Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sausage Tortellini Soup

As promised, I have another fantastic weeknight meal for you!  I have to admit, despite our mild winters here in south Florida, I have become a soup junkie this year.  I have soup at least once a week.  If you ever want to stretch a buck and feed a lot of people, soup is the way to do it.  Also, when I make it just for Matt and me, I can freeze half and know that some time in the near future, I can get a night off from cooking.  As much as I love to come home and cook a nice meal, it is a liberating feeling to know that I have a back up plan if work runs late.

This soup has similar flavors to my Italian Wedding Soup with Parmesan Crisps, but it is way faster and easier.  This is my Sausage Tortellini Soup:

Sausage Tortellini Soup

I really cannot say enough how satisfying soup is.  No matter where you are, it makes you feel toasty and happy inside.  

Bring a large, deep pot to medium high heat. Brown your sausage.

After your sausage has gotten brown but not yet crispy, add 2 sliced carrots.  Saute for about 3-4 minutes until the carrots soften and the sausage gets that yummy brown crunch on the outside.  At this point, drain the excess fat from the pan.

Pour in 6 cups of chicken stock (or a quart of chicken stock and 2 cups of water if you don't want to buy 2 boxes of stock).  Bring the stock to a boil.  Sorry for the very unappetizing picture, but stick with me!  We are not done yet.

Measure out 4 cups of spinach and 2 cups of three cheese tortellini.  Another great option for this soup would be to substitute kale for the spinach.  Either would be fabulous.  Make the recipe your own!

 Turn down the eye to medium low heat and add the tortellini to your soup pot.

Next goes the spinach!  Popeye would approve

Woah... where did the spinach go? Once the spinach has wilted, add 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

Take a few sprigs of parsley.  I prefer Italian flat leaf parsley, but my curly parsley was in full bloom and just begging to be used.

Chop up your parsley, and add it to the soup 

Wow, what a transformation!  The ugly duckling has become a swan.  Stir everything until it is incorporated.

Dish your soup into bowls, and grab a spoon.  This is one easy, one-pot meal!  I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed eating it.

1lb of ground pork sausage
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
6 cups of chicken broth
4 cups packed spinach
2 cups of three-cheese tortellini
1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan, plus more for garnish
2 TBSP of fresh parsley 


Bring a large pot to medium-high heat, and brown the sausage.  Add the carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Drain the excess fat from the pan.  Pour the chicken broth over the sausage and carrots.  Bring the broth to a boil.  

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the tortellini and spinach.  Cook for about 4 minutes until your tortellini has warmed in the center.  Chop your parsley, and add it along with the Parmesan cheese to your soup.  Stir until it is incorporated.

Ladle into bowls, and enjoy!  Remember, soup is even better the next day, so get your lunch box excited.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Herb Tilapia and Caprese Salad

Hi everyone!  I have missed you.  After an embarrassingly long time, I am finally back with a new and easy recipe.  During my absence, I have to admit, I have been going through a culinary rut.  I temporarily lost my creativity as well as my drive for cooking beautiful food.  Most of it has had to do with me attempting to cut back on more indulgent meals and trying to eat in a way that my body appreciates.  New Year's resolution blues, I call it.  

There are many challenges when trying to eat and live healthy.  First, we have to overcome our human instincts.  Me, personally, I want to eat what I want to eat and I want to eat until I am full.  My body is not satisfied when I do not go back for second helpings or when I skip dessert.  One way I want to improve myself is to eat slower, chew more, and come up for air every once in a while.  The best way I have found to do this is to put my fork down between bites and to take frequent sips of water.  I know it sounds kinda silly, but it has worked the best for me.  

Secondly, we have to shop.... Wait...what did she say?  We have to shop.  We have to go to the store and make intentional purchases.  What are we going to choose to put into our bodies?    For me, I cannot go to the grocery store when I am hungry.  I am like a starved bear cub grabbing at anything in arm's reach.  Also, one recent incident occurred involving a little old lady and my Costco shopping cart.  Let's just say, Hangry Emilee takes no prisoners.

Thirdly, we have to cook.  If I do not plan what I want to make during the week, it is so easy for me to slip into getting take-out.  But when I have food at the house, with all of the ingredients there, it is very difficult for me to rationalize going out to eat and spending money when I already have everything I need.  Since I have been in Naples, I have had to adjust how I cook during the week.  I had more time when I was in dental school to get out, prep food, and let it roast for an hour...blah, blah, blah.  That has not been the case in Naples.  I am getting out of work later and going to bed earlier, not to mention my TV time is seriously suffering.  I have been trying to master a few week night meals to share with you that are delicious, nutritious, and expeditious (that means fast, but it rhymes with nutritious).  The first, with many to come, is my Herb Tilapia and Caprese Salad.  I think this meal took me 20 minutes, if that.  It is very beautiful, and will kick start your week off right!

Herb Tilapia and Caprese Salad

Tilapia is a mild and inexpensive fish.  I hate fish that tastes really fishy, and this one is perfect.  Pull it out of the freezer the morning you want to make it.  Sometimes the grocery store will have them in individual freezer bags, and you can thaw them in warm water 20 minutes prior to cooking.

Does it get easier that this?  Flat leaf parsley, 1/2 of a lemon, 1 TBSP of butter, 1 tsp of olive oil, and two tilapia fillets.  This recipe would be extremely easy to double if you were cooking for four. 

Place the tilapia in a dish.  Add the teaspoon of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.  

Melt 1 TBSP of butter to a saute pan over medium heat

Cook the fish for about 4 minutes on one side and cook for another two on the other side, until the middle is opaque.

Tear some parsley from the bunch...

...and chop it.  It should be about 1/4 cup.


In the last minute of the fish cooking, squeeze the 1/2 lemon over your fish and sprinkle with parsley.  Remove the fish from the pan to dinner plates while you assemble your salad.

This has got to be my favorite salad of all time!  Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil... they are all of my favorite things

For this next step, I used my mini food processor, but you can also make the dressing by cutting the basil and whisking the lemon and olive oil together.  Add about 8-10 basil leaves, 1/4 cup of olive oil, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Blend until the dressing comes together and emulsifies (about 10-15 seconds)

Slice your mozzarella

Slice your tomatoes. 

On your dinner plate, alternate the tomato and mozzarella slices

Drizzle your basil lemon oil over the salad.  The oil will begin to take on a green hue which I absolutely love with the red of the tomatoes.  If you haven't seen my blog post I love green...that is all, I have attached the hyperlink.  Yes, green is my fav!

And there you have it, folks!  Herb Tilapia and Caprese Salad.  


2 Tilapia fillets
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 TBSP of butter
1 tsp of olive oil
salt and pepper

1/2 lb of fresh mozzarella
1 large tomato
8-10 basil leaves
1/4 cup of olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper


Place tilapia in a dish.  Add the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Melt the butter a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the tilapia and cook for about 4 minutes on one side and two minutes on the other.  In the last minute of cooking, squeeze the lemon juice over the fish and add the parsley to the pan.  Remove the fish to dinner plates or a serving platter.

Slice your tomato and mozzarella thinly and arrange in an alternating order on your dinner plate.  In a mini-food processor, add the basil leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Process for about 10 seconds until it comes together.  Drizzle the dressing over your salad.  Enjoy!