Tag Archives: meatballs

Sweet and Savory Crockpot Meatballs (Grape Jelly Meatballs)

Put Jelly in the What Now?

I like to pretend that I am in the know when it comes to what makes for a delicious dish and what makes for a dish worth open-hand throwing across the room.  If someone told me that the secret to killer crockpot meatballs was a jar of grape jelly, I’d probably spit out my filet mignon and make a mental note to never trust a single recommendation that person ever made.  And yet!  And yet!  Turns out those cocktail meatballs that I swooned over at every single potluck and holiday party were made with (you guessed it) grape ‘effin jelly.  That same vile stuff that I eschewed as the evil mistress of peanut butter in the PB and J.  And yes, I hate PB and J, but that’s for another day. Continue reading Sweet and Savory Crockpot Meatballs (Grape Jelly Meatballs)

Chickarina Soup

I don’t remember cans of Chickarina soup in my house as a child, but they were certainly a big hit during my college years.  When we went the route of a splurge, my best friend and I would throw a few cans of Chickarina into the cart for random lunches and dinners.  But because we went through them so quickly and couldn’t afford to get them all the time, Chickarina became a bit of a delicacy.  With my proclivity for making soups and stocks even back then, I’m surprised I didn’t attempt a homemade version back then.  No matter – I came around to it eventually :)

chickarina

Upon researching this recipe, I tried to find out more of the history of Chickarina.  Like some deep, dark government secret, there is no true history available online.  What the hell?  There were a few mentions of a “chickarina” jingle from way back in the day, including this one from a site dating it back to the 60s.  And a whole lot of people labeling it as Italian Wedding Soup, which it’s not.  Though both dishes have mini meatballs and acini di pepe (mini pasta pearls – the name means “peppercorns” in Italian), the spinach or escarole is replaced with carrots and celery for a chicken soup + meatball experience.  It’s excellent through and through, and a lovely riff on home cooked goodness. Continue reading Chickarina Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Just as ancient tales are easily bungled by funky translations (like Charles Perrault’s original story Cinderella, with confusion over a slipper of glass [verre], squirrel fur [vair] or even iron [fer]…a hot mess that Cinderella was), so too do recipes often have translation mix ups.  Although Italian Wedding Soup, a popular dish in this country, hints at origins surrounding Tuscan weddings, the actual name of the soup is minestra mariata or “married soup” – a reference to the melange of greens, broth, meat and cheese.  An apropos name, given that all of the flavors in this soup blend together into something akin to a warm hug.  I’m all about that marriage, if I do say so myself.

Traditional versions of the soup involve a slow simmering stock that can include soup bones (prosciutto to be super authentic) and a variety of greens and broccoli.  I love this soup with pastina, or little pasta pearls that puff up in the broth, but this version, as inspired by the cracked-out craziness of the Canadian show “Bitchin’ Kitchen” uses cheese tortellini.  If you don’t have tortellini, you can swap it out for ditalini (short pasta tubes) or any mini pasta you’d like.  You call the shots – this is your wedding and I don’t want you getting all bridezilla on me.

Recipe for

Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef
1 lb. of pork
1 small hoagie roll
1/2 c. of parsley leaves
1 egg
1/4 c. of parmesan
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 clove of garlic, very finely minced
pinch of oregano

8 c. of chicken stock
baby spinach
cheese tortellini or ditalini

In a food processor, grind up the hoagie roll, parsley leaves and garlic.  Toss into a standing mixer or mixing bowl and blend with the beef, pork, egg, parmasean, salt, pepper and oregano.  Roll into very small meatballs, about 1/2 of a tablespoon of filling at a time.  Set aside.

In a pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.  Add the meatballs and let simmer away in the soup for at least 20 minutes.  Grab another pot, fill with water and bring to a boil.  Salt the water and chuck in the cheese tortellini or ditalini pasta, cooking according to the package directions.  Drain.

To assemble the bowl of soup, add a handful of baby spinach and 1/2 c. of pasta to a large soup bowl.  Ladel over the broth and meatballs, top with some cracked pepper and parmasean cheese.