Chicken Tortellini Soup

Adapted from Point of Grace
3T olive oil
2 good sized garlic cloves, finely minced (I use a garlic press)
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
5 oz pkg frozen spinach (I used pict sweet)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
Just under 2 cans water
32 oz chicken broth
1 to 3 tsp chicken bouillon (add to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Family size package (3lbs) of cheese or chicken tortellini, half cooked (we used the four cheese tortellini from Costco)
2 lbs chicken, cooked and diced (I cook mine in the oven or crockpot with some chicken broth and pepper)

Put olive oil in the bottom of a large soup/stock pan. Over medium heat, saute garlic, celery, carrots and onions until tender. (I used freezer carrots from the garden. They were perfect and so good!)

Add the half package of frozen spinach. Break up blocks of spinach as you cook. Continue to saute until spinach thaws, then heats up. Add cream of chicken soup and water (I use the leftover chicken juices from cooking and one tsp of chicken bouillon). Add chicken broth and bring to a low broil. Add chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper to taste. Don't over do it because all the flavors will merry nicely when the noodles and chicken are added, but you don't want it too bland either.

In separate pot, bring 6 quarts of water and some salt to a low boil. Throw in noodles for about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, remove noodles and put into soup mixture. Add chicken and stir. Remove from stove and allow to sit and warm up for a few minutes. It will warm up on its own if you had it at a nice low boil before you added the noodles. Don't leave it on the unit or you'll overcook the noodles. Serve and enjoy!

Note: I was actually surprised this recipe had cream of chicken soup as an ingredient. It is not an overriding flavor in the soup as it has plenty of liquids to dilute it. If you like gnocchi, this would be a fun soup to try with it instead of the tortellini.

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Candy Bar Madness Chocolate Chip Cookies

AKA: Halloween Leftover Cookies

Every Halloween we have LOTS of candy that I prefer my kids not eat and rather not drag it out for a long time either... So one year I decided to sneak into their stash and get all the candy bars that I could find and create some cookies to use them up. :) They weren't too happy with me for stealing their candy without asking, but when they tried the cookies all was soon FORGIVEN! ;)
Now they go through and give me as much as they can part with to repeat the cookies every year.

Here is the basic recipe that I follow
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter (no margarine)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3-4 cups of cut up candy bar mixture and some chocolate chips too :)
       **I put in m&ms, snickers, crunch bars, Hershey's chocolate bars, almond joy (all bars are cut up into small chunks).... the choice of what candy is yours :)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine sugars. Add in butter and cream together with the sugar. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix together.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt (I combine all of this in the sifter and then sift them). Add to the creamed mixture.
Mix well (the dough will be stiff). Add the chocolate chip, candy bar mixture. Mix well to make sure enough dough surrounds the added goodness!

Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take a spoon full of dough and put it on the cookie sheet.
You should fit about 12 per sheet. (I roll mine into a ball then sort of squish it down a little but you could probably just put the spoon full directly on parchment)

Bake 10-12 minutes. Be sure not to over cook them or they will end up being hard discs LOL... they should look a little under done and almost getting golden on top  (but they will be golden on the bottoms)
Remove from oven and let set for a minute or two then remove the cookies and place on wire racks to cool . Enjoy!

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