Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Minestrone with Turkey Meatballs

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
After a day of swimming and sweating, a hearty soup sounds so good.  Speaking of sweating, I think I am just as wet when I walk out of Bikram yoga as I am when I leave the pool, no joke.  Ok, back to food, and my apologies, My guess is that some people probably don't appreciate sweat and food in the same paragraph.  I did shower before I cooked, if that makes you feel more comfortable.  I know it made me feel more comfortable.  And smell better!

But what smelled even better was the aroma of the turkey meatballs I made browning in the skillet, while I prepared the beginnings of the soup.  I got the recipe from the most recent Bon Appétit magazine.  When I opened up the magazine, I realized I didn't have all the ingredients.  What's a recipe follower to do?  I didn't want to run out to the store, since I am really trying to only spend what I need to these days.  Talk about being a beginner!  When it comes to money, I am like a kid.  Money is for me to spend, share, and for all to enjoy.  If I have to do without something, it always feels imposed, and not like a choice to save.  I am working on learning how to be more thrifty, and to save more, while not losing that child-like sharing quality that I have around money.

Therefore, this soup was made with what I had on hand: turkey instead of chicken, baby carrots instead of real carrots, garlic powder instead of actual garlic, dried basil instead of fresh.  It felt so satisfying to have it turn out delicious, even without all the real ingredients.   All my kids loved it, even my vegetarian!  (She only ate it because it was an organic "happy" turkey rolled into those balls.)

Please, enjoy my rendition of
Spring Minestrone with Turkey Meatballs
adapted from Bon Appétit April 2012, and feel free to adapt to what's in your kitchen as well!
Serves 5, with leftovers for lunches.
Turkey Meatballs on the cooling rack.
12oz. ground turkey
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1Tablespoon garlic powder
1T dried basil leaves
2 large eggs
salt and pepper
Olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2C. sliced celery
12 cups chicken broth (I use "Better than Bullion")
1 1/2 C. dried shell pasta
1C. sliced baby carrots
2C. packed, chopped kale
1/4C. sliced cabbage
Add the celery and onions to the pot.
Take your rings off, and with your hands, mix turkey, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, basil and eggs with a little salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Form into 1/2-inch diameter meatballs.  (makes about 45)

Heat 1-2T olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook meatballs until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack.  (using a cooling rack allows for any extra oil/fat to drop off and not make the balls soggy.)

mmmm, kale.
In a soup pot on medium heat, cook onion and celery in 1T olive oil until soft, about 4 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and increase heat to bring to a boil.  Stir in pasta and carrots, and cook until pasta is almost al dente, about 7 minutes.  Add meatballs, kale and cabbage, lower heat and simmer for another 5 minutes.  Taste the broth, if needed add salt and pepper.

Ladle into soup bowls, and garnish with fresh basil or fresh parsley, if you have some on hand.

(Bon Appétit's recipe had 370 calories per serving, since I only adjusted slightly, I would think this has about the same.)

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