Italian Wedding Soup

The temps have hit all time lows here in Nashville this week, the perfect time for warm and nourishing soup.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine.

Substitution made, noted below.

Italian Soup 1

Italian Wedding Soup

1 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 sm onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh sage – I used dried sage
3 c fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 Parmesan cheese rind, plus 1 tblsp grated Parm, plus more for topping
1/2 lb ground pork – I used ground chicken
3 tblsp breadcrumbs (preferaly panko)
3/4 c orzo
8 oz baby spinach (about 8 cups)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat.  Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.  Add half of the garlic and 1 tsp each Worcestershire sauce and sage; cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, 3 c water and the Parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.

Italian Soup 2

Meanwhile, mix the pork, breadcrumbs, 1 tblsp grated Parm, the remaining garlic, Worcestershire and sage in a bowl.  Form into 1-inch meatballs.

Increase the heat to med-high and bring the soup to a boil.  Stir in the orzo and cook 6 minutes.  Add the meatballs and cook until they are firm and float to the top, about 4 more minutes.  Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 more minute.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with Parm.

Italian Soup 3

cartoon-strawberry-9The sage lends a rich flavor to the broth and to the meatballs.  I would cut the orzo down to a half cup, and add in a healthy dash of salt and pepper.  Healthy and hearty soup ready in about an hour!

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie

The ultimate in comfort food – Chicken Pot Pie.  Fall has given me a need for rich, warm foods.  Foods that fill your belly and your soul.

This recipe is from Real Simple, February 2009.

Substitution and addition made, noted below.

chicken pot pie Collage

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tblsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
3 tblsp all-purpose flour
1/2 c dry white wine
2 c 1% milk – I used 2%
1 10oz package frozen peas
1 tblsp fresh thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 9-inch pie crust
* Addition – 1 med diced zucchini

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cooke the chicken in a pot of simmering water until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool, then shred.  (I diced mine.)

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken).  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

chicken pot pie 4

Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Transfer to a shallow 1.5 to 2-quart baking dish.

Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal.  Cut several vents in the crust.  Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

chicken pot pie 5

cartoon-strawberry-9What a wonderful and easy dinner.  Took a little over an hour for prep to dinner, and it was so good.  I don’t think I’ll ever want or need to learn how to make pie crust, Pillsbury does it better than I ever could.

Potsticker Soup

Growing up I had two favorites when my parents and I would go out for Chinese food.  Crispy egg rolls, and war wonton soup.  A couple years ago, Trader Joes had a recipe suggestion for their chicken potstickers to be used in a soup.  I took a simple recipe and altered it , my version of a war wonton soup.

Potsticker Soup

1 lb. package of chicken potsitckers – These come frozen at Trader Joes, be sure to thaw before you start this soup.
13 oz. can diced chicken in water – drained
9 oz. package of snap or sugar peas – rinsed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion – chopped
1 heaping cup of carrots – I use Trader Joes matchstick carrots
8 cups of liquid
– generally I’ll use a carton of low sodium, nonfat chicken broth, approx. 4 cups, plus 4 cups of water.
– This time I used a turkey broth I made from the bones I had left over from Thanksgiving.

Seasonings – all to taste
Celery Seed
Ground Ginger
Chinese five spice powder
Minced garlic
Onion powder
Salt & Pepper

Heat your stock pot or dutch oven on med-high heat and add a touch of oil (I use grapeseed oil.) to cook the veggies.  Add the onions first and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the carrots and peas.  Season the veggies as they’re cooking to add depth of flavor to the soup.

When the onions have softened and your peas are a bright green (approx 3 minutes), add the chicken, potstickers and liquid.  Season soup again, cover and let sit until heated through.

As you can see, I added some shrimp to this go round.  I tossed to coat the shrimp with a blend of garlic powder, ground ginger, onion powder and Chinese five spice powder.  I cooked them on a med-low setting, turning a few times until pink.

This is soup is super easy and super yummy!  If only I could figure out how to make the BBQ pork that you get at Chinese restaurants, my soup would be complete!