Thursday, April 2, 2020

Life Stay-At-Home Style

Cheese Tortellini Soup

Life in this stay-at-home world hasn't stopped everything, even though it feels like it sometimes. I've had Group FaceTime visits with my book club friends. And yesterday I did a Zoom session with my knitter friends from across the country. California, New York, Tennesee, Illinois, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas were represented. It was interesting to hear how the stay home orders were playing out in different parts of the country. We actually knitted while we chatted and even had a show and tell. That was so much fun.

I must confess that both the Group FaceTime and the Zoom sessions had some hiccups as we tried to get connected. Older adults and multiple screens and new platforms can be a funny experience. We had one session where a couple of folks could be heard but not seen. And one friend, who did manage to connect, kept the camera turned so that we mostly saw her ceiling. There has been lots of laughter as we've fumbled through. It has involved phone calls and text messages at the SAME TIME as we were trying to do a video meet up. And on my first Group FaceTime some of us had as much trouble disconnecting as we did connecting! We are all learning. But we have managed to do things that weeks ago we would have said were impossible. 

Our family has had two birthdays in the last few days, too. Jessica is grown and understands why we were not together and they had a small celebration for two after the baby was put to bed. BUT when you're turning six, it's a different matter. I'm not sure whose idea it was, but we had a formal birthday party via FaceTime. Tuxedos and formal attire. It was a real party! We were just in different places. That was so much fun. It will certainly tide us over until we can have a party with all of us in the same place.

Yesterday one of the knitters asked what I was making for supper. And at 5:00 pm I had no clue. When we finished our visit I rambled through the pantry and then it hit me...I had watched Joanna Gaines make soup on an Instagram video the day before. She has a soup recipe in her new cookbook (coming out soon) but like many of us, she didn't have the exact ingredients on hand to make it. As she made it, she told what her substitutions were. Then I made it last night and substituted for her substitutions. It's that kind of recipe.

Daddy-O is famous for not loving soup. When I told him what I was making he said he'd just have a sandwich. But I dished up a bowl of soup for him to try before I made the sandwich. Now I'm not sure you will understand the import of his reaction. "This is really good. Oh, wow, the parmesan really makes it. How did you make this?" "That sounds easy enough for me to cook when you're not here sometime." He really wants to MAKE soup??? He even went back for more. That. Is. Amazing.

Here is how I made it last night. Feel free to change it up again, depending on what's in your pantry. 


1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced jarred garlic
1 tablespoon butter or oil
6 cups chicken broth (that was 1 box and 1 can)
1 (15-oz ) can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 (16-oz) can great northern beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 (12-oz) bag cheese tortellini (I probably used a little over 1/2)
fresh spinach, about 3 or 4 big handfuls 
salt & pepper to taste
grated fresh parmesan 

Saute onion and garlic in butter for a few minutes until the onion just starts to get translucent. Add broth, tomatoes, beans, Italian seasoning and basil. Bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook as per package directions. Two or three minutes before tortellini is done, stir in fresh spinach and let it wilt. Adjust seasonings. To serve, ladle it into bowls and grate fresh farm over the top. 

That's it. A quick, easy soup that's totally delicious. So could you make it with what's in your kitchen now? No broth? Maybe use chicken bouillon in hot water. No tortellini? Use another pasta. No great northern beans? Cannellini beans, butter beans, navy beans are possible subs. No diced tomatoes? If you have canned whole tomatoes, chop them up. I think stewed tomatoes would be okay, too. No spinach? you have kale? I don't usually keep frozen spinach on hand but that might work.

I was lucky enough last night to have the very last of the fresh spinach that needed to be used up. Knowing that I needed to use it was what made me decide on this recipe. We are all being careful not to waste anything right now. I'm so glad I happened up on this recipe. I headed right now to pre-order Joanna's new cookbook.  It's due out in days.  

I love all the early mornings—the cloudy ones, the rainy days, the foggy ones, the cloudless ones. But this beautiful sky greeted me one morning this week. Thought you might enjoy it, too



  1. I love soup and my husband - not so much. I'm going to try this recipe and see if I can make a convert like you did. Stay well.

  2. You are such a good cook you may know this trick. I buy Parmesan Cheese in chunks. I freeze the rind pieces that I need to trim and use them in soup. I made this soup this evening and didn't have Parm to grate but I did put in two small pieces of rind for great flavor. You do have to keep an eye on them and scoop them out before them come apart but oh so worth it.


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