Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

Growing up, we would visit my grandparents for a weekend every couple months or so. They immigrated from the Netherlands just before my mom was born, so I grew up listening to Dutch conversations and eating all manner of Dutch treats.

One regular Sunday lunch appearance was groentesoep met balletjes. Vegetable soup with meatballs. Many, many Sundays were shared with cousins, ooms (uncles) and tantes (aunts) over a steaming bowl of this soup. So delicious and simple!

Groentesoep met balletjes

Based on The Dutch Table

You’ll need:

  • 8 cups broth
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, including tops and leaves, diced
  • 1 head broccoli, diced
  • 8 oz ground sausage (like Jimmy Deans. Find it with the breakfast meats)
  • 8 oz. ground beef
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

1. Bring 8 cups (64 oz) of broth to a boil. I used bouillon cubes, but you could make your own or use a broth of your choice.

2. Add veggies. Continue to lightly boil. A variety of veggies will work, add what you’d like!

IMG_22143. While the veggies are cooking, make your meatballs! Mix beef, sausage, bread crumbs, and spices together. Form bite sized meatballs and set aside. Note: the combination of beef and sausage

4. After the veggies have been cooking for 20 minutes or so, add meatballs one at a time. Avoid dumping a whole plate of them in at a time, or they’ll all cook together.

5. Boil soup for 5 more minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through. Adjust spices as you desire.

Serve hot. Warm bread recommended!

IMG_2218

Easy Moroccan Couscous

I’ve never made couscous before. I have no idea why. It’s so easy! And so tasty. I got my recipe from the lovely people at Food Network, and adapted it slightly.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • salt and pepper

In a saucepan, sautee your onions in the butter (yum!). Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once it boils, remove from heat and add couscous.

Stir, cover, and let it sit for 10 minutes. I was skeptical about this “removing from heat” business. But it works. It’s magic. Really.

Mix in pine nuts, salt, and pepper, and eat!

It’s a great way to get out of the rice slump. It’s quicker to cook, it’s high in protein, it’s generally just awesome. I might be a couscous convert.

I wanna know: What kinds of “non-traditional” grains do you like?

Rotisserie Chicken Soup

Last week, my dear friend Cara was here and we made macarons (remember?)

We also bought and consumed part of a rotisserie chicken. I didn’t blog it, because I didn’t cook it. But let me tell you, I’m hooked. I’m going to do that more often!

Not only did we each have a huge dinner, courtesy of our chicken friend, but I had a lunch, and used it as pizza topping, and still had a carcass with plenty of meat left. So, I called my dear father, and requested directions how to turn my chicken into a pot of soup.

It’s SO EASY. For real.

Step one: tear apart chicken, limb from limb. It’s gross, but it’ll make things even easier in the long run. And dump it into a pot of water. Boil the water and the chicken. Now, a word of warning, don’t put in too much water, or your broth will be watery. On the other hand, don’t let it boil dry, because then you have other problems. I poured in just enough to *almost* cover the chicken initially, and had to add some as I went.

Once the chicken is falling off the bone, it’s probably done. However, the longer you let it cook, the cleaner the bones will get. It’s up to you, really.

Step 2: take it off the stove and use a colander to drain the juice into a bowl. This is your chicken broth!

Step 3: Let the chicken in the colander cool until you can touch it without screaming. Then, pull off all of the meat, and discard the rest. Here’s my carnage:

I know, I probably could have been more thorough and gotten a lot more meat off, but I had enough. So I called it quits.

Step 4: Pour your chicken broth, water (I did equal parts chicken broth and water) the pulled off meat, some carrots, celery, green onions, barley, and spices into a pot. Let it cook on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Anything else you want to add? Go for it! Beans, other veggies, more spices, noodles, etc.

When it looks done, taste it. Don’t burn yourself. Is it missing anything? If so, add it. That’s the great part about soups, you can’t really go wrong.

In other news, it’s officially Christmas-time, friends! I set up the tree today 🙂Decorations tomorrow…stay tuned!

I wanna know: Have you decorated for Christmas? If yes, what’s your favorite piece? If not, are you going to?