Every parent knows that it is impossible to make it through the winter without Mr. Common Cold paying a visit to your home. Sometimes Mr. Cold brings with him Mrs. Fever and Aunt Ear Infection, both unwelcome guests, but alas, Mr. Cold rarely travels alone. Two weeks ago this threesome visited my house and, frankly, it totally sucked. Not only did they sneak in during the night and meet up with my daughter, over the next few days they also paid a visit to me and my husband. In turn, we paid visits to the pediatrician, prime care doctor, and pharmacy, entrusting them to cure the horrible headache, runny nose fog we were experiencing. As you all know, the last thing you want to do when you are feeling under the weather is hang out in the kitchen. You need to expend all of your energy taking care of the baby and trying to heal yourself. In my case, when I am sick, I nap when the baby naps, end of story. Thus, leaving me zero desire or time to cook. As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures, which is why I am now introducing Emergency Meal #2.
This meal fits the emergency, it is a soup that is quick, nutritious, warm and bubbly, all the right elements for sick-bed comfort food. Sure, it is quite easy to heat up canned soup, but in this case you are taking one tiny extra step by combining the ingredients yourself. This nominal effort produces a far superior taste to that of any canned soup I have ever tasted. To assemble the soup it really only takes the laziest of stirring for a few minutes here and there. Then you simply gaze at the pot while it simmers for a while - feel free to make yourself a cup of Lemon Zinger while you are waiting - and finally, voila, and you have a wholesome, healing meal for your family. Plus, this recipe is a big portion, it lasted us for two days - for both lunch and dinner.
The beauty of this recipe is its flexibility, you can add almost any ingredients you want. For example, I prefer sun-dried tomato chicken sausage, but I've used regular sliced chicken breasts or even, in a pinch, pork sausage. Or, if you are a vegetarian feel free to use vegetable broth and omit the chicken altogether. I like to use fresh fluffy cheese tortellini, but my mother has used frozen ravioli and it served the same purpose. The flavors of this soup really come out during the last few minutes when it is simmering away. The broth thickens and yields a terrific simple, yet satisfying, tomato base with a clear herbaceous flavor. If you have access to fresh herbs I recommend using them in lieu of the italian seasoning. I usually serve this with bread and cheese, the classic soup accompaniments. Although, in this case I served it with a side of tissues followed by a dropper of cherry-flavored medicine for dessert. At least all is well that ends well, after four days with Mr. Cold, we kicked him and his entourage to the curb, and booked our tickets to Florida.
Naptime Chicken & Tortellini Soup - inspired by an old sick-day recipe from Mom
2 T. olive oil
12 oz. chicken sausage, sliced (I prefer sun-dried tomato flavor for this soup)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 c. chicken broth
2 t. italian seasoning
9 oz. fresh cheese tortellini
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with juice
8 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped
Salt & Pepper Parmesan Cheese
1. In a deep heavy bottom pot heat olive oil. Add garlic, onion and chicken sausage. Cook until onion is wilted and sausage is cooked through.
2. Add chicken broth and italian seasoning.
3. Bring contents to a boil and add tortellini.
4. Boil until tortellini is cooked through.
5. Lower heat, stir in tomatoes and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
6. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
7. Season soup with salt and pepper to our taste.
8. Serve hot with a generous handful or parmesan on top and a crusty baguette on the side.
Naptime Recipe Props: This soup is extremely easy to store, making it ideal for making ahead, or saving a portion for a later date. When I prepare it during naptime I leave it on the stove and re-heat it at dinnertime. Then, to store overnight I pop the whole pot in the fridge and scoop out ladle fulls when I want more the next day. On occasion I have also frozen the soup, it works well, so feel free to pour some into the plastic container to freeze for another week.
Naptime Stopwatch: This soup is a cinch to assemble, you just add the ingredients as instructed until you build up a nice soup. The whole thing about 30 minutes for me to make and then I had a soothing lunch and dinner for two days. What could be easier?
Naptime Reviews: This soup has proven to appeal to both children and adults. My daughter adored the sweet tomato taste along with the cheesey tortellini. My husband slurped down bowls and bowls, grateful for the warm soup after a long day at work with a box of cold medicine to sustain him.