Tortellini Florentine Soup

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A few week ago this tortellini recipe popped up on my Yahoo and it sounded tasty.  I've been waiting for a cold day to make it and man, is it cold outside!  Plus, this is my first meal cooking in my brand new Rachel Ray pots.  Woohoo!

Tortellini Florentine Soup from Shine
1 9-oz. pkg. refrigerated 3-cheese tortellini
2 14-oz. cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 10-oz. container refrigerated light Alfredo pasta sauce
2 cups shredded deli-roasted chicken
1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomato strips, drained
3 cups lightly packed packaged fresh baby spinach
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded (optional)

Directions:  1.In 4-quart Dutch oven cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2.In the same Dutch oven combine broth and Alfredo sauce. Stir in chicken and tomato strips. Heat just to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

3.Add cooked tortellini and spinach to chicken mixture. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to heat through and wilt spinach. To serve, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 6 servings.

-I used 2 cans of chicken.
-I did not add the tomato strips.
This made more than 6 servings.

Here's what you'll need:

I cooked the tortellini per the directions.  While that was cooing, I opened, drained and rinsed 2 cans of chicken.

One the tortellini was finished, I drained it and set it aside.

In the same pan, I added 2 cans of chicken broth and a jar of alfredo sauce.

I added the chicken to the stock and let it come to a boil.  Then, I reduced it and added the tortellini and spinach.

After adding the spinach, I let the soup simmer for about 5 minutes until the spinach was wilted.

Here's what you end up with:

Our Thoughts:

Scott was a little apprehensive when I told him what I was making and when he saw me throw two hands full of raw spinach into the pot but this was really good.  Even though the recipe calls for deli roasted chicken, I really don't think that we could tell a big difference in the canned chicken especially since I rinsed it and then cooked it in chicken stock.

I loved the spinach in this dish.  The different textures of the chicken, tortellini and wilted spinach was notieable and delicious.  The spinach, to me, almost had a touch of sweet flavor.

We will definitely be making this again.  Everyone loved it!

From the Archives: Jerry Sobery's Chicken and Dumplings

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tonight's meal was from last winter. Kanin has been begging me to make it again so tonight I did. It is really good and really easy!

Jerry Sobery's Chicken and Dumpling Recipe
1 (32) oz of chicken broth
5 cups of shredded cooked chicken
1 10 1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 10 1/2 oz can of jumbo refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
frozen peas

Directions:  I always toss in some frozen chopped onions and season with a little pepper or Mrs. Dash.

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil over med. high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to med. high : return to a low boil.

Place biscuits on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat each biscuit to 1/8 inch thickness: cut into 1/2 inch wide strips.;

Drop strips, 1 at a time, into boiling broth mixture. Add peas and cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 min. stirring occasionally to prevent dumplings from sticking.

Here's what I started with:

Here's how I did it:

#1 I cut up 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to help them cook.

#2 I put the chicken pieces in boiling water and let them cook for about 20 minutes.

#3 Once the chicken was cooked through, I drained them and then shredded it with 2 forks.

#4 Next, I combined the chicken broth, cream of mushroom soup and cooked chicken in a dutch oven.  I brought it to a boil, turned it down and covered it and let it simmer for a bit and then turned it back up to a low boil.

#5 While the chicken was boiling in the stock, I threw some flour down on the cutting board.  I opened the biscuits and padded them down until they were about 1/8 inch and then cut them into 1/2 inch strips.

#6 I dropped them into the pot and let it cook, covered, for about 20 minutes.  I stirred it every once in a while so they biscuits didn't stick.

#7 Finally, I put about 1/2 bag of green peas in the pot, too.

The Finished Product:


This recipe was so good and so easy.  I had never heard of dropping biscuit dough into boiling water so I was afraid that they would turn out really doughy but they were fantastic.  (Apparently, though, this is a popular way of making dumplings instead of from scratch). 

The peas added a sweetness to the dish and chicken stock, chicken and cream of mushroom soup made a perfect broth.  Kanin had 4 helpings so anytime that happens then the recipe is a keeper!

Thanks, Georgia, for sending me your mom's recipe!

Hope you enjoy!

*****(5 Stars)--This dish was fantastic! It will definitely become a part of our regular rotation and we will definitely have it over and over again!

Rum and Eggnog French Toast

Friday, December 24, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I found a blog, Three Jewels in My Crown.  Crystal had posted a recipe for Rum and Egg Nog French Toast. The title of this recipe just screamed Christmas to me and I knew that I wanted to try it.  As it happens, though, I had never even tasted egg nog before but when we had our PJ, Cookies and Craft night my friend, JoAnna, brought and left some at my house so I had all of the ingredients.

Rum and Egg Nog French Toast

2 eggs
1/2 C. store bought egg nog
2 T. spiced rum (optional)
1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice (or 1/8 t. cinnamon plus 1/8 t. nutmeg)
6 slices bread (I used thick french bread)

Directions:  Whisk together eggs, egg nog, rum and spices. Heat a griddle. Dredge bread in egg mixture.{I say that like I know what I'm talking about. For non-culinary peeps like me, "Dredge" simply means to dunk or soak something} Butter the hot griddle and place soaked bread on the griddle. Cook on each side until golden brown. Serve with butter and powdered sugar or syrup.

~The rum is optional. If you leave it out (like I did because it was just me and the kids tonight) then try adding 1/2 t. vanilla in it’s place.

Here's what you will need:

Here are a couple of REALLY crappy pictures but it is 1/2 cup egg nog and 2 Tbsps of Captain Morgan's. 

Next comes 2 eggs and a good dash of cinnamon.  I didn't have nutmeg so I just added a bit more cinnamon and whisked it altogether.

 I was using my griddle to fry up some turkey bacon so I just used a regular old skillet and threw some butter in there.

I dipped both sides of the bread into the egg mixture and then put it in the skillet until it was brown on one side and then flipped to brown the other.

When both sides were browned, I pulled it off the skillet and put sprinkled powdered sugar all over with a side of turkey bacon.

I had to take one more picture.  A little story . . . when my husband was growing up and his mom made French toast they never used syrup or powdered sugar.  They used 100% granulated sugar out of the sugar bowl.  They would sprinkle the entire thing with nothing but sugar.  I have always laughed about this because there is no way I would put just pure sugar all over my kids' French toast but that's what they did and that's how he likes it.  This morning I asked him if he wanted me to get out the sugar and he said that he would try it with powdered sugar.  I had to take a picture and the amount of sugar he put all over it with NO SYRUP!  Notice the huge clumped balls of powdered sugar.

Our Thoughts:

I was so excited to get up on Christmas Eve morning and make breakfast for the family.  I hope that I will make this a yearly tradition.

I have never cooked French toast before and this was really, really easy.  I was a little apprehensive about the rum and egg nog but, honestly, we really couldn't taste either one of them.  I think the egg nog just help to coat the bread more than just straight eggs.

The taste that everyone loved was the cinnamon.  Scott kept saying that there was a really good after taste.  When he figured out that it was the cinnamon, he told me to always make it that way.  Big success!

Hope you enjoy!

Merry Christmas From the Westerhold's

Thursday, December 23, 2010

To all of you, my fellow food buddies, I hope each and everyone of you have a fantastic Christmas and a very Blessed 2011.  I cannot wait to discover more recipes together!

A Weekly Menu

When I started this food blog way back when I posted a weekly menu along with a shopping list.  To be honest, it started feeling like the blog became a job (that I wasn't getting paid for) and it took up a lot of my time.  I thought I would go ahead and post what I am planning on making next week, in case any of you need some ideas, but I can't swear that I will stick to it.  LOL

3. Jerry Sobery's Chicken and Dumplings (Kanin has been begging me to make this again)
4. Saucy Meatballs and Noodles taken from Woman's World Magazine

Saucy Meatballs and Noodles
8oz egg noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic
1 onion, chopped, 1 cup
1/2 tsp dried thyme
32 frozen cocktails meatballs, 12oz thawed
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen peas, thawed

Directions:  Cook noodles according to package. Drain; reserve. Combine soup and 1 1/2 cups water. In large nonstick skillet, heat 1Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, 1/2tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and browned, 8 minutes. Add soup mixture, then meatballs and peas. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and peas are tender, 10 minutes. Stir in noodles. Cook, stirring, until heated through. 1-2 minutes.

Servings: 4
Calories: 569
Protein: 22g
Fat: 26g
Trans Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 87mg
Carbs 63g
Sodium: 1,417mg
Fiber: 7g
Sugar: 7g

Kitchen Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Woman's World

Chicken with Garlic & Parsley

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Welcome to my new look!  I just wanted to change things up a bit.  I also wanted to add more background to my recipes.

Recently I've been doing a lot of blog hopping.  I found a food blog, Amanda's Cookin and decided to give this one a whirl.  The bonus is that I had all of the ingredients on hand.  I did, however, exchange dried parsley for fresh parsley.  I also used frozen chicken breasts and whole wheat flour.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (each about 7 ounces), cut into 1- to 1-1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon, quartered (optional, I don't bother)
gravy (see recipe below)

Directions:  Dry the chicken cubes with paper towels and toss them with the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Trust me, don't be tempted to ad more flour, the amount mentioned is perfect. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until very hot but not smoking, add the cubed chicken, and cook in one layer, for about 4-5 minutes, this will develop a lovely crust. Turn pieces of chicken and continue cooking for 3-5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Add the butter and the parsley mixture to the skillet and saute for 1 minute longer, shaking the skillet occasionally to coat the chicken. Use a spoon to remove the chicken to a plate, leaving brown bits, extra parsley and garlic in the pan.

Here's what I started with:
Notice that I used frozen chicken breasts, dried parsley and whole wheat flour.

Here's how I did it:

After thawing the chicken breasts (I used 4), I dried them off and cut them into cubes.

I added the salt, pepper and whole wheat flour and mixed it all up.
The recipe called for 1Tbsp of garlic.  This ended up being 3 cloves, chopped.

I put olive oil in a skillet and let it get hot.  Then, I added the chicken cubes.  They cooked on one side, without stirring, for about 6 minutes.  Then I individually turned each of them over.

Once the chicken had cooked for a while, I turned each piece over.  The cooked side was nice and crispy and brown.

While the second side of the chicken was cooking, I mixed about 1 1/2 Tbsp of dried parsley to the garlic. 

The garlic and parsley was thrown in with the chicken along with the butter.

Once the second side of the chicken was cooked, I pulled it out and started on the gravy.  This is what was used for the gravy:

1 heaping Tbsps of flour
1 cup of chicken broth

The recipe said to add butter, too, but since I just used butter with the garlic and parsley, I didn't add any extra.

Here is the chicken when I pulled it out of the skillet.

The start of the gravy.  1 big Tablespoon of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of chicken broth to the oil/butter mixture and then stir like crazy.  I cooked it for about 1 minute.

The Finished Product:

I cannot say enough about this chicken and the gravy.  It was fantastic!  Having made SO MANY chicken dishes, I was a little skeptical that this one could be that good but it really was. 

There were three things that made this dish stand out.  The first thing was letting the chicken just sit and cook for the 4-5 minutes at first and really letting it crisp up and then doing the same thing on the other side.  This really trapped in the juices.  Secondly, loved the simplicity of the garlic and parsley.  Lastly, the gravy was great!  Using the drippings of the butter/oil/garlic/parsley really added that extra flavor.

Amanda suggested serving this over rice and I think that would be a fantastic idea.  I think that I will make it again with wild rice the next time.  This time, though, I served it with a potato/mushroom side, green beans and baked beans.

Everyone loved this dish.  Kanin ate and ate it.  Gracie, of course, took one bit and said "I don't like it."  I consider it a success that she even tasted it.  LOL

Hope you enjoy!

Guest Blogging Today

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today I am guest blogging at Simply Sunshine and Daisy's.  Click on the button below to read how my Meals For Real blog got started.

If you want to read my guest blog at Simply Sunshine and Daisy's for my personal site, you can read it HERE.

White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Thursday, December 16, 2010

White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars adapted from Unknown source
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinammon
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or grated peel of one orange
3 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups butterscotch chips

Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour, baking soda, and cinammon in small bowl.  Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in oats and butterscotch chips.  Spread dough into greased 15x10 inch pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until very lightly browned.

-I used 2 packages of brown sugar oats.
-I used white chocolate chips instead of butterscotch.

Here's what I started with:

Here's how I did it:

#1 I preheated the oven to 375 degrees.

#2 I mixed together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon.

#3 In a separate bowl, I beat the butter, eggs, brown and white sugar.

#4 I slowly added in the flour mixture.

#5 I stirred in the oats.

#6 I stirred in the white chocolate chips.

#7 I spread the mixture out onto a cookie sheet.

#8 Into the oven for about 20 minutes.

The Finished Product:


Let's make one thing clear up front.  I am not a baker.  I have a lot of respect for those of you out there who bake cookies and pies and cakes.  It is just way too much of a precise science for me and I'm more of a "taste it and see if I need more of xx" kind of girl.

Having said all of that, I have seen so many Facebook and blog posts recently about people doing their Christmas baking that I decided to give it a whirl.  I had all of these ingredients on hand.

I didn't have the right pan to cook these bars in but the cookie sheet worked out ok.  I was afraid to use a 9x13 baking dish because I thought it would have been too deep.

Bottom line . . . these bars are great!  You could easily substitute regular dark chocolate chips or use the butterscotch chips that the recipe calls for.  The little packets of oatmeal worked out great, too.

Kanin said, "These are perfect.  Crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle."  I guess that it endorsement enough.

Hope you enjoy!