Don’t you just love soup season? Soups are so hearty and comforting and filling and such a great way to sneak some extra nutrition past picky kiddos. Besides the obvious mess factor, soups are perfect kid food.
We have a bunch of favorite soups in the weeknight dinner rotation during chilly months (lentil, matzo ball, etc), but there’s always room for one more. On a chilly afternoon this past week, I put my own spin on Italian wedding soup — meatballs, kale, pasta and white beans in a flavorful chicken-soup broth. This was so well-received by my family. My toddler, a known soup-lover, ate two enormous bowls, kale, beans and all.
This one is easy to make too, thanks to pre-cooked frozen meatballs. Store-bought are fine or if you make homemade meatballs, make a mental note to freeze a few sans-sauce for future use. I must confess that, although I make a perfectly respectable meatball, I am blessed to have a very healthy and spry 93 year-old Italian grandma who takes enormous pride in keeping her grandchildren’s freezers well stocked with meatballs. Whenever she visits, we’re sure to have all the ingredients on-hand, make sure she has a clear view of her game shows from the kitchen and let her go to work. But, as I said, if your’e not blessed with a freezer full of Italian grandma meatballs, the store-bought kind will work just as well.
The rest of the ingredients are easy too — chopped onions, carrots and garlic (if you’re super short on time, use the pre-chopped kind from the grocery or even frozen chopped veggies), store-bought chicken broth, chopped kale (fresh or frozen is fine) and canned beans. One ingredient that might stand out as odd is the Parmesan cheese rind. This is a great old secret for adding flavor to soups and sauces. Just cut the rind off your cheese and throw it into the pot. As things simmer, the rind will impart tons of extra flavor to your broth. If you don’t have a block of Parmesan on hand, its no big deal, but you might want to start sticking extra Parmesan cheese rinds in the freezer for just such a use.
This soup is excellent on its own since its so hearty, but a nice green salad and a loaf of warm, crusty bread is always a welcome addition. And, since the fall and winter season is just getting started, here are a few Souper soups to add to your repertoire:
Oven-Roasted Squash, Sweet Potato and Carrot by The Tasty Fork
Kid-Friendly Lentil (another recipe by me on Smart Eating for Kids)
Caramelized Onion and Barley by Little Red Window
Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper (another recipe by me on Homemaker’s Habitat)
Alphabet Soup with Veggies by Happy Healthy Mama
And now for the meatball soup: