Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Meatball Tortellini Soup

On a recent bone-chillingly cold day here in Birmingham, I saw this recipe on the cover of the January/February issue of Food Network Magazine, and I couldn't get the ingredients fast enough!  I love soups that are chunky, with plenty of yummy ingredients.  No wimpy soups around here.  This one is jam-packed with deliciousness like meaty meatballs, cheesy tortellini, and hearty baby spinach.  It was the perfect solution to winter's chill.

The meatballs are easy and flavorful.  They're formed into one-inch balls and browned until golden in a dutch oven.  Next, all the soup ingredients are combined through a few additional steps, and then the meatballs take a second trip into the pot and finish cooking while the soup simmers for a few minutes.  The tortellini is added at the very end, and voila!

The great thing about this soup is that it's on the healthy side.  The magazine states that there's 474 calories per serving.  You could make it even healthier by substituting ground turkey for the ground beef.  

Hopefully, this soup will help keep you warm on one of these chilly nights coming up!

Bon Appetit, my friends.  :)

Meatball Tortellini Soup
Adapted from:  Food Network Magazine

8 ounces ground beef chuck
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 9-ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach (about 3 ounces)

Combine the beef, parmesan, 2 tablespoons parsley, the egg, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a medium bowl; mix with your hands until just combined. Form into 1-inch meatballs; set aside. 

Heat the olive oil in a pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes; remove to a plate. Add the carrots and celery to the pot; cook, stirring, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Return the meatballs to the pot along with the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer until the meatballs are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. 

Add the tortellini and cook until they float to the top, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Top with more parmesan. 

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Warm Quinoa, Spinach, Chicken & Mushroom Salad

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Can you believe 2014 is already here?  Last year seemed to go by so quickly, and I hope it was a fantastic year for you.  Personally, I'm super excited about 2014 and can't wait to see what it has in store. 

The recipe I'm bringing you today is a hearty, warm salad that will be an easy, flavorful addition to your weeknight repertoire.  The ingredients are common and making use of a rotisserie chicken takes this dish up even one more notch on the simplicity scale.  Plus, anytime I can incorporate a little healthy quinoa into a meal, I'm in.

First, a quick dressing is whipped up using red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper.  Half of this dressing is drizzled over the mushrooms, and then they are broiled until tender.  Delish.  After that, all that's left is cooking the quinoa and then mixing together all the ingredients in a big ole' bowl - baby spinach, chicken, quinoa, mushrooms and the remaining dressing.  A sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese perfectly finishes it all off.

Bon Appetit, my friends!

Warm Quinoa, Spinach, Chicken & Mushroom Salad
Adapted from:  Everyday Food: Great Food Fast by Martha Stewart

1/2 cup red wine vinegar 
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil  
Coarse salt and ground pepper  
2 pounds button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced  
1 1/2 cups quinoa  
1 pound baby spinach 
2 cups cooked chicken, diced (a rotisserie chicken is a great time saver!)
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Heat broiler; set rack 4 inches from heat. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

On a large rimmed broiler-proof baking sheet, toss mushrooms with about half the dressing (reserve the rest); broil, tossing occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine quinoa, 3 cups water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover, and simmer until liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Place spinach and cooked chicken in a large bowl; add hot mushrooms, quinoa, and reserved dressing. Toss to combine (spinach will wilt slightly). Top with crumbled feta, and serve immediately.

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