The Ultimate Pantry & Freezer Meal…Zuppa di Ravioli

zuppa di ravioliThere are times when a good pantry, refrigerator, and freezer clean out are needed.  Digging all the way to the back of the pantry or freezer will at times turn up items that you can’t even remember buying, but as long as they aren’t freezer burned or out of date/stale, you owe it to your wallet to find a way to use them.  Sometimes, I think that’s when I get the most creative.  

With 2 kids, who, at times, will complain about everything put in front of them, I need to use ingredients that they are guaranteed to like, while sneaking in healthy stuff like spinach, squash, peppers, celery.  While I don’t advocate lying to your children, bending the truth and playing dumb are perfectly acceptable.  If Ean thinks for one minute that a dish MIGHT have squash or zucchini, he’ll refuse to eat or he’ll spend an hour sifting through to remove any trace of the rogue vegetables.  My solution, cut them up so minutely tiny that he never knows they are there.  Does it work?  ABSOLUTELY!  You have no idea how many times I’ve slipped zucchini, carrots, and the dreaded spinach into spaghetti sauce.  It’s hard to chop fresh spinach, so I just tell him it’s an herb.  He believes it with no further questioning. Oh, and shoot the kids some creative name for a dish and they’ll eat it every time.  My mother always got my brother to eat baked beans by adding hot dogs cut lengthwise baked on top and calling them “dinosaur bones.”  He fell for it every time, and probably still makes them…at 38 years old!

 Zuppa di Ravioli

1/2 c chopped onions
1/2 c chopped celery
1/2 c chopped bell pepper
1/2 c chopped carrot
3 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c frozen corn
1/2 c frozen peas
15 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 qt beef broth
1 lb frozen turkey meatballs
1 bag(s) frozen cheese ravioli
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 c V8 or bloody mary mix
1 Tbsp dried parsley
grated Parmesan (for garnish)
1 zucchini, chopped
4 c fresh baby spinach
In a large soup pot, sauté onion, celery, pepper, garlic, and carrot in olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add beef broth, canned tomatoes, bloody mary mix/vegetable juice, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Add frozen turkey meatballs, frozen corn, and frozen peas. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 10 minutes. Add frozen ravioli, zucchini, and spinach. Cover and simmer an additional 10 minutes. To serve, add Parmesan cheese and dried parsley.

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