Spicy Meatball Orzo Soup #FreakyFriday

My blogger buddy—Michaela, from the wonderful An Affair from the Heart—had this really fun idea: Freaky Friday! No, this doesn't involve Jodie Foster or Lindsay Lohan. But do you remember the premise of that movie? Mom and daughter switch bodies and get a taste of each other's life and learn valuable lessons. C'mon, you know you loved it.

For this Freaky Friday, a bunch of food bloggers are getting a taste of each other's recipes! And learning valuable lessons, maybe? We've each been randomly assigned to another participant's blog; from that blog we choose one recipe to make, taste, photograph, and write about. More fun than freaky, if I'm being honest.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to the fantastic PicNic. Nicole, the brain (and palate) behind the blog, is a New Zealander who loves fresh ingredients, limits processed foods, and creates food that is simple and tasty. I mean, were we separated at birth? A girl after my own heart, that's for sure.

There were lots of recipes that were calling my name: the Chili Chicken Pita Pizzas looked like a wonderful weeknight meal. These divine Triple Chocolate Cookies would certainly thrill my son and husband, who are both chocolate chip cookie fiends.

And then...I saw the Spiced Beef Risoni Soup. Now, this is my kind of recipe. Hearty and spicy, simple and satisfying—a perfect meal for a cold winter's night. Plus, my husband loves meatballs even more than he loves chocolate chip cookies!

I'm always on the lookout for meals for my clients. This would be a fantastic postpartum meal, in those weeks recovering from childbirth. This soup is loaded with protein and carbs—for energy and satiety—as well as iron and Vitamin C, so crucial in healing. It's a great meal for rebuilding your body's strength.

For the record, I slightly altered the name of the recipe for my readers, the majority of whom are in the United States—maybe it's a U.S. versus New Zealand thing but I never hear anyone call this rice-shaped pasta risoni ("big rice" in Italian). It did make me wonder how orzo became the name of choice in the U.S. for this pasta...but that's neither here nor there.

  • about 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red chili or bell pepper, chopped
  • cayenne pepper
  • 2 16-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup orzo/risoni
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef stock
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine beef, egg, breadcrumbs, and half of the chopped garlic. Form into teaspoon-sized meatballs.

Heat a large sauce pan over medium-high with a bit of oil. Brown the meatballs, then add the rest of the garlic, as well as the chili (or bell pepper). Cook for a few minutes, then add the cayenne.

Add the tomatoes, orzo, stock, and sriracha. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for about 10 minutes. The meatballs should be cooked through and the orzo should be tender.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more hot sauce. Serve in big bowls with bread on the side (I served it with garlic naan).


And go check out the deliciousness at all the other Freaky Friday blogs!
*A Dish Of Daily Life *An Affair from the Heart *Aunt Bee’s Recipes *Big Rigs ‘n Lil Cookies *Café Terra Blog *Honey & Birch *Life Currents *Simply Sated *Stephie Cooks *The Foodie Affair *Who Needs A Cape?


  1. Now THIS is a soup, I have to try! Looks and sounds amazing!

  2. Oh heck ya, this soup has my name all over it! I have been having fun making soups lately, and really love this recipe. It looks sooooo good! Yum, Hugs, Terra

  3. It really is! Perfect, hearty soup for wintertime.

  4. Thanks so much for organizing this, what a gorgeous array of food everyone made!

  5. Terra, it was delish! I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did :-)

  6. I am so excited that you made this soup. I LOVE this recipe and you have done an amazing job of it! Thank you so much!

  7. Thanks so much, that means a lot!

  8. I love that this soup has orzo in it, one of my favorite things to use! YUM!

  9. This soup is definitely going on my must make list. From the meatballs, to the spice and tomatoes... you can't go wrong! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

  10. Delicious looking soup! This is one that I need to make. I've been craving soups during this chilly spell we've been having! So glad to connect and check out all the recipes on this blog hop!

  11. I know, i feel like i'm practically living on soups during this frigid winter!

  12. I know, so much goodness in one pot! ;-)

  13. I think i need to use it more than I have been ;-)

  14. This looks so good! It's pretty chilly here today, and we even got rain! So, this soup sounds perfect! What a fun recipe to choose for Freaky Friday!

  15. Since we're never going to get rid of winter, let's all just eat fabulous soup like this and pretend we're not having another ice storm. This soup looks so good!

  16. I happen to have some leftover orzo I didn't know what to do with. Perfect timing - this sounds delicious!

  17. Sonali- The Foodie PhysicianMarch 3, 2015 at 12:34 AM

    Freaky Friday sounds like such a fun idea! And this soup looks so tasty and comforting!

  18. fullbellysistersMarch 3, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    it was meant to be ;-)

  19. fullbellysistersMarch 3, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    Seriously, just when i think we're headed for spring...more snow! It's kind of exhausting :-/

  20. fullbellysistersMarch 3, 2015 at 7:00 AM

    Thanks, Debi!

  21. fullbellysistersMarch 3, 2015 at 7:00 AM

    thanks, Sonali!

  22. I am a huge soup fan...in the fall and winter we eat it every week! This looks like a yummy one to try!! So glad to have met you via Freaky Friday!

  23. fullbellysistersMarch 4, 2015 at 9:40 AM

    Likewise! :-)

  24. Susie Gall/Simply SatedMarch 4, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    I adore meatballs - love, love them and this recipe that is packed full of flavor sounds fantastic. Terrific job with Freaky Friday and with Nic's recipe.

  25. fullbellysistersMarch 4, 2015 at 8:15 PM

    Thanks, Susie. My husband is a meatball fiend! He really enjoyed it—and so did I :-)


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