Ohhhhhhh, boy oh boy oh boy oh boy. Do I have lots of yummy food (and recipes!) to share with you this morning. And if you follow me on Instagram, then you probably already know what I’m talking about.
Last night, I set out to make some homemade soup and bread. I’m sort of a fan of the whole soup and bread combo, but I decided to switch things up a bit from the usual soup rotation.
While I was at the store earlier this week, I happened to notice that extra lean ground beef was on sale, so I picked up a pound of it, still not quite sure what I was going to do with it. Jay’s always happy when there’s actual beef in the house, so I knew I couldn’t really lose either way.
So I started browsing through some of my cookbooks and wound up coming across a recipe for a tomato type of soup…with meatballs. I mean, how fun does THAT sound?
One of the best parts about this soup is that it unbelievably easy. Once you’ve got the meatballs made, the soup will literally take you less than 15 minutes to prepare. I was actually a little leery of the very basic ingredient list, unsure of whether or not it would turn out super bland.
But I guess last night was my lucky night because this soup turned out anything BUT bland. WOOT!
So once I had the soup put together, I let it continue to simmer while I made my bread. I had actually had grand plans to make bread in the bread machine, but once again, my dough turned out like crap and I wound up tossing it before it could even start baking.
I’ll tell ya though, I think it’s true what they say…everything happens for a reason…because otherwise, I wouldn’t have put together this amazing little loaf.
Basically, I made my latest favorite bread – Cheesy Italian Quick Bread – but added another special ingredient to the mix.
I received this amazing package of sun-dried tomatoes a couple of months ago from Mooney Farms, and although I’ve used the dry ones a few times here and there, I’ve never had the chance to use any of the others in an actual recipe until last night.
I decided to use the Sun-Dried Julienne Cut Tomatoes with Italian Herbs for last night’s recipe, and woahhhh baby are they delicious. Wowzahs!
So I will say that the amount of dishes that piled up in my kitchen last night from this dinner was totally disgusting…
But I will also say that it was totally worth it.
(I always get asked about the dishes – they’re from the Temp-Tations Collection on QVC!)
I tend to get a little nervous when I try out a new recipe, so I anxiously await Jay’s reaction to his first bite. Of course, he always has to give me the stone face to start, making me even more nervous, but after a few bites of the soup he was sold.
And he actually told me that he thinks this is now his favorite homemade soup recipe of mine. How ‘bout that?! I told him I think it’d be great with my chicken parm meatballs, so we may be trying that out sometime in the very near future.
Along with another loaf of this bread.
Especially considering the fact that between my two pieces and the rest of Jay’s, we’ve already polished off half of the loaf. (I hardly ever use this phrase, BUT…sorry I’m not sorry).
So now, how about a couple fun recipes to kick off your Friday morning?!
Italian-Style Tomato and Meatball Soup
(lightly adapted from The Healthy Beef Cookbook)
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
- 1 pound extra lean group beef (I used 93% lean)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 3-4 cloves roasted garlic (I had some leftover – you could also do 2 tsp minced garlic)
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) fat-free and lower sodium beef broth
- 1 can (28 ounces) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup whole wheat shells (or other small pasta), uncooked
- salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare meatballs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well (use your hands to really get in there!). Shape into 28-30 meatballs, about 1-1/4 inches each. Place on a rack in a baking dish (or just directly in the dish). Bake for 13-16 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center. Set aside.
Prepare soup: Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Add in pasta and reduce heat; cover and simmer at least 10-15 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir in meatballs and continue to cook until heated through.
Sun-Dried Tomato & Mozzarella Quick Bread
(adapted from my Cheesy Italian Quick Bread)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
- Servings: Depends on how generous your slices are!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 3 tablespoons cold butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
- Optional: spray butter, an extra tbsp butter, or garlic spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients and mix well. Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender (or two knives/forks) until mixture is made up of fine crumbs.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg, Greek yogurt, and milk. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened – do not over mix! (If your dough is still a little dry, add an extra splash of milk).
Spoon into prepared baking pan, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and extra butter, if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!
Please tell me you’ll try them out soon, mmmkay???