Martha Madness (Turkey Meatball Soup and the February Give-Away!)

So as you may know… I LOVE Martha Stewart!  Well to be fair I’ve never met her, so I’m sure the attraction there is platonic at best, but I mean I love her franchise!  I used to look through Martha’s Entertaining when I was a kid and I thought it was the bible of parties*.  My mom gave it to me when I went to college because I loved it so much.  Over the past couple years I have been collecting her books from thrift shops.  If you’re interested you should check out my list to see my full collection.

While I love all her collections – parties, home decor, crafts, even gardening, let me take a minute to gush about her cookbooks.  I love that her recipes are almost always accompanied by pictures.  It is so hard for beginning cooks to envision a finished product if they haven’t used half the ingredients or know all of the techniques.  (I love Julia Child but my first couple attempts at hollandaise were questionable despite her accurate descriptions.) A picture is truly worth a thousand words.  I also love the unique ingredients.  I feel so fancy when I make some of her “everyday” dishes and with CSAs and farmer’s markets available it is easier to source many of these gourmet ingredients.  I must admit that her crazy hoity-toity lists of ingredients are what scare off many people.  It seems she has even toned it down over the years.  That is why I like the old books.  The younger the Martha, the better.  (To be honest when I make some of more “charismatic” dishes I do just find a substitute for a capon, or a roast pheasant, but it sure is fun to imagine that if I ever found one of those in the poultry aisle I’d have a recipe for it!)

The book that seems to be more popular than the others (or perhaps more disliked because I’ve found a few copies in thrift shops over the past few years) is Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook.  Well I know it’s a winner because everything in the book appears to be written by Martha, not just the introduction.  In my opinion the real gems are the ones that portray a very, very young Martha – but the other sure fire way to tell if the book is going to be worth reading is to see if she actually wrote it.  (Let’s be fair, Martha is the brains of the operation for a reason.)  Well I decided to try a dish from the book mostly at random using the ingredients I had on hand.

Here’s what happened.

I tried this recipe:

Turkey Meatball Soup with Escarole and Pappardelle

I made a few ingredient changes based on what I had on hand (spinach instead of escarole and egg noodles instead of pappardelle) and then omitted the thyme altogether because I HATE thyme.  So it should really be called:

Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Egg Noodles

Here’s my revised ingredient list:


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley leaves (measure out a cup BEFORE I chopped them, about 1/2 cup afterwards)
  • 1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock (I used half homemade and half bouillon)
  • 2 cups eggs noodles, cooked al dente
  • 5 large handfuls of baby spinach (not chopped or anything)
  1.  I followed her instructions to make the meatballs by mixing together the ground turkey, egg white, parsley, onion and 1 garlic clove.  I formed the mixture into walnut shaped balls as suggested.  They were a bit wet but held together okay.

    The meat mixture was pretty moist, but the meatballs came out nicely.

    The meat mixture was pretty moist, but the meatballs came out nicely.

  2. Here I again followed her instructions to brown the meatballs in the oil until cooked through.  First off – 5 minutes was not nearly enough time to cook them through.  Maybe if they were smaller.  I can’t imagine making these without any oil at all, even in a nonstick pan.  It was a bit of a battle getting them to not stick to the pan – so I ended up following what I usually do for swedish meatballs.  I added quite a bit of oil and shake the pan as I cook the meatballs to keep them from sticking to the bottom.  The key is to constantly keep them moving until they are browned.  I placed them all on a paper towel lined plate afterwards.
    Browned turkey meatballs

    Browned turkey meatballs

    EDIT (2/2/17): I made this soup again today and I got fed up with the meatballs breaking.  Instead I popped them in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes (I turned them halfway through.  It was far less time consuming and annoying and you couldn’t even tell a difference in taste!

  3. For the final step I a fried the garlic clove and shallots in the small amount of oil until the shallots were soft.  Then I added the chicken stock and chicken boullion and simmered.  When it reached the simmer I added the spinach and let it wilt slightly before adding the meatballs.  When serving I measured out the pasta into each bowl and then spooned in the soup on top.  I never add the pasta directly to the soup because if I have leftovers the pasta in the soup always sucks up the broth, leaving me with more of a stew.
    Cooking the shallots and garlic

    Cooking the shallots and garlic

    Spinach has been simmered until it wilted.

    Spinach has been simmered until it wilted.

    Simmering the soup with the meatballs

    Simmering the soup with the meatballs

    Finished turkey meatball soup - quite hearty!

    Finished turkey meatball soup – quite hearty!

I was worried that this would not be very flavorful considering the small list of ingredients and my omission of the thyme, but this soup was AWESOME.  I am definitely adding this to my everyday repertoire.  Will (who is currently on the keto/paleo diet) ate the soup without pasta and declared it was “amazing”.

So if you were paying attention to this post, you know I have a few extra secondhand copies of Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook.  I’d love to mail them to those who are interested to try some of these great recipes!  To win February’s give away, post your favorite “healthy” recipe or a healthy recipe trick.  I’ll randomly pick the winners next Monday night (February 28 2016) and mail them a second hand copy of the book.

*It may very well be the bible of parties.


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9 Responses to Martha Madness (Turkey Meatball Soup and the February Give-Away!)

  1. Mark says:

    Kale, shmale! Erin, I’m going to let you finish, but I just want to say that THIS is the best recipe of all time:

    -1 bag egg noodles
    -1 stick butter
    -1 can Rotel

    1) Cook egg noodles, drain.
    2) Add butter and rotel, stir.
    3) Buy life insurance.
    4) Enjoy!

    • lexicolton says:

      Step 3 is crucial. I think if this is 6 servings its not so bad… If you eat the whole thing… then well, step 3. Have you tried cutting down the butter? In side dishes like this (non-baking) where the butter is just for flavor it is possible to cut it down. Don’t do this for baking unless you really know what you’re doing because it will change the finished product.

      • Erin says:

        We’ve made it before with half a stick and, while it is still quite tasty, it doesn’t have the artery clogging goodness of a full stick.

  2. Andrew P says:

    One of my favorite healthy things to cook is to bake a filet of fresh fish. I usually pair it with a grain (couscous or wild rice, using the recipe from the back of the box) and either a salad or a seasonal vegetable, with asparagus being my favorite. Here’s what I do.

    Ingredient List
    – 1 Filet of fish (can be any fish you fancy, it just alters the cooking time a bit)
    – 1 Lemon
    – 1 Box of couscous or wild rice
    – 1 Bunch of asparagus
    – Some minced garlic (can be freshly minced, but is even easier from a jar)
    – Capers
    – Olive oil
    – Salt
    – Pepper

    First, I preheat the oven to 400 °F and line a shallow pan with aluminum foil and put the filet of fish on the foil, skin-side down. If the fish looks wet, you should pat it dry with a paper towel.

    Next, I try to evenly distribute some minced garlic, capers, and olive oil on top of the fish, followed by some lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

    Depending on the thickness of the filet and the type of fish, I put it in the oven for 10-25 minutes until it flakes easily with a fork in the thickest part.

    Once the fish is in the oven, I make the rice/couscous according to the directions on the box and sauteé the asparagus over medium heat with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

    Once the fish is cooked, it is easy to separate from the skin with a spatula when it’s time to serve it, and you’ve got a nice, healthy meal.

    • lexicolton says:

      That sounds delicious! Fish is tasty, healthy and fast! Great suggestion! My go-to fish is salmon. I usually marinate it for 15 min to an hour with the following ingredients then cook as you suggested above!

      minced garlic
      2TB soy sauce
      1 TB sugar
      2tsp oil

  3. Emma H. says:

    Healthy Mac and Cheese? Yes, please!

    1/2 a butternut squash, cubed
    3 medium sized carrots, thinly sliced
    1 head of cauliflower (about 2 lbs), cubed
    2 tbsp peccorino romano
    1/4 cup shredded gruyere
    1/2 cup shredded cheddar
    1/4 cup neufchatel
    1 cup vegetable broth
    1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
    1/4 tsp hot sauce
    Salt to taste
    1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
    1 tsp butter
    3 cups whole wheat shells

    Preheat oven to 400.

    First, melt the butter in a pan, and toast the panko crumbs on medium-high heat. Remove them from the stove, put them in a bowl, combine with Peccorino Romano and set aside.

    Boil the carrots, squash and cauliflower in a large pot until soft. Strain, then puree in a blender or food processor. I like to use the hand blender. Add the broth, mustard, neufchatel, hot sauce, cheddar and gruyere and blend until smooth.

    Boil 3 cups of whole wheat shells until Bout halfway done. Combine with the cheese mixture and put in an oven-safe casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with bread crumb mixture.

    Bake 30-35 minutes.

    Makes 8-10 servings.


    • lexicolton says:

      Yum!! I like that there are actual vegetables in this version! I have never seen that! And it looks like they are disguised too so it could be very kid friendly! Logging this one away too!

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