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January Polar Plunge: How to stay warm

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Cleveland, and most of the nation, is engulfed in a deep polar freeze. We are about to experience the lowest temperatures we have had in over 20 years. Temperatures with the wind chill are about to dip as low as 40 below zero! With the combination of a Winter Storm Warning and Wind Chill Advisory, now is the time to prepare to keep your family warm.

Our family has eaten this soup since we were babies. Papa Nick's Meatball soup is partly chicken soup, partly Italian Meatball soup and vegetables all rolled into one delicious pot of soup. So clean out the cupboards and start this soup today to keep you warm and toasty for days!

THIS IS A TWO DAY PROCESS - ONE HUUUUUUUUGE STOCK POT........

4 SPLIT CHICKEN BREASTS WITH BONE (REMOVE SKIN)
1/2 BAG BABY CARROTS (hold on to other half -you need it later)
1 ONION - skin and everything - cut into fourths
5 CELERY STALKS - include leaves
4 - 5 BOXES (BIG ONES) OF CHICKEN BROTH
1 SMALL CAN TOMATO SAUCE
2 tsp. PEPPER
*** you can now clean out your fridge - any leftover veggies or anything you want to add - you are only making the stock now and will strain everything later***

PUT EVERYTHING IN A STOCK POT - BRING TO A BOIL - THEN SIMMER FOR ABOUT 2 HOURS......After cooling, remove chicken breasts and put aside. Strain the remainder and put back in stock pot. Remover chicken from bone and cut into bitesize pieces. Put back into strained stock. Place in refigerator overnight.

Meatballs
2 lbs. ground beef
3/4 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chopped onion flakes
1 tsp. dried parsley

Combine and mix well....form into marble sized meatballs. Get the kids to help with this - it takes forever.....Place raw meatballs aside.
Get stock pot out. Remove layer of fat from top. Bring back to boil and lower to simmer - taste and make sure it has enough salt/pepper to your taste....I didn't put salt on top ingredients because chicken broth generally has enough, but you may want to add more.

Soup Veggies & Pasta
6-8 large potatoes cut into fourths so the size is fairly large
Remaining half of baby carrots - or more if you'd like
3-4 celery stalks cut into 1/2 inch pieces

****optional - 3/4 C pasta - any type but Orzo works best
****optional - 3/4 C quick cooking Barley - if you add this, you must add this first and cook for 20 minutes BEFORE adding the veggies****

Put veggies into soup/chicken. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add meatballs - bring to a boil and then lower to simmer. The meatballs are totally cooked once they rise to the top but then allow to simmer for about 20 more minutes. Stir occasionally.

**********Once you add all the veggies and meatballs you may need to add another box of stock so you many want to have it on hand.

Chicken Breasts
Chicken Breasts MADC

Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts (bone-in) give the best taste.  Personal preference for leaving skin on or removing.  A whole chicken works great.

Meatballs
Meatballs MADC

Meatballs

Rolling the meatballs is a tedious task but the smaller you roll them, the tastier the soup.  The size of a marble works best. A tip:  after mixing the meat mixture, cover and allow to sit in refrigerator for 2 hours and let the flavors develop.

Papa Nick's Meatball Soup
Papa Nick's Meatball Soup MADC

Papa Nick's Meatball Soup

The best soup ever!  Perfect for adults and children.  When serving for toddlers, the vegetables and meatballs can be crushed with a fork to make it easier for them to eat.  So nutritious.

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