Italian Meatball Soup

It’s a cold, damp day…perfect weather for this soup. It really warms you up. I love the Italian meatballs but neither of my kids were real fans them. Cooper loves meatballs but I think the addition of sausage in them made him dislike them. He would put a piece in his mouth and then spit it all out. He picked out the carrots and least it was something.

This recipe makes a good amount, but it was perfect for 2 dinners and I have a container that I froze for lunches later this month.

To make the meatballs: 
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 cup dried onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Turn on the oven boiler. 
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. Shape the mixture into small meatballs. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking and broil for 7 to 10 minutes. The meatballs should begin to brown. Remove the meatballs from the oven and set aside until you’re ready to put them in the soup. 
For the soup:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 32 oz containers of reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup of elbow macaroni, uncooked
2 cups spinach, thinly sliced
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Saute the onions and garlic until cooked and translucent. Add the broth, water, tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Heat to boiling. Gently add the partially cooked meatballs, carrots and pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the sliced spinach and cook until the carrots are soft and the meatballs are cooked though.
Divide into bowls and serve with crusty bread. 
Source: Our Best Bites Cookbook

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