Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cooking: Backup meals

We got home from Florida at 3:30 on Monday.
In the a.m.
My husband and I both had to be at work at 9, so of course, neither of us got a lot of sleep.
We had an exhausting the dog track

I was on autopilot all day, and so when I went to the grocery store, I struggled to come up with dinner.Mexican, my usual fall back, did not sound good after a weekend of eating fried food and subway.So, I resorted to one of my old standbys, which we had not eaten in quite awhile.

As I started making it later, I started thinking of all my backup meals.You know, the ones you keep all the ingredients for on hand. My friend Meg ,has cheese and bread for when meals fall through. Another friend makes scrambled eggs. I have several meals that I rotate keeping on hand, depending on how often we have had them. My family gets a little picky sometimes.
My favorite thing to keep on hand is salmon burgers with pita and hummus. We always have hummus, and the other ingredients are great kept in the freezer. Add some greens and feta cheese and you have a meal. Perfect for a night when you have been to two practices, on opposite ends of town to pick up kids.  My family apparently has eaten a little too much of that, so we had nothing "standbyish" in our freezer yesterday other than frozen pizza and chicken. 

Last night we had tortellini soup and kitchen sink salad. Detox, if you will, from all the fast food and Cheese-Its we ate while traveling. As a busy parent, it is always ideal to have one meal in the chamber so to speak. Something you can whip up at the drop of a hat if plans change or you are caught with only three hours of sleep. As my family does not eat sandwiches, I have to be a little more creative. This soup meets all the criteria thrown at me from the various camps at my house. Tortellini soup is easy and vegetarian (me), has pasta with cheese (Baby girl), is Italianish (Oldest) and has lots of fiber (husband). I grilled chicken for the carni-folk and made a mixed greens salad with blueberries, walnuts, red bell, and avocados for my husband and I to round it out. The amount of time it took was literally the time it takes to grill chicken, quick and painless. Then I went to bed.

Tortellini Soup

1 container vegetable broth (4 cups)
1 large can roasted tomatoes, diced
1 onion
1 clove garlic diced (or 1 tsp. garlic)
1 package frozen spinach ( I don't even thaw it)
1 package cheese tortellini
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbl. Italian seasoning
Olive oil

In a stock pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and garlic, cook until fragrant. Add broth, seasoning and tomatoes, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 8 minutes. Add spinach and cook until well distributed. Add tortellini and cook according to directions until done.
Salt and pepper to taste. This is a hearty soup. Yum!

* I used fresh bagged collard greens yesterday and have used fresh spinach before as well. You can use whatever green you like.

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