling under the weather so am reposting my Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip as an idea for the coming AFC and NFC championship games. So good and would also be great baked on potato skins.
Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip is a holiday/party regular. This is an easy, tasty appetizer to serve for a holiday party or family gathering.
SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP (BAKED) WITH PITA CHIPS
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke heart quarters, drained and coarsely chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeeze to drain
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese
Toasted baguette slices, assorted crackers or Pita Chips (recipe below)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese. Stir in artichoke hearts, spinach and bell pepper.
Spoon mixture into greased 1-quart casserole
Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese.
Cover and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm with pita chips, crackers or baguette slices.
New recipes are such fun for me and I loved the idea of Spanakopita bites. Spanakopita is a favorite but would never have the patience to make the real deal. I had no idea that you could buy phyllo cups at the local grocery store but they make simple work of this yummy recipe.
The recipe is simple and the results are great. The bites can be served hot or at room temperature. Either way, you’ll enjoy!
30 frozen phyllo cups (2-15 count packages)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed then squeezed dry
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
pinch ground nutmeg
1 egg, whisked
Preheat oven to 350 degrees then place phyllo cups on 2 baking sheets and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add onion, season with salt and pepper, then sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds then transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool slightly.
Add spinach, feta cheese, parsley, nutmeg, and egg then stir to combine.
Spoon mixture into phyllo cups then bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cups are golden brown around the edges.
My vegan menu continues and I wanted to have wilted spinach but with the protein of nuts. It’s easy to forget how much spinach wilts down when cooking. I used a 6 ounce box of spinach and the wilted spinach would serve 2 people as a side dish.
WILTED SPINACH AND PINE NUTS
1 large bunch spinach, about 12 cups leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
Sort through spinach, discarding stems and bruised or yellow leaves. Wash spinach in plenty of cold water; if it’s sandy, wash a second time, then spin dry.
Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Add garlic and lemon juice and sauté for 1 minute.
Turn the heat to high and add the spinach, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few pinches of pepper. Wilt the spinach, tossing with tongs to coat the leaves with the hot oil and garlic. (The water left on the leaves after washing will help it to wilt quickly.)
Toss in the pine nuts and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Portobello Mushrooms are an adult favorite. I enjoyed button mushrooms and morels growing up but the Portobello Mushroom is my Filet Mignon of mushrooms. They are so hearty and delicious I use them as my entrée. This is just one of many ways to cook them. Experiment with your favorite ingredients!
STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS
4 large portobello mushroom caps Baby Spinach
Grated/crumbled goat cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse mushroom caps under cold water and pat dry.
Brush mushroom caps lightly with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet cap side down. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
Put crumbled goat cheese in mushroom cap. Top with a handful of baby spinach.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until the mushroom is cooked, cheese has melted, and the spinach is wilted.