Baby, It’s Cold Outside

So it’s freezing outside.  Screenshot_2016-01-19-17-11-30_resizedI mean like cold enough to have a 2 hour delay for most schools!  So the real temp is 16, but it feels like 4.  It’s cold enough to make you feel like your toes and fingers would freeze instantly if left exposed too long.  What do you want to do on days like that?  I’ll tell you.  Stay inside.  Snuggle under blankets.  Eat comfort food.  Watch movies.  Pray.  Hang with friends.  But all INSIDE, where there’s heat.

Well welcome to that day for me.  It’s Hammer and Chisel Day 9.  But I have to confess yesterday’s schedule due to errands and the PiYo class that I instruct  meant I didn’t have time to get my Hammer and Chisel workout in.  And honestly, due to double workouts some days because I do instruct, I had 20160119_162006_resizedmaxed out.  Today, I needed a day off.  I am 2 days behind, and I will catch up!  I promise, but for today, I just enjoyed not rushing and good friends.  Two of my besties and their kiddos came over and played, and we ate pizza and fresh guac with chips for lunch!  I know.  I know.  Not in the diet plan, but some days, you just have to relax and rejuvenate before pressing onward.  And honestly, the laughing, the conversations, the mess, the pizza, and the COFFEE rejuvenated me!  Life is too short to work all the time and constantly be thinking about the next thing.  So often when you do that, you miss out on the beauty that is right in front of you!

So that being said, it means tonight is a comfort food kind of night.  And in the winter comfort food for me is hearty soup with a mix of veggies, noodles, and meat.  So I went the minestrone route, but I added meatballs to it to make it heartier. And I will be honest, it is perfect!  I adapted a recipe from 21 Day Fix Food with a few changes that really made this a meal that would even satisfy a man’s appetite.  My favorite part of the recipe is this!20160118_113629_resized

Do you see it sticking out like an iceberg in the middle?  What is that you ask?  It’s a parmesan cheese rind, and it is delicious!  Makes the soup have a cheesy flavor.  So perfect.  My favorite addition was the turkey meatballs, and my favorite swap out was ditalini for brown rice elbows.  (I use Tinkyada brown rice noodles.  Get them at Walmart.  Never mushy and perfect al dente!)

If you are jonesing for a good soup, give this one a shot!  You won’t be sorry!  And please don’t skip the step of pureeing some of the beans for the broth.  It gives it this perfect silky thickness that makes it all the more comforting!  I am bumping up the fresh herbs in here because I think the soup needs it.  It will look like a lot, but will give it the best flavor.  And be sure to top with a tsp or 2 of Parmesan or Romano cheese!

Mighty Meatball Minestrone


For the meatballs:

  • 1.33 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash grated
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard for moisture
  • 2 tbsps each  chopped sage, rosemary, and thyme
  • salt and pepper

For the soup:

  • 1.5 cans of white beans (I used great northern and keep the juice for the broth)
  • 1 32 oz box reduced sodium chicken stock plus 1 cup extra stock
  • 4 small carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks halved and sliced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 medium zucchini quartered and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves microplaned
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes with juice
  • Parmesan rind (Don’t leave this out)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary….leaves left on the sprig
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1/3 c chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsps fresh thyme
  • 2 cups spinach, kale, swiss chard or a combo of them
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice elbows (I love Tinkyada brand)
  • Extra parmesan or romano cheese for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 º.  Oil your baking sheet to Make your meatballs.  Put all your ingredients into a ball and combine with your hands!  (They’re your best kitchen tools!)  Roll into small meatballs and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or so depending on size.  (They don’t have to cook through completely because they will finish cooking in the soup!
  2. Make your soup thickener.  Take 1 cup beans with a little of the juice from the can and blend them with 1 cup chicken stock to make the broth of the soup a little heartier.
  3. Add meatballs, pureed beans, and the rest of the ingredients (except the brown rice elbows) into your slow cooker.  Turn crockpot on low and heat for 6-7 hours.
  4. Check your seasonings with about an hour left to determine if you need more salt, pepper, or herbs.
  5. About an hour before the soup is done, cook your brown rice pasta or whole wheat elbows according to package directions.  When ready to serve, you can use your 3/4 of a yellow container of noodles and place in your bowl.  Then top it off with 1.5 green container of soup and a little cheese for garnish.  (If you need a little extra broth feel free to add.)
  6. The serving info above will utilize 1 yellow, 1 red, 1 green, 1/2 blue.

I hope you enjoy this soup.  I hope it is easy for working mommas and papas, but it brings comfort to a cold winter’s day as you snuggle up with your family!

And just to end on a high note.  My hubby is starting to join me in the working out department.  Caught him in this stellar outfit yesterday working on his waistline!  LOL!  Love this guy.  It’s the socks that especially steal my heart.  20160118_170744_resized


Any questions or comments, please feel free to Email Me.  Need help on your journey to the healthiest, happiest year of your life?  If you need a fitness coach that will walk your journey with you and encourage you that all things are possible, check out My Site, join my team, shop for amazing products to help get your journey started, and automatically get entered into my next challenge group!


About ajoyborrelli

My daughter, Emme, came into my life in December of 2011. I recently resigned a teaching position to be a stay at home mom and take care of her. This blog chronicles our days, activities, and lessons learned along the way!
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