Category Archives: Lunch

Italian Wedding Soup

This Italian Wedding Soup made with chicken is light and healthy, but so delicious with buttery Parmesan and a bit of fresh lemon.

I’ve always imagined a wedding in an old Tuscan villa, nestled perfectly between green hillsides dotted with rows of grapevines and gardens. The bride, wearing the dress of her mother’s and her grandmother’s before her, dancing happily with her new husband and surrounded by their families. Cheering, laughing, drinking and eating. Eating Italian Wedding Soup—

Nope…

This soup has nothing to do with my dreamy wedding fantasy! I mean, it’s not even remotely romantic. Long ago, someone named this wedding soup to represent the marriage of meat and green vegetables. Sigh. You know I love food, but come on!

I have so many versions of this soup. My family loves them all, but after eating this one recently, my husband said this one was the best soup I’ve ever made! (I married a very smart man, you know!) I’ve adapted the traditional wedding soup by using ground chicken breast to lighten things up. You could make this with ground meat or sausage. You can add some small pasta like Acini de Pepe or some more veggies like carrots and celery. But, this simple version…is really wonderful. Because it’s so simple, the broth is so important. There are some soups you can get away with using canned broth. Not this one. Homemade broth makes this soup really special.

This Italian Wedding Soup made with chicken is light and healthy, but so delicious with buttery Parmesan and a bit of fresh lemon.

Italian Wedding Soup

1 egg
1/2 small onion, grated (about 1/3 C. grated)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/4 C. whole grain breadcrumbs
1/4 C. Parmesan, grated
1 – 2 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 lb. ground chicken breast

12 C. chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb. escarole, sliced
1 egg
2 t. Parmesan
black pepper
1 lemon, sliced in wedges

In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and parsley. Stir to combine. Add the ground chicken and stir again to mix well.

Place a large pot over high heat and add the chicken broth. Cover the pot and bring to a boil while you form the meatballs.

Using a one tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon, scoop the mixture and level it completely against the side of the bowl. Release the scoop in your hand and roll into a meatball. Place the meatballs on a large dish or a baking sheet. Continue until the mixture is done. You should have about 36 or so meatballs. (See Notes for a great tip!)

Once the broth has come to a boil, gently drop the meatballs into the pot then add the escarole. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar and allow the broth to return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, Parmesan and black pepper. Stream the mixture into the soup while whisking the broth to create threads of egg. Continue simmering for one or two more minutes.

Serve the soup in bowls with lots of freshly grated Parmesan and a wedge of lemon.

Serves 6.

Notes:

  • Escarole is one of my favorite healthy dark greens! It’s got a mild flavor, yet it’s got the nutritional impact that a lot of those more bitter dark greens have. Escarole is high in fiber, antioxidants and a fantastic source of Vitamins A and C.
  • I’m not terribly squeamish in the kitchen, but when working with ground poultry, I always use thin, food grade vinyl gloves for making chicken or turkey meatballs. The texture of ground poultry is vastly different than ground meat. It can be very sticky and hard to work with. The gloves completely solve that problem.
  • Don’t forget the lemon for serving! It makes all the difference!

 

This Italian Wedding Soup made with chicken is light and healthy, but so delicious with buttery Parmesan and a bit of fresh lemon.

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini-super easy healthy dinner you can make ahead of time. Incredibly delicious! Taste Love and Nourish

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted anything. January is one of the most hectic months for me. Most of my days have involved lots of numbers, too much paperwork, and just basically, trying to pack away twenty-thirteen and start a fresh new year.

But…in between all of that…I made this. Twice. In one week.

There’s just so much I love about this dish. Aside from how delicious it is, this meal is super healthy, easy to make, and can be prepared in advance and baked a day or even two later. Zucchini has a high water content, making it low in calories. So, once you stuff it with some flavorful veggies and the protein rich superfood quinoa, top with just a bit of mozzarella…you’ve got an amazing healthy meal. This is a light dish, so I serve it with a nice big salad or a bowl of hot soup.

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini-super easy healthy dinner you can make ahead of time. Incredibly delicious! Taste Love and Nourish

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 medium red pepper, finely diced
2 Roma tomatoes or 1/2 C. grape tomatoes, finely diced
6 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
1 – 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 C. baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 C. cooked red quinoa
3 – 4 large fresh basil leaves, torn
1 T. Parmesan, grated (optional)
1/2 C. mozzarella, grated

In a 12″ skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil, onion and red pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté just until the onion softens a bit.

While you wait for the onions to soften, scoop just a bit of each zucchini out with a round scoop (or use a round measuring spoon). Chop the scooped bits up into a small dice put the zucchini aside.

Add the tomato, zucchini bits, thyme leaves and some salt and pepper to the pan. Continue to sauté for another couple of minutes. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach wilts down.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the cooked quinoa and sprinkle with some fresh basil leaves. Add the Parmesan if using. Stir to combine and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment for easy clean up. Arrange the zucchini on the sheet. Using a small spoon (I use a regular teaspoon) divide the mixture between all of the zucchini. Cover the baking sheet with foil. You can refrigerate at this point up to a couple of days if you’d like to serve it later. Otherwise, place the sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, covered.

After 30 minutes, uncover and top each zucchini with some mozzarella. Place the sheet back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. If you’d like a browner top, raise the rack in the oven to the highest spot.

Remove from the oven and serve.

Serves 6.

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini-super easy healthy dinner you can make ahead of time. Incredibly delicious! Taste Love and Nourish

Notes:

  • To yield one cup of cooked quinoa, cook 1/3 cup of dry quinoa in about 2/3 cup of water. I like to prepare a whole pot of quinoa (1 cup quinoa in 2 cups of water. It will yield 3 cups cooked). I love having cooked quinoa in the fridge. Use it as breakfast with vanilla almond milk and some fruit, warm it up and top it with an egg or add it to some sautéed veggies as a great side dish with dinner or for lunch! Quinoa is pretty awesome!
  • I love red quinoa. I use it most. I think the red quinoa is just a bit less bitter. Another trick to using quinoa is to rinse it in a fine mesh sieve before cooking. That removes the saponins that can cause that bitter taste.
  • I cover the zucchini while baking because if you don’t, the quinoa will get a bit crunchy.
  • If you’d like, you can try topping this dish with a bit of a light marinara sauce!
  • If you love this dish, you won’t want to miss my Vegetable Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms!
  • To keep this vegan, eliminate the Parmesan and mozzarella. Use vegan substitutes if you’d like.

 

Vegetable and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini-super easy healthy dinner you can make ahead of time. Incredibly delicious! Taste Love and Nourish