Tortellini Soup with Mini Chicken Meatballs



We had an unexpected, extended break from school schedule this week. On Monday all of the local schools and surrounding districts were closed in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Then, late Monday night we received text messages from our local school district that all schools would be closed due "inclement weather conditions".  Freezing temperatures with lots ice, sleet and the possibility of more snow was put into the forecast here in Central and South Texas for the next few days. 

I know people like to make fun of us Texans for shutting down when such a forecast comes our way, but trust me it's really for the best. We don't see that type of deep freeze every year and erring on the side of caution to protect over-confident drivers just has to happen. As it was reported on the news Tuesday night, there were over 230 vehicle accidents in the San Antonio area on that day alone, despite all the school and business closures. That's just a mess. Imagine the chaos if the city had been left to conduct business as usual, but with school buses full of innocent kids out in the mix. No thanks! We Southerners are not equipped or trained to drive in those extreme conditions, so it really is smarter just to shut it down. 




Now, I'm not sure if it's an official, all-time record, but for it to snow twice in a single winter in my part of the country is definitely not the norm. I'm in my forties and I was born and raised on the Texas coast and I've lived in the state all of my life (minus the year and half back in my twenties where I was out seeing the world). I've only seen snow in this region of Texas four times in my life, and that includes the few inches of snow we had a few weeks ago!




Late last year, the weather conditions were just right and we had a few inches of snow fall here at our house back on December 7, 2017. It may sound corny, but that was one of the most magical nights we have ever experienced as a family to date. The irony of it all for us was that shortly before that little Texas snow storm happened, my son asked for us to take him somewhere so he could see snow! We told him we would plan a trip to a place cold enough to see snow (hopefully) in the following winter.




So, when we looked outside that night and realized our trees and yard were covered with all of that crunchy, mythical, gleaming white snow, we were literally squealing and jumped with joy! I never would have guessed that my kids' first experience with snow would come to them at 8 p.m. on a Thursday evening in their own backyard! We went from cleaning up dinner dishes to having a snowball fight in our yard in matter of two hours! Definitely not the norm around here.



Anyhow, we haven't seen anymore snow since December 7 and 8, but it's been plenty icy, windy and really cold here (and this weirdo actually loves it! But, I don't live with it for months on end either)  so, soup was in order, of course. Here's a easy spin on a classic chicken soup made with ground chicken meatballs, frozen cheese tortellini and the all-important veggies. This simple, but hearty soup sure warmed us up and it filled us up too.

**Of course, I took a gazillion more pics, but here's a few good ones from our magical snow days back on December 7 and 8, 2017! :) **






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Tortellini Soup with Mini Chicken Meatballs                          printable recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (you will use this 2 tbsp at a time)
  • 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and sliced or chopped
  • 2 medium celery stalks, scrubbed and sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 cups chicken broth 
  • bag (1 lb) of frozen, cheese-filled tortellini
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for garnish, if desired

Instructions:

1. In a medium-size bowl, combine ground chicken breast, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and milk. You can use a wooden spoon to combine this mixture, but I think it's easiest to just use your hands to combine it. Roll the chicken mixture into 1-inch balls and set them aside.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken meatballs to the pan. Allow them to brown slightly on one side for 1-2 minutes and then use tongs to flip them over to brown slightly on the other side. Use the tongs to remove the meatballs and set them on a plate. They will cook through when they are added to the broth in the next step.

3. Add the two remaining tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and allow it to heat up. Add in the vegetables and saute them, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add in the dried herbs and stir. Allow to cook for a minute more. Pour in the chicken broth over the vegetables and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the vegetables to cook for about 10 minutes.

4. Add the chicken meatballs to the pot and bring broth back to a boil. Reduce heat again to simmer and allow it to cook for 15 minutes. Finally, add in the tortellini, bring the pot back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 more minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

5. Serve hot with some crusty, buttered bread!

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22 comments

  1. We don't have much snow this year either. However, it did snow last week, but didn't last long and all turned into ice..that's not nice. Your tortellini soup looks so warming, flavourful yet light!

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  2. Hi Angie, thank you! It's been weird weather for us lately :)

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  3. Visiting from the Build Your Email Party - followed you via email. I live in the Houston area and it has definitely been a crazy year for weather! The snow in December was absolutely beautiful though!

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    1. Hi Roseann, nice to meet you and thanks for your visit and for the follow! My kids were so sad when that snow melted away. It was a terrific day! :)

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  4. Your snow day looks like lots of fun! I'm in Charleston, SC and we recently got about 6 inches-definitely not the norm for here. Tortellini soup would be a wonderful meal for a cold weather day. This looks hearty and tasty. Pinning.

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  5. Hi Beverly! It will be nice when it dries up here so we can get back outdoors. Our yard is our happy place :) Thank you!!

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  6. glad you guys got a little taste of snow!! all kids should be able to frolic in the fluff at some point in their lives. :)
    lovely soup to warm up to!

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    1. Hi Grace, thank you! We will be looking for more snow next year and hopefully enough to try skiing!

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  7. It sounds like you had a fun and delicious snow day.

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  8. Looks so yummy! A nice warm and hearty soup for the coldest of days!

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  9. The little snow that we have gotten this year doesn't seem to last. Raining here today so the most recent is going fast. Delicious soup and those chicken meatballs are a wonderful addition!

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    1. Hi Susan, thank you! We enjoyed this easy dinner a bunch!

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  10. Those unexpected snow days are awesome! I live in the panhandle of Florida and guess what? You guessed it, we had snow ( little more than half-an inch) it only came down for about 15 minutes but, it was really coming down. We Floridians definitely squealed with delight.

    Your soup is soulful and warm on a cold day. Really looks good!

    Velva

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    1. That is awesome! It's one of those things that can make us feel like kids again! Thank you, Velva!

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  11. The snow story is absolutely magical! And your soup suits the weather. Beautiful. GREG

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  12. Love the snow pictures! Well, all of the pictures, actually, but the snow pictures totally rock. Great soup, too -- filling and tasty. Thanks!

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  13. This sounds like just the ticket for our house. Warm broth with meatballs and pasta. I've just added it to my TO DO list.

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    1. Hi Gary! So sorry for the late reply! Thank you :)

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