Italian Wedding Soup and Keeping Dinner Fresh

We have a new game at our house. You can play it too. All you need is a library card and a cookbook stand. The cookbook stand is optional, but props always make games more fun. We have been stuck in a dinner rut. There are basically 3 dinners that everyone in our family will eat. Spaghetti, tacos and teriyaki chicken. And to avoid having to make different dinners for picky eaters, I end up making one of those three more often than a food blogger would care to admit.

The game originated one day after an amazing trip to Target. I love living next to Target by the way, it really is all I ever thought it would be. I bought a cute little cookbook stand there. When we got home my 7 year old daughter, aka our family’s interior designer, set up the stand with a cookbook opened to a picture of a dish she wanted to eat for dinner. Lightbulb!

Here’s how you play. Get a stack of healthy, picture-rich cookbooks and magazines. It’s really important that the pictures are nice. It is especially true with kids that they eat first with their eyes, so make sure it looks good. Our library has a huge selection of cookbooks. Everyday Food Light by Martha Stewart is a great example.

Let your kids take turns finding a recipe they would like to eat for dinner. Once she has decided, she can put the cookbook in the stand open to her choice. When mom gets around to it, she will make it for dinner.

The rules. Everyone gets a turn. Everyone has to at least try it. Mom’s only making that. No saying rude remarks about other family members choices or about moms cooking, ever! Also, no riding in the back of trucks. I like to throw that rule in whenever I can…

You might be surprised by what your kids choose. We have had pork and broccoli, shrimp lo mein, chicken and watercress soup and our favorite so far… Italian Wedding Soup. Let your kids take ownership of their choices and give them lots of praise for picking a fun new dinner and for trying new things.

Italian Wedding Soup

adapted from the Martha Stewart Everyday Food Light cookbook

1 pound ground turkey (buy lean NOT extra lean!)

2 cloves minced garlic

1 egg

1/2 C panko breadcrumbs

1/4 C shredded parmesan

1 TB flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1 TB olive oil

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1 celery stalk diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

3 cans chicken broth

1 can diced tomatoes with juice

2 stalks green chard chopped (The recipe calls for escarole. That is not something I can find around here so I substituted chard. If you can find escarole, use 1 head coarsely chopped.)


Mix turkey, garlic, egg, panko, parmesan, parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a bowl. Roll into small meatballs.

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add onions, celery and carrot. Stir occasionally over medium heat until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and a can of tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Drop the meatballs in one by one and don’t stir. When they float to the top in about 5-7 minutes add the chard or escarole and cover, cooking for about 5 minutes more.

Garnish with parmesan and flat leaf parsley.