Soup Under Thirty

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Here's a little inspiration from Bologna via cooking-up a brothy and hearty tortellini soup. The tortellini originates from the north-cental part of Italy. Many legends lay claim to the origins of tortellini; none of which I hold much belief in.. from an inn-keeper who replicated Venus' belly button, to claims of tortellini mimicking the shape of a turtle, to replicating 17th-century architectural features of Modena. Whatever you believe, these dumpling-like pasta can become a legend in your kitchen. 

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Eat more greens in your diet!

Adding deep green veggies to your diet will provide you with valuable nutrients that your body really needs during the winter. During cold season, fending off colds means strengthening your immune system. Power up with fennel, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, lettuces, green beans, kale and collards. Drop them in soups. Steaming vegetables is a quick and healthy side dish. Fresh is best. Frozen is the next best option. Canned veggies are the least desirable, because of the high sodium content. (Popeye’s strength may have benefited from 'me spinach', but he had high blood pressure from the high sodium content in his canned veggie.)

This pasta soup dish is wonderful as an appetizer or a luncheon entrée. The best part is that it can be ready in under 30 minutes. Serve alongside my Flatbread Pizzas

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Tortellini Basil Soup

makes 6-8 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup sweet onion, chopped

8 cloves caramelized garlic

1 cup canned San Marzano Tomatoes, chopped

4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 quarter cup fresh spinach leaves, shredded

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

8 ounces cheese tortellini

1 cup small white beans, cooked or canned

Pinch nutmeg

Grated parmesan cheese to taste

Fresh ground black pepper

Pre heat a medium soup pot to medium temperature.

Add olive oil, onion, garlic, tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and add tortellini, spinach, basil, and white beans. Simmer until tortellinis are al dente and season with nutmeg, pepper. Add parmesan cheese to taste. Serve with a basil leaf on top. 

NOTE: This recipe requires a good quality tortellini, if you are cooking the pasta in the broth. A lesser quality tortellini will make the soup starchy. If you are not sure of the quality, cook the tortellini separately and add pasta to the soup right before serving. 

Quantity:
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Thanksgiving Countdown: Memorable Veggie Sides

Question- is the turkey the hero or are the side dishes? I say- it depends on the what the sides are. First, I promise not to serve up grey string beans and soggy canned corn then expect you to ask for seconds.

There's the trick to my veggie side dish mix that makes them stand out on their own. And, I have taken the stress away. Stop trying to get everything to the table hot. Opt out! That’s right! Don’t serve a complete menu of all hot sides. It can be a little stressful, even for the most experienced chef especially when having your mother-in-law looking over your shoulder thinking out loud- that's not how I do it.

Also, don’t feel compelled to make too many items. Do a few well is better than too many average. Prepare some traditional favorite family sides, then try out a new dish to start your own tradition. 

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Bacon

Garlic Artichokes

Roasted Root Vegetables

Grilled Asparagus

Fennel & Green Bean Salad

Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

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What's Coming Up Monday: Thanksgiving Turkey Countdown Continues with More Sides: Potatoes, Stuffings & Dressings