Sunday, January 5, 2014

Moroccan Meatball Soup

How are your New Year's Resolutions going? Mine are going splendidly as the Bear and I decided we didn't have much to resolve. I did, however, sign up for a 10k. I decided to set one goal to get myself back into running-- a 10k by May. A 10k is around 6.2 miles. Since I was not able to run through the months of July-October and I've run my share of 5k's, I thought this would be a fun goal. I went ahead and asked for suggestions on Facebook for a good 10k race. I love St. Patrick's day celebrations in Des Moines, Iowa. Call me crazy, but I went ahead and registered with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa to run the Leprechaun Chase 10k. Guess this moves the 10k by May to a 10k by March.

I know, a little soon, right?! I'm freaking out a little since I did quit my gym membership back in September when I thought we'd be expecting. Not to mention again that I have not run at all since July and it is well below zero with snow and wind chills that would have any Eskimo hiding out in their igloo. My solution, any activity will do. Yes, any activity. This includes cooking, cleaning, and my favorite workouts from Tone it Up. Since hitting the ripe old age of 30, my knees and ankles have gotten a little week. This has made getting back into running every time a little tough. I LOVE the workouts Katrina and Karina have created. They are the perfect subscription to strengthen muscles around the knees and ankles, preparing me to run when the weather permits. Seriously, if you have not checked them out when I've mentioned them before, check them out. These girls are awesome!! Now, how about some soup to warm your soul?

This soup is uber packed with veg my friends. Kale, zucchini, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and the like. Do I have you salivating or totally freaking out because you would not even touch a 10 foot long stick at the sight of kale? Well, quite being a whimp and try some kale already okay? Trust me, I wouldn't put anything into my mouth that tasted like you-know-what either. Kale is not that bad. Plus, this soup is super easy as it comes together in your Crock Pot. What is there not to love? For the love of kale, try it!

Moroccan Meatball Soup
inspired by Cook Light & Rachel Ray
Makes 8 1 1/2 cup servings, 5 WW points

4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup dried lentils
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped
3 cups frozen chopped butternut squash, thawed
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can omit this if you do not like heat)
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
Nonstick cooking spray
1 lb. ground chicken breast
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground flaxseed

Place all ingredients to the cooking spray in your slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and set on low. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and flax seed together. Form into 1 inch meatballs. Place the each meatball onto the baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are browned on the outside. Place the meatballs into the soup mixture to finish cooking. Cover and continue cooking in your slow cooker on low for 6 hours.

* Note, there was a slight change to the grocery list. I did not use liquid egg whites, as I found these to make the meatballs to liquidy. Instead, I used ground flax seed as this was a great binder for the meatballs.

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