Sunday, January 8, 2017

Creamy Tortellini Soup

It's about zero degrees outside.  Not one single degree came to Kentucky this morning.  We sure invited them but they were a total no show.  So in the complete absence of an outdoor temperature, I am forced to make something warm and delicious while holding up inside the house.  I am grateful for the warmth of my home and hubby, now we just need something warm in our tummies! 

This took me a grand total of 30 minutes from the first mince to serving it.  TOTALLY worth it and an easy after work comfort meal.  Cooks in one pot too!

You'll Need:
1 stick of  butter
1 small yellow onion, minced
2  garlic cloves, minced
1 10 ounce package shredded carrots
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth would be fine too)
1 package (12-ounces) frozen tortellini
1 bag (5-ounces) fresh baby spinach
1 1/2 cup cream OR milk OR half and half
Parmesan Cheese for Garnish

Optional - 1 pound protein of your choice - I picked Sausage.  Shrimp, Chicken or Italian Sausage would be excellent too!

Melt your butter in a large soup pot add 1/3 cup vegetable broth.  Add your minced onion, garlic, carrots, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Cook over medium-low heat for 6 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Whisk in flour; whisk until crumbly. It won't look pretty but it will come together soon. Slowly add broth and continue to vigorously whisk until everything is well combined and there are no clumps.
Bring soup to a boil.
Add frozen tortellini and spinach and your protein (if you choose to add one).  Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tortellini is tender and heated through.  Stir in cream or milk; bring back to a steady boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth and thickened.
Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan Cheese and serve with a slice of crusty garlic baguette!  Yummmmmm!
 This will easily serve a family of 4 hearty eaters.  Very economical and easy clean up too!  What more could a busy lady want!  Ya'll Enjoy!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas Crackers


For the past few Christmas seasons I've done some wonderful but time consuming cakes.  This year, I'm taking a totally opposite direction!  Keep It Simple Sweetheart!

Don't you just love it when you get a last minute request for a cookie exchange, a classroom party or an office food day!  You have little to no notice and you need to produce something from what you already have in your pantry.  These recipes are tasty solutions to an urgent need or when you just want to do something out of the box for the holidays!

Cracker Brittle aka Little Bricks of Golden Goodness.  This is my son's favorite - they will still hang out near the cooling rack with glasses of milk to get the first shot at these!

You'll need:

20  graham crackers
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Place crackers on a deep cookie sheet.  Melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute.  Add sugar and heat for an additional minute.  Whisk and add vanilla and pecans.  Pour the butter mixture over the crackers and brush to make the nuts even over the crackers.  Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.  Place on cooling rack  - they will set when they cool. 

Firecrackers!  My friend Michelle introduced these to me about a year ago!  She said they were addictive and boy was she right!  These are GREAT alone or with cheese and meat assortments.  Super quick and easy and a great make ahead item for your parties!

You'll need:

1 1/4 cup canola oil,
1 pkg ranch dressage mix
2 tbsp. red pepper flakes (more if you like it really spicy)
2 sleeves of saltine crackers.

Whisk oil, dressing mix and pepper together.  Place your crackers flat in one layer on an edged cookie sheet then drizzle the spice mix over the crackers. Use a pastry brush to baste each cracker to coat them well.  Bake at 250* for 10 minutes.  Remove and turn each cracker over and bake another 10 minutes. Remove crackers to cool on a paper towel lined (absorbs excess oil) cooling rack.  Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days.

Cracker Toffee - this was new for me but I'm so glad I tried this!

You'll need:

40 saltines (about 2 sleeves)
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 tsp canola oil
8 oz English Toffee bits

Melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute, add sugar and heat for an additional minute and stir well.   Brush over crackers and bake at 350* for 10  minutes.  While the crackers bake, microwave the chocolate chips with the canola oil for 1 minute, stir well to melt the chips -  heat an additional 30 seconds if needed to melt completely.  Pour chocolate melt over the crackers when they come out of the oven.  Sprinkle with English toffee and nuts.  Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to set then slice or break into sections to serve.

These are three different options that are "outside the box" but wonderfully delicious ways to make your holiday season simple and spectacularly delicious!  I hope you enjoy these and have yourself  Merry Little Christmas Now!!!