Rustic Vegetable Tortellini Soup and Parmesan Rosemary Crackers

That is quite a title, huh? Sounds so fancy. I assure you, it is simple and great for a cold night.

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Vegetable soup is not the prettiest to photograph, but pay attention to the ingredients and you’ll want to make it. This soup is full of vegetables to keep it colorful and healthy, and also has whole wheat cheese tortellini to give is some staying power and substance. No chicken in this, but you could easily add it in.

Soups are something I like to make at home but am wary about ordering them at a restaurant. They always look a little oily and you never know how much salt has been added. When you make it at home, you’re the boss and control the spices. And it easily lasts for more than one meal and freezes well too.

Rustic Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 package whole wheat cheese torellini, I use Buitoni
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 7 celery stalks, chopped with ends off
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 box vegetable stock or broth (I used broth this time. It is much thicker than stock.)
  • 1 can tomato sauce + 1 can water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt, black pepper, white pepper, parsley

Instructions:

  • In a medium sized pot, bring water to a boil for tortellini. Cook as box instructions say, mine was 7-9 minutes in boiling water. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large soup pot, drizzle EVOO on bottom of pot and sautee onion for 8-10 minutes until translucent. Add minced garlic to sautee with it. Don’t let burn, stir often.
  • Add carrots and celery and let cook until starting to soft, about 10 more minutes. Add zucchini too.
  • Add broth, tomato sauce and water. Then corn and bay leaf and seasonings.
  • Add tortellini back to the soup pot.
  • Bring to a boil and let boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes. You want the carrots and zucchini soft.
  • I left mine at a simmer or with the fire off for about an hour. You could go longer or shorter, but at least 30 minutes to get the veggies soft.

This was a great soup. The white pepper was actually the most vivid of the spices giving it a real kick without being too spicy. We liked it. A Jeffrey approved meal too. I love tortellini, and it was a really good addition to soup instead of a regular noodle.

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The cheesy crackers are adapted from another recipe I’ve done, but I added chopped rosemary this time and it was great. Rosemary is maybe my favorite herb especially in breads. But first, here’s how to make the soup.

Parmesan Rosemary Crackers

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz warm water
  • 1 C parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 C chopped rosemary

Instructions:

  • Combine flours, salt, and baking soda and mix in electric mixer.
  • Add EVOO and cheese and mix again.
  • Add water and mix until starts to mold together. Add rosemary and mix one more time.

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  • Using your hands, form a ball and wrap in a paper towel and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight.
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  • Roll out as thin as possible with rolling pin. Place on baking sheet and score with a fork.
  • Add salt and pepper and press down.
  • Use a knife to make checkerboard of cracker sizes.
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  • Bake at 400* for 17 minutes. Baking time will vary, watch closely so it doesn’t burn.
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  • Remove and let cool. Break into cracker pieces.
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I really like making these crackers. They are simple but the flavor is really delicious. They key is to roll out as thin as you can to get the most crispy crackers, especially in the middle of the dough. Press it hard!

I still think it’s fun to make crackers because homemade crackers aren’t something people have sitting at home. And like the soup, you control the ingredients–not buttery or oily or full of salt.

A great winter meal!

P.S. Notice anything different around here? I have been playing with the page designs a little. Look at my header and the pictures on the Recipe page. I’m getting a little more savvy with design each day learning new things all the time!

Monsters, Balls, 3 Ingredient Soup

Happy birthday to my sister, Shelley! She is in her second year of her Master’s in Hospital Administration program at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and just found out that she’s moving to Atlanta in June for a two year fellowship at Emory. Way to go, Shelley. A fun added birthday celebration. Now we know who gets the bragging attention next week at Thanksgiving.

(Lily has since had her bangs trimmed)

There are only eight days until Thanksgiving! Then the madness of holiday shopping, continuous cool weather (we hope) and busy weekends of travel commence. And the looming half marathon that I’m not thinking about until my poor IT band heals…

Until then, let’s eat clean before the temptations start.

Green Monsters:

The blog world loves their green monsters, and if you haven’t tried it, you should to see what the hype is about. I have tried various additions and quantities, I’ve tried freezing them to defrost later, and played with lots of colored monsters. But in my opinion, the best tasting and prettiest monster is the original.

Basic Green Monster:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 C any milk
  • 2 C spinach

Blend, add ice, blend again, enjoy.

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Other monsters:

If you’re interested in more green monsters, check out the Green Monster Movement. I like to drink my monsters with a PB&J Sandwich for lunch or a light dinner. The monsters are quite filling and refreshing.

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Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls:

When I was in San Francisco for Foodbuzz Fest, one of the vendors at the Tasting Pavilion was Annie the Baker who made cookie dough balls of different flavors. They were all the rage, so of course, someone was going to replicate them at home. Mama Pea was the first at it, and then everyone made them within a day. Here are mine, and they are really really good. Approval by Jeffrey too! Click here for full recipe on her site.

Here are the changes I made: I un-veganized them because I don’t have vegan ingredients. So I used real butter (well, a stick of Fleischman’s margarine), regular chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. When I went to scoop out the balls to bake, the dough was very crumbly, so I put it back under the mixer and added 1/4 C water. It worked perfect, and the crumbles became dough.

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3 Ingredient Soup: Tomato Soup with Tortellini and Broccoli

This is not really a recipe, but it was a healthful, colorful, and fast way to eat at home. We recently found Wolfgang Puck organic canned soups, and they are really tasty! We like the Country Tomato with Basil that has little chunks of tomatoes and tastes good as homemade.

I heated up the soup, and at the same time, I boiled water for Buitoni 3-cheese whole wheat tortellini. And at the same time, I microwaved fresh broccoli to steam it. When everything was cooked, I added it to the soup pot to stir together and heat for a minute.

Voila, a one bowl 3 ingredient soup.

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