Lately I have been a bit preoccupied. In addition to the normal workload I experience, the woman who has been cleaning my house twice a month for ten years has disappeared, I have a big deadline for my food book (more about this later), and I had to find a car. Weekends have been spent vacuum in hand, perusing Craigslist and Autotrader.com, and trolling the used car lots on El Camino, as well as writing, researching, and reading. I have fallen off my game in the dinner department. With the sun finally making an appearance, my husband is willing to grill food, which helps some, but it’s just not the same as getting in the kitchen myself, even if it is just for a short period of time. So I dug around in my archives and found a really wonderful hearty soup, that is supposedly heart-healthy and low in cholesterol. Start to finish 35 minutes. Makes enough for two meals, or a dinner and lunches. Although beware, the longer this soup sits in the fridge, the thicker it gets, due to the tortellini and rice. Still great tasting though.
So if you are tight on time, here’s a winner:
Tortellini & Chicken Soup
4 qts or 3 cans (49.4 oz) chicken broth
1 pkg (9 oz) fresh cheese-filled spinach tortellini (dried works as well)
1 pound fresh spinach, rinsed and coarsely chopped (just throw it in whole!)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced (you can even buy them this way)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup cooked rice
2 t dry tarragon leaves
In 8-10 quart pan, bring broth to a boil, covered, over high heat. Add tortellini, reduce heat, and boil gently, uncovered, just until tender – about 6 minutes. Add spinach, chicken, mushrooms, bell pepper, rice and tarragon. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until chicken is no longer pink in center – 3-5 minutes. Ladle soup into large bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.