For Christmas, Kurt and I decided to invest in a good elliptical machine to get in shape in 2013. My friend Katherine and her husband Jason run (well, at least Jason runs, Katherine is about to have their first child in January); they thoroughly researched machines so we bought what they bought– a Sole e35. It came as an early gift in mid-December. I’ve used it once. Kurt has been more consistent, but as the holidays approached, he, too, slowed down. Ken has been the sole (no pun intended) enthusiast, working out on the elliptical several days a week.
New Year’s Eve marks the end of all our holiday bounty. Whatever treats we have left will just go into deep freeze for when Ken has his friends over– they, at least, run around outside! Since we’ve had several heavy meals in a row (Christmas, charcuterie picnic and fondue), I thought it would be wise to begin moving our meals towards lighter fare. I still have that leftover ground turkey, so I’m going to make Italian wedding soup for lunch. High on the healthy scale– turkey meatballs, carrots, spinach and a cupful of tiny pasta (I’ll use acini de pepe). The soup and leftover baguette from the fondue will be a good start towards a lighter 2013.
Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs
for the turkey meatballs:
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 3 TB grated Parmesan cheese (or more if you want)
- 1 slice white bread, crust removed
- milk to wet the bread (I don’t measure, but probably 1-2 TB)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 c finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 c very finely chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
for the soup:
- 1 c small dice carrots (1/4 inch)
- 1/2 lb (8 oz) baby spinach leaves, 1/4 inch julienned (I’ve also left them whole, but Ken likes them chopped up)
- 1 c small pasta (I use acini de pepe, but am thinking of trying the new “mini” pastas)
- 3 qts (12 c) of chicken stock (Pacific organic is my favorite when I don’t have my own)
Prepare the bread by placing it in a small bowl and pouring a little milk over the slice to moisten. Let sit a few minutes, then mash with your fingers or a fork.
Place the bread and remaining meatball ingredients (turkey, parm, onion, garlic, egg, parsley, salt and pepper) into a mixing bowl,
then mix lightly but thoroughly with a fork, making sure all ingredients are well distributed. At this point, I microwave a bit of the meat to check the seasonings, adjusting as needed.
Form small meatballs– 3/4 to 1 inch– and place on a tray or plate.
Prep the carrots and spinach if you haven’t already done so.
Heat a large pot over medium heat and coat the bottom with some olive oil. Toss in the carrots and let them soften slightly (do not brown).
Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. When simmering, add the turkey meatballs, by dropping gently by hand into the simmering broth.
Let the soup return to a simmer, then stir in whatever pasta you’re using– I have acini de pepe (it’s very small).
Then add the chopped spinach by the handfuls, and stir to make sure the leaves are all submerged.
Let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes or until pasta is al dente. (The pasta is so small, you actually have to ladle out some soup to try– another opportunity to taste test).
Serve with a good crusty bread.