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Eat Well

By Angie Sutton

mothersapronstrings.com

The first dose of cool weather, affectionately known as “football weather” around these parts, brings out the inner chef in all of us. Perhaps it is an innate response to cooler weather that we should eat more to survive the winter. Or perhaps it is simply that our moods are uplifted with the change of the season.

I admit we’ve been in a rut of quickly throwing together many of the same things with the same ingredients simply because we know how to make them—we likely have a can of sauce and box of pasta handy and we know the kids will readily scarf it down. Lately however, we’ve been a bit more adventuresome with new recipes and different types of dishes appearing on our table. Admittedly, the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower night ended up with microwaved frozen corn dogs for the little people in our home, but at least they each tried a bite. I held out hope for one of the girls liking it until I realized she was eating all of the bacon (smart girl) and then asked for a corn dog too. At least she didn’t lick the guinea pig this week, right?

This week’s article features a few of the different types of recipes we’ve tried.


Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I like to add a drained can of carrots during the last step.

4 c. chicken broth or stock
2 c. tap water
2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
1 (4.5-oz.) pkg. quick cooking long-grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsalted butter
2 c. heavy whipping cream

In a large stock pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and cooked chicken. Bring just to a boil, then stir in rice (not the seasoning packet yet). Cover and remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat and whisk in flour mixture a tablespoon at a time to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir cream mixture into broth and rice mixture. Cook an additional 15 minutes until heated through.


Fast Fix Creamy Tomato Tortellini with Sausage

1 (19-oz.) pkg. frozen cheese tortellini
2 fully-cooked Italian chicken sausage links, sliced 1/4” thick
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
1 (6-oz.) pkg. fresh baby spinach
4 oz. cream cheese

Cook tortellini according to package directions. In a large non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook and stir sausage slices 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Add tomatoes (undrained) and spinach; cook until spinach is wilted. Stir in cream cheese until melted and combined. Add cooked and drained tortellini to mixture and toss to coat.


Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Easy to double the recipe and use a larger baking dish. I had leftover fresh baby spinach from another recipe and it worked well.

4 oz. cream cheese
1 (10-oz.) pkg. thawed and well-drained frozen chopped spinach
1 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
6 lasagna noodles
2 c. spaghetti sauce

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 c. mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese until combined. Spread mixture evenly on each lasagna noodle. Roll noodles and place seam side down in an 8-inch glass baking dish lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Top each roll with spaghetti sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes.


Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

As always, line your pans with foil and lightly coat them with cooking spray for easy cleanup.

2 lbs. fresh Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1 lb. (about 7 c.) fresh cauliflowerets, thinly sliced
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 c. balsamic vinaigrette

In a large bowl, stir together Brussels sprouts and cauliflower with oil, salt and pepper until well coated. Transfer to two 15 x 10 x 1-inch greased baking pans. Bake in 375 degree F. oven for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Transfer to a large serving bowl, add bacon and drizzle with vinaigrette; toss to coat.


Pizza-Style Manicotti

8 uncooked manicotti shells
1 (24-oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
6 oz. sliced deli ham
8 fresh basil leaves
8 pieces string mozzarella cheese
24 slices pepperoni
1 (2.5-oz.) can sliced ripe olives, drained
1 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Cook manicotti according to package directions and drain. Pour one cup sauce into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. On a short side of each ham slice, layer one basil leaf, one piece string cheese and three slices pepperoni; roll up. Insert into manicotti shells; arrange in a single layer in the baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over the top to coat all shells. Sprinkle with olives and Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes in a 350 degree F. oven.


White Bean and Vegetable Soup

Source: Cheri Hamel, Marshall County

2 (15-oz.) cans cannellini or white kidney beans, drained
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 head of green cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 c. chopped fresh tomatoes
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 c. vegetable stock
1 medium potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1/4 head of red cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 zucchini or summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tsp. salt<
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, thyme and garlic. Saute 5 minutes. Add green cabbage, tomatoes, celery and carrots. Saute 10 minutes. Add beans, 5 cups of stock, potatoes and basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for one hour. Add red cabbage and zucchini; stir in salt. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Stir in cheese.

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