Italian Wedding Soup

It’s funny how some things come about. For example this recipe stemmed from a conversation I had with some of our neighbors. We got on the topic of food, as we pretty much always do, and we started talking about soup, as it is nearing soup season here in Wisconsin. I brought up the idea of Italian wedding soup, as obviously I was craving it, and later that day I was in the kitchen making it. I wanted a bit of a simple soup, but one that was hearty and that could be eaten over the course of a few days. This was exactly the soup that was not only comforting, but one that was really easy to make.

If you have never had Italian wedding soup, it is essentially a soup made with meatballs, and some sort of greens. In my case, I used a variety of greens as I wanted something healthy to balance out the marriage of the meatballs.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe
Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

If it is any indication, my wife fell in love with this soup and said it was the best she’s had, as she has tried a variety from other restaurants in town.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 whole carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heads of endive, torn
  • 2 whole broccoli leaves, chopped
  • 2 whole brussel sprout leaves, chopped
  • 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • Additional parmesan cheese for serving

Start by adding your ground chuck to a mixing bowl. Toss in the egg, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, parsley, and egg. Mix with your hands incorporate all of the ingredients. Form into golf ball sized meatballs.

Next, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Take the meatballs, and sear on all sides, cooking until medium. Remove the meatballs, once cooked, and place them onto a paper towel lined plate.

To a soup pot, add the canola oil and let it come to temperature. Toss in the onions, carrots, celery, broccoli and brussel sprout leaves (if you are using) and garlic. Cook until the onion begins to soften, then add in the stock, garbanzo beans, endive, and the meatballs.

Ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup
Ingredients for Italian Wedding Soup

Cook this until the stock begins to boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or so.

When you are ready to serve, ladle the greens, stock, and meatballs into your soup bowl. Garnish with more parmesan cheese, and dig in.

I don’t know what is best about this soup besides everything. The greens, at least in my opinion, are what shine in this Italian wedding soup. The balance out everything. It’s so savory, garlicky, and just down right comforting. If you are looking for a great soup, give this one a shot, plus it’s a great use of your broccoli and brussel sprout leaves if you are growing them in the garden. Hope you enjoy!

Italian Wedding Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American-Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 whole carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heads of endive, torn
  • 2 whole broccoli leaves, chopped
  • 2 whole brussel sprout leaves, chopped
  • 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • Additional parmesan cheese for serving
Instructions
  1. Start by adding your ground chuck to a mixing bowl. Toss in the egg, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, parsley, and egg. Mix with your hands incorporate all of the ingredients. Form into golf ball sized meatballs.
  2. Next, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Take the meatballs, and sear on all sides, cooking until medium. Remove the meatballs, once cooked, and place them onto a paper towel lined plate.
  3. To a soup pot, add the canola oil and let it come to temperature. Toss in the onions, carrots, celery, broccoli and brussel sprout leaves (if you are using) and garlic. Cook until the onion begins to soften, then add in the stock, garbanzo beans, endive, and the meatballs.
  4. Cook this until the stock begins to boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes or so.
  5. When you are ready to serve, ladle the greens, stock, and meatballs into your soup bowl. Garnish with more parmesan cheese, and dig in.

 

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Pizza Style Hot Dogs

Are you the type, like my family, where every couple of weeks you kind of have a typical dinner menu? There seems to be a bit of consistency with my family where every couple of weeks we are making homemade pizzas, or making some sort of riff on hot dogs. With that said, this was one of those weeks. I made a handful of pizzas for the kids, and a couple of days later we were eating Nueske’s smoked wieners. Both of these yielded some leftovers, and that’s when the idea sparked to do a take on a pizza style hot dog! Was this good? Yes, it was pretty darn good and underneath the melted cheese and sauce was this wonderful (and I think one of the best) smoked wiener.

Pizza Style Hot Dog Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cooked wiener, or hot dog, I use Nueske’s.
  • 6 slices of pepperoni
  • 1 hot dog bun
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

This is pretty simple. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Add the wiener to the bun, and tuck in three slices of pepperoni on each side of the wiener. Place the wiener and bun onto a baking sheet, and place in the oven, just to warm up the wiener, and slightly crisp up the bun and pepperoni.  Crisping up the bun holds well with the melted cheese and sauce.

How to make a pizza style hot dog

 

When the bun is slightly toasted, about 4-6 minutes, remove it from the oven, and top with the mozzarella cheese, the sauce, and top with the Italian seasoning.

Place this bag into the oven, and bake until the cheese is nice and melted. Once melted, remove from the oven, and get ready for an adventure.

Your first bite is quite the surprise! You get the slightly crunch from the bun, almost like a nice and crisp pizza crust, then the common flavors of pizza, and then that awesome snap of the Nueske’s wiener. Is this thing worth making?

Pizza Style Hot Dog Recipe

ABSOLUTELY! Would I make this again? OF COURSE. This pizza style hot dog kind of blew my mind, and to me, that’s always a great thing. So the next time you have any pizza leftovers, and some wieners or hot dogs in the refrigerator, give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy, and have a great 4th of July!

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Fried Pizza Dough

There is a pizza place near where we live that we have been ordering from lately. It’s called Pizzeria Scotty, and it is probably our favorite pizza place, at this time. As I often make my own pizzas, yes there are days where I’m pinched for time, I will go ahead and place an order. Not too long ago we tried one of their appetizers. It was their deep fried garlic bread sticks. My first bite into these things, as well as everyone around the table, was as though we just entered heaven. Lightly fried with a garlic butter sauce, along with some romano cheese, we could have simply ate those for dinner. It was now for me to recreate these awesome snacks, and I believe I hit it right on the head. As my kids and I sat around the first batch that came out, we simply giggled because we nailed it. No more ordering those anymore.

Fried Pizza Dough with Garlic Butter

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups of canola oil

Start by heating your oil on medium heat. You will want this to come up to about 350 degrees.

During this time, roll out your dough. Shower your cutting board with some of the flour, then layout your dough, and roll it out into about 1/2 inch thick. Using your bench scraper, or knife, but them into strips, then slice those strips in half. You could target about 3 to 4 inch strips.

Add the butter and garlic powder to a bowl. Melt in the microwave, or on a pot on the stove. Your call.

How to make fried pizza dough

Once the oil is heated, add in a handful of the dough strips, and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. Once golden, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper lined plate to let any excess oil drain.

Brush some of the garlic butter onto the fried pizza dough, and shower with some of the parmesan cheese.

Repeat.

Go buy, or make some more pizza dough because these things are so addicting you will want to.

These are the perfect side dish to your pizza party. Garlicky, buttery, and just salty enough from the parmesan cheese. I know you will love these. I know we did, and sorry Pizzeria Scotty… I’m making my own from here on out. Hope you enjoy!

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Cream Cheese Lasagna

Are you the type of home cook that plans your meals ahead of time, or one that cooks on the fly? I lean more on cook on the fly type, but we do make an attempt, at least talk about it, to think ahead of what we want to eat throughout the week. My wife had suggested that she make a pan of lasagna and freeze it to be had later in the week, and well, I had nothing as again, I’m more on the fly as to what my mood is. With that said, while she was out running errands, I decided to make the lasagna for her, you know, because I’m that type of guy. I had everything in stock with the exception of one ingredient, and I was not about to head to the store. This is when the cream cheese came into play.

Cream Cheese Lasagna

We are typically a ricotta cheese mixture type of family when it comes to making the cheese sauce mixture for lasagna, however I have taken spins on different lasagnas such as this Italian Beef Lasagna with Giardiniera, as well as a Lasagna Carbonara, both of which were awesome, so I was anxious to see how the cream cheese would turn out.

I grabbed my helper, who loves lasagna, and showed him how to make this recipe as well. Trust me, I am not looking back to ricotta ever again.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 12 sheets of lasagna, cooked under al dente
  • 1/2 lb ground chuck
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 3 tbsp
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 4 cups of marinara sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Start by adding the sausage and beef to a pot, and cook it all the way through. Strain any fat, and return back to the stove. Add in your marinara, and give it a good stir. Season with the garlic, Italian seasoning, and some salt and pepper. Stir again.

Next, make your cheese sauce. To a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, eggs, and 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Season with an additional pinch of salt and pepper, and the dried parsley. Give this a good mix until you have a smooth cheese sauce and everything is nicely incorporated.

How to make cream cheese lasagna

OK, get your lasagna pan out. You know you have one. Take a ladle of the marinara and meat sauce, and get a nice thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Add 3 sheets of the cooked lasagna sheets onto the bottom. Top with some of the cheese mixture, into a nice even layer. Sprinkle a bit of the mozzarella cheese over the top, then more of the meat sauce. You want nice, even layers, reserving enough of both meat and cheese sauce for more layers.

Top with 3 more sheets of pasta, more cheese sauce, a bit more mozzarella, then more meat sauce. Repeat again, making sure the top layer gets the remaining meat sauce. Cover with mozzarella cheese, sprinkle on the 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese, and take a look at that thing of beauty.

Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray, and place that, spray side down, onto the top of the pan of lasagna. I find this helps to prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and cook for 40 minutes. Uncover, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and golden, and some of the edges are a bit crispy.

Let this cool down a bit as it will be piping hot, then slice and serve.

The end result is a really, really good lasagna. I was always a fan of the standard ricotta cheese sauce, but this cream cheese just added this ever slight tang that I fell in love. Again, I will never turn back to the classic, it was that good.

Cream Cheese Lasagna
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 12 sheets of lasagna, cooked under al dente
  • ½ lb ground chuck
  • ½ lb Italian sausage
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 3 tbsp
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 4 cups of marinara sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the sausage and beef to a pot, and cook it all the way through. Strain any fat, and return back to the stove. Add in your marinara, and give it a good stir. Season with the garlic, Italian seasoning, and some salt and pepper. Stir again.
  2. Next, make your cheese sauce. To a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, eggs, and ¾ cup of parmesan cheese. Season with an additional pinch of salt and pepper, and the dried parsley. Give this a good mix until you have a smooth cheese sauce and everything is nicely incorporated.
  3. OK, get your lasagna pan out. You know you have one. Take a ladle of the marinara and meat sauce, and get a nice thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Add 3 sheets of the cooked lasagna sheets onto the bottom. Top with some of the cheese mixture, into a nice even layer. Sprinkle a bit of the mozzarella cheese over the top, then more of the meat sauce. You want nice, even layers, reserving enough of both meat and cheese sauce for more layers.
  4. Top with 3 more sheets of pasta, more cheese sauce, a bit more mozzarella, then more meat sauce. Repeat again, making sure the top layer gets the remaining meat sauce. Cover with mozzarella cheese, sprinkle on the 2 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese, and take a look at that thing of beauty.
  5. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray, and place that, spray side down, onto the top of the pan of lasagna. I find this helps to prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and cook for 40 minutes. Uncover, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and golden, and some of the edges are a bit crispy.
  7. Let this cool down a bit as it will be piping hot, then slice and serve.
  8. The end result is a really, really good lasagna. I was always a fan of the standard ricotta cheese sauce, but this cream cheese just added this ever slight tang that I fell in love. Again, I will never turn back to the classic, it was that good.

 

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