As I have mentioned before, my daughter is part of a book club, and therefore, I am also part of a book club. It is my first one, and I love it. It forces me to read what she reads, and broadens my reading horizons beyond food. So far, I have liked every single book we have read – I have to admit though, I do get some pretty interesting looks when I whip out my children’s book on the bus, but it makes for an interesting conversation if the someone actually gets the nerve up to break the silence and say a word.
When we started the book club, there were a few rules:
- we take turns hosting each month
- the host orders the pizza – enough for both the kids and the moms
- everyone else signs up to bring the rest: drinks, fruit, appetizers, dessert, salad
So, for the past year and a half, we have been following the rules, and eating our pizza, one night a month. I have been noticing that it is the kids that love the pizza, and the moms eat the pizza – but prefer the appetizers and salad. This month things changed…and I was so glad they did. Instead of pizza, the host provided soup – and three kinds I might add! She did a spectacular job, and I guess her daughter made one all by herself – very impressive. I thought it was a novel idea, and one I hope we stick to – and maybe shake it up a bit? I could tell that the next host was feeling out the crowd a bit for the next one, and I was not the only one that like where this was headed.
So, I have already been thinking about when I host – fortunately it will still be winter time, so hopefully the soup theme will stick. I love making meatball soups, so when I saw this in Cooking Light, I figured I better start testing. The soup needs to be kid friendly yet hearty enough for a meal. This one definitely fits the bill – my kids loved it, and with the meatballs, it was definitely filling. So, as I said, hopefully this will stick – although kids really love pizza, and this is a bunch of really bright girls…I wouldn’t be surprised if they stage a rally soon – but until then, I will enjoy our new monthly dinner – and save the pizza for another night.
- 2 jalapeño peppers
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 ears corn on the cob
- 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
- Cooking spray
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
- 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed red potatoes
- 1 cup (1/2-inch-thick) slices carrot
- 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Cut jalapeños and bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Arrange corn on baking sheet with peppers. Broil 4 to 6 minutes or until blackened, turning corn once. Place peppers in a paper bag; fold to seal. Let stand 15 minutes; peel. Mince jalapeños, and coarsely chop bell pepper. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Set aside.
Place tortilla strips in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil for 3 minutes or until golden brown, turning after 2 minutes. Set aside.
Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 garlic clove, panko, and the next 3 ingredients (through chipotle chile) in a large bowl, and gently mix until just combined. With moist hands, shape the meat mixture into 24 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each).
Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add meatballs to pan; sauté for 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Add onion, potatoes, and carrot to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 5 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add peppers, broth, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally. Return meatballs to pan. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and corn; return to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes or until meatballs are done. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 4 teaspoons Monterey Jack cheese, 2 teaspoons cheddar cheese, and 4 teaspoons cilantro. Top evenly with tortilla strips.
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