Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chicken and Mini Meatball Soup with dumplings

This soup is one of my favorites because it's similar to escarole (italian wedding soup). My dad made escarole soup a lot when I was a kid, mostly for holidays. One time my cousin Amber told me it was grasshopper soup because it looks like grasshoppers it's so green.  I thought about it, and quickly began eating again. Why? Because I've loved soup my whole life and no one can stop me!

This soup may look like it has lots of ingredients, but everything is pretty quick, easy, and painless. A lot of the ingredients are also staples you may already have in the house. It takes time, and I usually put everything for the chicken part of the soup in the crock pot the night before--because I am a planner.

  It would be served great at a dinner party or on a cold winter night.  Or in my case, everyday this week for lunch.  I am beginning to write this blog on Tuesday, as I eat my soup.  I'm telling you this because I want you to take in the fact that I've eaten soup 5 times since Sunday.  FIVE TIMES.  Lunch Sunday, dinner Sunday, lunch Monday, dinner Monday...and now.  And probably tomorrow and Thursday because I have leftovers.  I'm dedicated to my soup addiction.  If Intervention was still on the air, someone could submit my story.  I loved Intervention--mostly the parts when the people were crazy and the end when you saw if they made it or not.  Oh man, I am digressing...

Chicken and Mini Meatball Soup with dumplings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Serves: 8-10

Ingredients for Soup: 
1. One large container low sodium or organic chicken broth--or homemade (we all know my freezer is a power house so I used homemade)
2.  2 chicken bouillon cubes
3. 1 4-6 pound whole chicken, defrosted
4. 4 cups diced carrots
5. 6-7 cleaned celery stalks, diced
6. One medium size white onion, diced
7. 1 whole bag leaf spinach 
8. 1 tbsp salt
9. 1 tbsp pepper
10. 1/2 cup romano cheese
11. More cheese for garnish

Ingredients for Meatballs:
1. 1 lb meat---veal, pork, and ground meat mix (it says meatloaf mix on it usually, but all Italians know it's used for making meat balls)
2. 1/2 cup Italian Seasons Bread Crumbs
3. 2 tbsp parsley
4. 2 tbsp romano cheese
5. 1 tsp garlic salt
6. 1 tbsp garlic powder
7. 1 tbsp onion powder
8. 2 eggs
9. 1 tsp pepper
10. 1/3 cup warm water

Ingredients for Dumplings:
1. Bisquick
2. Water

1. Line the bottom of a large crock pot with the entire bag of spinach.
2. On top of the spinach place 2 bouillon cubes, chopped celery, chopping onions, and chopped carrots.
3. Season with 1/2 tbsp of salt and pepper
4. Place chicken on top of vegetables. Season with remaining salt and pepper.
5. Fill crock pot about 3-4 inches from the top of the chicken with chicken broth.
6. Cook on low for 7 1/2 hours with the lid on.

7.  While the soup cooks make the meatballs.  Place all meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix gently with hands.
8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet (or 2!!).  Mine made about 35 meatballs--but me and Kendrick both ate 2 after they cooled! That's him--little stinker
9. Make small meatballs, smaller than a golf ball. Line them up on a backing sheet about 1-2 inches apart so they don't steam.

10. Place in the oven. (I made my meatballs the night before and refrigerated them so they kept their shape when placed in the soup)
11.  Cook the meatballs for 25-30 minutes until brown and firm.  Allow to cool.
12. Remove chicken from soup and pull meat, placing the meat back into the crock pot. Discard fat and bones.
13.  Once the meatballs have cooled place into the soup and stir GENTLY!! If you jostle them too much you'll be making chili with ground meat.
14. Stir 1/2 cup romano cheese into the soup..GENTLY!
14.  Prepare the dumplings according to the package directions.
15. Place in soup.
16. Garnish with cheese and serve!