Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Weekend Chef: Mini Chicken Meatball , Pasta, and Vegetable Soup

We spent last Sunday visiting my in-laws and going to the town's St. Patrick's Day parade.  The weather was gorgeous - it was a perfect day for a parade!  We ended up eating lunch around 3 pm after the parade.  By the time we got home after that we weren't very hungry.  This recipe was one of the "I pick it you can make it" for The Weekend Chef.  I was exhausted from being out in the sun all day.  So while I vegged on the couch with the kids he made this.  I thought it was pretty tasty.  I don't think we've ever made chicken meatballs before.  It was chock full of veggies and the soup had a nice flavor.  Normally I'm not a soup as the meal type of person, but because we had such a late lunch it was a perfect light dinner.  It made enough that we ended up freezing a bunch so we can enjoy it another time.  Unfortunately, I think it was just too much veggies for the kids who weren't digging it at all!

Mini Chicken Meatball, Pasta, and Vegetable Soup
Recipe slightly adapted from For the Love of Cooking

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes


1 lb of ground chicken
1 egg
2-3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1/4 cup of plain bread crumbs
1 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 0z can of diced tomatoes
8 cups of chicken broth
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1/2 cup of ditalini pasta
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained

Parmesan cheese topping (optional)

Combine the ground chicken, egg, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, and bread crumbs together in a bowl until just combined. Roll into mini meatballs and place onto a plate (I filled up two plates full). Place the meatballs into the refrigerator for 10 minutes so they are easier to work with.

Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the meatballs, in batches, and cook for 4-5 minutes, carefully turning halfway through to cook on the other side, or until golden brown but not cooked all the way through (they will finish cooking in the soup). Remove the cooked meatballs from the Dutch oven and place on a clean plate. Finish cooking the remaining meatballs.

Add the remaining tablespoon of canola oil to the same Dutch oven and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes then add the minced garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute then add the diced tomatoes and chicken broth, season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Cover and cook on low for 30-40 minutes. Remove the lid and add the pasta and meatballs. Cover and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the pasta is tender and the meatballs are cooked through. Add the spinach, stir until combined and slightly wilted, taste and re-season if needed, then ladle into bowls. Top with Parmesan cheese or feta cheese if desired. Enjoy.

Family Rating:  1 thumb up.

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