CSA Adventures: Turkey Meatball Soup

Another fabulous post from my the newest JamieLiving health coach, Tanya McCausland! We are in the height of winter vegetable season and I totally love it! The main reason is that I'm a serious soup junkie.  And of course winter veggies like carrots, celery, celery root, onions, cauliflower and hearty greens are just BEGGING to be turned into steaming, comforting and warming soups and stews. I’m pretty obedient so I have no problem doing as they ask and making a soup or stew once, even twice a week. My CSA has been brimming with wonderful soup veggies that sing cooking inspiration to me every time I open my box.

You just can’t go wrong with soup. For me it meets all my requirements for a weeknight meal: -       Use what I have -       Quick and easy -       Forgiving (i.e. “screw up proof”) -       Delicious

Soup can be the ultimate “clean the pantry” meal. I almost always have half an onion waiting to be used, carrots and celery on the verge of going limp and some sort of green leafy thing that is screaming “eat me”! Throw in a protein like canned beans or leftover chicken and you’ve got dinner in less than 30 minutes. If you have a slow cooker, throw it all in there, turn it on, go away, come back in 3-4 hours and dinner is waiting. I mean really, there is no reason to be waiting an hour for pizza delivery!

Here's just how screw-up free soup is:   Got veggies? Got water?  Got soup!  Tastes bland? Do not despair! Add salt, pepper, a gulp of olive oil, a splash of tamari, spoonful of curry paste, squeeze of lemon or grated parmesan. Soup likes to be doctored up so don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors.

Soup is going to help me stay sane in 2012 because I know it’s going to be a crazy busy year. I’m ramping up my health and wellness business, starting to see nutrition clients and training for the Death Ride in July (which means multiple century rides between now and then. Yikes!). Making a filling and delicious dinner every night is going to be tough but I know that as long as I have a pot of soup sitting in the fridge I’ll be able to make time for all of these things and have a quick meal waiting in the fridge.

So, today I started 2012 off with a fabulous and warming Turkey Meatball Soup. With ground turkey sitting in the fridge and the spinach, carrots and onion in this weeks CSA I was reminded of making this recipe in the spring. It’s perfect for this time of year as well….warm, comforting and absolutely delicious! Plus, you can easily improvise or adapt this recipe by adding different veggies or some barley or wild rice. Enjoy!

Turkey Meatball Soup

Serves 4-5

1 medium onion, chopped ½ cup celery, chopped (about 3 stalks) 1 cup carrots, cut into half moons (about 2 medium) ½ TBSP extra virgin olive oil, ghee or butter 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock 1 lb ground turkey 1 tsp salt and pepper no salt seasoning mix, chili pepper, dried oregano (herbs or your choice for meatballs) 2 bunches spinach, Swiss chard or kale (or 3-4 handfuls packaged) 1/3 cup chopped parsley

In a large soup pot saute onion in oil or butter until translucent. Add celery and carrots with pinch of salt. Continue to saute for 4-5 minutes over medium heat.

Add stock to pot and bring to a low boil.

Meanwhile, combine turkey, salt, pepper and seasoning of your choice in a stand mixer (or you can combine by hand). Get creative with the seasoning – any dried herbs and spices will work fine.

Once stock has come to a boil, roll turkey into small balls (about 1 ½ Tbsp sized) and add them gently into the stock. Don’t worry about them being perfectly round.

After you have used up all the turkey add the spinach and stir in until it wilts. Toss in the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

------------------------ Tanya McCausland is a health and wellness coach and avid home cook. She hoards recipes (is there a TLC show for that yet?) and loves to ride her bike. She believes that great health begins with real ingredients and delicious home cooked meals. Her goal is to help others find the joy, empowerment and healing that the kitchen has to offer.

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