The past few days have been cooollllllllddddd as can be. We have been below zero for several days. And add to that, I am preparing for our 4 conferences and do not want a big mess or complicated meal.
I think the high yesterday the high was around 7 degrees. Seems too cold to go outside for anything. Soup and bread on days like this brings such great steamy aroma and grace to a house closed to the outside world.
A little crusty bread, some instrumental music wafting through the air, several candles lit, and we are all set for a winter feast. I made up a new recipe of bread this weekend and my family loves it. I do promise that someday I will attempt to give you my recipe, but I am a little inexact--a bit of this, a smidge of that--and so I hate to give out something so imperfect.
Now to the soup....
There is just something about this simple recipe that brings me and my family comfort. The smell of the onion & garlic sautéing in the pot, the sound of chopping carrots and zucchini... I am pretty sure it starts with the preparation of this easy meal that brings on the comfort. My kids shuffle into the kitchen and ask, "What is that wonderful smell? What are you making Mom? Oh, I can't wait for dinner tonight!"
As a busy mom, I don't always have dinner planned out. So it has been my goal to have staple recipes that I have made over and over again to choose from after such a consuming day. These staple recipes always bring to my mind fond memories around the table or smiles of approval from my kids, as well as knowing it will be a quick fix meal! If I am out and about and I didn't get to making a menu for the week, my only option is not to drive through the fast food place, because I usually know what little I do have in the pantry and the little I would need to complete this dish of comfort for my family. I sometimes throw in a nice fresh loaf of french bread or one of my homemade loaves from the freezer, and my family really thinks I do have it all together!
And so, during these cold winter months, take some time to try this simple and comforting recipe. Then take a moment to come up with your own staple recipes that you can whip up in no time and feel good about feeding your family. Our meals should be shared with the ones we love. The little time we invest in making home - cooked meals makes a lasting impression on our family and our health!
"We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink..." ~Epicurus
Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1-2 onions, peeled & diced
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
10-12 Italian sausage, remove casings & cut into bite size pieces (Last night I used organic chicken-apple sausage)
2 large cans diced tomatoes
16 oz can of tomato sauce
4-6 cups of beef broth
4 cups of chicken broth
4-6 carrots, peeled & diced
4-6 zucchini, diced
1 large package of cheese tortellini (last night I cut up 4 potatoes and pressure cooked them in 4 minutes and it made a thickish, saucy feel to the soup.)
*Parmesan cheese, grated (optional topping)
In a large stock pot, over medium heat, saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic & saute 1-2 min longer. Then add sausage and stir until cooked through. Reserving the zucchini & tortellini, add remaining ingredients and bring slowly to a boil. When soup has reached boiling point, turn heat down to a simmer. Add zucchini & tortellini and simmer for 10-15 min more. Serve in large bowls and top with parmesan cheese. Goes great with a loaf of soft french bread-or a loaf of homemade from the freezer. (I make 5-6 loaves at once.)
*If you want to double recipe and freeze for later, this is an excellent way to save time. Just be sure not to add the tortellini & zucchini until after you have defrosted & returned soup to a simmer. Sometimes I use great northern beans (white beans) or whole grain macaroni instead of the tortellini. I usually freeze my soup in a large freezer bag (lay a piece of cardboard in your freezer and place freezer bag on top so it freezes flat, then you have more room in your freezer when you freeze bags like this. You can stack them or place them in freezer door upright after frozen). You can also freeze your tortellini & cut up zucchini right along side your soup so the meal is ready to go from the freezer!
Yummmmm......is it ok to have leftover soup for breakfast? Enjoy.