Make Cooking During The Week Easier With The Six O’Clock Scramble

January 30, 2013   19 Comments

Are you feeling stressed out and guilty about providing haphazard, unhealthy dinners to your family?

Six Oclock Scramble

Join the club. I picked up a cooked chicken last week from the grocery store and my daughter informed me that it tasted like salted rubber. No, I am not making this up.

I should have made the meatball and orzo soup recipe below because it would have tasted a lot better and would only have taken 30 minutes.

I have a friend, Aviva Goldfarb, who takes the work out of planning and cooking meals. She created the The Six O’Clock Scramble, an online family dinner planner.

She sends you a grocery list and five recipes to cook from it to your inbox. The beauty of it is that you buy everything on the list, print out the recipes and when you walk in the door, you are ready to go. I used her service for a year until I had a group of “hits” that my family enjoyed. It was incredibly helpful.

The Six O’Clock Scramble gives thousands of families a ready-made, seasonal dinner plan for the week, including side dishes and a grocery list, sent right to your inbox.

All of the Scramble's recipes include complete nutritional information and Weight Watchers points so you can align them with your health and nutrition goals.

The meatball and orzo soup recipe is an example of the kind of recipes Aviva creates. There are carrots and spinach included to increase the vegetables your children will eat without noticing.

It costs $3-$6 per month for the subscription and you get two weeks for free to give it a try. Sign up here: The Six O’Clock Scramble

Snack Girl receives a small percentage of sales from the above link to The Six O’Clock Scramble.

Six Oclock Scramble

Meatball and Orzo Soup Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

From Aviva Goldfarb, The Six O’Clock Scramble

6 servings, about 1 ½ cups each

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1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, finely diced (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (3 cloves)
32 oz. reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
15 oz. no-salt added petite-diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1 lb. pre-cooked mini meatballs (often sold frozen), beef, turkey or meatless
½ cup ditalini noodles or orzo
3 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped


In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. When it is hot add the onions, carrots and garlic, and sauté them until they onions and carrots are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth, water, and tomatoes, cover it and bring it to a boil. Add the meatballs (if they are large, cut them in quarters) and orzo, and stir frequently for a minute or two so the noodles don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes, partially covered, stirring occasionally. (Meanwhile, warm the dinner rolls, if you are serving them.) Stir in the spinach and let it wilt for one minute. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, and serve it immediately.

Do Ahead or Delegate: Dice the onion and the carrots, peel the garlic, chop the spinach.

Scramble Flavor Booster: Use fire-roasted diced tomatoes rather than plain, and/or add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to the soup along with the orzo.

Tip: Keeping all cooked foods and liquids covered while in your refrigerator not only prevents spills and odors, but also helps to prevent the build-up of humidity.

Side Dish suggestion: Serve it with whole wheat or white dinner rolls, warmed in a 300 degree oven for 5 - 10 minutes.

Nutritional Information per serving (% based upon daily values):

Nutrition Facts

Calories 290, Total Fat 14.5g, 22.5%, Saturated Fat 4.5g, 22.5%, Cholesterol 38mg, 12.5%, Sodium 866mg, 36.5%, Total Carbohydrate 24.5g, 8% Dietary Fiber 3g, 14% Sugar 5g, Protein 16g, 8 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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Great idea! I love this kind of soup and i love how quick it is! Yum!

LOVE the Six O'Clock Scramble!

This would be good with or without meat and just add beans. Love soup.

Love the IDEA of the Six O'clock Scramble, but just looked at the sample recipes and none of them were something my picky family would all eat.

Also, Lisa, don't give up on the rotisserie chicken - a great standby! I on the other hand can't buy frozen meatballs - they taste rubbery to me...

Just looked further & found that they have a picky eater section & other alternatives for dietary needs - interesting...

I did the The Six O’Clock Scramble a few years ago for a few months. I was disappointed because after a while, the recipes would have the same ingredients but use a different meat/protein. It was like Aviva ran out of ideas. Hopefully, she has some better recipes to work with.

looks delicious.

silly question, but do you put the meatballs in frozen or do you need to defrost them first? Thank you!

Snack Girl, thank you so much for recommending The Scramble! Ruth, you can add the meatballs straight from being frozen, no need to defrost.

I avoid the dinnertime scramble by taking care of all my food prep during the weekend. Meals for the crockpot are in gallon size ziplocks, soups or casseroles, are fully cooked for fast re-heating, and veggies are washed and chopped for fast steaming. On nights we grill, the veggies can go right into the steamer while the grill does its job. Most nights we have a nutritious, whole food, from scratch meal in well under 10 minutes. Makes it worth the effort on the weekend - I won't lie, it's a lot of work!

There is also an awesome site that I have used called They also have the different menus, recipes, and grocery list. What is really nice is you can pick a specific store that you shop at ie: meijer, Walmart, whole foods, etc or just a generic store. Their recipes were awesome. They run special on Groupon or Living Social every so often. HIghly recommend.

Snack Girl, thanks for all of your advice. I enjoy reading your emails. I went onto the Scramble website for the free 2 week trial, and you can't get the free trail without giving them your credit card information. I understand that you can cancel the cc during your free trial, but most people forget. I hate it when sites like that make you give your card information. Oh well.

Hi Anne, thanks so much for checking out The Scramble. We make it really easy to cancel, no questions asked, but we've found things go a lot smoother if we grab credit card information on the front end. We also have some sample menus and recipes here although you don't get the full Scramble experience with customization and recipe search, etc.:…

I am going to try this for the shipping list alone!! I have a membership to another healthy eating site but they don't generate a separate shopping list for you! I hate going through and writing everything down! I'm homeschooling two kids I addition to spending 3 days at the YMCA every week and art classes on Saturday! Any way I can save even a few minutes is a life saver to me! Thanks Aviva! And as always, thank you Lisa for bringin another great idea to the forefront!!

We look forward to "Scrambling" with you, Tywana!

By "mini" meatballs do they mean "cocktail" size?

Dorothy, cocktail size would be perfect. Look for low fat and low sodium meatballs when possible. We like the ones from Mom Made Foods if you can find them.

Hi Snackgirl!

Thank you for the recipe inspiration! I made my own variation of this soup and totally loved how quick it was. My husband and I loved it, but we also love the Progresso Italian Wedding Soup in a can. :)

I blogged about my experiences making this recipe.…

I too used pre-made meatballs and found that mine puffed up after adding them to the broth. Weird!

Yum this looks good! I always get home late and this would be great to eat without feeling guilty about eating so close to bed time.

I love this healthier option!

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