heralding october with italian meatball soup

Our temps have dropped the past couple of days and there is a faint scent of a woodburning stove in my neighborhood as I walk across the crunchy leaves on my deck.  Once again I am trying to find an indoor place to put asparagus ferns and philodendrons that have grown delightfully unruly outside all summer. I have to bring them in so next spring they can give my deck a jump start to paradise.

Today will be busy.  I have three days to finish a couple writing projects, interview a guest for the next 3 podcasts, do laundry, and get packed for a trip to see the new baby. I am trying to leave the house in some sort of reasonable order, whatever that means. I think it means a clean spot on the kitchen counter for the multiple packages of Little Debbie snack cakes that Clay and the guys love to eat while I am gone. Gross.

Over the weekend I made this soup, which was a tweaked version of one I found in a magazine. This is the time of year when there is still a lot of fresh local garden produce which makes this recipe extra delicious. Everyone really liked it so we will make it again. Oh, and if you close your eyes and eat this out on the deck, it is like sitting in this picture.  Sort of.  Did anyone see Enchanted April?

Italian Meatball Soup

1 cup dry bread crumbs
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. coarse salt
2 pounds ground beef
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
8 cups water
8 tsp. beef bouillon granules or soup starter
2 14 oz. cans stewed tomatoes with Italian seasoning
2 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
4 sliced carrots
1 medium onion, chopped or sliced
2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
2 cups green beans, fresh or frozen
1 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS  dried parsley
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 or 2 cups rotini pasta

Mix together first 6 ingredients and shape into meatballs.  Brown in pan over medium heat, adding olive oil if meat is lean. Remove with slotted spoon and drain.

In the meantime, place all other ingredients except pasta in a pot and bring to a simmer.  Add meatballs and continue to simmer until vegetables are nearly tender.  Add pasta and continue to cook on low until pasta is al dente.

This makes 10 hearty servings and is really good served with crusty Italian or garlic bread. As you wold expect, it is even better reheated the next day for lunch.

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