Healthy Italian-American comfort food made easy: chicken soup with pastina and greens.
I adore this month’s Recipe ReDux theme:
First Cooking Recollections
Stir up some of your earliest culinary recollections. Did you stand at your grandmother’s elbow to learn to cook? Or did you learn by stumbling through a cookbook by yourself? Share a healthy recipe and the accompanying story about one of your first cooking memories.
I was lucky to have grown up with wonderful family cooks, namely my mom and two grandmothers. And without a doubt, being exposed to a lifetime of them working their skills in the kitchen has had a profound impact on me and is a big reason why I love the world of food so much.
My first cooking memory was of my mom letting me “experiment” in the kitchen. She’d put out a variety of baking ingredients and I could mix together whatever I liked. I remember LOVING the freedom that came with making my own creations, despite the fact they’d always end up being an inedible shortcake with the consistency of a hockey puck after baking.Healthy comfort food in a bowl: Pastina Chicken Soup w. Kale via @tspbasil #thereciperedux Click To Tweet
But since we already have several shortcake recipes here on the blog, including these recent Strawberry Lemon Cornbread Shortcakes, I thought of my next cooking memory which was making pancakes every weekend —> which I already wrote about in this Everyday Whole Grain Pancake post.
So, I was actually stumped for a bit on what to make and then I remembered this soup.
Growing up at every holiday together, my nana would make her version of Italian Wedding Soup for the first course, which had pastina (tiny pasta), mini meatballs and escarole. If you were at the kids’ table, you got the “strained” version (aka no greens) by request, which we all requested. (Side note: if your kid doesn’t like a lot of vegetables now it doesn’t mean it will be forever – me and my sister are dark green veggie lovers now!)
So, I came up with my own version of that soup. Rather than meatballs, I used shredded chicken (time saver) and used kale since I had it on hand and since escarole is not the “it” green….yet!
More healthy notes to this soup:
* The lower sodium chicken broth cuts down the sodium levels (which can be pretty high with soups)
* It’s a great way to use up leafy greens
* You can add/swap in so many different good-for-you ingredients:
—-> Make it vegetarian: use vegetable broth and swap in any kind of beans for the chicken
—-> Don’t like kale? Swap in spinach or broccoli
—-> Want more veggies? Add in a can of low sodium diced tomatoes
—-> Want a different grain? Substitute brown rice, quinoa, barley or farro for the pastina
What’s one of your favorite cooking memories from childhood? What soup do you always eat or make this time of year?