Single Mom Chronicles November 13th 2019

Single Mom Chronicles November 13th 2019

I can’t believe it’s November.  Life has taken some pleasantly surprising turns the past few months.  If you’re a single mom, you know what it means to be flexible.  Flexibility is probably the key to single parenting success.  And you can’t be flexible without trusting your gut.  Relying on your natural instincts is not an easy thing to do.  You have to constantly shut out the worry.  I guess it was easier for me because when you have nothing, there’s nothing to lose.

I approach cooking that way a lot.  I think to myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  The problem is, as a single parent, adventures in food become a risk of resources.  So you play it safe.  I know how it is.  There’s comfort in that, though.  When the rest of your life is a day to day pendulum of uncertainty, safe food becomes a refuge.  At least it was for me.  And it kept me sane.  Ish.  Ha!

At the chance of sounding a bit mystical, I’m going out on a limb to say follow the signs.  It’s been a lifeline to survival that I’ve taken with me now that I’m no longer a single parent.  “What the heck is she blathering about now?” you might ask.  Well, I’m not even sure how to describe it.  I know….super helpful.

I’m just saying…if you know how to sew and people keep asking you to make stuff, then maybe you have the potential for a healthy money making side gig.  If you keep going after a certain kind of job and aren’t getting anywhere, maybe you should try something else.  If you get lots of compliments on your style, maybe you should think about being a stylist.  The examples are endless.  The point is….signs people!  Follow them!

Phew.  That was hard to get off my chest.  Lately, the signs have been pointing to soup.  Have you seen prices at the grocery stores recently?  As if eating couldn’t get any harder as a single parent.  Soup weather is here to save the day.  What I love about soups is that you can stretch them a mile and still get some protein in without busting your wallet open.

One of my kid’s favorite soups was Italian wedding soup.  It was super easy, super cheap, and loaded with protein.  In a pinch, the whole thing could be made from cans and a wee bit of bouillon.  If you don’t have time to transform ground pork into meatballs, you could just brown it and throw it in as is.  I’ve done that and trust me, it was fine.  It wasn’t glamorous, but really, who gives a crap?!

This soup is a great way to sneak some greens in, so you don’t need a veggie side dish.  If you don’t have access to fresh spinach, or frankly the time to deal with the washing of it, frozen spinach works just fine.  In a pinch, canned spinach drained with a little rinse also works.  I have to confess to using canned spinach as a punishment for the one time my kid refused to eat dinner.  Worked like a charm.

No time for pasta?  Open a can of garbanzos.  Got a cup of rice instead?  Perfect.  I’ve had none of those things so I used two heels of white bread, lightly buttered (or oiled because that’s happened, too) sprinkled with a little garlic salt and fried in the skillet or toasted in the oven.  Chop them up and voila!  Croutons!

Italian Wedding Soup

1 gallon chicken broth
2 lbs ground pork
2 eggs
1- 1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
2-3 lbs fresh spinach or 4 boxes frozen chopped
1 box acini di pepe pasta or orzo
Shredded parmesan for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

For the meatballs:
Combine the pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, and some salt and pepper all together and form into small~ish meatballs.  Place on a baking sheet and bake until browned on 350, about 20 minutes.

Drop the meatballs into the chicken broth in a large stock pot.  Add the spinach and the pasta.  Cook on medium high heat until the spinach is cooked.

Serve immediately and garnish with parmesan.  Enjoy!

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