Meatball and Macaroni Soup and Grilled Three Cheese Italian Sandwiches


This is the perfect meal for anyone’s crazy schedule. It seems at this time of year everyone I know is going in three different directions all at this same time!  I made these recipes years ago, when I first started watching Rachael Ray.  She had me hooked after how great everything tasted . I love how easy the soup comes together and it tastes like it was simmering for hours,  but it takes less than 30 minutes to make.  The sandwiches are, as she says “Delish”.  You will be very pleased at how it gets the whole family to the table.  A chance for everyone to gather and share their day.  And a tradition that should be savored for generations to come.

Hope you enjoy and Happy cooking,                                                                      

Meatball and Macaroni Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef, pork and veal combined
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried small  pasta, macaroni or  ditalini
  • 1 pound washed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

Directions

In a deep pot over medium heat add oil, chopped carrots, celery and onions and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook veggies 5 or 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the veggies cook, combine meat, egg, garlic, grated cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg.

Uncover your soup pot and add broth and water to the pot. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. When soup boils, reduce heat a bit and start to roll meat mixture into small balls, dropping them straight into the pot. You are making meat dumplings that will cook in the broth. When you are done rolling the meat, add pasta to the soup and stir. Cover and simmer soup 10 minutes. When pasta is tender, stir in chopped spinach in batches. When spinach has wilted into the soup, the soup is done and ready to serve. Adjust your seasonings. Serve soup with crusty bread or grilled 3 cheese sandwiches

Grilled 3 Cheese Sandwiches                                                                                          

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, cracked away from skin
  • 8 slices crusty Italian bread
  • 1 cup shredded provolone
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano

Directions

 In a small skillet over medium low heat, combine oil, butter and garlic. Cook garlic in butter and oil gently for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove garlic butter mixture from heat.

Place a large nonstick skillet on the stove over medium high heat. Using a pastry brush, brush 1 side of 4 slices of bread with garlic oil and place buttered side down in skillet. Top each slice with equal amounts of the 3 cheeses, distributing them equally over the 4 slices. Top each sandwich with another slice of bread brushed with garlic butter, buttered side up. Flip the grilled cheese sandwiches a few times until cheeses are melted and gooey and bread is toasty and golden.

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