Tag Archives: tortellini

Leftover Soup

20 Mar

If you had any leftover soup, its perfect for a step saver dinner tonight. Lets review the soup blog super quick, then we will move on to leftovers. Below is the link to the original blog.

https://busymomswellness.com/2019/03/02/its-still-soup-season

Now lets talk leftovers! This is where we left off with our Tomato Basil Soup. Not only was this soup delicious, the scents wafting about are so memorable that you want more.

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Feel free to simply enjoy this soup again as is. Want to jazz it up? Heat the soup, and then toss in some other flavorful seasonings. Savory oregano would be wonderful, and so would some fragrant rosemary. You can also easily add a little cream to change the flavor profile a bit. Adding cream is also a budget friendly way to stretch your soup. Just whisk it in and enjoy!

To make this soup into more of a wholesome meal, grill up a sandwich to go along with it.

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Need another leftover idea? Cook up some tortellini-or any pasta of choice-and use the soup as a pasta sauce.

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Need another option? Take some frozen shrimp out of the freezer. Heat up your soup, throw in some chopped green pepper, diced tomatoes, and a can of drained quartered artichoke hearts. Add the shrimp, heat through, and enjoy a delicious gumbo. Have it as is or spoon it on top of a bowl of steaming hot rice. Don’t forget the hot sauce!

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You can even use your leftovers to make more leftovers. Take frozen stuffed shells, lay them in a dish, cover with the soup, and top with some mozzarella cheese. Pop in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes and enjoy. Not only will this make a great dinner, you can take the leftovers to the office tomorrow for a quick lunch. You will be the envy of everyone in the break room for sure!

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So how is that for options? Pretty cool! What are you making with your leftover soup?

 

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This and That Pasta

9 Mar

What’s for dinner on a Friday night when everyone is a bit low on energy from the long week?   Something easy for sure! Here is what I did on a Friday when the family was just worn out.  It is important to eat healthy in our family.  Sure we cheat every now and again, but for the most part we all make an effort to eat food that is natural and wholesome.  So how to solve this Friday night conundrum?  We did it in a snap.

I roasted some vegetables, Denis put a pot of water on to boil, and then pulled out a loaf of crusty bread.  There were salad fixings in the fridge, but the veggies with the pasta seemed sufficient, so that was left for another meal.   Dinner in a snap was the goal du jour.  It was so easy to get ready, and dinner was on the table quickly.  Let me share it with you.

I call this recipe Amy’s This and That Pasta.  It’s a little of this, a little of that.  Whatever you have on hand will do.   Here is what I did.  I pulled out a glass oblong pan.  Into it went:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 packages of fresh assorted mushrooms (I have also used canned mushrooms.  Drained, these work just fine.)
  • 1 large jar pimento drained (or a jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped, will do just fine too)
  •  A few handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1  28 ounce can diced tomatoes in sauce

I mixed these veggies together with a rubber spatula.  I drizzled olive oil over the top and sprinkled on:

  • 1 T. dried basil
  • 1 T. dried parsley
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • salt, pepper and dried red pepper flakes to taste.

Again I mixed this up and placed it in an oven that was preheated to 400 degrees.  The timer was set to 30 minutes.  On went a pot of water for the pasta.  Then I changed out of my work clothes, and sat down for a few minutes to chat with the family.

When the vegetables were nearly done, frozen tortellini went into the boiling water for about 4 minutes.  The children set the table for dinner.  The sliced loaf of crusty bread was taken to the table.  After draining the pasta and putting it in a large shallow bowl, I poured the hot roasted vegetables over it.  Lastly, I grated some fresh parmesan cheese over it and on to the table it went.

It was a simple meal, and so easy to toss together.  The vegetables imparted what I call “vegetable liquor”, meaning they juiced up a bit while roasting.  The roasted pasta sauce was a snap to make with the oven doing all of the work.  It was a nutritious dinner for a Friday night. Most vegetables work in this recipe except starchy ones (like potatoes), so use this recipe as a base and substitute with what you have in your kitchen.

Toss your favorite veggies together, let them roast in the oven, have a seat and wait for dinner to practically make itself.  Easy, quick, nutritious.  Perfect for a family meal.  Weeknight meals do not have to be grand, time consuming, or fussy.  Remember the true focus of family meals.   Connecting.  Conversation.  Togetherness. Meals can be easy, yummy and nutritious, but more important, a happy social time to reconnect.  Bon appetite!

Dinnertime…with leftovers

12 Feb

My last post outlined the challenge of making a quick dinner with items out of my fridge and pantry.  I was too tired to fuss, and ended up with a big batch of tomato roasted red pepper soup.  It was belly warming and delicious.  After dinner I tossed the leftover soup into the fridge.  That was a lucky move!

The next day, I dashed out to a class at my local gym after work.  Walking in the door at home, I was greeted by an equally busy but hungry family.  It was 6:00. I was pinched for time.  I had to think fast.  So I pulled the leftover tomato soup from the fridge and then foraged through my kitchen for the rest of dinner.  In addition to the leftover soup I had:

  • Frozen tortellini
  • Frozen broccoli cauliflower mixture
  • Refrigerated biscuits
  • Canned tomato paste
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Butter

This became dinner.  I put a big pot of water on to boil.  Next, I took the leftover soup, put it in a saucepan and added some tomato paste (to thicken the soup), oregano, parsley, and basil.  After a big stir over medium heat, that began simmering  into a nice sauce.  The frozen veggies went into the microwave.  The bread went into a 350 degree oven for 13 minutes.

The pasta water boiled, so in went the tortellini and cooked in a quick 5 minutes.  By then the vegetables were cooked, and the bread was ready.  As the pasta drained, I pulled the bread out of the oven, split and buttered the biscuits.  The veggies went into an oven safe bowl with a little butter and parmesan cheese.  I put it back in the microwave for a minute.  Dinner was on the table in a snap.

You can’t hit it out of the ballpark every night.  It wasn’t a perfectly healthy dinner, but much more nutrient dense and economical than any drive thru meal.  Not bad for a home made family meal tossed together in about 30 minutes.

The best part, and you may use this if you like,  is the “dinner rule” in my house.  The person or people who make dinner don’t do the dishes or clean up the kitchen.  At first this was a hot button issue with whining teenagers arguing their point of why they should not have to do the  dishes.  I turned a deaf ear to it, so the whining did not last long.  But this rule, held tightly from the get go,  changed the thinking in my household.  Others wanted to cook dinner.  And who am I to argue?

The story of my sister and the Vodka Cream Sauce

13 Dec

True confession. I love vodka cream sauce. Emphasis on the cream. And it took me forever to find a recipe for home-made sauce that I loved. I have shared it here on this blog. Had I known that finding just the right recipe was closer than I ever thought, my quest would have been much shorter. Who knew that I would find the perfect recipe from my big sister? I should have known. My sister has always been a steady source of wonderful things my entire life. She has been my confidant, my cheerleader, my wailing wall, my late night phone buddy, someone to giggle endlessly with, and my best friend. My mom grew up without a sister and said that when she had a girl, she knew she wanted another. She wanted her daughter to have a sister. And mom knows best..my big sister (and her family) are a huge blessing in my life. I am forever grateful for her. And never more so than when she shared her vodka cream sauce recipe with me. Not really, but props to her!

Here is the twist in this story though.  There has been a modification to her totally yummy recipe. When my sister was visiting (we live in different cities), we went to lunch at a wonderful authentic Italian bistro. It is a small place with all home-made pasta and sauces. Great wine. White table clothes. It’s the type of place that you want to pull out your elastic waisted pants to go! The food is that good! They should put a “warning-food coma may occur” sign on the door! Sometimes when I have a dish that I love, I will order it out. I like to see other approaches to the same dish. The lunch date with my sister was the perfect opportunity to do this.

I ordered home-made tortellini with vodka cream sauce. I just HAD to taste it! (and I knew my sister would not be able to resist poking her fork across the table onto my plate). The vodka cream sauce resembled ours (see how I took possession of her great sauce? I am shameless!). It was a similar color to the sauce that we made. It was the same consistency. Clearly we were on the right track with our home-made sauce. The vodka cream sauce was every bit as good as our home-made version, but there was a secret ingredient that we loved. Could we identify it?

We tasted, we licked, we talked, we rolled our eyes up to the sky deep in thoughtful consideration as we pondered the surprise flavor. And I think we did it. Our discerning palate and fine intellectual discussion rendered the information we were seeking. The secret ingredient was roasted red peppers. Even though we could not get a firm answer from the chef, and believe me we tried, my sister and I were in agreement. And we decided to toss this secret item into our next batch of vodka cream sauce. We both thought it added a very nice delicate layer of flavor to the sauce. We also discussed how to add the ingredient. To puree it prior to adding it, or just give it a rough chop? Both, we cited with strong conviction!  Puree some and chop some. And we decided to add it more toward the end of the cooking process. So here goes!  We put our eatin’ pants on and got to work!

The results were fabulous. Two thumbs up (or should I say twelve??) from the six folks around my dinner table. But this is how it happens….great recipes. You develop them, share them, then continue to seek to improve them. True, though, that at some point you stop improving and keep it how it is. My mom’s meatloaf is a case in point. So is our vodka cream sauce.  But I still enjoy trying other versions of the same dish regardless. But of course, I just enjoy eating…especially with my sister!