Monday, August 29, 2011

Cooking Frenzy!

Because we'd been saving up every penny we could for our Seattle trip, our food budget has been teeny tiny. This means that for the past few months we've been living on almost nothing but macaroni, hot dogs, and tuna sandwiches. I decided I'd had enough of that and wanted to cook my family a yummy Sunday dinner.

I searched my computer and my Pinterest boards for some recipes I wanted to try and came up with a menu: Creamy Tortellini Soup, fresh homemade Artisan Bread, and for dessert some Peach Apple Cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream.

I absolutely LOVE cooking from scratch as much as possible, and I think I enjoyed making this meal as much as we enjoyed eating it. Here are the recipes for everything I made.

(and sorry for the formatting; I can't get Blogger to cooperate.)

Creamy Tortellini Soup (via Better Homes & Gardens)

  • 1 1.8-ounce envelope white sauce mix
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 7- to 8-ounce package dried cheese tortellini (about 2 cups)
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves or torn spinach6
  • Ground black pepper (optional)
  • Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Place dry white sauce mix in a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Gradually add the water to the white sauce mix, stirring until smooth. Stir in broth, mushrooms, onion, garlic, basil, salt, oregano, and cayenne pepper.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

3. Stir in dried tortellini. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 1 hour more or high-heat setting for 45 minutes more.

4. Stir in evaporated milk and fresh spinach. If desired, sprinkle individual servings with black pepper and Parmesan cheese (I would STRONGLY suggest this). Makes 4 servings.

Four Ingredient Artisan Bread (via Something Edible)


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt heaping
  • 1 tsp rapid-rise yeast heaping
  • 2/3 cup water tepid

  • Directions:

    Into a 1 gallon zip-top bag, add flour, yeast & salt. Seal the bag, and shake up good. Open the bag, add the water and then close the bag to gently knead the whole mess into a dough.

    Open the bag and let it sit at room temperature for two-ish hours to proof. When it's time to bake, cut open the bag and sprinkle the dough with as much flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to everything so you can [attempt to] shape the dough into a ball. Place the ball on a parchment-lined sheet pan and preheat the oven to 450F. When the oven's hot, dust the dough with a bit more flour, slash the top a couple of times with a serrated knife and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the loaf cool at least 15 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.

    Peach & Apple Crisp

    (not sure where I got this recipe. If I stole it from your blog, let me know!)


    20 oz. can sliced peaches, light-syrup pack, drained

    2 medium tart apples, peeled, sliced

    1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    3/4 cup flour

    1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

    3 tablespoons margarine, chilled


    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9x9x2-inch casserole dish.

    2. Combine peaches, apples, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl. Toss well and spread evenly in greased casserole dish.

    3. Combine flour and sugar in small bowl. Cut in margarine with two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

    4. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over fruit.

    5. Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.

    Everything was so delicious and it was probably the best meal I've cooked in... well.. a long time. I'm looking forward to cooking more meals like this now that we're not trying to save for a vacation.

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