Tag Archives: chicken broth

Easy Chicken Tortellini Soup

Tortellini Soup - From NanaBread to You, With Love

I just love this recipe. It’s quick, easy, flavorful and satisfying. A friend shared it with me in the early 1990’s when we were working on a church cookbook and I’ve been making it ever since. She made hers with ground beef and beef broth, but I prefer this lighter chicken version.

Ingredients List:

1 rotisserie chicken (plain) from your grocer’s deli
1 32-oz. carton of organic chicken broth
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15-oz. can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 9-oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 10-oz. package of cheese tortellini (refrigerated or frozen)
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon of McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of dried oregano and basil
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
parmesan cheese & chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish

Place the rotisserie chicken in a large heavy-bottomed pot and pour in the carton of chicken broth. Cover and simmer until the chicken is thoroughly heated and begins to fall apart. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and allow it to cool until you can chop it without burning yourself. Strain the chicken broth to remove any kibbles and bits and return it to the pan. If needed, add a cup or two of water to create more broth. (May be necessary if your broth simmers too long and/or reduces too quickly.)

Over medium heat, bring the broth back to a simmer. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes and seasonings. If you like a little spice, throw in that pinch of red pepper flakes. While that simmers, bone the chicken and chop it into bite-size pieces. If you’re feeding a crowd, use all of the chopped chicken. If you’re not, use half the chicken and save the rest for chicken salad tomorrow night. Return the chopped chicken to the pot. Add the spinach and tortellini. Simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes. Taste to see if it needs additional salt and pepper. I also like to taste one of the tortellini to make sure they’re done. If you like your soup on the thicker side, combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and whisk until smooth; stir into the soup.

To serve, spoon into bowls and top with chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese. A great loaf of crusty bread is the perfect side to this soup.

1. make with beef broth and ground beef (my friend’s version)
2. use cheese, spinach, or meat tortellini – your choice
3. use mini-ravioli instead of tortellini
4. leave out the tomatoes for a clear broth (great for colds)
5. substitute the pasta of your choosing for the tortellini
6. substitute browned Italian sausage for chicken or beef
7. substitute fresh spinach, kale or other favorite greens

Helpful Hint:
Prepping early can save a ton of time! Simmer your chicken in broth in advance. Strain the broth and store in airtight containers until needed (fridge for 2-3 days/freezer for 2-3 weeks). Bone and chop the chicken and refrigerate or freeze separately from the broth. If you prep these 2 things in advance, you can make this soup in under an hour. Just place the frozen broth in a pan and heat to simmering. Add the chicken and other ingredients, except for the parsley and parmesan. Heat until thoroughly warmed, season to taste, and sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese. See? I told you it was easy.

Go make this soup. You know you want to.



Filed under Food & Recipes

Homemade Tortilla Soup

I love simple foods – meals made with a few quality ingredients while they’re in season that taste wonderful together. Nothing fancy, just good simple food. This recipe starts with a rotisserie chicken from your deli. It’s easy, it can be ready in an hour, and you’ll find yourself wanting it again and again. It’s good for whatever ails you. Don’t let the length of the recipe put you off. It’s broken it into steps so it’s easier to follow.

Homemade Tortilla Soup - It's a Good Thing

First, start the soup base in a stock pot:
One rotisserie chicken, small (plain, not flavored)
Two 32-ounce cartons of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of powdered chicken bullion
1 large clove of garlic, peeled but left whole
Salt and black pepper to taste (added at the end)

Put the first 4 ingredients into your pot; cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove the garlic clove and toss it. Remove the chicken and allow it to cool for 10 minutes, then pull the meat off, removing the skin and bones. Chop into bite-size pieces and return it to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Start a pan of steamed rice:
1 cup white rice, uncooked (I love Texmati basmati rice)
2 teaspoons of canola oil
1 3/4 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt

Heat the canola oil in a medium pan. When the oil is hot, add the rice and toast it, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes. Add the water and salt, stir to combine, then cover tightly with a piece of aluminum foil, put a lid on and make sure it’s snug, then turn the heat down to medium low. Cook for 25 minutes, and don’t peek. I mean it. Let your rice cook in peace.

While that’s warming up, toss together a bowl of pico de gallo:
One large ripe tomato, chopped
One small yellow onion, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
One teaspoon of garlic salt
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Juice squeezed from one fresh lime

Toss all of this into a bowl, mixing well. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Once that’s done, make your tortilla strips:
10-12 yellow corn tortillas, cut into narrow strips about 1″ long
Pam or other cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon of salt

On a cookie sheet, spread your tortilla strips out into a single layer so they will toast evenly; spray lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, tossing them half-way through, until they are lightly browned and crispy. Could you cheat and use tortilla chips from a bag? Sure, but it won’t taste good, and they’ll turn to mush almost instantly. I don’t recommend it.

Prep your final toppings:
One avocado, peeled and chopped into chunks
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Fresh cilantro, chopped
One lime, cut into quarters

Okay, so now for the good part. To serve, get a large soup bowl for each person and layer the ingredients in the following order:
1/2 cup of steamed rice
1 1/2 – 2 cups of chicken soup base with chopped chicken
tortilla strips (as many as you like)
grated Monterey jack cheese (don’t be stingy)
pico de gallo (at least a couple of spoons full)
avocado chunks and cilantro, to your taste
finish with a squeeze of lime juice over the top

Dig in immediately! Tortilla soup waits for no one. Eat it right away while the broth is still steaming hot and the tortilla strips are still crunchy. If you have leftovers, you can combine the rice and soup stock in one container. Store the pico de gallo, grated cheese and other fresh ingredients in their own separate containers. Most importantly, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. As they say, “soup is good food.”

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