Skinny Italian Wedding Soup

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Could it be!? After a brutal summer of 90+ temps daily, we are finally experiencing our first bits of fall here on the NC coast, woo-hoo! Yesterday was cool and rainy, just the kind of day that calls for a good bowl of soup. I am a huge soup fan and although the hot summer didn’t have me bringing out my soup pot very often, now that fall has arrived I will be on a mission to try out a new soup each week. This week I decided to come up with my own version of Italian Wedding Soup, which I’ve never really been a fan of because mystery meatballs out of a Progresso can kind of creep me out (lol) and the canned version is really the only version I’ve known of this soup until I spotted a Pinterest recipe for it that sparked my interest. While the recipe I found looked delicious I wanted to create my own lightened up version using lean turkey instead of sausage to form the little meatballs, both because J and I try our hardest to maintain a clean diet during the week and because now that baby P is pretty much eating what we eat I try to be more mindful of the sodium content and level of process to our foods. Another reason I love my new original recipe (and soups in general, for that matter) is that it is a great way to sneak in some leafy greens and veggies and lets be honest, who doesn’t love the clean-up (or lack-there-of) that comes along with a one pot meal!? Give this a try on your next rainy day or freeze up some mini-meatballs for a quick-fix meal down the road, either way – happy soup weather to you! ūüôā

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmeasan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 oz. frozen chopped spinach, prepared
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds (optional, this will just give it a more “sausage-like” taste without using the sausage)
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 8 cups chicken stock + 1 cup water
  • 1 cup dried orzo pasta
  • 1 can (15 oz.) cannellini or great white northern beans
  • 1 large bunch kale (or other dark leafy green, swiss chard would be great in this too!), stems removed and chopped (about 4 cups)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1:¬†Start by making your meatballs. Combine first 10 ingredients (turkey-salt and pepper) and mix by hand until just combined (don’t over mix!). Roll into small 1-inch meatballs (makes about 50!) and place on a tray or sheet pan and refrigerate until ready for use. SHORTCUT ALERT: You can prep these tiny meatballs ahead of time and freeze individually on a baking sheet lined with wax paper then transfer to a zip-lock bag once they are frozen and store for whenever you’d like to make this (or any!) soup!

Step 2: In a LARGE (emphasis on large because you will need it to fit 50 mini meatballs without overflowing, lol) dutch oven or pot, heat olive oil and add diced carrots and onion, season with salt and pepper and saute until just soft. Add the chicken stock and water to the pot and bring to a boil.

Step 3: Once soup is boiling add your mini meatballs one at a time, allow liquid to return to a boil the reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes then add your orzo pasta to the pot. Cook until pasta is done (about 5-10 more minutes) and meatballs are cooked through, then check for seasoning and add your beans and chopped kale to the pot, cook for about 5 additional minutes until the kale has wilted. Serve with extra parmesan cheese and enjoy!

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I’ve finally been playing around with my new DSLR camera! Super excited to get more practice on yummy recipes ūüôā

Skinny Crockpot Broccoli & Cheese Chicken Chowder

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As usual I have a million projects going on and have a bunch of recipes from the last few weeks that I’ve been meaning to post, each of which I’m super excited to share with you, but since it’s a rainy, gloomy day on my end¬†(as it was when I came up with this recipe) this soup recipe seems fitting. Now as you can imagine, soup is rarely on our menu during these summer months when it feels like it’s nine million degrees outside, but as I previously stated, every¬†now and again we’ll get a dreary day that warrants a soup fix. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I love Panera’s broccoli cheese soup, but being that I really have no business eating anything in its full-fat form until I reach my goal weight, I’ve been forced to explore healthier soup options and this inspired me to come up with a “skinny” version of broccoli cheese soup (and I already had the ingredients on hand).

So upon hunkering down for fake hurricane Arthur, lol, I prepped this recipe and threw it in the crockpot, I decided to add chicken¬†in order to¬†satisfy my hubby’s need for a “meal”¬†(we¬†often disagree on whether or not pasta¬†or soup without meat¬†constitute a meal, I say yes, he says no way, lol) and because I had two chicken¬†breasts left over from¬†the yummy crockpot chicken fajitas I had made¬†a few nights prior. This soup was super easy and was a huge hit!¬†The chicken makes it hearty so you’re less likely to miss the heavy cream and extra cheese. Speaking of heavy, I actually now find¬†myself to prefer the “skinny” version of many recipes, because while comfort food¬†is delicious I tend to feel like a¬†sluggish blob after finishing a meal, where as¬†after enjoying¬†the skinnier¬†version¬†I find myself feeling satisfied but¬†less blob-like ūüôā¬†If you’re a broccoli¬†cheese soup fan try this one out and let me know what you think,¬†it’s super easy¬†(thank you, crockpot!)¬†to¬†throw together andeasy on the wallet as well!¬†In your face, Panera (just kidding, I love you lol)!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

SKINNY CROCKPOT BROCCOLI & CHEESE CHICKEN CHOWDER

INGREDIENTS

  • 2¬†boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 10 oz. package frozen¬†chopped broccoli (or use fresh)¬†
  • 1¬†cup water
  • 1 Tbsp.¬†(or 2 cubes)¬†chicken flavored bullion (I had the granulated version on hand)
  • ¬†1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 cup fat free half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Add cubed chicken, diced carrots, diced onions, bullion, black pepper, garlic powder and thyme to the crockpot (if using fresh broccoli add at this point as well), and set to high for 4 hours, adding frozen broccoli when there is about 1 hour remaining.

before

before 4

before adding cream and cheese

before adding cream and cheese

 

Step 2:¬†¬†Once time is up add the half-and-half, shredded cheese and corn starch (use some liquid from the pot to dissolve the corn starch before adding it to the pot so that it won’t clump up) and stir to combine. Cook on high for an additional 30-45 minutes. Enjoy! I was too lazy to whip out the¬†emersion blender, but if you like a less chunky soup, blend it up a bit. I served mine with some shredded cheese and crackers, not bad for a two step cooking process, huh? ūüôā

I didn't puree mine and it was great, feel free to give yours a buzz if you want it to be a smoother soup :)

I didn’t puree mine and it was great, feel free to give yours a buzz if you want it to be a smoother soup ūüôā