Tailgating with Joe Drozda: Tailgating for the season

Italian wedding soup will warm up any tailgating party. (Submitted photo)

Italian wedding soup will warm up any tailgating party. (Submitted photo)

By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley


If you enjoy Halloween season with pumpkin carving, corn stalks, orange and black garlands or lights; then you probably should think about a Halloween-themed tailgate party.  But what can one do to make the ambiance of the party appropriately colorful?  Here are some ideas to dress up your tailgate party:

  • Pumpkins carved with team logo or letters
  • Lone Ranger masks for guests in team colors
  • Trick or treat bags full of candy (this will get rid of your leftover candy)
  • Orange and Black Jello shots (nonalcoholic for high school tailgates)
  • Colorful streamers in orange and black (unless they are opponent’s colors)
  • Candy or caramel apples
  • Bob for apple game with a bucket of water (don’t forget to bring towels)
  • Sugar cookies decorated for Halloween

Since we are at the end of October, we really need to start thinking about cold weather dishes to serve.  Here’s a recipe for a favoritesoup that is very easy.

Italian wedding soup


2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 cup diced onions

1 cup chopped carrots (¼ inches chop)

1 cup chopped celery (¼ inches chop)

10 cups chicken stock

½ cup dry white wine

1 ¼ cup small pasta (shells, tubetini, stars or anything else small)

½ tsp dill weed

10 oz. bag baby spinach washed and trimmed

24 oz. bag Johnsonville Classic Italian Style Meatballs (pre-cooked)

Preparation: Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Dice the onion, carrots and celery and set them aside, mixed, in a bowl.  Wash the spinach, cut off the stems, and set aside.  Bake the meatballs in your oven according to the package directions.  When the meatballs are done, cool them enough to then cut them into halves.

Put the olive oil into a heavy large soup pot on medium low heat, and sauté onion, celery and carrots until soft (5 to 6 minutes).  Stir these veggies occasionally and add the wine and chicken stock as you bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add the pasta and cook until it is tender (6 to 7 minutes).  Add the dill weed and meatballs and cook for one minute; then add the spinach, stir and cook for another minute.

This is ready to serve with grated parmesan cheese on top.  It will make ten good-size servings.  Cool the leftovers and refrigerate.  On game day heat the soup on the stove and pour it into a pot for transporting and reheating at the game.  This is great for cold weather.


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