Italian Meatball Soup

I was trying to think of something special to make for my fiance after his long night at work this past Saturday night.
I knew I had some ground turkey thawed, but the thought of more spaghetti and meatballs gagged me a little and I didn't have the fixins' for tacos.  I settled on my mad soup-making skills to make the most of what I had.  I used my traditional Italian style meatball recipe, but put it into "the elixer of life," as I like to think of chicken stock infused with spinach, and served a big, piping hot bowl alongside a single garlic breadstick.
This is one of those things you sorta throw in what you have, but the basic recipe stays about the same. The aroma is enticing enough that upon entering an air-conditioned kitchen from 90 degree weather, even the sweatiest man is excited at the prospect of soup.  All you'll hear is a gruff "let me go change, real quick" mumbled hurredly, and you'll walk into the dining room to a shining smile anticipating the steaming bowl in your hands.
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 Tbsp ground Italian seasoning (separated)
1/2 c. Parmesan/Romano cheese
1 large can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 lb frozen soup veggies (tomato, okra, potato mix)
1 bay leaf
1 quart chicken stock
2 c. water
1 c. frozen spinach (thawed in microwave)
3/4 c. dried tortellini (or any small pasta)
Ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
For the meatballs, use your hands to mash together ground turkey, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, bread crumbs, cheese, salt & pepper.  Roll between your palms into 1 inch balls. Cook in a little extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot.  Just brown all sides - the middle will cook in the soup.
Once the meatballs are browned, add remaining igredients except pasta and spinach. Omit salt if using canned stock, but add a fair amount of black pepper.  Allow soup to come to a boil slowly. Add spinach and tortellini and cook until al dente.  Turn to a simmer as long as you can stand it.  The soup can be done anytime after the pasta and meatballs are cooked through, but the longer it has to simmer, the better it will be. 
Satisfying and delicious! (Even on a warm evening LOL)

Katy Rose


Heavenly Pork

The original recipe for this called for red wine. While I'd like to say I "casually strode down into my wine cellar for an early-new-millennia Napa Valley red" I actually glanced around my kitchen, grinned at myself, and reached for a substitute instead.  I served this delicious main entree with plain white rice and steamed asparagus topped with cheese sauce (velveeta + a lil milk).  It was a crowd pleaser and leftovers were deeeeelicious.
2 lb lean Pork Loin
1 packet french onion soup mix
1 can beef broth
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. white flour
In a crockpot, combine onion soup mix, beef broth, and soy sauce.  Stir well.  Gently lay pork loin into sauce, fat side up, and turn once to coat, leaving fat side on bottom now.  Spread minced garlic over the top of the pork loin; no need to mix into sauce.  Cook on low (trust me on this one!) for four hours.  Even if you doubt me, try it. This gives the perfect moist doneness without it losing shape.  Leave the lid on the entire time it is cooking (no stirring, no peeking!) When it is done, remove the pork to a cutting board and cut small round steaks about 1" - 1 1/2" thick.  Pour the sauce into a pan on the stove and bring to medium heat, a low boil.  Slowly slowly add flour a tsp at a time, whisking during the entire process.  No lumps!  Cook until a nice jelly gravy forms.  I plated mine by using a half cup measure as a rice mold, stacking two thinner steaks against it, and gently leaning the asparagus against the rice and plate.  I then covered the asparagus with cheese sauce and the steaks and rice with the gravy.
This dish makes you look like a fantastically expert chef!