If I Were Italian

Let’s see…Well first, I suppose, I might have long, luxuriously thick dark hair.

And beautiful, glowing olive skin. Maybe I’d be thin. And leggy.


I’d be fiery, mysterious, and sultry. I’d have the most glorious accent- I’d sing opera!!

But wait. I’m not Italian. Not even a tiny bit. I haven’t even watched The Godfather in it’s entirety, for Pete’s sake.

My hair’s pretty thick, but all those other things? Nada. Or should I say niente?

My point is, though, If I were Italian I’d want this soup served at my wedding. Or at someone’s wedding. Or maybe at breakfast.

More to the point (Italian or not) you’re just going to want to eat this. At a wedding, or just on a Tuesday.

Whichever comes first. It truly is so, so good.

At first glance it looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s really not. And wanna know a secret? If you’re a hesitant cook and not particularly confident in your skills? Soup is definitely a forgiving recipe to start (and end!) with. There are seriously all kinds of tweaks you can make. Adjustments and substitution possibilities abound.

Last, let me take an opportunity again to encourage you all to go out and buy these if you haven’t already.

This stuff is the absolute best for adding all day long, slow-cooked flavor and goodness to so many things. I use it all the time. I promise you’ll thank me!

Here’s my recipe- Whether you’re fancy and Italian, or if you’re like me and your people just wandered over from Alabama, I hope you make it soon!

Italian Wedding Soup

Luann at Hobnob Kitchen


For the meatballs:

1 pound bulk Italian sausage (sweet)

1 pound ground chuck

2/3 cup breadcrumbs ( I use Progresso)

2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

3 tablespoons milk

1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4c- 1 cup minced onion

1 cup diced carrots (about 3 carrots)

3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks)

1T. Better than Bouillon Chicken Base flavor (I use the reduced sodium version)

1 t. Better than Bouillon Garlic Base flavor

6-8 cups chicken stock

1 cup white wine

1 cup orzo

1/4 cup minced fresh dill or 1 T. dried dill

8-10 ounces baby spinach, washed and stems removed


  1. For the meatballs, place the ground chuck, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley,  Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with clean hands. Measuring with a small cookie scoop roll 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs and panfry for around 5-6 minutes or until brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels.(You should have about 40 meatballs. (They don’t have to be perfectly round.)

Note: If  you’d prefer, form the meatballs, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

  • Meanwhile, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine, and both flavors of the Better than Bouillon and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted.
  • Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

Pork (or Chicken) Chili Stew

I wish I could say I’m a planner, but I’m not. When everyone else is plotting out their new year on color-coded calendars (shout out to Kay who blocks out 10-11 am EVERY DAY for Price is Right!) and recording their calligraphy dreams in pretty bullet journals, I’m just gawking from the sidelines. I do make the effort to buy a new day planner each year, but if history serves, sometime around January 20th or so I forget it exists.


So the chances of me being much of a meal planner? Not so high. It’s not unusual to find me helplessly in front of the fridge (darn that awful buzzer that warns you the doors have been open too long!) scanning the crammed shelves for things that could make a meal. Or forget a meal- even one dish that could be edible. I could give you a long list of things I’ve tried that don’t work (cucumbers, pasta and pepperoni were not a winner, y’all), but it’s probably more useful to share the things that did.

Here’s a good one. Really good.

Jim said I could market it which is pretty high praise since he also is the one who experienced the cucumber/pepperoni thing.

Bless him.

Pork (or Chicken) Chili Stew

Luann at Hobnob Kitchen


2 c. cooked pork (or chicken) cut into bite sized pieces

½ yellow bell pepper, chopped

½ red bell pepper, chopped

½ medium white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T ground green chili seasoning

1T ground red chili seasoning

1 T. Better than Bouillon (chicken flavor)

Approximately 3 cups chicken broth (low sodium)

1 15 oz. can whole tomatoes, undrained, and roughly cut

1 15 oz. Ranchero (or Mexican style or most any kind) beans, undrained

2 cups fresh spinach leaves


Heat about 3 T. of oil in a Dutch oven. On medium heat saute the peppers, onion and garlic until slightly translucent. Add the green and red chili seasoning along with the Better than Bouillon and saute another 2-3 minutes.

Add the pork (or chicken) and stir well, sautéing another 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans, and spinach, stirring well. Add the chicken broth.

Boil for about 10 minutes on low. Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with cornbread.