9/5/21

Chicken Tortellini Soup with Kale and Parmesan

 Chicken Tortellini Soup with Kale and Paremsan  (and bacon!)  is so creamy and full of flavor it will quickly be in regular rotation on your menu!

Chicken tortellini Soup with Kale & Parmesan


It's September, and that means the start of Soup Weather! Nothing beats a warm bowl of soup on a chili day to warm you up! The base of this soup is so good, you can play with the ingredients!  Instead of toretillini, try gnocchi or ravioli.  Instead of chicken, use Italian sausage. Instead of Kale use Spinach.

My husband fell in love with this soup the first time he tasted it. I made a batch , to send up to my daughter-in-law while recovering from some surgery. There was just enough left over for us to have a light supper. One bite, and he was in love!  He is now having me make again this week, but with italian sausage. 

This soup just screams comfort, and is perfect for taking a batch to a neighbor or someone in need, I promise, they will love it.



Jan's Tips: 

 I started with a store bought rotisserie chicken that I deboned and shredded, (i keep bags in the freezer) , but feel free to cook this in the slowcooker, with some chicken breasts. Just lightly shred the chicken into pieces, when cooked through, and make the soup from there, till it's all cooked through, warm and ready to eat.

Mirepoix is the french flavor base mix of carrots, celery, & onion. I don't use a lot of celery, and hate buying an entire stock just for dicing up one rib. In the produce section you can usually find a container of premade mix ready to go, as well as in the freezer section. You can also premake a bunch yourself and store in the freezer, so you can just pull out what you need when you are ready to make soups, to save time and energy at dinner time.



Let's get cooking:

Printable Copy

Chicken Tortellini Soup with Kale and Parmesan

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups shredded/ diced rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup Mirepoix mix (diced carrots, celery & onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasononing
  • 2 Tsp. olive or avacado Oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 2 cups cream (or half and half) 
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled
  • 1 lb. package of tortellini (any flavor)
  • 6 oz. frozen chopped kale (I buy a 12 oz bag and use about half) (Or can use 4 fresh leaves chopped) 
  • 1/ 2 cup grated parmesan

Directions:

  1. In large Cooking pot over medium heat, add  in oil, garlic, cooking till tender, add in the Mirapoix, stirring 1-2 minutes . 
  2. Add in Chicken Broth, stirring to blend, then add in corn starch, blending well.
  3. Add in diced chicken, and italian seasoning. 
  4. in microwave safe bowl, heat the cream for 1 minute (it will curdle if it is cold when poured into soup)
  5. stir in warmed cream,  add in the bacon, tortellini, Parmesan and kale. Let it cook for 10 minutes, till tortellini is cooked through and soup is warm.


7/29/21

Instant pot Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

 Making Homemade Spaghetti Sause in your Instant pot from fresh garden tomatoes is as easy as plop, set, cook, and blend!


How to make Tomato sauce in instant pot


I literally have tomatoes coming out of my ears! My sweet neighbor planted our garden for us, from leftover plants he had, and has been tending it for us , while we work like crazy this summer! I tease him he is sharing cropping! Our coworkers can't take any more, neighbors are full to the brim,  and this weekend I have someone from our free fridge community coming to harvest peppers, and tomatoes for loading our multiple free refrigerators around town. I love them,, it's a donate what you can, take what you need based system, all set up during covid-19, and all sorts of wonderful foods are available in areas of town that are "food deserts" with not as much fresh produce or grocers available.  


And. I still have enough to make several batches of homemade pasta sauce!  I have a batch started now, while I type this! 


I do it the easy way. .no peeling or deseeding the tomatoes. I blend the peels right up after they cook, and no one even knows they are in the sauce. You can run the sauce through a fine mesh strainer if you like to pull out the seeds, but at this point, I don't even bother. 

I keep my ingredients simple. My husband is diabetic, so no sugar added, just a bit of olive oil, pinch of salt, italian seasoning, and minced garlic, and if I have onions and peppers ready in the garden, or carrots, or other veggies, I'll toss those in too!

You can preserve your finished sauce by canning it, but I put it in bags or canning jars and freeze it most of the time. I like to keep a few small jars for "pizza " making, so I don't thaw a whole big container, to make pizza or for dipping sauce.

Here's how to make it in the instant pot.



Printable Copy

Instant Pot Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients: 

  • 4-5 lbs. fresh Roma tomatoes (about 20-25  for me) 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium onion diced. 
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp  Italian Seasoning or handful of fresh herbs chopped: (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme,)
  • Optional: diced or shredded carrots, zucchini , green peppers



Instructions: 

  1. Press  the saute button on your instant pot and and preheat. Make sure to press "adjust" button and set saute to highest setting. 

  2. When hot, ,add olive oil, onions, and garlic, saute till softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add in any optional vegetables such as diced peppers, carrots, zucchini , saute 5 minutes.

  4. Add in whole tomatoes and water. Cut into small pieces as needed to fit your instant pot. Mix as you can with other ingredients.

  5. Replace lid, press "Manuel or Pressure cook"  and  set to high pressure. 
  6. Set timer for 20 minutes.

  7. If you have trouble with pot pressurizing, you can add another 1/4 or 1/2 cup of water.
  8. When finished do either a quick release or slow, natural release. 
  9. Add in salt , and Italian seasoning. 

  10. Use an immersion blender to blend into a sauce. (as smooth or chunky as you like) .
  11. You can transfer to a regular blender if needed, but be careful due to how hot the sauce is.

  12. Once cool, pack into quart sized storage containers for your freezer, leaving 1 inch of space at top for expansion when it freezes.




7/19/21

How to Air Fry Pot Stickers

 Air frying Pot Stickers or Asian Dumplings,  are quick to make and are a wonderful snack or light meal. 

Air Fryer Dumplings






My husband and I  are always looking for healthier yet fun snacks to eat while watching movies together. We finally decided to try air frying some pot stickers we had in the freezer. I think we loved them better than are favorite egg rolls!

We used Trader Joe's Chicken Gyoza Pot Stickers. They are frozen, fully cooked, ready to heat and eat! Besides being delicious this  means we aren't worried about cooking raw chicken all the way through. We just need to get them hot and crispy!

Air Fryer Dumplings


We use a Ninja Foodie XL.. We  are not a paid sponsor and are not receiving anything for this post, I am just sharing the name of the air fryer with you, if it helps you in working with your own air fryer at home. 

It only takes a few minutes and 2 ingredients to make them! Let's get started. 

Air Fryer Pot Stickers


Ingredients:

  • 1  16 oz. bag Pot Stickers 
  • Olive Oil cooking oil in spray spritzer (or non stick cooking spray) 
  • Sprinkle of salt.
  • Dipping sauces as desired


Directions: 

  • Preheat Air fryer on Air Crisp setting to 390° . 
  • Lightly spray all sides of pot stickers with Olive Oil.
  • Place in air fryer, and set timer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove from air fryer, Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  • Serve with dipping sauces.



7/4/21

Fruit Salad with Gingerale Dressing

 This fresh fruit salad is elevated up a notch with a homemade Ginger syrup dressing that has hints of lime and honey, to make any occasion special when you serve it.


Fruit Salad with Ginger dressing


Several times a year I stop to make homemade ginger syrup to store in my fridge. It makes homemade Gingerale or a lovely hot ginger tea for soothing nausea. It also works beautifully on this fruit salad, which I try to use whenever I have a batch ready,  but I will also share my quick store bought version for this fruit salad  when I don't have time to make a syrup batch.

Homemade gingerale concentrate

This fruit salad can be made with any combinations of fruits. Peaches are a week or two away from pick your own season here, so I don't have any to add ,but they would be amazing in this! I used what I had in the fridge: Fresh Pineapple, Strawberries, Green Grapes, Blueberries. Feel free to play with it!



Let's get making this recipe!


Fruit Salad with Gingerale Dressing

Serves 6-8 

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh pineapple peeled ,, cored and diced. (I buy it peeled & cored from the produce section)
  • 1 qt. strawberries, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups green grapes halved
  • 1 - 1/4 cups blueberries
  • any other fruits you want; bananas, peaches, kiwi, orange slices
  • Optional : mint leaves

Ginger Dressing: 
If not making my homemade Ginger syrup from scratch, here is my go to  quick dressing:

  • 1/3 cup Quick  Gingerale 
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey 
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice

Directions:
  1. In large serving bowl wth a airtight lid, mix together the prepared fruit. Set aside.
  2. In small bowl mix together the gingerale, honey and lime juice., whisk till blended well. 
  3. Pour syrup over the fruit and stir gently to cover fruit.
  4. Sprinkle with mint leaves if using them.
  5. Store in fridge for at least 1 hour till serving time.




Fruit Salad with Gingerale syrup




6/28/21

Chorizo , Elote Roasted Corn, and Chili Lime Zucchini Skillet Dinner

 This savory skillet dinner is full of all the street corn  and south west flavors you love, in a 20 minute skillet meal.

Chorizo and Roasted Corn Skillet


My daughter and I ate brunch recently at a lovely restaurant that had an elote fire roasted corn and Chorizo sausage hash. My daughter loved it and we started plotting to recreate it. In the mean time our garden bounty of summer squash was rolling in. I had a garden party pot luck to attend and decided to do a savory vegetable dish, with street corn, summer squash in a chili lime dressing. The party got cancelled and ultimately I decided to blend the two ideas into a fun, flavor filled, yet vegetable based skillet meal.


  • Jan's Tips: make some cornbread on the side with a drizzle of honey. It will balance out all the savory flavors.
  •             this is not spicy, but flavorful. I am a "mild" loving person, and I can handle the flavor explosion this dish brings.
Chorizo and roasted Corn Skillet


Chorizo, Elote Roasted Corn, and Chili Lime Zuchinni Skillet Dinner

Servings 4-6


Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon Elote seasoning. (I got mine at Trader Joes) 
  • 1 lb. Chorizo Sausage
  • 2 medium zuchhinni/ summer squash sliced into even, ,round "coins" 
  • 1 10 oz bag frozen Mexican style fire roasted corn. (I use Traders Joe's) 
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup Feta Cheese
  • Optional:: for spicier dish:  1 fresh jalepeno, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped. 

Chili Lime Vinaigrette:

  •     3 Tbsp. olive oil
  •    2  Tbsp. lime juice
  •    1/2 tsp chili powder
  •    1/2 tsp salt
  •    1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Optional: 2 Tblsp finely chopped fresh chopped cilantro


Instructions: 

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat . Cook Chorizo Sausage till done, remove from skillet. leaving drippings in the pan. 
  2.  Add garlic and zucchini cooking  5 minutes, till almost tender. 
  3. Add optional jalapeno cook 2 minutes. Add in corn and sprinkle with Elote seasoning,  cooking approximately 1 minute till heated through. turn off the heat .
  4. In small bowl prepare Chili Lime dressing by whisking together all the dressing ingredients and stir into the skillet mixing well.
  5. Sprinkle on tomatoes,  feta cheese, and extra cilantro if desired . (My roasted corn came with a pack of Cojita cheese, I served that in a bowl at the table for people to use as desired.) 
  6. Serve with cornbread drizzled with honey.


Chorizo Skillet Dinner
 








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