Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Today on a whim I stopped at Bergeron's Boudin and Cajun Meats. My Mom and sister have stopped there a few times and brought different things home to try. I was looking for smoked sausage for white beans I had at home. I decided on a pound of chicken smoked sausage. When I got home the white beans I thought I had turned out to be butter beans. So I decided to make a Lentil and Sausage Soup recipe I have made many times. The sausage really adds smokeness to the soup. I recommend the sausage and the soup. The sausage has large pieces of meat and is nicely seasoned with green onions. The soup is great with turkey sausage from the grocery store too.

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Adapted from: Albertsons Recipes
Serves: 6


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 (16 ounce) package lentils, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound chicken smoked sausage, cut in half lengthwise, sliced


In large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, garlic, salt, thyme, black pepper and cumin until onions are softened.

Stir in carrots and celery; sauté 5 minutes. Add in chicken broth, lentils and tomato paste. Cover and simmer 50 minutes.

Stir in sausage, simmer 10 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Linking to:
Carole's Chatter: Food on Fridays: Lentils & Dried Pulses

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stacked Ranchero Enchiladas

I was inspired today to make stacked enchiladas by a recent post by The Pioneer Woman. She shared a recipe for an Easy Green Chile Enchiladas. I thought long and hard about what kind of enchilada I would like to try stacked. But the one enchilada that kept coming to mind was the Superior Enchiladas at Superior Grill. They are filled with grilled steak, cheese and a chunky tomato based sauce that actually has celery in it. They are delicious and smokey. My version will feature grilled marinated flank steak, cheese and ranchero sauce. I decided to use some of the leftover chimichurri and add a little chipotle to marinate my steak. As far as a sauce, I like a Ranchero Sauce from Chef Aaron McCargo Jr. I decided to add some celery to his recipe and keep the veggies chunky. Here is how it stacked up.

Stacked Ranchero Enchiladas
Serves 3


3/4 lb flank steak
1/2 cup chimichurri sauce[click here for recipe]
1 Tbsp chipotle pepper and adobe, minced
9 small corn tortillas
1 cup 2 % Mexican blend cheese, shredded
1-1/2 cups Ranchero Sauce [recipe follows]
Cilantro for garnish


Combine chimichurri sauce and chipotle pepper. Place in a plastic bag, add flank steak and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours. Remove steak from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

Meanwhile prepare Ranchero Sauce. When sauce is prepared preheat grill on high for 10 minutes. Grill steak 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove from the grill cover with foil and let the steak rest.

Meanwhile in the oven (on a baking sheet) or microwave, melt cheese all over the top of each tortilla so that it covers most of the surface area.

To serve, stack three cheesy tortillas on top of one another. Add 1/3 of the steak. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the top and garnish with cilantro.

Ranchero Sauce
Adapted from: Chef Aaron McCargo Jr.


2 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 rib celery, sliced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 (15-ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced*
1 tsp adobo sauce*
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper to taste*


In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the oil. Stir in the onion, garlic and celery and cook until softened. Add tomatoes, chiles, chipotle and adobe sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook until well incorporated and slightly reduced, about 3 to 4 minutes.
*Note: Chipotle peppers can be very, very hot. I have made this sauce several times. One out of the three times I made it, it was almost too hot. I suggest adding half of the chipotle, adobo and black pepper then tasting the sauce before adding more. If you do not like spicy foods be sure to remove the seeds from the chipotle pepper or just use the adobo sauce instead.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blue Cheese Chips

Again I have my dear sister to thank for introducing me to Bistro Byronz. She kept raving about a Hors d’ Oeuvre there called Bleu Cheese Chips. This dish is a plate full of homestyle potato chips covered in a wonderful blue cheese sauce and garnished with green onions. She was convinced the sauce was similar to alfredo sauce. Not long after this conversation I saw Bobby Flay make something similar on the grill. So we decide to try alfredo sauce drizzled over Zapp's potato chips and garnished with blue cheese and green onions. It was a big hit with the family. She then brought the dish to a party where her friends were amazed that she re-created the recipe. This dish can easily be served buffet style. Just warm the alfredo sauce in a small crock pot made for dips. Set out other ingredients and let guest make their own plates.

Today I decided to make a healthy version by making homemade baked potato chips and low fat ingredients. The challenge was baking the potato chips. My first attempt was a fail. I used a mandoline to slice the potato to 1/8" thick, but one side of the chip was thick, one side thin. This produced a finished chip that was dark brown on one end and soggy on the other. I find that hand slicing the potato produced a more even thickness. SUCCESS! I guess I need practice on the mandoline.

Blue Cheese Chips
Serves 1 or 2

1 medium russet potato, sliced 1/8" thick
Olive oil cooking spray
Salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp. light Alfredo sauce
2 tsp. reduced fat Blue Cheese, crumbles
1 green onions, sliced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the potato in 1/8" thick slices as even in thickness as possible. Arrange on a baking cooling rack sprayed with cooking spray on top of a cookie sheet. Spray the potato with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes and then rotate the pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool a bit. The chips will crisp a little more as they cool.

Warm alfredo sauce in the microwave for 30 seconds. Arrange half the chips on a plate or bowl. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp warm alfredo sauce and top with 1 tsp blue cheese. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients and garnish with green onions.

Turnip Stew

Yesterday Mom walked me through a family recipe for Turnip Stew. We wanted to have a hot meal for when Dad returned from deer hunting. This was something that his mom, my Maw Maw would serve. Mom said her family used this technique for potato, carrot and vegetable stews. But she didn't remember her mom, my Ma Ma ever making turnip stew. This stew begins with a dark roux, then the addition of onions, bell pepper and celery(the Trinity of Cajun cooking). Once the veggies are cooked down you add the beef and cook until almost tender before adding the turnips. This recipe is a long cooking one but well worth the time. I look forward to using this method to make a vegetable stew this winter.

Turnip Stew
Serves 10

1 cup flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 large green bell pepper
3 ribs of celery
3 lbs lean stew beef
5 lbs turnips, peeled and diced into 1 to 1-1/2” cubes
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
salt and black pepper
red pepper flakes
cajun seasoning
prepared white rice

Heat flour and oil on medium-low heat until milk chocolate or dark caramel color.
Add pepper, celery, and onion cook until softened. About 30 minutes.  Season the beef with salt, black pepper, red pepper and cajun seasoning. Add beef to roux cook another 1-1/2 hours. Add turnips and cook another 1-1/2 hours or until beef and turnips are tender. Add green onions and cook a few minutes. Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary. Add the parsley just before serving. Serve over warm rice.

Cheese and Sausage Breakfast Muffins

Yesterday I Momma sat. She is off her feet for four more weeks and Dad went deer hunting. We had a nice day. I brought the ingredients to make Cheese and Sausage Breakfast Muffins. This is a recipe I found on the Weight Watchers Recipe Review Board. It is very good. It freezes and reheats well. I used light ingredients to make them a little better for us. We sat and drank coffee while they baked. We also made a shopping list so I could go to the store and pick up the ingredients to make a hot meal for when the hunter returned.


Cheese and Sausage Breakfast Muffins
Source: WW pal QuiltingBarbie

1 tube (16 oz) reduced fat breakfast sausage
3/4 cup eggbeaters
1-1/2 cups water
3 cups reduced fat Bisquick biscuit mix
1 cup 2% cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place foil muffin liners in 12 muffin - baking pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray, set aside. Crumble sausage and cook through, place on paper towels to drain. Combine eggbeaters, 1-1/2 cups water, biscuit mix and shredded cheese in mixing bowl and stir. Stir in crumbled sausage and spoon 1/2 cup batter in each muffin cup. Bake muffins for 15 min. or until they are golden brown. Cool for 5 min.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Easy Pizzaletta

I re-created this cross between a muffuletta and a quesadilla after having a Pizzaletta at the Red River Revel Arts Festival. Each year St. Joseph Catholic School has a booth where they sell Muffaletta Pizza by the slice. This delicious savory food is an original creation of Cascio Market Bistro. The Pizzaletta is describe on their menu as pizza crust, salami, ham, homemade olive mix and sliced provolone topped with a second pizza crust and spiced shredded mozzarella cheese. It is really, really good. My version takes a shortcut using flour tortilla, but still has all the muffaletta flavor and a crisp crust. It is perfect hand held snack, starter or meal.

I made one for lunch with leftover ingredients from a muffaletta night my sister and I had this week. She had called me on her way home from work Tuesday. She said she had a muffaletta craving. She was at the store and could not find premade olive salad. I gave her a list of ingredients and we made our own. It is a really good recipe. We usually buy Monjuni's or Mamma Mia's, both are very good. Now we can make our own too. Below is the recipe for the Pizzaletta and the olive salad.

Easy Pizzaletta  


1/2 a stick of soften light butter
8 small flour tortillas
10 slices thin provolone cheese
16 slices of hard salami
20 slices thin deli ham
3/4 cup olive salad mix
1 cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded


Butter one side of each tortilla with light butter. Put one butter side down in a non stick skillet. Then layer with a slice and a half of provolone cheese, 2 slices of salami, 3 slices of ham, a heaping tablespoon of olive mix, 2 tablespoons of mozzarella. Top with other tortilla butter side up. Heat over medium heat until brown then flip to brown other side. Repeat 3 times until all tortillas are used. To serve cut each pizzaletta into 6 wedges.

Serves: 12 as a starter, 2 pieces a serving or serves 4 as a meal.

Olive Salad


3/4 cup pimento-stuffed olives
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables)
2 lg. pepperoncini
3 - 4 pickled onions
2 Tbsp. capers
1 med. clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
A couple of grinds of black pepper
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil


Drain all ingredients. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Linking To:
Carole's Chatter: Food on Fridays - Finger Foods for Parties

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Portobello Fajitas

I created this recipe out of desperation, our On the Border Restaurant closed years ago. I missed their Portobello Fajitas so much. Once I found a suitable chimichurri, the logical next step was to prepare my favorite fajitas. They are delicious, smokey and a great light meal. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Portobello Fajitas
Serves 4

4 portobello mushroom caps
2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4” planks
1 purple onion, sliced into 3 rounds
1 poblano pepper, halfed, stemmed and seeded
1 red bell pepper, halfed, stemmed and seeded
1 lb frozen corn
Steak seasoning [recipe follows]
olive oil
lime juice
Worcestershire sauce
Chimichurri sauce [recipe follows]

Preheat grill. Prepare corn as directed on package and set aside. Meanwhile, season veggies with steak seasoning, drizzle of olive oil, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce. Grill veggies for about 5 minutes a side on a high grill. Remove veggies. Chop zucchini, onion, and peppers into bite side pieces add to corn and stir to combine. Slice mushrooms into 1/2“ slices.

To serve, place 1/4 of corn mixture in the center of each plate. Top with one of the sliced mushrooms and drizzle with chimichurri sauce.

Enjoy as is or accompany with the usual set up of warm flour tortillas, shredded cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream


3/4 of a large bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, washed, stemmed and dried
1/4 of a large bunch of cilantro, washed, stemmed and dried
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons minced onion
5 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, or more to taste
5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Finely chop the parsley and garlic in the food processor. Add the onion, vinegar, water, salt, oregano, pepper flakes, and black pepper and processing brief bursts until the salt crystals are dissolved. Add the oil in a thin stream. Don't over process; the chimichurri should be fairly coarse. Will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Steak Seasoning

1 tsp salt
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp black pepper

Blend all ingredients in a glass jar, store in a cool dark place. Use to season beef. Great on steak.

Linking to:
Carole's Chatter: Food on Friday - Corn
Carole's Chatter; Food on Fridays: Sauces
Food of the World: Mexico

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Suiza Soup

I absolutely love Chicken Enchilada Suiza! I will even eat the frozen varieties. Taco Mania in Shreveport, LA has delicious Suiza Enchiladas. Suiza means “Swiss style”. The enchiladas are usually filled with shredded chicken and Monterey jack cheese, and then covered with tomatillo sauce and Mexican crema. I found a great Chicken Enchilada recipe that I love from Marcela Valladolid. I decided to see if I could find a soup with similar flavors. To my surprise, I could not find one. I decided I was up for the challenge. The idea was to merge the tried and true enchilada recipe I love with a tortilla soup recipe I love. My favorite soup recipe is Tyler Florence’s Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup. The two recipes are very compatible. I just tried to make it healthy too. I wanted it to have a creamy texture, so I pureed the soup before adding the chicken. I also added a little fat free half and half to finish. It really captures that signature Suiza style. I hope the long list of ingredients does not intimidate anyone. It really comes together quickly.

Chicken Enchilada Suiza Soup
Serves: 4 servings


For Tortilla Strips:
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 3/4” strips
Olive oil cooking spray

For the Soup:
2 Tbsp light butter
6 tomatillos(med. or small), husked, rinsed and chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tiny yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth, low sodium fat free
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast(3/4 to 1 lb), cut into 3/4” dice
4 Tbsp fat free half and half

The Garnishes:
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese, optional
2 Tbsp fat free half and half
2 Tbsp fat free Greek yogurt
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Jalapeno, thinly sliced
Purple onion, thinly sliced
1 Avocado, sliced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the stack of tortillas into 3/4” strips and arrange the strips in a single layer on a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet.

Spray each tortilla strips with cooking spray until slightly moist. Sprinkle chips with salt.

Bake for about 7 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 8 minutes or until the strips are crisp, but not too brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Place a stockpot over medium heat and heat butter. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, bell pepper and tomatillos; cook, stirring until the onions are translucent. Stir in flour, cook stirring often until well combined and no longer smells like flour. Pour in the stock, add cilantro, season with salt and pepper, and simmer until peppers are tender. Puree soup with an immersion blender, return to a boil add chicken. Simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes until chicken is cooked. Add Half and Half, stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary and take off heat.
In a small bowl combine Greek yogurt with 2 Tbsp. half and half, it should be thin enough to drizzle. To serve place a few tortilla strips in a bowl. Top with a Tbsp. or two of cheese. Ladle the hot soup into the bowl and drizzle with the thinned yogurt. Garnish with the sliced onion, jalapeno, avocado and cilantro.
Note: I say the cheese is optional because it really is great without it. I was so excited to try this soup that I forgot to put the cheese in my first bowl. LOL! It is great with or without.

Nutrition Facts: Amount Per Serving - Calories 318.3;  Total Fat 10.3 g;  Saturated Fat 3.4 g;  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g;  Monounsaturated Fat 1.9 g;  Cholesterol 62.9 mg; Sodium 1,252.9 mg*; Potassium 624.4 mg; Total Carbohydrate 34.5 g; Dietary Fiber 5.0 g; Sugars 4.3 g; Protein 23.6 g.

* Sodium is probably lower. The recipe calculator I used did not have low sodium fat free chicken broth in it’s data base.

Linking to:

Carole's Chatter - Food on Fridays: Mexican Food
My Turn for Us: Freedom Fridays
Love Bakes Good Cakes: The Ultimate Soup Recipe List Linky

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spanish Omelet in a Mug

Years ago I would laugh if someone suggested I try egg beaters. Since I discovered Hungry Girl and her many recipes for Egg Mugs I am a believer. I love her California Love Mug, Denver Omelette in a Mug and Egg Mug Mexicali. It is also so easy to make up your own recipe. Any omelet or quiche you have ever had can be adapted to an egg mug recipe. I have come up with a few and I will be sure to post them all one day. This is my recipe inspired by a Spanish Omelet. The flavor in this mug will remind you of a Spanish omelet you might get at a Diner or waffle house. It is loaded with veggies and the salsa/ketchup topping is sweet and spicy. YUM!

Spanish Omelet in a Mug

2 tbsp. chopped green bell pepper
2 tbsp. chopped onion
1 tbsp. chopped celery
1 medium mushroom chopped
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Original cheese, cut into pieces(or one slice of Sargento 40 cal. Swiss cheese)
1-1/2 tbsp. ketchup
1-1/2 tbsp. salsa(Pace Mild)
1 dash Tabasco
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a small bowl, combine ketchup, salsa and Tabasco and set aside.

Spray a large microwave-safe mug with nonstick spray. Add veggies and microwave for 1 - 2 minutes, until softened.

Blot any excess liquid from veggies. Add egg substitute and microwave for 1 minute.

Add cheese and lightly stir. Microwave for an additional 45 - 60 seconds, until scramble is just set.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir and top with salsa ketchup topping. Eat up!


Variation: Microwave veggies add ketchup, salsa and tabsaco set aside. Prepare egg mug with just egg beaters and cheese. Or prepare an omelet in a non-stick pan. Top with sauce and veggies.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Homemade Egg McMuffin

I know everyone has a method for creating an Egg McMuffin at home. But here is my go to method. I use thin deli ham instead of canadian bacon. That way I am not buying two types of meat, one for breakfast and another for sandwiches. So quick and easy. Also portable, just wrap in a paper towel and out the door you go.

Homemade Egg McMuffin
Serves 1

1 - 100 cal english muffin
1 egg
1 slice 2% american cheese
2 slices of thin deli ham

Spray a small pyrex bowl with cooking spray, crack egg in bowl. Poke egg yoke and white a few times with a toothpick. This helps prevent the egg from popping or exploding. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on 50% power for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Toast the english muffin and place cheese on one side and ham on the other. Top with egg, season with salt and pepper and top with other half.

Note: To make a Sausage Egg McMuffin substitute 1 reduced fat pork, turkey or morningstar farms sausage patty for the ham. Just heat sausage as directed on the package.

Linking to:
Carole's Chatter: Food on Fridays - American Favorites

Shrimp and Corn Soup

Growing up my parents had a garden in the back yard. They grew corn, tomatoes, peppers of different varieties, and pole beans. I distinctly remember shucking a lot of corn and being horrified if I encountered a worm. Mom would always make a Shrimp and Corn Soup with the fresh corn and tomatoes. Sunday I went over to their house. I made the soup with frozen corn and canned tomatoes. It is still delicious and the best part is you can have it no matter the season.

Shrimp and Corn Soup
Serves 15 or 16

4 lbs small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (peels reserved)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
2 large onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
6 ribs of celery, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 lbs frozen corn(or fresh if in season)
Water approx. 2-1/2 quarts
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
Salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and Cajun seasoning to taste

Peel and devein the shrimp, placing shrimp in one bowl and shells in a 3 quart pot. Chop the onion, celery, and bell peppers and set aside. Add just enough water to cover the shrimp shells. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer and cover.

Shrimp Shells begining to boil
Almond color Roux

In a larger stock pot, add oil and flour. Cook on medium high stirring frequently until a toasted almond color. Add onions, celery and bell pepper; lower the heat to medium if necessary. Stir often it will have a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot at this point (I cover the pot when I am not stirring). Cook until vegetables are softened and liquid begins to form. Add tomatoes and corn. Stir to combine.

Veggies in Roux
before adding Corn
Finished Pot

Turn shrimp shells off and strain the liquid into the pot. Stir well. Add additional water until the constancy of a thin chowder, it should be thick like a cream soup. Bring to a boil and season with salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and Cajun seasoning(I start with a large pinch of salt, several shakes of black pepper, a tiny pinch of red pepper and a shake of Cajun seasoning). Chop parsley and green onion and set aside. Add the shrimp; simmer until shrimp are pink and opaque. Taste for seasoning again, adjust to taste. Add parsley and green onion, stir until combine. Serve immediately or cool and refrigerate. It is always better the next day.

Linking to:
Carole's Chatter: Food on Friday - Corn
Memories by the Mile: Tuesday Trivia - LOUISIANA and Link Party
Love Bakes Good Cakes: The Ultimate Soup Recipe List Linky

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Daddy Cooks Fresh Sausage and Grits

Today my sister and I went over to our parent’s house for breakfast. Mom is still off her feet for several more weeks. Daddy wanted to share some fresh sausage from Jacob’s with us. HE COOKED IT!!!!!! Mom talked him through it from her chair. When I arrived he had the sausage cooked, the grits cooking, he was doing a great job. I asked to make the eggs for him but he wouldn’t let me. He said he knew how she liked them. We are all lucky girls.

Now let me tell you about Fresh Sausage. It is mostly beef sausage that is not cured, pre-cooked or smoked in any way. It is a little spicy and flavored with garlic. My family has always browned it in a little oil on both side in a cast iron skillet. When it is good and brown in color water is added to the pan and you continue to cook it covered until cooked through. The result is perfectly cooked sausage and a thin brown gravy that you can pour over grits. It is a treat for us and definitely delicious.

Fresh Sausage shown in my Great Grandmother's Cast Iron

After a great breakfast, a little coffee and quick kitchen clean up, I began cooking Shrimp and Corn Soup. Another family recipe I will share in my next post.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tomato and Meatball Soup with Shells

Tonight I cooked yet another meal from the pantry and frig. I will go to the store tomorrow. I used two soup recipes for inspiration. One to prepare the meatballs and one to develop the soup base. It is very good. The meatballs are nice and soft. The tomato soup has a nice sweetness from the carrots and onions. It tastes more like a marinara than tomato soup. My sister dined with me and she loved it. The only thing missing was the parmesan cheese, did I mention it is time to go to the store. I will definitely make this recipe again.

Tomato and Meatball Soup with Shells
Servings: 6


1 lb lean ground beef (97%)
2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup vegetable broth

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3-3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 cup shell pasta
Parsley and Parmesan for garnish (optional)


For the Meatballs: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Gently mix until combined. Do not over work the meat or the meatballs will be tough. Shape 2 tsp of meat mixture into a meatball, repeat until all of the mixture is used. Place on a plate cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

For the Soup: Heat oil in a large soup pot, add vegetables, and saute until soft. Add in vegetable broth, tomatoes, season with salt & pepper, Italian seasoning and red chili pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender. Return to simmer, add in meatballs and shells. Simmer until pasta is cooked about 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with parsley or parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutrition Facts per Serving:  Calories 200.6; Total Fat 6.8 g; Saturated Fat 2.2 g; Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g; Monounsaturated Fat 1.1 g; Cholesterol 43.3 mg; Sodium 974.5 mg; Potassium 222.8 mg; Total Carbohydrate 18.0 g; Dietary Fiber 2.8 g; Sugars 3.9 g; Protein 18.4 g.

Linking to:
Carole's Chatter Food on Friday's Pasta and Noodle

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