Tortellini Vegetable Soup

So, I added this recipe a long time ago with a link.  I just went to find the recipe and realized the actual link was the title…but, it took me forever to figure that out.  Knowing that I will forget that the next time I go to look at this recipe, I just decided to repost and type the recipe out.  This is so good.  It freezes really well also.

2 tbs olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 small zucchini, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

5 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 tsp dried basil

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt

8-9 ounces fresh torellini

Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Add the onion, zucchini, and carrot.  Saute for 8-10 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the stock, basil, bay leaf, tomatoes, and salt to the pot.  Bring to low boil.  Add the tortellini and bring back to low boil.  Cook for 2 minutes, then reduce to simmer for 5-6 minutes longer.

My changes – First, I double this recipe.  The original would be great for just a couple people.  But, there’s 6 of us.  I need more.  ha!  Second, I always add more tomatoes – usually tomato sauce or paste – because I like more of a tomato flavor to this recipe.  That’s something you can decide for yourself and add what you’d like.  Also – I add frozen corn to this soup.  The more veggies I can get in it, the better!

Baked Ravioli

This is an easy one, sorta don’t even need a recipe kind of meal.   But, all my kiddos ate this and I liked the seasonings in it so I’m recording it here. 🙂

1 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1 can stewed tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 can diced Italian flavored tomatoes (14.5 oz)
2 lbs ravioli ( fresh or frozen, doesn’t matter)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 425. Heat olive oil in saucepan. Add minced garlic and sauté for a minute. Add thyme, oregano, and tomatoes. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce to simmer. Blend tomato chunks till chunks are gone. You could use a hand blender, magic bullet, etc. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Cook ravioli until they float atop. Pasta doesn’t need to be completely cooked as it will cook more in oven. Drain water from pasta and toss with sauce. Poor into 9×13 pan. Top with parmesan, then mozzarella.  Bake for 20 minutes, until pasta is golden.  I served with salad, bread, and smoothies.  All kiddos loved it!

Creamy Celery Beef Stroganoff

Hi everyone!  After yet another move, I’m back in the land of fixing meals and having a kitchen!  This is such a great crockpot meal. I had completely forgotten about this recipe until my sister mentioned she fixes it all the time!  This is great for those busy weeknights that are full of sports practices!

2 lbs beef stew meat – cut into 1 inch cubes

Can of cream of celery soup

Can of cream  of mushroom soup

Medium onion, chopped

2 cans mushrooms, drained

1 envelope onion soup mix

1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup sour cream

Cooked noodles

In a crockpot, combine the first 7 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Stir in sour cream. Serve over noodles. So so good. Great with the 7-up biscuits on here, too!

How to Make Roasted Garlic

OK, so during our lots o’ time at home together with my boys being sick, we’ve been watching a LOT of the Food Network. Yesterday afternoon, after the boys all said “hey y’all” several times with Paula Deen, they left the room to play something and I half-watched while making headbands.

It was an old episode where Paula makes Zesty Roasted Garlic Bread and lasagne. And she makes a lasagne sandwich out of a half-loaf of bread…I literally watched this with my mouth hanging open, aghast at what I was watching…you won’t believe the last 15 seconds of this video:

Right.

Ok. Moving on.

I decided after watching, though, that I did want to roast my own garlic, and remembered that I’d pinned a how-to to Pinterest via For the Love of Cooking a few weeks ago. I checked both recipes, and decided on this combination for my first try:

1 head of garlic
1 tsp olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the tops off all the heads of the cloves of garlic (but leave it all together – no need to separate the cloves)…doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can leave the papery skin on it, too.

Set the head of garlic on a small square of foil that’s big enough to close around the head. Drizzle olive oil over the top, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and close up the packet.

Put the foil-wrapped garlic on a cookie sheet, and bake for 30 minutes.

Let it cool slightly, and you should just be able to squeeze the roasted garlic from the head and into a bowl.

this was just one clove that i pulled away, but you really don't need to do that...just squeeze the whole head of garlic and all of the delicious, roasted goodness comes right out!

 

Smash it up.

I mixed mine with half a stick of softened butter (not two sticks, as Paula suggests), about a tablespoon or a little more of parsley flakes (I didn’t have fresh), a little bit of fresh ground pepper, and a little shake of dried basil. I didn’t add salt because I used salted butter, so I think that’s enough.

I just stuck this in the fridge to use in the future. It’ll be great on french bread (just broil it for a minute or two to get it melty and the edges crispy), and I’m even thinking that when I make eggs tonight for dinner, I’ll use just a bit of it either to season the pan or butter toast for egg and cheese sandwiches.

I’ll post more uses for roasted garlic as I try out new recipes!

Martha Stewart’s Creamy Mac-and-Cheese

Holy amazing.  This is the best homemade mac-n-cheese I have ever had.  Little bit of a spice to it so my kiddos wouldn’t eat it.  They did try it though 🙂  BUT, I’ll still make it again.  So good.  Some neighbors had a get together with catered bbq and this was great with it.

Serves about 12 so definitely a good recipe for a get together.

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for casserole (I actually bought unsalted butter for this and then forgot to use it and it was fine)
  • 6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces (really I just quickly ripped it apart)
  • 5 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tspns coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups grated romano cheese
  • 1 pd elbow macaroni

Preheat oven to 375.  Butter a 3 qt casserole dish; set aside.  Place the bread in a bowl.  In a small saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter.  Pour the butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss.  Set the breadcrumbs aside.

Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat.  Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat.  When the butter bubbles, add the flour.  Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

While whisking, slowly pout int he hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth.  Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick 8-12 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat.  Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 cup romano; set cheese sauce aside.

Boil pasta until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer the macaroni to a colander and rinse under cold running water.  Stir the macaroni in to the reserved cheese sauce.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup romano, and the breadcrumbs over the top.  Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta

Tonight was one of those look-in-the-fridge-and-freezer-and-make-something-happen-for-dinner kind of nights!

And it turned out great! EDITED TO ADD: I just read Sonya’s recipe that she posted yesterday, and laughed out loud…this is practically the same thing!! Oh well 🙂

Bennett devoured, Luke and Jack Henry ate it ok, and Matt and I really liked it.

1 1/2 cups of chopped, cooked chicken (for me, this is the perfect recipe to use up some dark meat from a rotisserie chicken that I’d put in the freezer a couple of weeks ago)
4 oz light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of skim milk (more if needed)
3 Tbl (more if you’d like) jarred pesto
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
black pepper
Half a box of pasta, cooked according to package directions (we used Rotini, but whatever you have would be fine)

Boil the water and cook the pasta. While that is cooking, mix together the cream cheese, milk and pesto, and then add in the parmesan and chicken.

Drain the pasta, mix in the other ingredients, top with black pepper, and you’re finished. Add more milk to make it creamier.

Variations: I think feta would be good with this, too, but in an effort to make it more kid-friendly, I used parmesan.

Next time, I’m adding in chopped broccoli. Somehow, a bag of frozen broccoli that I swear I had was missing, so that didn’t happen tonight as planned, but it would be good in this.

Pesto chicken stuffed shells

I found this recipe on my new obsession, pinterest.  I’ll be honest, I thought this was good.  Kirk thought is was great.  I, personally, like the other chicken pesto recipe on here a little better.  But, since Kirk liked this better, I thought I would save it here and still make it on occasion because I did like it.  The kids, not at all.  Ugh.

12-16 jumbo pasta shells
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated parmesan + 1/4 cup for topping
3 tablespoons prepared pesto
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced

In a large pot, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package.  Cook pasta shells only until al dente.  The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked.  Drain the pasta shells and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping.  Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese over filled shells.

Preheat oven to 350 and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

2 things I do love about this dish….

1. I made it in a 9×9 so there wasn’t a TON of leftovers.  I can only do leftovers for one meal, can’t do the same meal a third time.  Yuck.

2. You can make this ahead/freeze it.  To freeze prepare as directed in oven and freezer proof baking dish.  When ready to eat, defrost.  Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Because of this, I will probably double the recipe next time and make an extra meal!

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