Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vegetable, Red Lentil and Mini Turkey Meatballs Stew

My Mother is in the last year of her 80's and, thankfully, is still healthy and active.  She isn't cooking very much for herself from scratch any longer, however, and basically opens cans and has trouble eating anything that requires a lot of chewing.  I often make a large eight quart stockpot full of soup or stew for her, so that I can make multiple one quart servings for her to freeze and then later re-heat as she needs them. I always try to make the recipes as full of vegetables and protein as I can to make it nutritious, and if I add meat I make sure it is lean and easy to chew.

When Knorr's offered, through BlogHer, to send a package of their new condensed Chicken Homestyle Stock product for us to try, and enter in their "Four Recipe Contest" I was excited to have the opportunity and knew I would make good use of it.  The package contained four tubs that were slightly larger than an ounce each of chicken flavor with other natural flavor low fat cholesterol free, stock, each with no added MSG.

As you can see from the directions on the box, each tub can be reconstituted with 3 1/2 cups of boiling water to make that measurement of stock.  It can also be reconstituted with any liquid, such as fruit juices or ciders. It can also be used undiluted as a poultry rub, stirred into 3 cups cooking liquid of pasta or rice to add flavor to those dishes, or stirred into pan drippings to make a gravy.  Its small size makes storage easy, and there is no waste.

When I received my package of Knorr's Homestyle chicken Stock I decided to make a vegetable rich stew that contained lentils, mini turkey meatballs and whole wheat pasta so that it would be a complete "meal in a bowl" for my Mom.

Vegetable, Red Lentil, Pasta and Mini Turkey Meatball Stew

Prep time: one hour
Cooking Time: one hour
Serves: 14, two cup servings


3 Tablespoons olive oil
Three stalks celery, chopped small
Four large carrots, chopped small
One large onion, chopped small
One large red pepper, chopped small
Two garlic cloves, crushed and minced
Two pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
One pound package of dried red lentils, sorted over and rinsed.
Two tubs of Knorr's condensed Chicken Homestyle Stock
Seven cups of water.
Two teaspoons ground ginger
Two teaspoons cumin
Two teaspoons turmeric
Two teaspoons red chili paste
One teaspoon garam masala

Turkey Meatball additions:

One pound ground turkey meat
Two eggs, beaten slightly
1/4 grated Pecorino Romano cheese
One half cup seasoned bread crumbs
Two tablespoons dried parsley
One teaspoon of ground black pepper

Cooked separately and added as final ingredients:

Two pounds of spinach, rinsed and boiled in 1/2 cup water
Thirteen and a quarter ounces whole wheat rotini (or any small bite size pasta of choice) boiled separately in water according to package directions, minus two minutes, two cups of pasta water reserved in case it is needed.


Saute the chopped celery, carrots, onion and red pepper in the three tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat, stirring well frequently.

When the vegetables are translucent, after around ten minutes, add the minced garlic and turn heat down to low.

Add the cubed sweet potatoes, and seven cups of water. Bring heat higher and bring to a boil.  Add the two tubs of Knorr's Chicken Stock and stir well.

Turn the heat to medium/low and add the red lentils to the pot and add all spices. Allow to come to a low boil/simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook ten minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the turkey meatball ingredients together and form into small 3/4 inch meatballs.

Begin to boil the water to cook the pasta. 

Quickly add the turkey meatballs to the pot one by one, gently stirring now and then to submerge them in the stock. Cover the pot and keep the stew cooking on a low boil, adjusting the heat as needed. Allow to simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Boil the spinach in a another pot with the half cup of water and drain well. Add cooked spinach to the stew. Boil the pasta in the separate pot of boiling water for two minutes less than package directions, then drain, reserving two cups of the pasta water to add to the stew as needed to keep a liquid consistency. Stir well, and cover. Cook on a low simmer another five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle about two cups of the stew into a bowl and serve.  I like to grate extra Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese on top of each serving.

The vegetables and lentils really incorporate well into the delicious Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock and become a creamy consistency. The spices add the perfect extra punch of flavor without making the stew too spicy and they enhance the sweet potato flavor.  The lentils, meatballs and whole wheat pasta make this a filling, nutritious and delicious meal!

This is a photo I took the last time I made soup for my Mom to take home. to freeze.  I allow the soup to cool and place it in one quart containers so she has enough for a few meals in each one. You can do this with your favorite soups or stews for yourself, a new mother, someone who is recuperating from an illness or surgery or a new neighbor.  It's a wonderful way to share some love!

Thanks to Knorr and BlogHer for allowing me to take part in the Knorr Four Recipe Contest with this entry!  I am looking forward to seeing what all the other participants have done with their sample of the Knorr Concentrated Homestyle Chicken stock over on the special Blogher Four Recipe Contest, and I'm sure you'll want to check in too! Anyone can enter this contest up until July 15, 2011--read the rules at this link.

I am also adding this link on Michael Lee's blog Designs By Gollum for her wonderful "Foodie Friday" event! Besides Michael's always creative food entry, there are always wonderful recipes and food events linked up on her event every week--be sure to check it out!

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Emily Rittel-King said...

Oh my gosh! With pictures like that I'm glad I'm planning to have pasta for dinner tonight. I wish it was your recipe! I think I'll give it a go sometime. Thanks!

Happy@Home said...

You sure did make good use of this new product. I am contemplating what to make for dinner and then your post pops up. This looks so good to me. I will be trying it for sure. A bonus for me is your addition of turmeric. I have heard this ingredient may help prevent Alzheimer's so I am always on the lookout for recipes that contain it. They aren't easy to find.
You are such a sweet daughter to take such good care of your dear mother. Although, I have no doubts that she has taken good care of you too. What a blessing that she is doing so well in her late 80s.
Thanks for sharing.

Barbara F. said...

This soup looks incredible, Pat, and so nutritious, if we ate like this everyday we would all enjoy a ripe old age. Blessings to your mom, Pat, she is a special lady I'm sure. xo,

Elizabeth said...

I bet your mother is thrilled with all the 'ready-meals' you make for her!
They look really tasty and well balanced.......
What bliss it would be to cook say once a week and just warm stuff up otherwise!

The Gathering Place said...

Your soup looks delicious and different from the usual soups I make. I'll have to give it a try!

Yvette said...

I have to say, this looks mighty delicious, Pat. :)

And I love all the photos. Looking at photos of food is almost as good as eating the food...ALMOST!

Having your mama in your life still at this age is a wonderful thing.

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

This looks like a very hearty and healthy soup Pat, I'm sure your Mom will love it! I've never seen that stock before, how fun that they sent you some to try! I'll look for it the next time I go to the store:@)

pam said...'s really hot and REALLY humid here but I'm now hungry for some of that stew. That looks amazing. I'll have to try this...thanks Pat.

Old Kitty said...

Oh I love how you present this recipe - I could smell the aromas through the screen and even as I'm a vegetarian, I appreciate great nutritious home cooked meals like this!! Yay for you and yay for your mum!!! Awwww she sounds just lovely!!!

Take care

Claudia said...

I love complete meals in one bowl - this is a wonder of nutrition and taste for the young and the ... older. Will definitely try this when the weather cools. I am glad to hear your mother is doing well!

Jenny said...

This sounds filling and delicious. I would definitely try this product. I love good stock!

Vee said...

You are such a good daughter! That really does look like the most nutritious and delicious meal. I think you're a winner already in the Knorr's Recipe Contest.

I laughed about "corker." Perhaps we only have to be concerned if Californians use that expression. Maybe it's an East Coast thing. ☺

ellen b. said...

Pat, This really looks good! I love the addition of the lentils to the stew...

Ginny said...

This looks so good!!! But what a lot of work!! You are such a good daughter! Now here's the real way to tell how good it is, make chicken broth with it by adding boiling water, and compare the taste to Swansons and Campbells.

Judie said...

Pat, I am saving this recipe! It looks soooo like comfort food.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Sounds delicious, Pat... Your Mom is lucky to have you nearby to help as needed. As active as they are, our elderly parents do NEED us....

That stew sounds incredible --and SO healthy... Thanks for sharing.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

You sure packed a lot of nutrition into that soup. And I'll bet it tastes great too. How wonderful for you to take the time to do that for your mom. You're so lucky to still have her in your life.

Chatty Crone said...

I'm making some food tomorrow for a party on Saturday - wish you were here - chopping those veggies so small - they looked great.

Jacqueline said...

Those are the cutest little meatballs ever! I love that idea and everyone would die over those little guys! Yummy. Wish you lived next door and packaged me up some! Wouldn't that be fun to have a foodie next door and when you blogged and had to much you could just share?

Grandmother said...

Great recipe but without the meatballs for me. The lentils provide good protein. What a nice thing to do for your Mom or anyone who needs help with food. Thanks.

podso said...

This is my kind of cooking and looks delicious and nutritious. I will try it. I love using red lentils. Our moms are the same age.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Wow, that is PACKED with goodness, Pat!! Excellent! And, I know your mom really appreciates your thoughtfulness!! blessings ~ tanna

Tracy said...

Your photo looks like something from a magazine spread, Pat... WOW! This looks so good, I really have to try this one. I love red lentils, sweet potatoes. Since I've been trying to eat meat again a bit, I should try the ground turkey for burger, meatballs. Thanks for the inspiration--as always! :o) Happy Weekend ((HUGS))

Houseelf said...

Great recipe Pat I'm sure your Mum loves it and all the trouble you have taken. We have Knorr over here too. Sadly a lot of them have celery in so I haven't been able to try many.

I always feel hungry when leaving here. :-)

Kim, USA said...

Hmm this is super yummy! I love pasta and this one looks great ^_^

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

That looks really good!

Kris said...

Oh my! My stuffy head, achy fever, hurt all over body could sure use some of that right about now!!!!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

It looks delicious...and nutricious! What a nice treat for your mom.

Carol said...

Pat, that looks delicious! What a great daughter you are. Nothing like a well stocked freezer for mom :)
I have to look for those Knorr's.

Theresa Milstein said...

This looks delicious. My favorite photos are the fresh cut produce and the pot of meatballs. I love meatballs and comfort food. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

This looks DELICIOUS! I'll have to try this. Yum!

Susan said...

This sounds awesome,(though hubster doesn't like spinach and sweet potatoes...I might be able to get away with the spinach) what is chile paste? I have never heard of it or seen it. and the other ingredient gruam masala??
Damn Pat!! you made me very hungry, these seems like awesome cold weather food...some nice french or Italian bread and butter with it!!!! How did you get the company to sent you free stuff to try? I'd sure like to be a "cooking guinea pig".

I am wondering if after you receive the card set I owe (coming soon--we had a very rough few months) if you would be willing to send me an already printed copy of this wonderful recipe!

PS...sorry i haven't commented in a bit, but I have been here as usual I LOVE all your wonderful photos!

ARLENE said...

What a fabulous stew! I love that it's got the lentils and turkey meatballs as well as all the wonderful veggies. Pasta is a bonus; a real meal in a bowl. Lucky mom!

PⒿ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

It looks EXCELLENT, Pat! With your beautiful photos, I can see a cookbook in your future.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

You are a wonderful daughter to make such well-balanced and easy-to-heat-and-eat meals for her.

This sounds delicious and something I would love too!

Cindy said...

WOW!!! That recipe sounds amazing! And the Knorr chicken stock sounds really wonderful, too. I'm sure your mother enjoyed it immensely.
Hugs, Cindy

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

This looks absolutely delicious, and your photos are all so artistically arranged. I am impressed with those colorful rows of chopped veggies!

Lovella ♥ said...

Pat. .that looks positively fantastic. What a great stew ..which totally made my mouth water. I'm so hungry right now too ..think I'll go see about making our own dinner.

Anonymous said...

This looks REALLY delicious!

Gracie said...

I must give it a try!