Monday, September 28, 2009

Tortellini Spinach Soup

{Meatless Monday}

This is a very simple, very quick soup to make. I found this recipe is a magazine sometime last year. I did not expect my husband to like it (he normally doesn't care for brothy soups), but he loves it and so do I! I think that it tastes even yummier since it only takes about 12 min. to put on the table! I served it with slices of plain french bread...I didn't even have time to put garlic butter on it and heat it up. But the bread was just perfect for soaking up the broth and I think I will always serve it that way now.

Note: This recipe is not strictly vegetarian--but it is meatless. I haven't completely changed over to vegetable broths...but I am sure you could just use vegetable broth instead of the beef broth.

Here's what you will need:

And here's the SUPER simple recipe:

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T butter
Saute 3 minutes until golden brown.

2 cans beef broth (I use 3 c. water with 2 beef bouillon cubes)
8 oz. frozen tortellini or ravioli
Add and boil 8 minutes.
Another note: One time I did make this with store-bought broth, and it turned out too salty. That's why I only use 2 cubes to the 3 cups of water. So if you are buying broth, I might try the low sodium for at least one of the cans.

1 can (14.5 oz) seasoned stewed tomatoes (I used my own bottled tomatoes
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped, if desired (I just put mine in whole)
Add and simmer for 5 min. more.

Grated Parmesan

Ladle into bowls and top with fresh parmesan. Serve with bread.

I love dinners that take 15 minutes to be on the table...that's often about all the time I have between soccer games and music lessons, etc.

Hope you like it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We Did It!

I've had many friends (who aren't on facebook) emailing me asking how everything went with the marathon. It was great! I was very happy with how everything went. It was VERY long (we came in at 4 hours 40 min) but it was actually a really great experience. It does feel like an amazing accomplishment when you cross that finish line. I never hit "the wall" where I felt like I couldn't go another step. I am very glad to be done training. If I could just go run a marathon, I would do it at least once a year...but since it takes 4 months to train, I think it will be a while before I make the commitment again.
I am so grateful for my sweet hubby (who didn't even want to do a marathon this year) for being willing to train and run with me. I could have never done it without him. It was a wonderful goal to achieve together. The only thing I will miss about training is our weekly 3-4 hours of kid-free talking time!

Lon kept me laughing through a lot of the hours (he wasn't laughing after mile 19, though ; ).
For instance: As you are running, it is very common to see men either running off the road to visit the bushes or just returning from the bushes (they don't bother with the lines for the port-a-potties unless necessary...lucky them!). And as we watched yet another man emerge from the bushes, my husband says loud enough for plenty of people around us to hear, "Sure glad I had this catheter installed!" (My sister, who's a nurse, thought that was hilarious.) I thought it was pretty gross, but hey, it took my mind off the running for a little while!

My sweet friend who had my two youngest while we were up in Logan had made a big sign for us when we returned. The kids were excited because they had gotten to color it for us. Thanks so much!

(And it wasn't until I looked at the pictures that I realized we matched. That was not planned at all. )

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pasta Salad

{Meatless Monday}

This is one that I really don't have a recipe for either! I just throw in whatever vegetables I have, but I can give you the recipe in general. ; 0

Here's what I use:

1 pkg. rotini noodles, cook and drain
grape tomatoes
bell pepper
cheese, cut in small cubes
1 bottle italian-style dressing

Cut up all veggies to your preference...I think the smaller, the better because then you get more dressing on them! I cut up the broccoli and carrots and steam them a little (usually in the microwave) just until they are crisp-tender. Then combine all vegetables and cheese together with cooled pasta.
I start with about 1/2 the bottle of dressing and then taste it to see how much more is needed. Then, before I serve it, I taste it again and it normally needs another addition of dressing since a lot has been absorbed. In the end I use between 2/3 and 3/4 of the bottle. My favorite dressing for this is either the Roasted Red pepper Italian (shown in photo) or the Sun-dried tomato vinaigrette by Kraft.
I also top it with fresh parmesan cheese before serving. Enjoy!

Friday, September 18, 2009

I've been busy!

My mom (who is on a mission in Brazil) wanted me to take a picture of all my canning and post it on our family website. Otherwise, I don't think I would have bothered moving all the jars to my bar and then moving them all back to their boxes and shelves...but, I just thought since I had the picture, I would post it here.

This is what I've been doing for the last 2 1/2 weeks! And almost all of the produce was FREE!! I had so many people offering me fruit from their trees and tomatoes and beans from their gardens, I just kept on buying jars. Now, all I have left is apple pie filling...but I just decided to wait until the next apple sale because I need a break!

And here's a cute little shot of my two little ones helping me make applesauce. They love helping with the food mill. Thank goodness my aunt has this cool invention--it is the ONLY way to make applesauce! (Can you tell my son is 2? He is often found only half dressed.)

Now that the canning is done I can focus on the next urgent thing in my life: the marathon. We leave today to drive up north and spend the night at my uncle's (bless the man, he's a chiropractor--I should have married a chiropractor!!) and then the marathon is tomorrow morning. Wow, I just got a really sick stomach as I typed those words. Wish me luck and if I can still move my extremities on Monday, I've got a super yummy pasta salad to post!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Spinach Stuffed Pizza

{Meatless Monday}

This is a recipe that I just made up after we had a delicious vegetarian stuffed pizza at a mall one day. So there is not any exact recipe that I kind of turns out a little different each time depending on what is in my fridge!

The basics that you will need:

I just use whatever cheeses I have in my refrigerator...but cottage cheese is ALWAYS one of them. You could also use ricotta, I just don't buy it as often. I have also used Swiss American slices from Sam's Club on the bottom layer of the pizza and it was delicious!

Here is my PIZZA CRUST RECIPE ...this makes one crust, so double it for this stuffed pizza):
2 1/2 - 3 cups flour
1 T. dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 T. cooking oil
1 T. Lecithin granules (it has been a LONG time since I have had these...they are available at the Health food store and they work as a dough conditioner)

Combine 1 cup flour with the yeast, salt, and lecithin. Then add warm water and oil. Let sit 15-20 min.

This is my dough after I've let it sit in the mixer for 15 min.

Then add enough flour to make soft, but not sticky, dough.

Take the dough and roll it out into a circle to fit your desired pan. I use slightly more of the dough for the bottom crust. You want the top to be a little thinner so that it can cook well. I cook mine on my baking stone. Precook the bottom crust at 400* for about 10 min or so...just so it gets about 1/2 way cooked.

Then I always drizzle on olive oil and herbs before I put on all my toppings.

Then just pile on whatever toppings you would like. I used tons of different cheeses, my own frozen spinach (fresh spinach works great too!!--be sure to drain extra water off of frozen spinach!), and then sauteed peppers and mushrooms for the grown-up's side.

Roll out the second ball of dough and place over toppings...gently pressing the edges of the crusts together. Bake at 375-400 for 10-12 min. (I'm actually totally guessing on the time...I just bake it until the crust looks like this: )

I normally rub a cube of butter quickly over the top to give it that yummy saltiness on the crust, but I had actually run out the door and left instructions for my daughter to take the final photos!
ALL my kids love this pizza...even the one who says "Why do we have gross stuff every night for dinner??" ; )

Hope you enjoy it and if you come up with some fantastic variation...let me know!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tomato Zucchini Tart

{Meatless Monday}

I don't remember which magazine I got this out of...but we LOVE it! I found this recipe last year and it just tastes like a slice of summer. I don't normally like tomato slices, but I love them in this recipe.

It is very simple and has just the perfect mixture of spices to accent the fresh veggies.

Here's what you will need:

I forgot to put Thyme in the picture...but you will also need it!

1 baked pie crust
4 oz. Neufchatel cheese (less fat and softer than cream cheese)
1 scant tsp. each of oregano, basil (I used fresh), and italian seasoning
4 med. tomatoes, thinly sliced
1-2 med. zucchini, sliced
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Soften cheese and add seasonings.
Spread mixture carefully on bottom of cooked pie crust. Layer tomato and zucchini. Salt and pepper. (You can make multiple layers of vegetables...I normally just do one.) Garnish with thyme over top...and fresh basil, if desired. (I am currently trying to use up 3 huge basil plants!)

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. To keep the crust from browning too much, put foil strips around for the first 20-25 minutes.
Serve warm.

I LOVE how the creamy cheese oozes up around the slices of tomato and zucchini. I had a really small zucchini, so I decided to put those all around the can do it however you want! I just think this is such a beautiful side dish...and really so very scrumptious! I hope you all have some fresh tomatoes and zucchini to try this one out! I can't promise that children will love it...only one of mine does...but any adult who truly savors the flavor of fresh veggies should really love this!