172: Lazy Italian Wedding Soup

A couple of weekends ago, I was watching America’s Test Kitchen with E8. They made an amazing Italian Wedding soup* that he begged me to make for him. I really don’t have the time or energy to be making real meatballs so I came up with my own lazy version. It was really good, even though none of the kids would eat the kale (IT’S A SOUP WITH KALE WHY DID YOU ASK ME TO MAKE IT ARRRRGH!). Hubs and I quite liked it.


1 package mild italian sausage
4 carrots, sliced
1 box chicken stock (I use the kind from Kitchen Basics.)
1 box beef stock
1 Tbsp Italian herbs (I use the Lighthouse freeze-dried herb blend. It’s delicious and almost as good as fresh herbs.)
2 cups quick cooking gluten-free pasta (I found Gefen macaroni in the local Publix. It was good, although it did thicken the soup.)
Kale (I used about 1/2 a bag of chopped kale from Trader Joe’s)

Remove the sausage from the casing and form into 1/2″ meatball shapes. Brown the meatballs in a few Tbsp of canola oil. Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes. Pour in both of the broths and bring to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook until tender. Don’t forget to stir! Reduce the heat and add the kale. When it has wilted down, the soup is ready to eat.

This was really tasty, but I do wish the kids had done more than just pick out the sausage. :-\

*link may or may not be behind a registration wall

off topic

How to make a latte.

Starbucks is closing 600 US stores due to pressure from the tanking economy. Is your ‘Bucks on the list? You don’t have to be a trained barista or have a ton of expensive equipment to make a latte that easily rivals the Starbucks version. For a modest investment, you can have your Grande Latte any time you want (and for a lot cheaper than $5-a-pop).

Stove top espresso pot (I got an inexpensive one at the supermarket for under $20)
Milk frother (I have one from IKEA that cost less than $5)
Coffee grinder (Inexpensive grinders can be found anywhere. I can’t remember where we got ours…)
Cooking thermometer (here’s mine)

About 3 or 4 Tbsp or so of whole coffee beans. (I buy my coffee at TJ’s where they have a good selection of coffees in different roasts. Traditionally espresso is made with a dark roasted but you can make your espresso from whatever beans you like the best.)
8 oz Milk (I prefer fat-free)
Sugar (if you are so inclined)

update: I should note here that my espresso pot makes a single 1-1/2 oz cup.

1.Finely grind your beans following the grinder’s instructions. Really fine. As close to a powder as you can get it. Of course, if you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can grind the beans at the store or buy espresso coffee that is pre-ground to the right texture, but grinding your beans yourself right before you make the espresso really is the best way.
2. Pack the coffee into the basket of your espresso pot and fire up your stove, making the espresso as per the pot’s instructions.
3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat up your milk to (up to 155°, don’t go any higher or it tastes scalded). When it’s at your desired temp (mine is 140°-145°) give it a little whirl with the frother.
4. Make your latte by layering everything into a tall (16 oz) coffee mug in this order: sugar, espresso, milk.