Black Bean and Tortellini Soup w/ Green Salad
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Black Bean and Tortellini Soup w/ Green Salad


~From Better Homes & Gardens Calorie Smart Meals

Makes 7 servings ( 1 cup each)


6 ounces uncooked chorizo sausage Note:  I used a package of diced pancetta in place of the chorizo because my grocery did not have the uncooked chorizo the day I was shopping.  I thought it was excellent w/ the pancetta so you have options to choose from.
1/2 cup chopped onion * I omitted the onion as my gang is not super fond of it/totally up to your taste*
2 cloves garlic, minced * omitted same reason as above/great either way*IMG_7402
1 32 oz. container reduced-sodium beef broth
1 15 oz. can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

1 8 oz. can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 9-ounce package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 small package queso fresco cheese, crumbled for serving


IN a 4-quart Dutch oven cook chorizo (or pancetta), onion and garlic if using over medium heat util meat is browned and onion is tender.  Drain off fat.  Stir in the next six ingredients (through cumin).  Bring to boiling.  Stir in tortellini.  Return to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer 8 – 10 minutes or until tortellini are tender, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with cilantro (if using) and queso fresco.

Serve with a green salad.  Some nice topping options for the salad could be carrot ribbons, pumpkin seeds and a nice vinaigrette.  Toss all together and serve along with the soup.



Creamy Tomato & White Bean Soup with Grilled Cheese Dippers
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Creamy Tomato & White Bean Soup

with grilled cheese dippers

Recipe by Tara Bench for Family Fun Magazine, Feb/Mar 2016 issue


This soup is EASY & this soup is GOOD!

Serves:  8  ( great for leftovers the next day!)


1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 can or carton (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch black pepper
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained
1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
4 – 8 slices of bread (will vary depending on how many people you’re serving so as to make enough grilled cheese for your group)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese ( may need more to accommodate # of sandwiches you’re making)

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1.Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until soft, about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

2.  Working in batches, transfer tomato mixture to a blender.  Add beans and broth.  Blend for 2 minutes.  Return to saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat.  Cover slices of bread with cheese.  Top with remaining bread slices, then butter the outsides.  Grill in skillet until golden on both sides and cheese is melted.  Cut into 1 inch slices.

4.  Serve soup with grilled cheese dippers.



Butternut-Apple Soup

Adapted from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, by the Editors of Good Housekeeping Magazine.  Print This Post Print This Post

Butternut-Apple Soup

IMG_5758Prep:  15 minutes  Cook:  45 minutes ~ Very easy recipe


2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4 inch pieces ***Instead of cutting the squash into pieces when it is raw as that is quite a challenge, I cut each squash just in 1/2, rub the inside and out with some olive oil and roast cut side down on a tinfoil or parchment lined baking sheet at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Once cooled I can easily cut/peel off the skin and cut the soft squash into pieces.  It is going to be cooked and put in a blender eventually so you don’t need it to have any form.  This makes the preparation of the squash much easier***

2 medium gala apples (or really whatever apples you have on hand is fine) peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

1 carton, 48 ounces vegetable broth

2 cups water

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp coarsely ground black pepper


In large dutch oven, combine squash, apples, broth, water, salt and pepper;  heat to a boiling over high heat.  Reduce heat to IMG_5772low;  cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

Spoon 1/3 of squash mixture in a blender;  cover, with center part of cover removed to let steam escape, and puree until smooth.  You may place a kitchen towel over opening in cover when first starting blender to avoid any hot liquid splashing out.  Pour blended soup into a bowl and continue with remaining mixture until all has been blended.

Return puree to saucepan;  Heat through over medium heat, stirring occasionally (do not boil).  Serve.

Soup pairs wonderfully with the Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini, recipe derived from Cooking Light Magazine, April 2016 edition.


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Corn Chowder with BLT Sandwiches

Corn Chowder with BLT’s  Print This Post Print This Post  Corn Chowder recipe from Comfort Food Makeovers by America’s Test Kitchen.

Serves 6


10 ears of corn, husks and silk removed ( I have used a large bag of frozen corn in this recipe when we have not had fresh corn in season with great results and it is a bit of a time saver as well)

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 slice bacon, chopped fine

1 onion, chopped fine

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp dried thyme

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup skim milk

1 pound red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup half-and-half

2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (optional)

salt and pepper


1. Cut kernels from ears of corn and put into large bowl.

2.  Heat oil in Duth over over medium heat, add bacon and cook until crisp, about 3 minutes or so.  Stir in onion and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.

3.  Slowly whisk in broth and milk, scraping up the browned bits in bottom of pan.  Stir in potatoes, bay leaf and corn.  Bring to a simmer, partially cover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

4.  Stir in half-and-half and simmer about 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf, stir in parsley if using, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

BLT Sandwiches


1 package bacon

2 tomatoes

1 head of Romaine lettuce

Sandwich bread of your choosing



Cook bacon according to package directions.  Wash tomatoes and slice thin.  Wash & dry lettuce.  Toast bread, spread each piece of bread with the mayonnaise, top with 2-3 slices of bacon, 1 piece of lettuce, 1-2 slices of tomato.  Top bottom slice of bread with a top piece to make a sandwich and cut in half if desired.