Italian Mini Meatball and Tomato Soup



As much as I love living in Michigan…I gotta say, I am getting really sick of this cold weather. Maybe we’ve just been spoiled the last couple of years, but usually by mid March, 20 degree weather is a thing of the past. Last year, we were blessed with 60 degree temperatures and plenty of sunshine by St. Patrick’s Day. 2013 is a different story. Nowadays I get really excited if it’s above 30 degrees in the middle of the day. And the biggest bummer is that these somewhat frigid temperatures are totally screwing up my running schedule. I know, I know. First world problems. But having to bundle up with layer after layer of under armour is definitely making training for my next race a little less fun. I have a 10K in 3 weeks and am having a hard time fitting in longer distances without having my lungs freeze…or ya know, falling flat on my face and breaking my finger.


Yeah, that happened. A few weeks ago I slipped on some ice at 6am and wound up with a swollen and purple index finger. But once I got to work, my boss whipped out a makeshift splint for me which obviously left me looking super cool. What can I say? I have a talent for attracting catostrophes. But I must say, the one upside to the cooler temperatures is I’ve had a little more time to try out the warm winter-y recipes I’ve been saving. Like this recipe from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. This soup is warm and comforting, and thanks to the mini meatballs is total “guy food.” (but it is still pretty healthy) I used medium size shell pasta the first time I made it, but I would recommend using macaroni noodles or mini shells because the pasta does tend to soak up a good amount of the broth. The result is a rich tomato soup perfect for a chilly winter…or spring evening.

Ingredients: Adapted from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Mini Meatballs: Makes 40 mini meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cans ( 10.5 oz each) lower sodium beef broth
  • 1 can (28 oz) Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup mini pasta shells or macaroni


  1. In a large bowl, place all meatball ingredients and mix well until spices are well incorporated (mixing with your hands is the easiest way!)
  2. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet, evenly spaced
  3. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes, or until cooked through
  4. In a large soup pot, place 2 teaspoons olive oil and heat over medium heat
  5. Add onions and let cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onions begin to soften
  6. Add garlic and let cook for 1 minute
  7. Stir in broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil
  8. Add in pasta and reduce heat
  9. Cover pot and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until pasta is tender
  10. Stir in meatballs and stir until heated through



Pumpkin Cornbread

I’ll admit it. Come October, its a pretty good bet that I have already become completley obsessed with pumpkin. Pumpkin Oatmeal, Pumpkin Scones, Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I am all about this quintessential fall ingredient. But since I’m not always in the mood for a sweet baked good… Ok that’s a lie. Since I try not to have a diet that consists solely of sweet baked goods…I wanted to find a recipe that could incorporate my favorite fall baking ingredient into a more savory dish. And since adding pumpkin to baked goods is a great way to cut back on fat and cholesterol while maintaining a moist texture, I was delighted to find a savory and healthy baked good to appease my pumpkin craving. This recipe for Pumpkin Cornbread was found on one of my favorite food blogs, Daily Garnish, which is written by vegetarian chef Emily Malone. Her recipes feature simple and healthy ingredients that are great for the whole family. The pumpkin flavor of this bread is subtle enough to dunk in your favorite soup, but sweet enough to be eaten all on its own.
Ingredients: Makes 12 squares, From Daily Garnish
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole corn kernels, drained & rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs


  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (cornmeal through cloves)
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients ( pumpkin through eggs) and whisk until smooth
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined
  4. Pour batter into greased 8×8 baking dish
  5. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes

Vegetarian Chili

About a year ago, I shared the story behind my family’s beloved recipe for Gazpacho Soup and how our neighbors patiently await its return each summer. After finishing off their portion of  Gazpacho, some of our neighbors have returned our mason jars to us filled with a soup of their own. And the following recipe is a take off of one of my favorite of these “thank you” soups. Our neighbors, The Trains, shared this amazing recipe for vegetarian chili with us last winter and it soon became a Sunday night staple. I would make a big batch of it on Sunday nights in order to bring to work with me for lunch throughout the following week. The chili is full of flavor and serves as a hearty and incredibly filling lunch. You barely even notice that it doesn’t have any meat in it! Three different varieties of beans gives this chili added protein , and I’ve found that just about any vegetable can be added in for some extra flavor. Paired with some hearty Pumpkin Cornbread (recipe to come!) and you have yourself a healthy and hearty meal, perfect for the colder months to come.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yello onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 2 14oz cand of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 14oz can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 14oz can white northern beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 14oz can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil


  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat and add olive oil, onions and garlic. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes
  2. Add bell peppers and carrots and saute for 10 minutes, or until peppers are tender
  3. Add next four ingredients (tomatoes through tomato paste)  and bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Stir in beans and spices, stirring frequently
  5. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes before serving

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