Happy girls are the prettiest girls

11.09.2011

Food for thought #1

Last Friday, I had the glorious fortune to have the day off of work. I seems like every other week or so I have it off, since that works best my the family I nanny for. That particular Friday off I put to good use. I was super productive, and I happened to make two really great recipes. 

The first was my novice attempt at a tortellini minestrone soup, and it came out so yummy! I underestimated the amount of tortellini I used, and ended up having to add more liquid after cooking to keep it soupy, but I am giving you a recipe that accounts for my mistakes.

Hearty Tortellini Minestrone Soup
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 pkg Trader Joe's  mirepoix mix {about 2 cups of chopped celery, onions and carrots}
  • 2 quarts reduced sodium chicken stock {2- 24oz containers}
  • 6 cups Trader Joe's Garden Patch vegetable juice {like V8 juice}
  • 1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes 
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced into half moons
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 10oz bag of baby spinach
  • 1 pkg of frozen cheese tortellini, frozen {I used Olivieri brand from Costco}
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese and/or cheese croutons to garnish
Directions:
1} In a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, cook sausage and mirepoix mix until sausage is no longer pink.
2} Add chicken stock, vegetable juice, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
3} Add zucchini, peppers and spinach. cook 5-7 minutes or until pepper is tender.
4} Stir in tortellini and parsley, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
5} Top with parmesan or croutons {or both!} just before serving.

Makes about 9-10 servings, and is so, so good on a chilly fall day! About 365 calories for 1.5 cups worth.

As Billy and I were heading to a friend's house that evening for a game night, I also made Grandma Ople's Apple Pie to bring along. If you haven't checked out the link I posted last week about it, you really should. It's incredibly delicious, and pretty easy. This go-round I chopped the apples, instead of just slicing them, and it gave me a great mound of apples to fill the pie with. I used the lattice crust as usual, but made some extra butter and sugar mix to paint the top with. Pure and simple autumn heaven. 

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