Category Archives: chicken

Happy Cinco de Mayo–Set it and Forget it Chicken Taco Chili

This is a good way to celebrate  Cinco de Mayo!!! Super easy recipe and will cook in the slow cooker on high in 6 hours! So set it and forget it.

Slow cookers make for perfect cooking all year round. Nothing better than setting it and forgetting it! Making life easier and less clean up after dinner. I bought all my ingredients yesterday and went to Soul Cycle this morning , came home and by 10 am this was cooking in the slow cooker. I actually put it to high cook for 6 hours and I am sitting here smelling all this deliciousness . I happened to have a package of Taco Seasoning Mix in the house so I used it along with cumin and chili powder. I used dark meat and white meat chicken, you can use whichever chicken you’d like. Just set it and forget it and come home to this delicious meal of chicken . If you don’t own a slow cooker this may be a good time to buy one!

follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi and have a happy Cinco de Mayo!

Ingredients:

1 small yellow onion , chopped

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained-you don’t have to rinse the organic beans. If you already have them in the house and they’re not organic just rinse them with water and drain.

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained -you don’t have to rinse the organic beans–same instructions as above

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

10 oz. package frozen corn kernels

2 10 oz. cans diced tomatoes with chilies –available in the Mexican Food aisle in the supermarket

4 oz. can chopped green chili peppers, chopped–also available in the Mexican Food aisle

1 packet Taco Seasoning- *if you don’t like using Taco Seasoning see note below

1 tbsp. cumin

1/2-1 Tbsp. chili powder

Kosher Salt to taste–if using the package of Taco Seasoning you may not need extra salt , wait till 6 hours of cooking are over and taste for salt . I sprinkled a little bit at the end of seasoning to taste.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts and I added 6 small skinless , boneless chicken thighs and if you cannot find boneless don’t worry because the meat will fall off the bones and you can remove all the bones from the chili before serving.

I don’t know the nutrition information but I have to believe that this is a fairly low-fat , low caloric way to go. I added the dark meat so maybe not as light as you can make it. Enjoy!

*handful of fresh cilantro – chopped if you would like

Directions:

Combine drained beans, onion, chili peppers, corn , tomato sauce, diced tomato, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker and mix well.

Nestle the chicken in to completely cover and cook either on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-6 hours. I did it on high for 6 hours.

App. 1/2 hour before the cooking was over I thought I would shred the chicken, when I opened the slow cooker and started to stir the chicken it all just fell apart on its own!!! This was so amazing how I didn’t even have to do that. I guess it cooked so long that it just fell apart! This was just perfect and tasted so delicious! If that is not your experience and you only cook for 4 hours you may want to shred the chicken yourself about 1/2 hour before finished. But mine really did shred itself as I stirred it with a wooden spoon.

Top with fresh cilantro and your favorite chili toppings! I also serve with soft corn tortillas. You can use crunchy taco shells or whatever you’d like, this is totally optional. And some avocado never hurt anyone!

Yum!!!

*to make your own seasoning follow this

1 1/2 Tbsp. Cumin

1 1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp. Onion Powder

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Roast Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Dressing – Weeknight Salad

DSCN0069photoI was in the mood for something light for dinner and wanted to make a dressing with buttermilk and mustard. I picked up a roast chicken because I was very pressed for time, but didn’t want to eat a plain roast chicken from the market. I grabbed some beautiful romaine, but I know this would be perfectly awesome with kale,  Joel is not big on kale and prefers romaine. Next time I make this I am using chopped kale, preferably baby kale. In any event I used romaine, took the skin off the chicken and shredded it with my hands. Just used romaine, tomatoes, chicken and dressing. Next time out I add avocado for sure, doubt Joel will eat it but I am putting in avocado. This is an awesome lunchtime salad and so easy to pull together for a light dinner meal and mix in whatever other veggies you’d like.  Dressing is killer and only 3 Tablespoons of Buttermilk! This is also awesome if you have leftover chicken and don’t know what to do with it. The inspiration for this salad and dressing comes from a blog I follow,  124 Park. Part of being a part of the blog culture I am exposed to some really wonderful blogs , I just wish I had the time to read all of them.

This dressing should be good for at least 4 servings. Feel free to double it.

Ingredients:

Buttermilk Dressing:

1 clove garlic

1 egg yolk ( let egg sit out at room temperature) just not really cold

3 tablespoons of buttermilk ( lowfat is fine)

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1/4  teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill (you can always add more salt if you would like)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

*feel free to double

Combine all ingredients except for olive oil in the blender including salt and pepper . Keeping blender on , add olive oil from the top in a slow stream until well incorporated.

Put salad greens, avocado , chicken and any other vegetables you’d like in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix salad adding dressing as needed.

Chicken Marbella–perfect for Passover

This recipe is my “go to” chicken. I’ve made it almost every Passover since I found it. The original recipe is from the”Silver Palate” cookbook. It was many winters ago that I first had it at my friend Susan’s house for the first time.  It has been a staple on my holiday table ever since. Not to say that it is not a recipe for every other day of the year and week, because it’s perfect for anytime.

Enjoy!

*The key to this recipe is the overnight marination, which is essential to the moistness of the chicken.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup pitted prunes

1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives (no pimentos)( if you can’t find, just pick out pimentos)

1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice

6 bay leaves

1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed(chopped well)

1/4 cup dried oregano

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I start with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.)

4 chickens, cut into eighths (original recipe calls for chickens to be quartered but I find that you get more per person if you do it in eighths.) the chickens are about 2 1/2 lbs. apiece , so it’s about 10 lbs. of chicken . Sometimes I ask the butcher to cut the breasts in 1/2, if they are very large.

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)

Directions:

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and their juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper. ( You can combine in a large bowl, but I use a large Ziploc bag.) Add the chicken, then stir or mix around to coat well. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take a large shallow baking pan (you may need 2), arrange the chicken in a single layer and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Then sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.

Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices until the thigh pieces yield a clear yellow juice (don’t want it pink). It takes anywhere between 50 to 60 minutes to cook. (Test thigh with a fork.)

When you are ready to serve, transfer the chicken with a slotted spoon to serving platter. Moisten with some of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley. You can pass the remaining juices in a gravy boat.

*should serve 10 or more–If I am having a small gathering I cut this recipe in 1/2

* this chicken is delicious cold or at room temperature. If you make ahead and it is in fridge, just remove from fridge, reheat it in the juices, then allow to come to room temperature.

Homemade Chicken Soup with Not-So-Homemade Matzo Balls

IMG_4514I always make my own chicken soup. It is delicious broth. I usually make a few batches and freeze them because it’s a great thing to have frozen in quart containers as stock and will last for up to six months frozen. When the holidays come—whether Rosh Hashanah or Passover—I always make my chicken soup with matzo balls. I make the soup a day ahead and skim whatever fat is on there before adding my matzo balls. Keep reading for my “secret matzo ball recipe”.

INGREDIENTS: CHICKEN STOCK:

1 5lb. organic roasting chicken (I throw away the insides)

1 package of chicken wings (this was suggested to me a long time ago by my BFF Karyn and she was oh so right. It adds some fat, which translates into a lot of flavor and you will skim off the fat the next day. Thanks, Karyn…yes, I remembered!)

1 large, yellow Spanish onion; unpeeled and quartered

A big bunch of dill

4 celery stalks with leaves, cut into thirds

4 carrots, unpeeled and halved

Bunch of flat-leaf parsley (Use this only if you want. This time, I didn’t have it so I used only the dill.)

A bunch of thyme (if you wish)

1 head of garlic, cut in half cross-wise (skin and all)

2 tbsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. whole black peppercorns

DIRECTIONS FOR SOUP:

I place the chicken, chicken wings, onion, carrots, celery, whatever herbs I’m using, garlic, salt and pepper in as large a  pot as I can find (usually about a 16-20 qt. stockpot.) Add cold water to cover chicken by at least 2 inches above the chicken but not to the top of the pot because it will boil over (very messy). Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for about 3 hours. I skim the soup skum (sounds lovely) off for the first half hour or so—after that, you shouldn’t have much more. I remove the chicken from the broth after an hour or so, because it is cooked and it will taste like a rubber chicken if you plan on eating it. Sometimes, I like to shred it and return it to the soup. If you are not using the chicken (what a waste of good chicken), just leave it in. It will fall apart in there. I leave the wings and discard them at the end of the 3 hours. Next, I strain all of the soup, discard all remnants, fill my containers and put in the fridge. The next day (or the day of the holiday), I usually skim off the fat that has risen to the top and make my matzo balls (recipe below).

MATZO BALLS:

This has always been my secret, but now it’s out. Okay, I own it. After years of making matzo balls from scratch, my mother (yes, my mother, the cook) turned me on to Manischewitz boxed matzo ball mix! It just wasn’t worth it. My balls weren’t as consistent as I would have liked, whereas these are always perfection! Light and fluffy and everyone always loves them. No sinkers here!

I follow the directions on the box carefully. They sell just the mix box. You will need vegetable oil and 2 eggs per box. I do add a little piece of dill inside each ball, but that’s it! Now my secret is out. Sometimes this is really the only way to go. It saves time and ingredients and is really good. No MSG or trans-fats either! So make the soup, cheat with the balls, and enjoy. There is no substitute for homemade chicken soup, though.

*You can also add thin soup noodles to this recipe, if you like. (obviously not on Passover)

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Green Beans and Potatoes

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photo 2 (2)I love one pot meals. I think they have become my most favorite kind of meal to make. This one is so delicious and perfect. Chicken was cooked perfectly and the lemons caramelized in the pan adding a delicious flavor to the chicken and potatoes and beans. We thoroughly enjoyed this and it is a perfect recipe for all year round. I made it with 2 chicken breasts for the 2 of us, this recipe should serve 4 beautifully according to directions with 4 breasts. You will need a large baking dish or you can make in a cast-iron skillet. The prep is pretty quick and the shopping is easy. Nothing exotic here just good old cooking with easy ingredients.

The other night I made it with 2 thighs , 2 legs and 1 breast and it was just perfect! IMG_0634

 

Ingredients:

Olive Oil– 6 Tablespoons, divided 1 and 5

2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 you will juice

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound trimmed green beans

8 small red potatoes, quartered

4 chicken breast, bones in and skin on

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. I always spray my baking dishes with cooking spray for easy clean-up. Then coat your baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using tongs or slotted spoon again, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl and coat with the olive-oil mixture. Place the chicken , skin side up in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.

Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or the skillet. ( you may want to cut into chicken to make sure it’s ready, I roasted for about 55 minutes) then place the beans and potatoes back in oven for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender. I covered the chicken with aluminum for that 10 minutes.

When potatoes are ready, place a chicken breast on the plate and plate up the beans and potatoes. Serve Warm from the oven.

 

 

Lemon Couscous with Chicken and Peas

photo (8)DSCN0354DSCN0352photo (7)photo (11)photo (5)DSCN0355 Since starting this blog I feel the need to come up with some new and exciting meals and while I love the challenge some days are harder than others.  Around 4 pm. towards the end of my day I start to contemplate what I am going to cook. Lemony couscous with grilled chicken and peas!!! Love it!!! and there you go, it was so easy using very few ingredients and very yummy!   I used chicken breasts and threw them on the grill pan with a little olive oil , salt and pepper. If you really want to make this easy you can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You can also substitute any grain of your choice. I happen to love the Israeli couscous ( pearl couscous), it’s not as mushy and has a better texture for this dish especially. I also like to use organic lemons when I’m using the zest of a lemon. If it’s just the juice of a lemon I don’t get as nuts but I have to say I prefer the organic ones when I know I’ll be eating the skin of the vegetable or fruit.  Enjoy this one.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous ( pearl)

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Zest of 2 large lemons ( organic)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt ( start with less and you may need to add a little more) the parmesan is salty, and you’re salting the chicken.

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

4 green onions, chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 lb. thin chicken breasts, a little olive oil and salt and pepper or use a rotisserie chicken breast

Directions:

On a baking sheet, brush chicken breasts with a little olive oil and lightly salt and pepper. The thin cutlets grill up very quickly app. 3 minutes per side. Grill and set aside. I cut chicken up into small pieces before adding them to couscous.

In a large saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the couscous and cook until lightly toasted , 2-3 minutes. Add the broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the couscous is tender but still firm to the bite, app. 8 minutes.

I then stirred parmesan cheese into couscous along with the green onions, peas and cut up chicken. Taste for salt and pepper.

I plated it up and we totally enjoyed!

Spatchcocking the Chicken –

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I have wanted to roast my chicken this way for quite some time, but always fall back on the standard. I have posted the standard way under Good Old  Roast Chicken.  You’ll need to remove the backbone of the chicken , and I am not that great with butchering so left it to the butcher in Whole Foods or whoever you go to. Just ask the butcher to remove backbone ( I discarded it or save it for making stock)  and cut chicken in 1/2. This removal of the backbone of the chicken is known as spatchcocking , simply put,  you roast the chicken in about 1/2 the time as conventional methods with the maximum crispiness to the skin, and very moist chicken is achieved.  I used my more shallow Le Creuset pan and chicken fit snugly in which is what you want. You don’t want it in too big a pan, just make sure your pan is flame proof , a 12 inch cast iron skillet is also perfect.  This is really easy, and I must give credit where credit is due, I got my inspiration from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I changed it a bit by cutting the chicken in 1/2 but used the times it posted and it was sheer perfection.  Crispy and moist! Served with fresh cranberry sauce and roasted potatoes.  You’ll have to turn your exhaust fans on for this one . By the way did I mention prep to table in an hour???

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken cut in 1/2 and remove backbone ( app. 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 lbs)

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (app. 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound)

sweet paprika

olive oil–1 to 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil for the pan

*feel free to play around with seasonings of your choosing. Thyme , garlic and lemon are always perfect

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. I dried the chicken pieces with paper towels on both sides. The drying is very important for maximum crispiness.  I put about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in Le Creuset pan. Lay the chicken breast side down on a seperate plate and with a brush pour a little bit of olive oil over the chicken and salt and pepper and paprika , then turn over to breast side and add a little oil and salt, pepper and paprika. I used clean hands and rubbed the chicken to make sure the spices and oil got all over . Be liberal with the salt, they say 3/4 teaspoon per pound and that is just a guideline, but it’s about right.  I then put pan on the stovetop and heated up the olive oil in pan , you’ll want oil very hot so that chicken will sizzle when you put it in breast side up. You will now place pan in the oven with the chicken. The 2 halves of chicken fit snugly in the the pan.

I cooked at 475 degrees for the first 20 minutes, chicken should start to crisp up, I then flipped it over to the other side for another 10 minutes. Then put it back in the oven for about 15 minutes breast side up till it was finished cooking.  My total oven time was 45 minutes!  Use tongs to handle chicken because you don’t want to pierce skin, you’ll lose too much liquid that way. I removed from oven , checked meat thermometer for the right temperature ( 165) in thigh,  and removed from oven and let it sit for another 10 minutes. This was restaurant worthy chicken for certain. See photos, though they don’t do the crispiness justice. My oven was hot enough at 475 degrees, when you flip chicken over check the crispiness and make sure it’s not burning, so you may need to lower to about 450 or raise to 500 to get it to brown perfectly. My chicken didn’t stick at all due to drying out the chicken and preheating the pan. Total cooking time should be anywhere from 45 – 60 minutes.

Sheet Pan Chicken –Honey Balsamic with Veggies

I put together this recipe the other night and I must say that it was very delicious. The most work came from cutting up the vegetables and you can really use any veggies you’d like . This time I used a mix of red pepper, mushrooms, carrots and string beans. I would recommend adding a red onion but I didn’t have one in the house so didn’t use it. The onion would add a nice layer of flavor.

Also I used Chicken Thighs and again the timing on this recipe was for thighs –Chicken Breasts would be different as they cook much faster than thighs so not 100% about how that would work out but by all means give it a try.

I like thighs because they can take the heat and my opinion is they are tastier.

Please follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi thanks and Enjoy!

Ingredients:

This is for the Honey Balsamic Chicken:

6 Bone in , skin on Chicken Thighs —

1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 cup Honey

1 Tablespoon minced Fresh Garlic

1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder

1/4 cup Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Whole Grain Mustard

Kosher Salt to taste–1 Teaspoon to start

Sheet Pan Vegetables:

I used about 1/2 lb. String Beans

2 Carrots peeled and sliced into strips (see photo)

Mushrooms–8 oz. Box –sliced

Bell Peppers–I used a Red Pepper cut into 6 long slices

You can use Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Red Onion, and really any veggies you like

2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

Mix together in a bowl all the ingredients under Honey Balsamic Chicken — put in a ziplock bag along with the chicken thighs. Set aside for about 15 minutes while you prepare the vegetables.

*Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour but no more than this. Do not let chicken marinate for more than an hour because the vinegar acids start to break down the tissue in the meat and can make the chicken tougher .

Then I cut up all the veggies and put on a sheet pan that has been sprayed with Cooking Spray. ( I use a very large Sheet pan) and toss the veggies with the Olive Oil , Garlic Powder and some Salt and Pepper and spread them out on the Baking Sheet.

After the initial 15 minutes of marinating you then place the chicken thighs on top of the veggies and bake for 30-35 minutes — you can check the internal temperature of chicken with a meat thermometer and it should read 165 degrees if they are done.

I then remove the chicken to a plate and continue cooking vegetables for another 5 minutes, then I added back the chicken and turned oven to broil and probably 3-5 minutes is all you need to get everything nice and crispy! You’ll have to watch your oven but start with 3 minutes and check on it.

I added Brown Rice and had a most tasty delicious meal!

This is how it looked before cooking–take note of the size of the vegetables

Chicken Stew in One Pot

This is one of  my go to meals when the weather turns a little cold and throughout the winter months.  When I need something to make that’s easy, healthy and comforting. Food for the soul I like to say. I serve this with crusty bread,  and a green salad. It’s very filling and makes a beautiful presentation for 2 or 6. Hope you enjoy, it’s really very easy , just chop up a few vegetables (carrots, onions, and celery, a basic *mirepoix) open a few cans and buy the chicken, don’t be intimidated by ingredients! This recipe inspired from Giada de Laurentis’s chicken stew. I have made a few changes to suit my taste.

*should serve 4-6 nicely with 4 nice size chicken breasts

*Basic Mirepoix is a combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauces, soups and other foods. Usually comprised of 50% onions, 25% carrots, and 25% celery.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 stalks celery, small bite size pieces

1 carrot, peeled, cut into small bite size pieces

1 small white onion chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 can chopped tomatoes ( I use San Marzano diced) large 28 oz. can with juice

16 oz. chicken broth (1/2 box) but you may need a bit more so hold on to rest of the box.

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dry thyme

I use 4 chicken breasts with ribs ( I usually go to butcher order 2 chicken breasts with bone in, split in two) if you go to supermarket, either buy 2 large breasts, or 4 smaller ones. Skin on and Bones in! app. 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. total weight. You will be removing the skin, it will add to the flavor of the stew.

1 can red kidney beans drained ( if using organic, do not need to rinse) 15 oz.

1 can black beans drained ( if using organic , do not need to rinse either) 15 oz.

nice crusty whole grain bread

*hot sauce like Cholula is great served on the table so people can adjust seasonings on their own

Directions:

Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy 5 1/2 quart. pot. ( Le Creuset again) heat over medium heat. When oil is hot add the onions, celery , and carrot (Mirepoix mixture). Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. You will taste again towards the end, so if you want to hold off on this step you can. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, tomato paste, bay leaf and thyme. Then add the chicken breasts , press to submerge in the sauce.

Bring the liquid to a slow simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring mixture occasionally, app. 30 minutes. Using tongs if you have them, if you don’t , buy them, remove the chicken to a plate and allow to cool ( about 15 minutes) Discard the bay leaf, add the beans to the pot ( remember to drain) and bring to a simmer until the liquid is reduced to a stew-like consistency, probably another 15 minutes or so.

Discard the chicken skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew back to a slow simmer. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

I usually cook , then turn off heat, and bring it back to simmer right before serving.

This should serve 6 well. I serve with a nice crusty whole grain bread. Everything is in the pot, veggies, and protein. Enjoy! it’s delicious. Don’t be put off, it’s really easy to prepare, can be made ahead of time.  If it’s made a few days ahead you may want to add the chicken broth to thin out.

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

this is one of my absolute favorite recipes. It is a soup , which is also a full meal. It is hearty and pretty healthy.  It is one of my staples from September through April. It freezes well and you can just take it out of the freezer the night before, and you’ll have a wonderful meal the next evening. When you defrost it you will probably want to add broth/water to it. add a little at a time till you get the consisitency you like. Enjoy:)

Ingredients: chicken balls

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 lb chicken sausage, casings removed

3 slices whole wheat bread for bread crumbs ( I put into food proccesor with steel blade for crumbs) i remove crusts . should be app. 1 cup of bread crumbs

2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 – 3 cloves)

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano ( fresh is best) but whatever you have will do

1/4 cup grated Parmesan ( again nothing beats fresh) but whatever you have will do here as well

3 tablespoons milk

1 extra large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small -medium yellow onion minced

1 cup diced carrots ( 3 )

1 cup diced celery (2 stalks)

10 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup dry white wine( use whatever you have open)

1 cup small pasta tubetini, ditalini, stars, etc.

5 ounces fresh spinach, washed and trimmed

*fresh dill ( I love the flavor) add at your own discretion about 1/4 cup minced fresh dill.

Directions:

preheat the oven to 350 degrees  put parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

for the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage,bread crumbs, garlic, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, salt and pepper  all in a bowl and mix well with a fork.  I use a teaspoon, and make 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. you should have about 30 to 40 small balls. bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. set them aside. (I made about 30 balls, they were a little larger this time out)

For the Soup:

 heat the olive oil over medium – low heat in a large heavy bottomed soup pot ( Le Creuset type pot) Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 10 minutes, don’t brown. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil, at this point I let soup cook a while to soften the vegetables, app. 1 hour. ( a low simmer) if you’re in a hurry you can probably do the whole soup in 1/2 hour , veggies will be soft enough to eat. if some of the liquid evaporates you can always add a little more broth.

chicken balls out of the ovenItalian Wedding Soup cooking

 Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook another 6 – 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the meatballs and simmer for another minute or so. taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for another minute or so, the spinach will just wilt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.