Italian Wedding Soup

When it’s cold and snowing outside, I like to fill up my belly with a warm, savory bowl of Italian Wedding Soup, a true comfort food.

wedding soup

I love this soup, it is one of our favorites! My friend Lisa introduced me to it a couple of years ago and I’ve since made my own adjustments to it. For example, instead of using the traditional escarole, I use chopped frozen organic spinach. It’s easier and full of iron and fiber. I also add beans to my soup. I really enjoy a nice hearty soup that can suffice as our entire meal. I guess you could say it closely resembles a minestrone soup with mini meatballs.

italian wed soup

For the meatballs, I keep them light and healthy, by using ground turkey instead of beef and adding grated onion, carrots and zucchini. This keeps the meatballs so moist and full of flavor. I use this exact same recipe for traditional meatballs that I cook with marinara sauce. Absolutely delish!

meatballs

If you’re gluten free, you can substitute the whole wheat bread crumbs for brown rice bread crumbs and the regular pasta for corn pasta. If you’re vegetarian, you can substitute with tofu meat or omit them all together. Your options are endless.

This soup is a winner in our family and in my Food Jules classes. The kids enjoy it so much that they ask for it each semester. It makes me very proud that they are so excited to eat such a nutritious meal.

Hope this delicious soup warms you up on this cold, winter day.

Bacalhau

Did you know that Bacalhau (salted codfish) is the national dish in Portugal? This fish is so popular that there are over 365 recipes for it, one for each day of the year!

Last week was our final session in “Cooking Around the World with Food Jules” as part of Stepney Elementary’s Arts & Imagination winter session. So, we decided to visit my family in Portugal, eat some of their delicious food and experience their fun culture. Portugal was a whole new experience for all of my students, as none of them (except Lilliana) had ever eaten Portuguese food and they loved it.

We started by making a classic Bacalhau appetizer, Pasteis de Bacalhau (Codfish Fritters). At first, the kids were hesitant to try a “new” type of fish but as soon as they took a bite out of them, they were all in love. YUM!

Pasteis de Bacalhau

The Portuguese love to talk about food and eat a lot of good food, so much so that they take a two hour lunch break and eat a three course meal, starting with a soup. A classic Portuguese soup is Caldo Verde (Green Kale Soup), made with Kale Greens, Potatoes and Chorizo (Portuguese Sausage). We made a vegetarian version without the sausage. I was so proud of all my students for doing such an amazing job making this soup and for eating it. It is nutritious and delicious, loaded with vitamins!

Caldo Verde

We also made Rabanadas (Portuguese style “french” toast). Oh my goodness, the kids were all over these! They are a classic treat during the Christmas Season, so sweet with cinnamon sugar.

We, Portuguese folks, love dessert and enjoy many different types of sweet treats but my absolute favorite are these rich custard cups from a town in Portugal, named Belem. So, for our final dish, we made Pasteis de Nata, delicious pastry cups filled with a sweet custard. This was so popular in my class that we will be making them, along with other delicious cultural foods, as part of our cooking class in preparation for the International Festival on March 30th. You must try to make these at home, they will be your new favorite sweet treat!

Thank you to all my Food Jules students for another fun and successful cooking program. See you in April!