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Made With Love

Disclaimer: The post you are about to read is semi-gushy. If you don’t like happy endings, or feel-good stories by any means, then please don’t read on.

Okay, I warned you.

minestrone soup There’s this guy I’ve been dating. I’ll admit, it hasn’t been that long. But I’m really digging him. I don’t want to get too much into the details because this is a rather private moment for me. Not to mention this is a food blog ideally dedicated to recipes and food-related information. I was supposed to see my handsome man this weekend, but he unfortunately got the flu and had to cancel.

I don’t know why, but this idea of the cold and the flu and winter in general really inspired today’s recipe. I realized that often, food is connected to love. For me, it’s a way to show the care and compassion I have for my friends and family. Food is also  the door to culture. Often the first way you’re exposed to a foreign nationality or region is through its cuisine.  When I cook for someone, it’s because I care–I care about their body, mind, and soul. Food is my drug to heal them, console them, make them feel welcome, and, most of all, show them my world. My world is a space fraught with gremolatas and Thai curries and gluten-free alternatives and  all sorts of random ‘pantry dishes’ that I make from time to time (more about this last part later). So whether I say “yes” to that new pizza place off U street or say “yes” to hosting a lavish event, food is an integral part of that dynamic. I think that’s what it means to truly be a foodie. To eat food is not enough: you must eat, live, and breath it. 

It’s this world of food and love that honestly explains why this soup tasted so good.  So today, there will be no preaching on my health philosophies. This recipe comes straight from the heart.

Wheat-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free ‘Italian Wedding’ Soup with Chicken Meatballs &  Kale

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 cup Rice Chex (ground)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 3 dashes of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the soup:

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 quart low-sodium, organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups kale, chopped coarsely and stems removed
  • 1 can white cannellini  beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 plum tomatoes, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 1/2 small can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients listed for the meatballs. Roll into very small (1/2 inch) balls. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, sautee the oil, onion, and garlic for 5-6 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to sautee another 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, continue cooking another 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the broth, lemon juice, mushrooms, and tomato paste. Continue cooking on medium heat until the liquid begins to boil. Gently add your meatballs, one by one. Also add your beans.

4. Let the soup cook at a light boil for about 10 minutes. Add the kale and parsley.

5. Let the soup simmer for about an hour, maybe a little longer. Make sure you also taste the soup periodically and season accordingly/to your liking.

minestrone soup 2

And there you have it! This soup is absolutely delicious in the fall and winter months. I love making giant batches of it and freezing it in individual portions. This way, I don’t have to cook as often! What I really like about this soup is how it tastes like it cooked all day, but really only takes about an hour. I know that this is by no means a traditional Italian wedding soup, as there is no pasta. But I think that with all the starch from the carrots and beans, you’ll hardly miss it!

Oh, one more thing. Don’t forget this make this soup with a little bit of love.

 

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