Mini-Meatball Minestrone

We are having soup weather here in the Pacific NW.  Sometimes I feel like a broken record talking about my love of soup.  (I just had a thought, do kids today know what a broken record sounds like?  Wow, things that make you go hmmmm.)   I have tulips coming up; it’s not supposed to be snowing and snowing and snowing.  I apologize to my Minnesota cousins for whining about less than a foot of snow, but we live here for a reason and that reason is 55 degree weather in winter.  Also, have you all noticed how I can blow through a plethora of subjects in less than 3 sentences?  Moving on.

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I started making this soup when Chris was still in high school.  I have always loved one dish meals and soup is the prime example of a one dish meal.  For me, it’s all about the broth.  This one is very flavorful considering the short time it cooks.  I would be happy to just have broth in my bowl, but people get cranky when all they get are meatballs and veggies.  The small size of the meatballs make them a one bite option.  I prefer not having to cut a meatball with a spoon.  Don’t forget about patting out your meatball mixture to get evenly sized meatballs when forming.  This really helps when making 1/2 inch balls.

 

10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 ½ pounds lean ground beef

1/3 cup panko

1 egg

1 cup room temperature water

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon each dry oregano and basil

7 cups chicken broth

1 can (15 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 can (15 ounce) kidney beans, undrained

1 cup each thinly sliced carrots and celery

1 cup rotelle or other pasta twists

Salt as needed

Squeeze all the moisture from the spinach.  Combine spinach, beef, panko, egg, water and pepper.  Form into ½ inch balls.  Place meatballs well apart in a rimmed baking pan.  Bake in a 500 degree oven until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.  Heat oil in Dutch oven; add onion, garlic, oregano and basil.  Cook, stirring, until limp.  Add broth, tomatoes (broken into pieces) and beans; cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Add carrots and celery; boil gently for 10 minutes.  Add meatballs and heat through.  Salt to taste.  I cook the pasta in a separate pan and add it when ready to serve, so the soup doesn’t get too thick.

*  From the Recipe Box:

This feeds G and I the day I make it plus 2 future meals in the freezer.

Don’t forget the Parmesan.

I buy 2 of the 32 ounce containers of chicken broth and I end up using it all.

and remember:  I would rather be someone’s shot of bourbon than everyone’s cup of tea.  Big kiss, Lynn

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