Summer vacation is over and school is back in session, so it is time for my behind to get into the swing of dinner planning with the onslaught of homework, practices, and oh yeah…life. Some people treat the new year as a time for resolutions, but my resolutions have always come during vacation time. I always seem to reflect over that time as to what I can do better or change when I get back. This year on vacation, I decided that it was a goal of mine to really try and plan better for a variety of breakfasts for my kids as well as dinner, since it is often just the three of us eating. I will always have my boxes of mac and cheese at my disposal, but I really wanted to try and cook for all of us this year and not for just the kids. But cooking dinner for just three people, two of whom are under 5 feet tall, is another task. It requires being able to chop onions and trying to remember (and explain) what makes a prime number prime. It also, at times, has you stirring at the stove, all the while instilling fear of what’s to come, because someone was mimicking her brother and so he decided to retaliate with a body slam. I love dinner time during the week. It’s chaotic. But it is a time to savor. You learn so much just sitting and talking. So that is what drives me to plan better, and hope that all the other commitments don’t get in the way (I know I am dreaming). So after doing the guilty pleasure this weekend of perusing Pinterest (I really feel guilty at the amount of time you spend on that site!), I found a recipe that I knew the kids and I would like because of the tortellini, so I made it this week. I loved this soup, and it doesn’t suck up all the broth like some do after putting it in the fridge. I definitely would make this again – and hope that no body slams or nerf injuries occur next time I make it.
italian sausage tortellini soup (adapted from www.twopeasandtheirpod.com)
1 lb. italian sausage, mild or hot
2 TB olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried basil
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, chopped into quarter rounds
1 bay leaf
crushed red pepper
kosher salt and pepper
8 cups chicken stock
2 (15) oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 lb frozen chopped leaf spinach, thawed
2 (9) oz pkg of refrigerated tortellini
grated Parmesan cheese – optional
get started on the tortellini soup:
In a large pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Remove the casings from the sausage and place in the pot. With a wooden spoon, break apart the sausage into bite size pieces. Brown the sausage until almost cooked through. Add the chopped onion, garlic and dried basil. Cook until the onions are turning opaque, about 4 minutes.
Add in the zucchini, bay leaf, a couple pinches of crushed red pepper (amount depends if you use mild or hot sausage), salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything to combine. Add broth and the diced tomatoes and simmer for 3 – 5 minutes. Add the thawed spinach and stir. Taste broth and adjust seasoning if needed.
Add the tortellini and cook until the tortellini is tender, 8 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
note: this serves 6-8 people. Garnish with cheese and enjoy!