Meatballs

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Emily Stokes
I'm a lady who loves cheese, sour cream, & ice cream, but I recently became lactose intolerant. My key focus in recreating dairy recipes is taste, but I try to be as health conscious as possible. Some of my recipes are low lactose rather than dairy free. I'm also a writer, teacher, nanny, dog mom, housewife, native Yinzer, current Californian, and social organizer extraordinaire.

Meatballs

Simple Crock Pot Italian Wedding Soup with Kale

I just came back from a month long trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I was born and raised. We have an amazing soup there called Italian Wedding Soup, which, I just found out, is not actually Italian.

At any Italian restaurant (or often any restaurant) in Pittsburgh, you can order a bowl of Italian Wedding Soup. My favorite kind is the light version served at the chain restaurant Olive Garden. Since I was not very cultured and didn’t travel much before moving out of Pittsburgh, when I went to the Olive Garden in California I tried ordering Wedding Soup. It’s not usually on the menu in Pittsburgh because it’s such a popular item and everyone knows it’s there–you just have to ask for it. But the California waiter had no idea what I was talking about.

I always thought Italian Wedding Soup was an Italian tradition. Though, apparently, Italian Wedding Soup is a Western Pennsylvania tradition started by immigrants to the area. According to my quick research, Italian Wedding Soup is a mistranslation of a soup called “marriage soup,” which is actually Spanish.

Here is a quick version to make in the crock pot using kale instead of the traditional spinach. Italian Wedding Soup is usually made with really tiny meatballs and pasta. Unless you make the meatballs yourself, you might not be able to find them small enough, but you can always cut slightly thawed frozen Italian meatballs into quarters before putting in the crock pot.

Ingredients:

1 small package frozen italian meatballs (15-20)
5 oz can low sodium chicken, rinsed and drained
32 oz chicken broth
2 cups kale, stems removed and chopped (can also use spinach)
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup-1/2 cup pastina pasta
parmesan reggiano for serving

Directions:

1. Add meatballs, chicken, broth, spices, and onion to slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on high for 3 hours.

2. Add pasta and kale (or spinach) to the pot, and cook for an additional hour on high. Serve
topped with parmesan reggiano if desired.

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Crock Pot Meatball & Vegetable Soup

The crock pot is my best friend in the kitchen; in this soup recipe, throw everything in the pot and forget about it for hours. There is minimal chopping prep and no extra cooking or searing. This low maintenance recipe is a meal in itself. It’s hearty, delicious, and healthy.  More veggies can easily be added, like frozen green beans or corn. It also goes well with egg noodles, orzo, or kidney beans for added carbs. But I think it’s just right with the minimal ingredients, and super simple. This meatball soup is a perfect meal for two, especially on a chilly summer night. Best served with warm sourdough bread or some flavorful crackers.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups beef broth
2 cups party size frozen meatballs
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
4 small gold potatoes, cubed
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Dash of sea salt and black pepper

Directions:

1. After chopping the vegetables, add beef broth, meatballs, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper into the crock pot and stir well. Cover and cook on high for four hours or on low for six hours. Go do something else and come back for dinner!

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