Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Chicken Meatball Soup- 2 Versions

My son has been coming to work with me the past two days.  He has pink eye.  Being a school nurse has its advantages when you have school aged children.  The pink-eyed son of a school nurse who hasn't yet finished 24 hours of antibiotics and therefore can't return to school can come to school with his mom and be quarantined in the back office with his books and his mom's kindle and her laptop and snacks and a water jug and pop out once every couple hours to use the bathroom and mom doesn't have to take a day off work and leave her school secretaries without a nurse to care for the various needs of the day.  It works out good for the nurse-mom and the school kids and staff she works with, but not so well for the nurse-mom's kid.  I think he called it a dungeon. 

While he was in his dungeon I saw so many sick kids, with pink eye and puking and fevers and headaches, and more pink eye, by the time we left and came home all I wanted was some simple, light chicken soup.  My son wanted some Valentine's fun since he missed out on all his school celebrations today.

So we swung by Sprouts on the way home and picked up some ingredients for our need-for-heal-soup/Valentine's day fun dinner.

Some women I know feel alive in a craft store.  I feel alive in the produce and meat isle of a grocery store!  I walk around looking at various fruits and vegetables and meats and recipe ideas start coming to me.  By the time I walked out of Sprouts today I had the makings for a variation on Italian wedding soup and the makings for homemade chocolate hot fudge to dip some apples in (We wanted strawberries but there were none!  I know!  No strawberries on Valentine's day?).

I loved the soup I came up with. But my best critics:  my husband and children (also the most loyal fans of my cooking) said it was bland.  Maybe bland is what my tired-of-breathing-in viruses stomach was looking for, hence why it hit the spot for me.  But for them it was less than thrilling.  So I used the leftover meatball mix to make a variation, a Mexican wedding soup variation.  That one was a hit with my husband, "Now this I could eat all day!" 

So you pick, Simple and Soothing or Ooo La La Deliciosa!

Simple and Soothing Valentine's Chicken Meatball Soup

1/4 c. coconut oil
1/2 sweet onion chopped
2 lbs ground chicken
4 cloves fresh minced garlic
2 eggs
1 t. sea salt
1 T. dry basil
1/2 c. fresh chopped parsley
1 c. fresh chopped spinach
1 t. ground thyme
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 c. almond meal
64 oz. chicken broth

In a large pot melt coconut oil over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent.  While onion is cooking, mix the ground chicken,  garlic, eggs, salt, basil, parsley, spinach, thyme, coconut flakes and almond meal in a large bowl until well mixed.  Mixture will be moist but will hold together.  Form into cherry sized (approx. 1/2 inch) rough balls.  (I only used about half the meat mixture to make the meatballs.  The other half I used in the Mexican version below.)

Add chicken broth to cooked onions in large pot.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Drop meatballs into boiling broth.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until the meatballs all float to the surface.  Serve with a little salt and pepper to taste.

Ooo La La Deliciosa version

Meat mixture from the recipe above
3 T. olive oil
1 sweet potato thinly sliced
1 t. paprika
1 t. chipotle
2 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
pepper to taste
chopped fresh cilantro
diced avocado

Brown cherry sized meatballs using the meat mixture above in about 3 T. olive oil over medium heat.  Sprinkle meat with spices.  Cook until lightly browned but not cooked through.  Add 16 oz. vegetable broth and 2 cups of water.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Add thin sweet potato slices.  Turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes break apart easily. 

Serve topped with chopped cilantro and fresh diced avocado.


P.S.  Here are the broths I used.  They're the only one's I've found that don't contain sugar and other unpronounceable ingredients.  I'm sure making your own broth would be the way to go, but this school-nurse mom doesn't have enough time in a day for that.  Maybe someday.

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