Meal Prep Magic: Chicken Soup with Italian Sausage Meatballs

It’s the first rainy day here in California, and there was even a slight chill in the air when I left the office this evening.  To celebrate winter finally approaching, I wanted to post my meal-prep solution that I made this weekend: Chicken Soup with Italian Sausage Meatballs.  I made a huge batch on Sunday, and  I was so pleased to have some on-hand to warm up at lunch at the office today.

This recipe utilizes tons of pantry staples, including chicken broth, dried beans, onions, and carrots.  I have been hoarding batches of chicken stock in my freezer, so making this recipe really helped clear some space for the Thanksgiving turkey.  I also included some Italian sausage (I almost always have this on-hand in my freezer), fall produce (hello, Tuscan kale!), and some tomatoes to add richness to the broth.  Any ingredient in this recipe can be substituted or completely eliminated, which is the beauty of soups.  Anything goes!

I hope this recipe finds you on a time when you have a lazy Sunday afternoon to spare, with some chilly weather to combat and cozy up to. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, chopped into large dice
  • 3-5 carrots, chopped into large dice
  • 4-6 tomatoes, chopped into a large dice with seeds removed
  • 3-6 links of Italian sausage
  • 1-1 ½ gallons of chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups of dried cranberry beans
  • 4 cups of chopped Tuscan kale
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Prep onions and carrots by chopping into large (bite-sized) dice. 
  2. Pour olive oil into a large Dutch oven or large pan, and pre-heat over medium high until warmed through.  Add the onions and carrots, and cook stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the Italian sausage from the casing by pinching off the sausage into bite-sized portions to form the meatballs.  Place the meatballs into the pan with the onions and garlic.  Allow to cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs have taken on some brown color.
  4. Add the chopped and de-seeded tomatoes and stir to combine. 
  5. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock, and stir to scrape any brown bits from the meatballs and onions from the bottom and sides of the pan.  Add the rest of the chicken broth and stir to combine.
  6. Add the cranberry beans, stir to combine.
  7. Bring soup up to a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure that the beans are not sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 2-3 hours until the beans are fully cooked through.
  8. Add Tuscan kale and stir to combine.  Allow the soup to simmer for another 30 minutes.
  9. Serve and enjoy!  Portion the leftovers for easy and hearty dinners or lunches for the rest of the week.

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