Italian Wedding Soup

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This recipe was a lesson in using what I had around to create something I really wanted. For the past week or so I’ve been craving a nice hot bowl of Italian wedding soup, so I finally just made it myself. The problem was, I didn’t exactly have the right ingredients. So, I made some substitutes. Instead of ground beef, I used turkey for the meatballs. Instead of escarole, I had swiss chard. And for the pasta, all I had was small shells.

While this isn’t exactly traditional Italian wedding soup, I’m all about changing recipes up to make them my own, so I really enjoyed this little experiment. Not to mention, it tastes pretty close to the original!

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Meatballs:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 gloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Soup:
32oz chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bunch of swiss chard
1/2 box small pasta (I used small shells)
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1. Start by making your meatballs. Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl and mix to combine, careful not to over mix it. Use a teaspoon to scoop out small bits of the meat mixture and form small meatballs. Put the olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add the meatballs to the pan. Cook for about 6 minutes, turn them upside down and cook for another 5-6 minutes, they should be lightly browned.

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2. While the meatballs are cooking get started on your soup. Chop up the swiss chard into bite-sized peices, using the entire green part and about 1/2 of the stems. Add the olive oil to a pot and set it to medium-low heat. Add the chard and your chopped onion to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the chard and onion about 5 minutes. Next add your stock.

3. When your meatballs have finished cooking add them into the pan with the chard, onion and stock. Finally, bring the soup to a boil and add the pasta, cooking about for 10 minutes until the pasta is al dente.

4. Top with some pecorino romano and enjoy!

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Related: Fiesta Friday

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes

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These roasted tomatoes are a very quick and easy appetizer or snack. They’re the perfect combination of the soft roasted tomato, slightly crunchy baked breadcrumbs and melted mozzarella – you pretty much can’t go wrong!

These were also a great way for me to incorporate an awesome lemon bergamot balsamic vinegar I bought and can not get enough of. My mom and I discovered an olive oil and balsamic tasting room in Alexandria, VA that any foodie in the DC area should check out! Olio has tons of different oils and vinegars for you to try out – flavors I never would have even thought of. I ended up purchasing the lemon bergamot because it has a nice citrus note to it. I’ve been looking for more and more ways to incorporate this balsamic into my dishes (so let me know if you have any suggestions)!

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Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes
6 Roma tomatoes
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small red onion finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut each tomato in half lengthwise and scoop out the center. Place the hallowed out halves on a paper towel to draw out some of their moisture.

2. While the tomatoes are drying prepare the filling by combining the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

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3. Place your tomato halves on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Carefully spoon the filling into each tomato.

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4. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the filling starts to look crisp and golden, enjoy!

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Simple Sautéed Kale

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I know I know, its cliche now to say you recently discovered kale is an awesome superfood, but I never tried it until a few months ago and now I’m obsessed – where have you been all my life kale!? Kale is good in so many preparations and this is one of my favorites. A super simple way to get all of the healthy benefits of this great ingredient.

This could be a great Thanksgiving side if you’re looking for ways to lighten up traditional holiday sides. To all my other kale fans out there, let me know how you like to cook it!

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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion sliced into thin strips
1 glove garlic, minced
1 bunch of kale
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

1. Add the oil and garlic to a pan on medium heat.

2. Let the garlic cook for 30-60 seconds and then add the onion and season with salt and pepper.

3. Let the onion cook for about 4 minutes and then add the kale, if the entire bunch won’t fit in the pan you can add some, let it cook down a little and then add the rest.

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4. Add the lemon juice and red pepper flakes and continue to cook until the kale has wilted, about 8 minutes, enjoy!

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Quick and Easy Onion Tart

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This weekend I was craving something salty, crunchy and cheesy.  But, I was also feeling a bit lazy and really didn’t want to spend a lot of time preparing something.  This onion tart uses one of my favorite “cheat” ingredients – puff pastry.  You pretty much can’t go wrong with puff pastry, everyone loves it, it’s super quick and always come out great. I used Boursin cheese in my tart since it happened to be on sale this week and it’s easy to spread, but you could use anything you like is either soft and spreads easily or melts well.  This quick and easy tart was the perfect Sunday afternoon snack and would be great as an appetizer.    I’d love to hear if any of you have a favorite recipe that uses puff pastry – let me know!

Quick and Easy Onion Tart
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
2 medium yellow onions
3 T Boursin cheese
2 t olive oil
salt
pepper

1. Slice the onions into thin strips and cook in a large pan with the olive oil on medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

2. While the onions are cooking prepare your puff pastry. Add some flour to a baking sheet to prevent the pastry from sticking. Place the puff pastry on the pan and poke it all over with the tines of a fork.
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3. Spread the cheese in a thin layer over the puff pastry, leaving about an inch empty around the edges.

4. When the onions have cooked until they’re translucent add them on top of the cheese.

5. Fold up the edges of the puff pastry and use fork to seal them. 

6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until the puff pastry just starts to brown, enjoy!
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Onion, Pepper and Tomato Quiche

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I hate to admit it, but my husband and I have become incredibly boring over the past year.  The highlight of our weekends lately is usually a trip to Costco and binge watching whatever the newest hit tv series is.  This weekend, we had to suck it up and pretend to be fun people.  My husband’s best friend was coming to visit and so we had to go out, stay out late and actually do things during the day.  Not that we didn’t have a good time, but by Sunday, I was exhausted.

Growing up, Sundays were synonymous with pasta.  For the most part, I’ve continued that tradition into my adult life but this Sunday I decided to forgo the Sunday sauce and whip up something that would make up for the lack of vegetables in our weekend meals of mac n cheese, chili fries and frozen pizza.  So, I took every remaining vegetable out of the fridge, sauteed them up and made this quiche.  The best thing about this dish is it has that warm comfort food feeling, but gives you lots of nutrients and vitamins from the veggies.  It also requires minimal work.  Since I was aiming for doing the least amount of work possible I used a ready made pie crust but you could certainly make a homemade one very quickly.  The recipe below is what I put in it, but you can put really anything you want in this, it’s a great versatile meal idea.

Onion, Pepper and Tomato Quiche

1 ready made pie crust
1 large chopped yellow onion
1chopped green  bell pepper
3 large chopped heirloom tomatoes
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese chopped or grated
1/2 cup monterrey jack with jalapeno cheese chopped or grated
2 t butter
1 t olive oil
seasonings to taste (I used salt, pepper, parsley and oregano)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Add the butter and olive oil to a pan on medium heatphoto (16)

3. When the butter is melted add the onion to the pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and whatever spices you like

4. When the onion is starting to get translucent add the pepper
**I like my peppers a little under cooked, if you like them softer, add them in with the onion or slightly after

5. Cook for another 4-6 minutes until peppers begin to soften

6. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute or two

7. When the onions, peppers and tomatoes are cooked turn the pan off and set aside

8. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and add the heavy cream, then add the cheese photo (14)

9. Place the pie crust in a pie dish (my pie dish was dirty so I had to use my spring form pan but it worked)!

10. Pour the vegetables into the pie crust and top with the egg, milk and cheese mixture

photo (17)11. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the quiche comes out clean, enjoy!