~ This delicious, hearty Crock-Pot Italian Wedding Soup is so quick and easy to make … in your slow cooker! Your whole family will love it! Bonus: it’s loaded with simple, healthy ingredients! ~
Every year on Halloween, there’s a phenomenon that occurs in our neighborhoods. Maybe you’ve noticed it in your town, too …
Just as the little ghosties and princesses and pirates and superheroes hit the streets for trick-or-treat, something else is running rampant out there on our streets, right along with them …
Pizza delivery cars!
Our local pizza guys have confirmed this – Halloween is their busiest night of the year!
And sure enough, a quick Google search turned up this stat on Pizza.com’s “Fun Facts” and USA Today: Across America, the top 5 days for pizza sales every year are Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and the night before Thanksgiving.
It makes sense, too.
As trick-or-treat begins, parents are hurriedly jamming kiddos into costumes (and, at least in Ohio, trying to figure out how to get snowsuits under Cinderella gowns and skin-tight superhero bodysuits). Kids are too excited to endure a long, sit-down family meal. And everyone just has to snag some nourishment where they can as the doorbell merrily rings all night.
You need something quick and easy.
Something that anyone can grab a bite of as they dash by … you know, in between the donning of costumes, the constant stream of trick-or-treaters at your door, and the excited squabbling that arises as loot is divided and categorized (chocolate in this pile, gummies in that pile, “gross stuff I don’t like and want to trade with my sister” in another pile).
But that quick-and-easy meal doesn’t have to be pizza! (You don’t have to be a statistic, friends! 😀 )
We’ve got an even better idea!
This Italian Wedding Soup is practically effortless! It’s also deliciously warming, hearty, and really nutritious (to help counterbalance all the Reese’s Cups and Snickers and Jolly Ranchers that will be going down those tiny hatches later in the evening)!
It’s also a mega-kid-approved favorite!
Quick, easy and oh-so-good! The perfect alternative to pizza this Halloween!
But don’t be surprised when your family loves it so much (and you love how simple and healthy it is), that you find yourself making it lots of other nights, all year long (including some of those other top pizza delivery days)!
Happy Trick-or-Treating, friends! May all your snowsuits fit under your princess costumes this Halloween!
Mmmmmm … Soup! Here are Some More Crock-Pot Soup and Chili Recipes You’ll Love:
- Crock-Pot Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder
- Crock-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Crock-Pot Crazy Pineapple Chili
- Top 10 Healthy Crock-Pot Chicken Soups and Chilis
- Plus, we have a great Soups board filled with yummy ideas on Pinterest!
- 2 32-ounce cartons chicken broth (preferably natural, reduced-sodium, and fat-free)
- 1 12-ounce package frozen turkey or chicken meatballs, thawed and cut into pieces (see note)
- 1 cup finely chopped matchstick carrots
- 1 cup frozen diced onions (see note)
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces whole wheat pasta (any small shape such as tubetti or elbows – see note)
- 3 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Combine broth, meatballs, carrots, onions, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in slow cooker and cook on low (6-8 hours) or on high (4 hours).
- Stir pasta into soup during last 15-20 minutes of cook time. (The exact cook time for perfectly cooked pasta can vary based on brand and pasta shape, so just check to be sure your pasta is done before serving.)
- Remove long stems from spinach and roughly chop spinach, if desired. Stir in spinach as you remove the soup from the heat, just before serving.
- Serve with parmesan cheese.
Meatballs: Turkey and chicken meatballs come in a variety of sizes. We typically purchase meatballs that are about 1½" in diameter. For that size, we find it works great to cut each meatball into about 12 pieces, but you can adjust this according to the size of the meatballs you purchase. Your goal is to make them appealingly bite-sized.
Onions: Just as we did in our recipe for Crock-Pot Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder, in this recipe, we prefer to use frozen diced onions for two reasons. Of course, it saves the step of chopping the onions yourself. More importantly, however, the frozen onions break down better and become softer in the slow cooker, especially when cooking this soup quickly.
Pasta: Although elbows aren't the most traditional shape for Italian wedding soup, we have a difficult time finding many smaller pasta shapes at our market that are available in 100% whole wheat. (Plus, elbows are always a kid-pleaser!) Feel free to use any small pasta shape that you like.