Italian Meatball Soup
20 oz. package Ground turkey or ground beef of your choice
2 eggs whites lightly beaten
2 teaspoons fresh finely grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped dried parsley
1-teaspoon garlic powder
1-teaspoon onion powder or chopped dried onion
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2-cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4-cup olive oil (more as needed when browning vegetables)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 small zucchini sliced
1 small yellow zucchini sliced
4 large minced garlic cloves
1 medium bag spinach, stems removed
8 oz. box mushrooms (optional)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced Italian tomatoes
4 32oz chicken stock or Vegetable stock low sodium (organic)
8 cups additional cold water
1/8-teaspoon red pepper flakes more or less for personal taste
4-5 chicken bullion cubes or more depending on your taste
1 bay leave or ½ teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
8 oz small pasta shapes for soups (prepared in advance or soup will become starchy)
1) In a medium mixing bowl combine the ground turkey or beef, egg whites, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, dried parsley. Mix until thoroughly combined. Keep chilled until ready to form balls for soup.
You can divide the meat mixture into desired shaped meatballs rolled into smooth balls in your hands. Set rolled meatballs aside on a plate and chill.
2) In a very large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat until hot, add the chopped onion and celery, carrots stirring until vegetables are soft. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, minced garlic and cook until just tender. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, chicken broth, 8 cups water, chicken bullion, crushed red pepper, basil and stir to combine. Let boil to taste for desired salt and pepper. Add spinach and reheat to boil. Add the meatballs to the soup pot and bring the soup to a boil. Add the chopped fresh parsley. Reduce the heat so that the soup just simmers and cook for 1 hour.
3) Using a spoon, carefully skim any fat that has accumulated on the top of the soup and discard. Add the pre-cooked pasta or add to individual serving bowls. Garnished with additional grated Parmesan, if desired.