This soup from Kim’s Cravings may look like it takes hours to make, but thanks to a few smart shortcuts like pre-made meatballs and jarred marinara sauce, it’s actually super easy. Topped with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, it’s sure to be an instant family favorite.

1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (24-26 oz.) jar prepared marinara
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 whole bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 (16 oz.) package meatballs (I like Carando Italian Meatballs)
8 oz. rotini pasta
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup milk or half and half (I use almond milk)

1. Heat a large skillet over medium to high heat. Add crushed tomatoes, marinara, chicken broth, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar and seasonings to skillet. Bring to boil, then reduce to a low simmer.

2. Add meatballs to simmering soup, cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Add pasta and simmer over medium high heat for 10-12 minutes or until noodles are al dente.

3. Remove from heat, discard bay leaf and stir in Parmesan cheese until melted followed by milk/half and half. If you like a thinner soup, stir in additional chicken broth or water.

4. Garnish individual servings with grated Parmesan, parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tell us what you and your kids think of this recipe in the comments below!

This recipe and photo come from Kim of Kim’s Cravings. She’s all about healthy recipes that appeal to kids and adults alike—check out her website to get even more meal inspiration.