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Blizzard Worthy Chicken Tortellini Soup

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I should call this “Siberian Soup” since this winter in PA has seemed uncomfortably Russian, but I will turn down my dramatic tendencies. This soup came after trying a recipe that was just a bit too heavy for me. Instead of tossing it, I went back into the kitchen and changed the ingredients to make it lighter, and a lot healthier!

Today was certainly the best day to try it, since we are receiving almost 2 FEET OF SNOW! Luckily, my husband was off today, so I could cook warm toasty meals. This soup was a hit! My husband loved it, along with four very hungry little girls, who just came in from the snow.

So, if you are looking for a way to escape the arctic, make a pot of this tasty tortellini soup!

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached & shredded
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian diced tomatoes
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
  • 8 ounces fresh tortellini
  • 2 zucchini cut into large chunks
  • 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, poach chicken breasts and shred. (You can put them in your mixer with the paddle attachment and turn on low until shredded)
  2. Sautee onions and garlic in the pot until tender. Stir in chicken broth, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, and chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Add tortellini during the last 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in zucchini, cheese, and parsley. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top of each serving. Serve with warm garlic bread.

*Note– if you save this soup for leftovers the tortellini will suck up the broth so the result is a more like a stew. Feel free to add more chicken broth if you eat it the next day.

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7

My Crazy is Showing, but I’ll Tuck it in Later

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My husband says that I have a tomato problem.

  I don’t.

He uses words like “addiction”, “compulsion”, “obsession”.

I respond with words like “whatever”, “nu-uh”, “ugh” (yes, they are words in my vocabulary)

My kids say things like “Stop saucing, Mommy!” “Can’t we just go to the pool, like other kids?” “Why are you making mooorrrreee???”

My responses… “I just have a few more to do.” “You love Mommy’s sauce.” “Can I just have one hobby?”

Why can’t my loved ones embrace my annual hobby of stalking my favorite secret farm stand until the Romas are ready, then packing my car full of red, juicy little friends, and crafting some of the finest homemade sauce (or “gravy” as my Italian friend, Lisa, corrects)? No one else we know has a basement stockpile of tomatoey awesomeness!! My family is lucky, damn it!

I’m a pretty simple girl. I do not like shopping. The mall is not my happy place, and the outlets, which are right down the road from my farm stand oasis, make my heart palpitate with anxiety! I prefer to cook, and grow, and relax. In an ideal world, I’d live on a small farm, next to the beach, and I’d have enough money to stay home with my kids and cook fabulous meals. It’s not a lot to ask.

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But now, the season of saucing is upon us. The Romas are ready; this is shopping that brings me joy! I woke up this morning, recruited my sister, Rori, who is crazy enough to join my adventures, and off we went. The sun was out, the breeze was warm, the top was down, and the doors were off. It was heavenly.

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Our morning was awesome. Kid & husband free, we popped into several farm stands snatching up peppers, pickling cucumbers, cheese, blackberries, and the coveted Roma tomatoes. I have a super secret special spot that grows them to perfection. Here we bought SIX BUSHELS. As I transferred them from the baskets to cardboard boxes, a calm washed over me. This is my happy place, this is my happy place, THIS IS MY HAPPY PLACE!!   After we loaded them into the car, I stood to ponder our stash. No buyer’s remorse. I had buyer’s delight!

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After a happy drive home, I pulled into the driveway and fought the urge to yell, in the spirit of Maurice Sendak, “LET THE WILD RUMPUS BEGIN!”

It is time to sauce.

So, as I pull the first tomatoes from the box, and my family watches and waits for my crazy to show, I do consider the stages of addiction…

  • Admitting that one cannot control one’s addiction or compulsion:
    • I totally admit that I cannot control my compulsion to make & can homemade pasta sauce
  • Recognizing a higher power that can give strength;
    • I totally thank God often that I live in such a beautiful place on Earth, with fertile soil, and Amish neighbors who grow the BEST ROMA TOMATOES EVER!!!!
  • Examining past errors with the help of a sponsor;
    • I will totally own my errors. Two years ago I didn’t make enough and we ran out in January. Last year, I made a little too much, and I still have 8 jars left.
  • Making amends for these errors;
    • I bought less this year.
  • Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
    • I will live with less canned sauce, and embrace my passion for making sun pickles too 🙂
  • Helping others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions;
    • I assisted my sister in securing a few cases for herself, and I am willing to help you all as well.

There you have it. I may be a little obsessed, addicted, or compulsive, but Hell, it’s a lot of fun, and so, so good!

If you need to know how I make my sauce/gravy, check out my Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce!

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Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Yoga Pants

1-IMG_2668I don’t really love tomatoes raw, but once roasted, I could eat them until I burst. Seriously, I need to wear my yoga pants (aka “buffet pants”) when indulging in any roasted tomatoey goodness. I even went as far as to plant a bazillion cherry tomato plants in various parts of my backyard to satisfy my need for these yummy little savory treasures.

My passion err..obsession for roasted tomatoes started with a recipe that I saw for French bread pizzas. The recipe called for roasted cherry tomato puree as the pizza sauce. Once I made these, it opened all new doors. I now use roasted cherry tomatoes on a weekly basis for a multitude of recipes. They’re simple, easy, and packed with flavor.

Try them, but I take no responsibility for creating a new addiction, or causing you to need stretch pants to accommodate your overstuffed belly.

Ingredients:

2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes

2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil

1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

1.       Wash & dry the tomatoes.

2.       Slice them in half.

3.       Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

4.       Place the tomatoes in a casserole dish or roasting pan so they cover the bottom in a single layer.

5.       Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper.

6.       Add thyme, and toss, coating all of the tomatoes.

7.       Roast in the oven on 425 for about 35 minutes, or until they are withered and caramelized at the edges.

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Serving Suggestions:

1.       Allow them to cool and toss with fresh basil, mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar.

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2.       Roast 3 cloves of garlic with the tomatoes. Puree with a hand blender, add a sprinkle of sugar if you like the sauce a bit sweet, and top raviolis, or use it as a pizza sauce for French bread pizza.

3.       Toss with mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinegar, and large croutons for a tasty panzanella.

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Rockin’ Rose Romano’s [SPONSORED]

1-IMG_2229Recently, the kind people at Rose Romano’s Italian Peppers sent me a few jars of their tasty sauce. Wow, am I a lucky girl. I was amazed by the beautiful presentation of the box I received, and I was intrigued by the recipes suggested in the insert. What I learned is that Rose Romano’s is actually more like a condiment, rather than a pasta sauce. As a coveted family recipe, owner, Dr. Marshall Angotti, created this gluten-free, low calorie, goodness as the perfect complement to your simple homemade dishes. Rose Romano’s Italian Peppers comes in two flavors, red pepper and green pepper, and the recipe possibilities are endless.

My biggest challenge was to figure out how I was going to use the red pepper sauce that I received, because the cookbook and menu created by Dr. Angotti is substantial! I decided on making a simple bow tie pasta tossed with garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, and salt & pepper. Once the pasta was seasoned, I spooned it onto a plate, topped it with the red pepper sauce, and served it with a side of crusty garlic bread. What a great, easy weeknight meal, even my girls loved it! We all went to bed with well nourished, happy bellies.

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The next challenge came with how to serve the green pepper sauce. I immediately thought of my nephew’s upcoming graduation party. I knew that my sister was making 100 pounds of Freakin’ Fabulous Roasted Pork for sandwiches, and a sandwich bar was the perfect stage for Rose Romano’s green pepper sauce. Along with traditional bar-b-que sauce, we offered a bowl of warm Rose Romano’s. The green pepper sauce was a sweet compliment to the savory garlic roasted pork.

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After my initial successes, I am excited to try some of the recipes suggested by Dr. Angotti. His recipes suggest topping almost anything with this unique food accessory, from hamburgers, to grilled chicken, to eggs. The ideas are creative as well as simple and healthy.

If you are looking for a new way to dress up a boring dish, or need a quick and easy gift idea, consider Rose Romano’s Peppers. You can order online or locate them at a store near you by visiting http://www.roseromanos.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Ladies’ Night

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I’m getting together with some ladies into neighborhood. On the menu is Spicy Shrimp Linguini, buttermilk biscuits, and raspberry margaritas!

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Magnificent Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs may be the greatest form of comfort food. Sometimes you crave it on a cold, blustery day when you are looking for something to warm you from the inside out. And other times, I think it is the perfect way to fill a belly after an exhausting summer day at the pool. The bottom line is that this is a great go to meal that is sure to please!

The Meatballs–

1. Put 2 lbs. of ground beef in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mince the garlic. A good garlic press is essential to any kitchen. You would be wise to invest in a good one.

3. Add the remaining ingredients. If your kids like to cook with you, this is a good task for them. I know that my little helpers like to help me measure and “dump” it all in the bowl.

4. Use your hands (or your stand mixer if the thought of raw meat skeeves you) to blend the mixture well.

5. Roll meatballs to about the size of a golf ball.

6. Place meatballs in even rows onto a parchment lined baking pan.

7. Bake about 30 minutes at 375.

8. Heat up 2-4 quarts of Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce

9. I enhance my sauce with 1/4 cup of red wine, 4 cloves of minced garlic, and 2 tablespoons each of fresh basil & fresh oregano. (optional)

10. Drop cooked meatballs into a boiling pot of Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce.


11. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. (The longer, the better)

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Serve over spaghetti, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and a big slab of garlic bread!

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Ingredients

2 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon of dried basil
4-6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:

Preparation:
1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand.
2. If you are skeeved by raw meat, use a stand mixer on low speed until blended.
3. Roll meatballs to about the size of a golf ball.
4. Place meatballs in even rows onto a parchment lined baking pan.
5. Bake about 30 minutes at 375.
6. Drop into a boiling pot of Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce.
7. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. (The longer, the better)

**serve over spaghetti, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and a big slab of garlic bread!

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Roma Heaven

Let the saucing begin!!!

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30 lbs. down…90lbs. to go.

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10

Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce

Positively Perfect Pasta Sauce

Italian I’m not
But the garden, I love
Here is a recipe that stands all above
So roll up your sleeves
And get a big pot
For a perfect red sauce
That is savory and HOT!!!

Ingredients:
• 15-20 Red Roma Tomatoes (enough to cover the bottom of a large roasting pan)
• Large pot of boiling water
• Large pot of ice water
• 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 head of garlic, peeled
1 medium onion chopped
• 10-15 fresh basil leaves chopped
• 2-3 pinches of fresh oregano chopped
2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
• 1-2 Tbsp. of sugar
• Salt & pepper to taste
Preparation:
1. Wash tomatoes, remove the core, and slice a shallow “X” on the bottom of each tomato.
2. Drop tomatoes into boiling water until the skin splits. (about 2 min)
3. Remove with tongs and drop in ice bath.
4. Pull tomatoes out of the ice bath and slip the skin off. Discard skin and place tomato into the roasting pan.
5. Once the tomatoes are skinned, add olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan and mix.
6. Place in the oven at 425 degrees and roast for about 30 minutes. Tomatoes will start to break down and get browned on the bottom. Garlic should also be soft and browned.
7. Add basil, bay leaves, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast for 10-15 more minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and puree with a hand blender.
9. Serve over pasta or with fresh garlic bread.
Alternatives:
• This recipe can be made with whole cherry or grape tomatoes (skip the blanching process–just wash and skip to step 5)
• You can also add cheese, such a parmesan or Romano, or meat to individualize the flavor.

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Chicken & Chorizo Pasta Bake

A recipe from the Fabulous Food Fairy.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 pkg. Chorizo Sausage, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of Hunt’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes (14.5oz.)
  • 1 can of tomato puree (28oz.)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of light cream
  • 1 box of penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 ball of mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes

Preparation

  • Cook pasta for 8-10 minutes, drain, and set aside
  • In a large skillet, brown chicken in olive oil for 5-7 minutes.
  • Add sausage and peppers and cook for 5-7 minutes more, until chicken is no longer pink inside
  • Remove cooked ingredients from the skillet into a large pasta bowl and set aside
  • Pour tomatoes, tomato puree, minced garlic, and cream to the pan. Simmer on low heat to allow the flavors to blend—about 10 minutes. (season with salt and pepper to taste, or add a dash of sugar if you like it a bit sweet)
  • Toss all of the ingredients in the pasta bowl and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and tuck chunks of mozzarella throughout the warm pasta.
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Spicy Shrimp Linguine

by Tatiana Hobar Williams in The Fabulous Food Fairy
 
  • Shrimp, peeled and uncooked
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP Honey
  • 2 TBSP Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 TBSP Lemon
  • 1 TBSP Parsley
  • 1TBSP Soy Sauce
  • pinch of cayenne (to your taste)

Marinate peeled shrimp in all the above ingredients in a glass dish for about an hour.

Bake in glass dish at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

Mix with 1 LB of cooked linguine noodles.

Serve with salad and bread or roasted broccoli.

Enjoy!