Week 31 – Creamy Poblano Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Well folks, the taxes are rolling in and things are getting busier in my life.  We were supposed to get a blue apron delivery this week to help us out with the new recipes, but either lasership lied and never delivered it, or a neighbor stole it from outside our door.  Either way we didn’t get it, we’re pretty bummed, but on the bright side blue apron issued us a credit so we can get it another week!

Monday night and Tuesday we got hit with a bunch of snow (by this area’s standards, at least).  It’s been absolutely freezing in DC lately, I’ve been wearing my Chicago winter coat!  So Tuesday was a freebie work from home day, which is my favorite kind of day.  I’m SO much more productive at home!  Then I was in Wytheville for work 2 days later in the week.  I just can’t stay away from that place.  The drive was actually really quick this time, so that was good!  Saturday it snowed a bunch in DC again so I’m glad I got home before that started up again!  Apparently the average high in DC at this time of year is 50, and the 7 day forecast is far below that.  Not cool, weather, not cool.

Anyway, we finally got around to making a new recipe on Sunday night.  Well, matt made it.  I cut up veggies for a snack and packed our lunches for tomorrow.  It was pretty good, a nice twist on the typical mac and cheese.  If I were to make it again I’d use a little more cheese so I adjusted the recipe below accordingly, so you don’t have to have the same thought if you try it.  Enjoy!

Creamy Poblano Stovetop Mac and Cheese (recipe from here)

Makes: 4 servings


  • 1 large poblano chile peppers
  • ½ pound pasta shells, or other small pasta (we used radiatore)
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Optional Topping: 1 Tbsp Butter and ½ cup panko breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat broiler to high. Place poblanos in metal baking pan or on rimmed baking sheet. Place under broiler, flipping once, until skin of peppers is completely blistered and blackened, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove to bowl, cover and let rest 15 minutes. When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel away skin and discard. Cut chiles open and remove seeds and ribs (or leave them in for an extra spicy dish!). Coarsely chop peppers; set aside.
  3. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain pasta well and leave in colander; set aside.
  4. Return pot to burner over medium heat and melt butter. Add cumin, paprika and garlic powder and cook just until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.
  5. Return pasta to pot and add shredded cheeses, Greek yogurt and milk. Stir in chopped poblano peppers. Season generously to taste with salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted and smooth.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  7. Optional: Melt 1 tbsp and mix with ¼-1/2 cup  panko breadcrumbs.  Place Mac and Cheese in oven safe dishes, top with the Panko mixture, and cook in the oven at 450 for 5 minutes, or until the panko is lightly browned.



Week 30 – Potsticker Soup, Homemade Ravioli, and Molten Chocolate Cakes

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It’s already the middle of February!  Where does time go?!  The week pretty much flew by and then we had a really nice and pretty low-key weekend.  Despite my complaints that Valentine’s Day isn’t a real holiday and is just a waste of money, Matt brought home some pretty beautiful roses on Friday night, he’s the sweetest 🙂 Saturday Pure Barre had free classes so I did one of those while Matt went to the regular gym, and then we met at Trader Joe’s to buy some things for our Valentine’s Day dinner.  We hung out and cooked the rest of the day, and stayed in to eat our amazing dinner and watch the Syracuse-Duke game.

The recipes!  Tuesday night Matt made the soup (that’s what you get for getting home from work first).  It was pretty quick for him to make and was absolutely delicious!  Andddd it’s a Trader Joe’s recipe so all of the ingredients can be found at Trader Joe’s a big highlight for me.  For Valentine’s Day we opted to have a nice dinner in (on our wedding china) instead of going out.  We made homemade ravioli, bought tuscan garlic bread from Wegman’s, and finished with molten chocolate cake for dessert.  The ravioli was made with the pasta recipe from week 27, and for the filling we googled some recipes for inspiration and then kind of made it up.  So the recipes below are more guesstimates than actual measurements.  It will also make more filling than needed for the amount of dough you have.  We opted to make more chicken than cheese ones, and topped some italian bread with the leftover cheese filling mix and baked it for a few minutes and called it lunch.  We topped our ravioli with the sauce recipe from week 27 (we made a big batch last weekend and froze it, so it was just a quick defrost this weekend).  The chocolate cakes are not a new recipe, but that doesn’t make them any less awesome, which is why I’m sharing the recipe.  I got the recipe from high school French class when we did our cooking unit (and translated it back into English before posting on here, you’re welcome).  I made these for matt on our very first Valentine’s day as a couple (2007), and again last year (all of the Valentine’s Days in between we were long distance).  I suggested a new recipe for dessert this year and his response was “but what about the chocolate cakes?” So I think we have a Valentine’s Day tradition in these…Lucky for me they’re pretty easy to pull off!

Last thing – Blue Apron has given me some free meals to give to friends or family who haven’t tried blue apron yet (sadly those of us who have already experienced the goodness can’t get them…).  Text me if you want one of the free weeks!

Potsticker Soup (recipe here)

Makes: 6+ servings


  • Grape Seed or Olive Oil
  • 1 package TJ’s Gyoza (Pork, Chicken, Shrimp or Vegetable)
  • 1 container TJ’s Mirepoix (or just chop up carrots, celery, and onion – about 1 cup of each)
  • 2 packages (64 oz) Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 bag (6 oz) Baby Spinach
  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • Cilantro, for garnish (optional)
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with oil (about 2-3 tablespoons) and lightly fry the gyoza over medium-high heat until they get some nice browning on both sides (about 10 minutes)
  2. In a large soup pot (about 6 qt.), pour a couple tablespoons of oil and add the mirepoix. Saute the vegetables in the pot until the onions start to appear translucent
  3. Add the broth to the pot and bring to a slow simmer.
  4. When the soup gets some energy, toss in the spinach and add the soy sauce and sesame oil.
  5. When the soup is officially simmering, add the potstickers.
  6. Serve it up in bowls and garnish with cilantro, if desired.


Chicken & Spinach, and Three Cheese Ravioli

Makes: 50+ Ravioli


For the Chicken Filling

  • 1 cup cooked ground chicken, finely ground
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs (oregano & basil)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

For the Cheese Filling

  • 1 ¼ cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs (oregano & basil)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½-2 Tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients for each filling in separate bowls, set aside.
  2. Roll out your pasta dough until just slightly transparent (the second to last thinnest setting on my past machine).
  3. Lay on a lightly floured work surface.
  4. If using a stamp, lightly press indentations with the stamp onto the pasta sheet to act as a guide for spacing the filling.
  5. Place a small amount of filling in each space. Make sure not to overfill the ravioli – a couple of teaspoons is plenty for each one
  6. Lightly brush water around the edge of where each ravioli will be, this will help with sealing the ravioli
  7. Lay a second sheet of pasta gently over the top of the mounds of filling.
  8. Starting at one end of the pasta, gently stretch the top sheet of pasta over the filling and press firmly around the edges to seal the pasta sheets together, making sure to press out the excess air before sealing.
  9. Cut around each ravioli.  (If desired, you could try to rework the pasta scraps and reuse them.  I find that the dough has dried out slightly by being exposed to the air and anyway, one batch of pasta dough makes about 60+ ravioli without reusing the scraps which is plenty for me.)
  10. Lay the finished ravioli out on another lightly floured surface.  Let them dry for about 1 hour before transferring to an airtight container and freezing.
  11. Cook ravioli 5-8 minutes in boiling water, drain, and top with desired sauce.

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Molten Chocolate Cake

Makes: 4-6 cakes (depending on size of ramekins)


  • 7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I use baker’s chocolate squares)
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar


  1. Butter or spray 4 ramekins with Pam, preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave on medium heat, or on the stove on medium heat.
  3. Mix the 3 eggs and 3 egg yolks with a whisk, then add 1 tsp vanilla and mix, add 1 ½ cups powdered sugar and mix.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture and mix, then add the flour and mix.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the ramekins and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Take out of the oven when cakes have risen and are browned.
  7. Run a butter knife around the edge of each cake to make sure it isn’t stuck to the ramekin. Let sit 5 minutes.
  8. Place a plate on top of each ramekin and flip it over to get the cake out of the ramekin (and if your name is Matt, flip the cake back over on the plate).

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Week 29 – Basic Hummus, Whole Wheat Pita Bread, and Grilled Chicken Shawarma


Phew!  I am just happy to be standing right now.  The week was great – Pure Barre one night, trivia with friends another, date night on Friday – but it’s all been clouded by the nasty allergic reaction I’ve been having for the past 48 hours.  For those of you who don’t know, I’m allergic to soy.  And the side effects are similar to when someone who’s lactose intolerant has milk.  stomach, intestines, other things I can’t say…it’s just awful.  The good news is that traces of soy don’t bother me – if something was packaged in a facility where they process soy, whatever.  What it does mean is that I can’t go around popping edamames, eating tofu, and sipping on a soy latte.  Unfortunately, somehow my skinny caramel macchiato that I treated myself to on Friday afternoon was made with soy milk.  I know this is the issue due to the timing of my reaction beginning (about 6 hrs later), the fact that nothing else I had on Friday would have that high of a hidden soy content, and that Matt had all the same meals as me on Friday and is just fine (so no food poisoning in there).  Anyway, thanks to this mix up I did absolutely nothing on Saturday, the couch was my best friend.  But today the symptoms were less awful so I fought them, took a walk with Matt to get groceries in the 60 degree wonderful sunny weather, and made some homemade goodness (this week’s recipes).

I first found the recipe for grilled chicken shawarma and was excited about that in and of itself.  Then, I remembered I’d saved a recipe for homemade hummus from the library books I got a while back, and THEN I stumbled upon Annie’s recipe for whole wheat pita bread.  So many things to make from scratch!  Which I absolutely love doing, when I have the time, which I do for another 1-3 weeks.  Matt helped out with everything and dinner was so stinkin delicious, I can’t wait til lunch tomorrow when I get to eat the leftovers!!  Hope you all enjoy this as much as we did, if you haven’t noticed this made the Our Favorites So Far Page.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread (recipe from here)

Makes: 8 pitas


  • 2¼ tsp. instant yeast(1 pkg)
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
  • 1½ cups bread flour, divided
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Cornmeal, for sprinkling


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the water. Stir gently to blend.  Whisk ¼ cup of the bread flour and ¼ cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook. Add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 1¼ cups bread flour, 1¼ cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt.  Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
  3. Place an oven rack in the middle position. Place a baking stone in the oven (if using) and preheat to 500˚ F.
  4. Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a 6½-7 inch circle.  Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.
  5. Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking surface. (Note: These can be baked on a baking stone or directly on the oven racks.  We used a pizza stone, but we’re told either method is fine.) Bake 2-3 minutes, until puffed and pale golden.  Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1-2 minutes more.  Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining pitas.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


IMG_4522Basic Hummus (Recipe from this book)

Makes: Approximately 2 cups


  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/s tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin


  1. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, and cumin and process or blend until smooth. Add ¼ – ½ cup of water to help smooth out the mixture and to obtain your desired consistency.  If you are using a blender, you’ll likely need a little more water than if you are using a food processor.


Jalapeno-Cilantro Hummus – Remove the seeds from a jalapeno and add it to the hummus along with a handful of fresh cilantro.  Process until smooth.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – Add 1 whole roasted red pepper (from a jar) to the hummus, process until smooth.

Green Onion and Parsley Hummus – Add 3 trimmed green onions and a handful of fresh parsley to the hummus, process until smooth.


Grilled Chicken Shawarma (recipe from here)

Makes: 4 servings


For the Shawarma:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, divided
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Middle Eastern seasoning mix*
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, divided
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 – 1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup English cucumber, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 pinches dried dill
  • 4 small or 2 large pitas or wraps

For the Toppings:

  • Hummus
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Sliced red onion
  • Sliced pickles or cucumbers


  1. In a large ziploc bag, combine 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup yogurt, lemon juice, seasoning mix, lemon zest, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add chicken and massage bag to combine all ingredients. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan to high heat.
  3. Make the yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, stir together remaining ½ c yogurt, remaining 1 clove minced garlic, remaining 1 tsp lemon zest, cucumber, vinegar, dill, and salt to taste.
  4. Grill the chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, turning once halfway through cooking. Transfer to plate; let rest 5 minutes.
  5. Warm up or grill your pitas while the chicken rests.
  6. Assemble: however you want and enjoy!

*Middle Eastern Seasoning Mix: Mix 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 ½ teaspoons coriander, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves.  Makes about ¼ cup seasoning.

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Weeks 27 & 28 – Fresh Pasta, Creamy Tomato Sauce, Chicken Parm Meatballs, and Turkey Meatball Vegetable Soup with Cheesy Crostini

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Sorry for the missed week, everyone!  I was in Dallas for work training last week and then we went to Baltimore to see Matt’s parents that Saturday.  So Sunday was full of church, brunch with some friends and then complete laziness and there was no time for new recipes.

This week was good, back to normal which I love.  Work is starting to get busier, more from an admin stance than work-wise.  But I’m still just not ready for busy season, so we’re going to soak up the next 2-3 work-free weekends (crossing my fingers that that will be true).

These recipes!  Holy moly, get excited.  The soup and crostini was pretty delicious, a solid week night dinner.  But the homemade pasta, sauce and meatballs! Ahhhhh I love.  I took Friday afternoon off from work to study for the CFP exam and ended up making all of the things for dinner, and studying for a total of about 30 minutes, during which I fell asleep on the couch while reading about life insurance.  Thrilling, I know.  But dinner was amazing!  I made full portions of the recipes below, and ended up freezing half the sauce and meatballs, and 3/4 of the pasta.  So I’ll let you all know how that turns out when we defrost and remake (probably some night during busy season).

Basic Fresh Pasta (Recipe from here)

Yield: about 1 lb. of fresh pasta


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surfaces
  • 1½ cups semolina flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. water, plus more as needed


  1. Combine the flours and salt in the bowl of kitchenaid, creating a well in the center.
  2. Crack the eggs into the well.
  3. Using a mixer with the dough hook attached, slowly mix, incorporating the flour into the egg mixture a little bit at a time.
  4. Once you have a dry, shaggy dough, mix in the olive oil and water and knead by hand until the dough is fairly smooth and homogenous. You may need to add a little additional water.
  5. Divide the dough into four portions and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Take one dough ball out, leaving the rest covered at all times when not in use. Flatten it just enough to be able to go through the pasta sheet roller on the widest (thickest) setting.
  7. Run the sheet through so that it is thinned and flattened. It may look a bit scraggly and torn the first time through.  That’s expected.
  8. Return the pasta sheet to the work surface and fold it into thirds. Flatten the dough out once more with the rolling pin, again to a thickness so that it is able to go through the pasta roller
  9. Run it through again on the widest setting. You can see already that after just two times through, the dough is smoother and more evenly mixed.  Repeat this process (flatten, fold into thirds, flatten again, and so on) about four to five times total until the dough is smooth.
  10. Once you are happy with the texture of the dough, you can start thinning the sheets out. If using a pasta roller, go ahead and set it to the next setting (just slightly thinner than the thickest sheet).  At this point there is no more need for folding into thirds, etc.  The objective is simply to flatten the sheets to your desired thickness.
  11. Go ahead and run the pasta sheet through, thinning it out. Repeat this process on progressively thinner settings until you achieve the thickness you want.
  12. Now, if you are making long strands of pasta such as fettuccine or linguine and you have a pasta cutter, run your thinned sheet through the cutter and voila!  You’re done.
  13. To cook, cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes or until al dente. Drain well and serve immediately.

If you don’t plan to use the pasta right away, it can be stored.  First, dry the pasta for 1 hour (for long strands, this requires a drying rack.)  At this point it can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months (at least that’s what I’ve been told, I’ll update you after we make some of our frozen pasta down the road).

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Tomato Cream Sauce (Recipe from here)

Makes: 4-6 Servings


  • 1 (28 oz.) can whole (or diced) tomatoes, liquid reserved
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1½ tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half


  1. Add the tomatoes to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, adding a bit of the reserved liquid if necessary to smooth the mixture out.
  2. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook about 1 minute, until it begins to soften.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and mix just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the tomato mixture and whisk until smooth, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook about 5-8 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, If sauce isn’t desired smooth-ness, mix with an immersion blender until smooth.
  6. Stir in the cream and you’re done!

(After the sauce cooled a bit, I put half of the sauce directly in a jar to be frozen)


Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce

Makes: 4-6 servings


For the meatballs:

  • ½ cup dried panko
  • 1/3 cup grated onion
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1½ lbs. ground chicken
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

To Finish

  • 1 batch tomato Cream Sauce (see above)
  • 4 oz. shredded mozzarella (Freshly Shredded is best)
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2-3 tbsp. minced fresh basil (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.
  2. To make the meatballs, combine the panko, grated onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic and egg. Stir together with a fork just until blended.
  3. Mix in the ground chicken and knead together gently until evenly combined.
  4. Form the mixture into meatballs about 1½-inch in diameter.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan in a single layer (two batches may be necessary if you don’t have enough surface area.)  Let cook, turning occasionally, until all sides are browned.
  6. Once all of the meatballs are browned, place them in the pan with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella and additional Parmesan over the top.
  7. Bake until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and garnish with the fresh basil. Serve warm, over pasta if desired.

If freezing some of the meatballs – food safety expert, ‘I worked at the wegmans pizza shop,’ Matt says you have to make sure you cook the meatballs all the way before freezing, or keep them completely raw.  So we did the browning on the stove and then baked on a cookie sheet for 15ish minutes (until the temp was 165).  When reheating, I plan to defrost all the way and then bake with the sauce and cheese for 10 minutes, until heated through.


Turkey Meatball & Vegetable Soup with Cheesy Crostini (Recipe from here)

Makes: 6 servings


 For the Soup-

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups less-sodium chicken broth (Or, I used chicken bouillon cubes, following the proportions on the box to get to 6 cups of liquid)
  • 1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise then sliced crosswise
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped

For the Cheesy Crostini-

  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make the soup: In large bowl, lightly beat egg. Add turkey, breadcrumbs, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir (or mix with hands) until just combined. Do not overmix. Using hands, gently form into small (slightly smaller than a golf ball) meatballs and place on large plate or baking pan.
  2. In large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in broth; heat to boiling. Stir in celery, zucchini and spinach. Gently drop in meatballs. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  4. Meanwhile, make crostini: Heat broiler to high heat. Place baguette slices on rimmed baking pan and lightly brush with oil. Place under broiler and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp, watching very carefully.
  5. Spread crostini with ricotta and sprinkle with mozzarella and pepper. Return to broiler and cook 1 minute or until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve soup with crostini.

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