It was a pretty typical morning. By 7 a.m. I had cleaned up the kitchen and cleaned up dog vomit, made 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches, changed the laundry and changed a light bulb. I had been up several times during the night with a sick child. Andrew had left at 5 a.m. for a business trip, and my head was groggy, but fortunately coffee was brewing (yes, also made by me). You know, the usual.
As I looked ahead to my chaotic day full of meetings and to-do lists, I realized the only thing that didn’t stress me out was dinner. I knew what I was making—Tortellini Soup with Spinach and Tomatoes–and I knew that it would only take me about 20 minutes to have a delicious and healthy meal on the table for my family, so I could finally sit down with them and relax for a while–at least before getting up to do the dishes!
I’m telling you this story because a) you can probably relate to my morning, and b) if your dinnertime routine feels as chaotic as the rest of your day, and you wish you had the comfort of already knowing what you were making for dinner and that you had all the ingredients you needed without having to add a grocery store drive-by shopping to your day, then I hope you’ll consider the joy of weekly menu planning, either on your own or with a dinner planning service such as The Six O’Clock Scramble. I’ll even plan your weekly meals and give you a grocery list to take with you to the store each week. Then it will be on my to do list — not yours.
Tortellini Soup with Spinach and Tomatoes
Prep + Cook = 20 minutes
5 servings, about 2 cups
This kid-pleasing recipe is great for a time-pressed weeknight, and can easily be doubled for bigger families. Serve it with warm Italian bread which is also great for soaking up the broth.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
32 oz. reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
9 oz. whole wheat or regular cheese tortellini (sold refrigerated)
15 oz. no-salt added diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 cups baby spinach (or use Swiss Chard)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, or to taste
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic for one minute, then stir in the broth. Bring it to a boil, and then add the tortellini, tomatoes, pepper, basil and oregano.
Reduce the heat to keep it at a low boil for 7 minutes. Add the spinach. Simmer it for 2 more minutes, then remove it from the heat and serve it immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Add an extra clove of garlic and double the black pepper. Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Tip: Buitoni sells a whole wheat three cheese tortellini that is tender and delicious and much higher in dietary fiber than their traditional tortellini.
Side Dish suggestion: Serve it with warm Italian bread, dipped in olive oil, if desired. For an extra treat, stir grated Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes into the oil.
Nutritional Information per serving (% based upon daily values):
Calories 254, Total Fat 10g, 16%, Saturated Fat 3g, 16%, Cholesterol 36mg, 12%, Sodium 431mg, 18%, Total Carbohydrate 27g, 9% Dietary Fiber 7g, 27% Sugar 4.5g, Protein 13g
Aviva Goldfarb helps busy parents let go of all the stress at 6:00 and bring joy back to the dinner table. She is a mother of two and the author and founder of The Six O’Clock Scramble®,www.thescramble.com, an online weekly menu planning system and cookbook (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), and is author of the new cookbook, “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010). She is also a weekly contributor to the Kitchen Explorers blog on PBSparents.org.