Saturday, February 7, 2009

Italian Meatball Soup

I've been in a cooking slump lately, and trying to make something healthy as well as easy is often a challenge. Not only that, I have a child who hates to try new things, dislikes most vegetables (except corn and broccoli and cucumbers) and usually turns up his nose at anything I make.

Okay, wait... Before I go any further with this post, I have to tell you my exciting news. I've signed up as a Pampered Chef consultant. I've wanted to do this for a long time, but my fear kept me from taking the plunge.

I got my kit recently and it was like Christmas. I have so much of the Pampered Chef product that it seemed only right to take the first step. Going through all the new products and cookbooks was (and continues to be) a blast.

Now, as I was saying, Dawson is a picky eater sometimes. When I was going through the cookbook 29 Minutes to Dinner by Pampered Chef, I saw this Italian Meatball Soup recipe and knew it would be something delicious and, healthy and quick.

As I was prepping the ingredients I felt like Rachael Ray making a 30-Minute Meal. This soup is so simple and so hearty, I was very impressed.

The crushed tomatoes conceals the carrot, celery and onion, and the meatballs are so tasty. Dawson ate an entire bowl. I couldn't believe it. I loved the fact that he had no idea he was eating carrots. I can't get him to eat a raw carrot to save his life.

The soup was at the appropriate thickness, too. Not too thin, but not chunky, save for the meatballs, of course -- and the vegetables were al dente and so darn good!

Doug was impressed with it, too. Definitely a keeper! Here's the recipe:



* 2 medium carrots
* 2 stalks celery
* 1 small onion
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 4 garlic cloves , pressed
* 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning mix
* 1 (28ounce) can crushed tomatoes in puree
* 2 cups beef broth
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 16 frozen fully cooked meatballs
* salt
* fresh coarse ground black pepper
*croutons for garnish (optional)


1. Peel carrots. Finely chop carrots, celery and onion with a food chopper.
2. Lightly spray a 4 quart casserole (or stock pot) with oil and add carrots, celery and onion. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown, stirring occasionally.
3. Push vegetables to one side of casserole. Add tomato paste; cook 1-2 minutes or until tomato paste begins to caramelize.
4. Add pressed garlic and seasoning mix; mix well. Stir in tomatoes, broth and water; bring to a simmer.
5. Cut meatballs in half; add to soup. Simmer an additional 10-12 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper.