Monday, March 2, 2009

Tortellini Soup

This is a really good vegetable tortellini soup, a bit like minestrone. This is the best soup recipe I've ever found. I use 1 lb. ground beef instead of the sausage, so I can't actually vouch that it's good with sausage! I use frozen tortellini because it's cheap. I cook it separately and add it right at the end so it doesn't soak up too much of the juice. I also substitute apple juice for the wine- because I usually have it on hand. Really good with a nice baguette.

  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced
  • 1 pound fresh tortellini pasta
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (real stuff please)
1. Brown sausage in pot; drain off fat. Add onions and saute until tender. Add carrots, celery, beef broth, red wine, tomatoes, ketchup, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim away the fat from the soup.
2. Stir in the zucchini, tortellini, red bell pepper, and parsley. (If you use fresh tortellini, cook them according to package directions.) Simmer, covered, for about 25-30 minutes or till the tortellini are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese right before serving.

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Crunchy Peanut Butter Balls

These are really quick and really yummy! You can drizzle melted peanut butter chips or white chocolate over the top, or use holiday sprinkles. Sometimes I substitute mini marshmallows (about 4 cups) for the marshmallow creme if that's all I have. Just microwave them for a minute or so. Yum!

-1 cup peanut butter (be generous)
-1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme
-2 cups crisp rice cereal
-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
-4 teaspoons shortening


1. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter and marshmallow creme; add cereal and stir until well coated. Roll cereal mixture into 1-in. balls and place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate for an hour or put in the freezer 15 minutes.
2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and shortening. Microwave at 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until chips are melted smooth. Dip balls in chocolate using a toothpick. Place on a waxed paper-lined pan. Refrigerate until set.
3. Remove toothpicks and decorate as desired.
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