Italian Wedding Soup

Fall and winter are here. This hearty, healthy soup is the ultimate comfort food on a cold day.

Tablespoon Of Finely Chopped Red Onion
Two Minced Garlic Cloves
1/4 Cup Of Finely Chopped Italian Parsley
1/4 Cup Of Grated Parmesan Cheese
Pound Of Ground Chicken
Cup Of Breadcrumbs
12 Cups Of Chicken Stock (If not homemade, use low sodium stock)
Four Cups Of Shredded Cooked Chicken
Head Of Cleaned, Chopped Escarole
Two Cups Of Roughly Chopped Carrot
Cup Of Roughly Chopped Celery
Cup Of Roughly Chopped Spanish Onion
Three Large Eggs
Tablespoon Of Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Divided
1/2 Teaspoon Of Ground Black Pepper, Divided
Three Teaspoons Of Sea Salt, Divided
Six Ounces Of Cooked Pastina

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the first six ingredients along with a large egg, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and a teaspoon of sea salt in a bowl. Using your hands, mix well. Form into golf ball sized meatballs. Place the meatballs on a greased baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Put the chicken stock into a large soup pot. Place the pot on medium high heat. When the stock just reaches the boiling point, turn the heat down to low. Add the escarole, the carrot, the celery, the onion, two teaspoons of sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer on low for two hours stirring occasionally. Add the meatballs to the pot for the last half hour of simmer time. Taste the soup and add more sea salt and/or pepper, as needed.

Whisk two large eggs and the lemon juice in a bowl. Stir the egg/lemon mixture into the soup. Add the cooked pastina and the cooked chicken to the pot. Stir again.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.


Two Medium Eggplants

Olive Oil (as needed basis)

1/2 Pound Lean Ground Beef

1/2 Pound Lean Ground Lamb

Tablespoon Chopped Spanish Onion

Two Minced Garlic Cloves

8 Ounces Tomato Sauce

Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt (Divided)

1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper (Divided)

1/4 Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Teaspoon of Lemon Zest

Three Tablespoons of Butter

Three Tablespoons of All-Purpose Flour

Cup Whole Milk

Beaten Egg

3/4 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese

3/4 Cup of Crumbled Feta Cheese

Pinch of Ground Nutmeg

Grease 9X9 inch baking pan with butter.

Peel the eggplants and cut into 1/2 inch round slices. Coat each side of the sliced eggplant with olive oil. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Broil on high until brown. Turn and broil on other side. Set the eggplant aside.

In a large skillet, combine beef and lamb. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the fat. Cook the onions in the same skillet for three minutes. Add in the garlic, the lemon zest, the cinnamon, the oregano, the tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper, the crushed red pepper flakes and the cooked meat. Cook on low heat for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

In the bottom of the baking dish, add half of the eggplant slices. Pour the meat mixture over the eggplant. Add the remaining eggplant slices over the meat mixture.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour. Stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Add the beaten egg. Mix well. Finally, add the parmesan and the feta. Stir again until cheese is well incorporated.

Pour the cheese sauce over the eggplant and meat mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares.


One Pound Chopped Mixed Nuts (Note: I use walnuts and almonds)

Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

16 Ounce Package Phyllo Dough

Cup Melted Butter

Cup White Sugar

Cup Cold Water

1/2 Cup Honey

Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9X13 inch baking dish.

Toss together cinnamon and nuts.

Unroll phyllo and cut the whole stack in half to fit the dish. Cover phyllo with a damp cloth while assembling the baklava, to keep it from drying out.

Place two sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the baking dish. Brush generously with butter. Sprinkle three tablespoons of the nut mixture on top. Repeat the process until all ingredients are used. End with at least 6 sheets of phyllo. Using a sharp knife, cut the baklava all the way to the bottom of the dish into three long rows. Then cut nine times diagonally to make 27 diamond shapes.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes.

While baklava is baking, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat . Bring to a boil. Stir in honey, vanilla and lemon zest. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

After 50 minutes, remove the baklava from the oven and spoon the syrup over it immediately. Let the baklava cool completely before serving.

Jim’s Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Four Cups of Tomato Sauce
Teaspoon of Red Wine Vinegar
Large Head of Savoy Cabbage
Two Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
One Pound of Italian (Sweet or Hot) Sausage
One Pound of Ground Turkey
1 1/2 Cups of Cooked Rice
Beaten Egg
Two Tablespoons of Finely Chopped Italian Parsley
Two Tablespoons of Finely Chopped Red Onion
Two Tablespoons of Finely Chopped Scallion
Two Minced Garlic Cloves
3/4 Cup of Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
Three Teaspoons of Sea Salt (Divided)
Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper

Combine the tomato sauce and the red wine vinegar. Mix and set aside.

Combine the tomato paste, the Italian sausage, the ground turkey, the cooked rice, the beaten egg, the Italian parsley, the red onion, the scallion, the minced garlic, the grated cheese, the ground black pepper, and two teaspoons of sea salt in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix well.

Cut the core out of the cabbage with a sharp knife. Pull off the largest cabbage leaves carefully keeping them whole and as undamaged as possible. Get rid of all of the small leaves and save them for coleslaw.

Combine about an inch of cold water and a teaspoon of sea salt in a large pot with a lid. Bring to a boil. Place half of the saved cabbage leaves into the pot. Cover and steam the leaves for three minutes. Place the cabbage leaves in cold water. Repeat the process with the remaining cabbage leaves.

Pat the leaves dry with a paper towel. Lay them out so you can assess just how many blankets that you have to wrap up the filling. Using a sharp knife, cut out the center vein so they will be easier to roll up.

Place about 3/4 cup of the meat/rice mixture into the center of a cabbage leaf. Starting at once was the stem end, fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage to enclose the filling. Repeat the process until all of the filling has been used up.

Using any leftover cabbage leaves that you have, lay them on the bottom of a casserole pan. These leaves will serve as insulation to keep the cabbage rolls from burning when they are baking in the oven.

Place the filled cabbage rolls side by side in the casserole pan seam side down.

Preheat the oven to 290 degrees.

Pour the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls and spread the sauce out evenly. Cover the casserole pan with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the aluminum foil during the last 30 minutes of baking time. Let the cabbage rolls sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.