Emily's Skinny Italian Wedding Soup - Ashley & Emily
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Emily's Skinny Italian Wedding Soup

As you know, I am going through  a major soup making phase right now. Which is great! It’s Fall and the weather calls for soup. But — I’m pregnant, and the struggle to keep the baby weight gain in a healthy range- is reeeaalll, like reeeealll reeeeealll.

That being said, I knew when I started my soup-making-foray with New England clam chowder, that I needed to be portion conscious. New England clam chowder will always remind me of my childhood. I grew up in Connecticut, so we always had an abundance of fresh seafood, and this soup was always my grandmother’s favorite. As an adult, it brings back the fondest memories, but eating it is a definitely not an every day occurrence. I mean, I’ve always known it’s “not good for you” – but let’s just say I had NO idea how “not good for you” it really is.

I used this recipe – Ina never fails me . But halfway through, I had to have my husband step in and finish the dish for me. It may be the fact that I am pregnant and easily nauseated, but something about  the idea of drinking butter- with a few veggies and clams sprinkled in – was just more than I could handle. A word  to the wise, if you like the blissful ignorance of not knowing what actually goes in your clam chowder, I would suggest not making it at home.

Which brings me to my next, and much more successful, (if I do say so myself) soup making endeavor…. 

My husband LOVES Italian Wedding soup, and given my last attempt at soup making, I resolved to only making healthy versions of our favorite soups. So – in this version, the meatballs are made with ground turkey, I’ve thrown in loads of veggies, and the flavor comes from plenty of herbs and spices – not butter and cream. 

Baby Belly – 1, Clam Chowder – 0

We were up at the Tahoe house this past weekend, and my mom and I spent the day making this soup. Well —  to be completely honest, we spend the day taking leisurely walks, online shopping for maternity clothes, and only about an hour making this soup. 🙂

The best part about this recipe, (other than the fact that it is quick and easy) is that it is a full meal. The meatballs are hearty and satisfying, while the kale and carrots make it like a salad… an extremely delicious soup salad. The other great part about this recipe is that you can make it ahead; it was even better the next day. You can also freeze it and enjoy it at a later time. For anyone who is busy  – all of  you  this soup is a must have in your recipe box.  My whole family loved it, and I know we will be making it all winter long.

1 package 20 oz ground turkey (you can use the Italian pre-seasoned variety for extra flavor)
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs (we used panko and they were amazing)
1/4 to 1/2 cup finely grated good Parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tablespoon organic Italian seasoning
16 cups chicken stock (we added even more the next day)
1 small bag of baby carrots
1 bag of pre-washed kale
1 box of uncooked pasta (we used ditalini, but orzo or any other small pasta works as well)
***To make this recipe gluten free, substitute gluten free breadcrumbs and gluten free pasta

For the meatballs: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place Turkey in a large bowl.

 Now, chop the onions, garlic and parsley.

In a large bowl mix the turkey, onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, and the egg.

Not to throw my husband completely under the bus, BUT, do not forget to add the egg. If you do, you will have turkey burger balls – not so great. Sorry love!

Mix well with your hands. This is a messy process, but believe me it’s worth it!

Next, roll the mixture into small meatballs, about 1 tbs. each. And now you have options. You can either bake or saute your meatballs. We baked ours – it is definitely more figure/baby belly friendly 🙂 Spray two large cookie sheets with cooking spray or brush with olive oil – place meatballs on the cookie sheets and place in your oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

For the soup:
Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, heat the chicken stock and carrots, and bring to a rolling boil. Turn your heat down to medium and let the the carrots cook for approximately 15 minutes or until tender. *** Be sure to taste your stock. If you didn’t make it yourself, adjust for your taste. Add salt and pepper if it is lacking in flavor, and conversely, add water for overly seasoned stock. 

By this time your meatballs should be fully cooked and now this recipe is all about assembly. Add your pasta to the chicken broth and carrots. When your pasta is al dente (as per the directions on the box, usually 9-10 minutes), add in the meatballs. Cook for 5 minutes to bring the meatballs to the same temperature as the soup.  *** I like to estimate around 4 meatballs a person, so if you have extra, feel free to save them for lunch the next day. or add them into egg whites for a protein packed breakfast. 

If you are making this recipe ahead, you can stop here and freeze or refrigerate the soup once it has cooled. If you are making this recipe ahead of time, do not add the Kale. It is best to add the kale right before you are ready to eat the soup, this way it stays as fresh as possible. So if you are ready to eat, add as much kale as you would like. *** In my house, we love Kale. So we ended up adding 3/4 of the bag and that was perfect for us. 

Cook the kale in the soup for an additional 5 minutes and serve. We like to sprinkle Parmesan over the top of our soup, but that is totally up to you.

Bon Appetit!

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