Looking for a warm and cozy soup? Well this slow cooker Italian meatball vegetable soup is soul warming and scrumptious. Oh, and BONUS it's freezer friendly and 95% can be made in advance, frozen and whipped up on a chilly day or when you're just not in the mood to cook. Serve with crusty bread!
1/3cupdry red winelike merlot, Malbec or pinot noir
1 to 2zucchinisdepending on size, quartered and sliced
1 to 2yellow squashdepending on size, quartered and sliced
1 to 2carrotssliced
1 to 2pinchesred pepper flakesoptional
1quartlow-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1½ to 2teaspoonskosher salt
freshly ground black pepperto taste
Fresh basil leaves
1/2cupgrated parmesan cheese
Use a tablespoon scoop to measure out the meatballs and roll into balls. Place on parchment paper on a medium, rimmed, metal baking sheet and arrange the meatballs in one even layer. Flash-freeze for 20 to 25 minutes. (while the meatballs flash-freeze I will prep the veggies)
Meanwhile, in a large gallon-size freezer-safe sealable bag, add in the marinara, wine, onion, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and red pepper flakes (if using). Add the flash-frozen meatballs and seal half of the way closed.
Carefully squeeze out as much of the air as possible before sealing the bag all of the way. Lay flat to freeze, this makes it easier to store and for stacking other slow cooker freezer meals. Store in your freezer for 3 to 4 months, possibly longer :).
Remove the Slow Cooker Italian Meatball Vegetable Soup bag from the freezer the day before you plan to make it. I found that if I take it out the morning before the actual day I plan make it, it will have plenty of time to thaw out. I DO NOT recommend adding the completely frozen bag ingredients in to your slow cooker, doing so may affect cooking times and the outcome of the soup.
Unzip the baggie and empty the contents into your slow cooker (discard the bag) and pour in 1 quart of low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Before serving season with kosher salt and freshly grated black pepper
Serve with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and crusty Italian bread.
It's handy to label the freezer kit meal with what's in the kit and what is needed the day of, along with any cooking and serving instructions.