Monday, January 13, 2014

Weekend Meals to Recommend

Photos & Recipe Sources: Italian Tortellini Soup // Bruchetta Chicken 

In part of my 2013 book list, I read 168 Hours: You have more time than you think.  Basically, Vanderkam encourages readers to look at how they spend their time, and work to rearrange a few things so that it works better for them.  

Part of my "rearranging" for this year is cooking more involved meals on the weekends.  By the time I get home from work during the week, I'm generally beat, and the thought of making a meal and cleaning it up is just exhausting.  Adam is a huge help and does a lot of the grocery shopping and meal making, but I'd like to be more helpful in this area.

So, this week, we had a date night on Wednesday night, which resulted in a nice, relaxed hour-and-a-half dinner at Pei Wei, and then made two new meals, plus a few old standbys.

Bruchetta Chicken 
It was really easy, taking about 10 mins. of prep time, plus 45 mins. cooking.  Serves 4-6

4 chicken breasts 
1/2 bottle Kraft Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing and Marinade
8 ounces fresh mozzarella (usually comes in a ball or log) 
2 ripe tomatoes 
fresh basil 

Halve chicken breasts. Combine chicken and 1/2 bottle of dressing in a plastic bag or baking dish and marinate. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken halves marinated in dressing in baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until juices run clear from chicken. 

While chicken is baking, slice fresh mozzarella into 8 pieces and slice tomatoes, about 1/4 inch thick. When chicken is baked, remove baking dish and set oven to broil. Top each chicken breast with one slice of tomato, one basil leaf, and finish with one slice of fresh mozzarella. Broil for 5 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted. 

*If grilling, grill marinated chicken then top with tomato, basil, and mozzarella. Close grill cover and continue to grill until cheese is melted. 

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup
This takes about an hour and a half--30 mins. prep time, plus an hour of simmering.  It was delicious!  Adam wanted more noodles, so he added rotini noodles to his bowl before the rest of the soup. 

1 pound Italian sausage (I used Jimmy Dean so I don't have to deal with removing the casing)
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
5 cups beef broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup red cooking wine (I used white wine b/c that's what we had)
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian diced tomatoes
1 cup thinly sliced or diced carrots
1/2 tablespoon packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

For step three:
1 1/2 cups green beans or sliced zucchini (I used zucchini.  It was great!)
8 ounces fresh tortellini pasta (found by the cheese...I used Buitoni)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  1. In a large pot, brown sausage. Remove sausage and drain.
  2. Saute onions and garlic in drippings. Stir in beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, tomato sauce, and sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  3. Skim fat from the soup. Stir in beans and parsley. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add tortellini during the last 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top of each serving. Serve with warm garlic bread.
*Just be aware that if you save this soup for leftovers the pasta tends to drink up the broth so the result is a really thick soup if you eat it the next day.


  1. The tortellini soup is the one I made when you all came over to our apartment!

  2. My goodness everything looks sooooo yummy. Thanks for sharing.

  3. yum! I'm going to have to try this soon!