feasting with friends

Mini Meatball Orzo Soup with Parmesan Crisps

mini meatball orzo soup w/parmesan crispsI love days when I’m on a recipe hunt, I find the perfect dish of the day, and lo and behold… I have every ingredient on hand. It’s somewhat serendipitous! What was even better? It was a soup – and the day was gray and chilly. I wanted “just” soup for dinner. The orzo soup recipe didn’t seem quite hearty enough on it’s own, so I made the mini-meatballs using ground chicken to “beef” it up a bit. Topped with the parmesan crisps… perfect.

My stock making skills are were quite equal with my pie crust making skills [unsuccessful]. However Paula, at Constantly Cooking, had a post last week titled “Back to Basics: Vegetable Stock”. Paula’s easy to follow instructions gave me hope! And guess what? I made it and it was great! Thank you Paula 🙂

To make the Vegetable Stock Recipe, please visit [click there →] Constantly Cooking. Her directions are clear, concise and 100% doable!

Here are my “steps to stock” pictures [My apologies for the “yellow” pics. Reflective stainless steel does not photograph well!]:

    1. Cook down some veggies.

1. Cook down some veggies.

2. Add some more veggies

2. Add some more veggies, cook down more.

3. Add water, herbs & seasoning

3. Add water, herbs & seasonings.

4. Strain the stock

4. Strain the stock.

5. Voila

5. Voila!

While the stock is simmering, on to the meatballs…

Mini Chicken Meatballs


1/2 pound ground chicken
1/4-1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 Tablespoon milk
1/2 Tablespoon ketchup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


• In a medium sized bowl, lightly whisk egg and milk.

•Add the ground chicken, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, ketchup, salt and pepper. Use a rubber spatula or your hands [I use my hands, just remove any rings first!] mix all ingredients until thoroughly blended. Add more bread crumbs as necessary if mixture is too soft [if it won’t hold together when making into balls, you need more bread crumbs].

mini chicken meatballs

•Heat a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle with olive oil. Form mixture in 1/2 inch diameter meatballs. The desire is to make them into “bite sized” portions. My yield was about 4 dozen.

•Brown meatballs. Do not overcrowd the skillet. You need room to turn or roll the meatballs to brown evenly on all sides. In my 12 inch skillet, I browned about 2 dozen at a time. Drizzle more olive oil as needed. Each batch will only take about 5 minutes due to the mini size. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.

mini chicken meatballs

Parmesan Crisps

Instructions/Directions: Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grate Parmesan cheese in 1 Tablespoon mounds, leaving about 1 inch between. Bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool before removing from tray.

parmesan crisps parmesan crisps

Tip: Save the rind of the Parmesan cheese [it freezes well] and add chunks of about an inch or so to soups. It adds a wonderful, added boost of flavor.

Orzo Soup with Spinach, Tomatoes & Mini Meatballs


1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained * [see note below]
15 ounce can diced Italian tomatoes [with basil and oregano]
8 ounces orzo pasta
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 inch chunk of Parmesan rind, optional

*Note: The 5 ounces of spinach is 1/2 of the standard 10 ounce package. The frozen spinach can easily be sliced in half before thawing, allowing 1/2 to remain frozen and stowed away for another use.


•Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft. Add minced garlic; saute for a minute or two, just until fragrant.

•Add tomatoes, spinach, stock, water and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 20-25 minutes.

•Add orzo and meatballs. Cook 12-15 minutes, until orzo is tender and meatballs are heated through. Remove and toss remainder of cheese rind before serving.

•Ladle soup into bowls, top with Parmesan crisp.

mini meatball orzo soup w/parmesan crisps

Don’t forget to stop by Constantly Cooking for the stock recipe.

Meatballs adapted from foodnetwork.com, Soup adapted from: recipesquickneasy.com, Parmesan crisps from: yummymummykitchen.com


  1. Pingback: Mini Meatballs with Orecchiette | feasting with friends

  2. This looks delicious. Meatballs in soup is always a treat for me. I love it, too, when I’m lucky enough to have all of the ingredients on-hand for a new recipe. It doesn’t happen often but, when it does, I feel like I’ve hit the lottery. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us.

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