Chicken Alfredo Tortellini Soup

This warm and easy soup is my version of a recipe I found on the Kate in the Kitchen blog. The original recipe used fresh chicken and vegetables, frozen tortellini, and stock. I replaced those ingredients with what I had on hand and added a bit of garlic. It was scrumptious. Next time, I’m thinking of making it, and then transferring it to the crockpot for a few hours so that the flavors deepen a bit. It’s going to make a nice warm treat once the days get a bit chillier.

Ingredients

  • Now with the oregano showing12 oz bag mirepoix blend frozen vegetables (carrots, celery, and onion)
  • 1 13 oz can chunk chicken breast, drained
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or 6 cups water and 6 chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 8 oz bag cheese-filled tortellini
  • 1 8 oz jar prepared Alfredo sauce

Directions

  1. Spray large dutch oven or soup pot with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Saute mirepoix in olive oil until soft.
  3. Stir in basil, oregano, and garlic.
  4. Add canned chicken.
  5. Add stock and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add tortellini and cook until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Stir in Alfredo sauce and allow to simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Serve with grated Parmesan and bacon bits garnish, if desired.

Time Required: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Apple Dumpling Dessert

This dessert is essentially a chunk of apple wrapped with a strip of pie crust. What made me decide to copy it was the use of a can of Mountain Dew. This one might be interesting to try. I modified the recipe to use Pillsbury dough. The original is from the Schwan’s website.

IngredientsApple Dumpling Dessert

  • 1 Pillsbury pizza crust or roll of pie dough
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, cored & quartered
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tap cinnamon
  • 1 can (12oz) Mountain Dew® , soft drink

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Roll crust into a 12 to 14 inch circle.
  3. Cut crust, pizza style, into 16 equal triangles.
  4. Place apples on larger end of triangles and roll up.
  5. Arrange dumplings in 9×13-inch baking dish.
  6. Pour or brush butter evenly over dumplings and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  7. Pour soft drink over dumplings.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Variations

  • Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • The Schwan’s recipe uses a pizza dough crust.

Time Required: 55 minutes

Servings: 16

Crunchy Pea and Bacon Salad

I’m nearly certain this salad is one of those dishes that can’t really be as good for you as the word “salad” might trick you into thinking. For some reason though, it looks good to me. I have no idea why, but I’m saving it for that day when I finally give in and try it. The original is from the Schwan’s website.

IngredientsCrunchy Pea and Bacon Salad

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 4 cups Green Peas, prepared and chilled
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 6 slices Fully Cooked Bacon Slices, prepared and chopped
  • 1 cup salted peanuts

Directions

  1. Blend mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar to make dressing.
  2. Stir together dressing, peas, onions and cheese.
  3. Serve on a bed of lettuce topped with bacon and peanuts

Variations

  • I’d simplify the recipe by just using 2 or 3 tablespoons of bacon bits.
  • You could like substitute a favorite prepared dressing for the mayonnaise and vinegar here. I’m thinking Ranch would work nicely.

Time Required: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Creamed Corn

I found this recipe on the Kraft site (original here). Obviously it’s an extra creamy version of creamed corn, thanks to the cream cheese. Sounds intriguing, so I wanted to add the recipe to my collection. Besides . . . it’s incredibly easy.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 can (14-3/4 oz.) cream-style corn
  • 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup KRAFT Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions

Directions

  1. Cook cream cheese and milk in medium saucepan on medium heat until cream cheese is melted, stirring frequently.
  2. Stir in corns; cook 4 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Spoon into serving dish; sprinkle with Cheddar and onions.

Sausage Cheese Balls

I discovered this recipe when I was babysitting for a couple who were planning a party and hired me to make appetizers while they were out at a concert. They brought their friends back after the concert, and I had the appetizers ready for everyone to eat. Since then, I’ve made them many times for friends and family. They’re a simple stand-by that is widely loved (Even Paula Deen has a version of this recipe). Sausage Cheese Balls are the twenty-fifth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Bisquick
  • 1 lb bulk pork sausage
  • 4 cups (16 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Spray cookie sheet lightly with nonstick spray.
  3. Combine ingredients thoroughly in a mixing bowl.
  4. Shape into 1-inch balls.
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until brown.
  6. Serve warm.

Variations

  • I have made and frozen the unbaked balls at least a month in advance. Either thaw before baking, or increase baking time to about 30 minutes if cooked from frozen.
  • I have substituted ground beef for the sausage in this recipe for tasty results. I’ve also made pizza variation with Italian sausage, mozzarella or Italian blend cheese, and, if desired, a bit of Italian seasoning.

Mini Broccoli & Ham Cups

This recipe from Kraft (original here) replaces the typical crust of a biscuit or roll with a ham cup (see the photo). Mini Broccoli & Ham Cups is the twenty-fourth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, well drained
  • ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • ½ cup (½ of 8 oz tub) PHILADELPHIA ⅓ Less Fat than Cream Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 24 slices OSCAR MAYER Deli Fresh Smoked Ham
  • ⅓ cup chopped PLANTERS Smoked Almonds

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine broccoli, tomatoes, cream cheese, Parmesan and garlic powder.
  3. Flatten ham slices.
  4. Press 1 ham slice onto bottom and up side of each of 24 miniature muffin pan cups.
  5. Fill with broccoli mixture; sprinkle with nuts.
  6. Bake 15 min or until heated through.

Variations

  • To make ahead, assemble appetizers several hours in advance; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Then, uncover and bake as directed.
  • Some recipe reviewers commented that they left out the tomatoes and still found the appetizer a hit with family or party-attendees.

Layered Pizza Dip

My colleague Lisa makes the best pizza dip ever. On days she brought her pizza dip to work, I was more than happy to forego leaving for my lunch break. This recipe from Betty Crocker (original here) looks similar to hers. Layered Pizza Dip is the twenty-third of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-oz.) container soft cream cheese with chives and onions (Or plain, if desired)
  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper (optional)
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped pepperoni
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Chunks of French bread

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread the cream chesse to cover the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch pie pan or 1 to 1½-quart baking dish.
  3. Layer remaining ingredients (except bread) in order listed.
  4. Bake at 350°F. for 10 to 15 minutes or until dip is hot and cheese is melted.
  5. Serve with bread.

Variations

  • Layer the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. Let sit at room temp just a few minutes before baking.
  • You can add other pizza toppings as desired, like mushrooms or sliced black olives. Just be sure to increase the cooking time if necessary to ensure that the dip is hot and melty.

Grape Jelly Meatballs

No office party is complete without these meatballs. People are usually skeptical when they hear the ingredients (really? jelly?), but they quickly convert when they try them. Grape Jelly Meatballs are the twenty-second of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 2 12-oz jars Heinz chili sauce
  • 1 32-oz jar grape jelly
  • 1 bag frozen cooked meatballs (about 80 in a bag)

Directions

  1. Combine chili sauce and jelly in a large crockpot, whisking together smooth.
  2. Add frozen meatballs and cook on high until meatballs are thawed.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 hours.

Bacon Quesadillas

Bacon, cheese, and tortillas, that’s all you need for this tasty appetizer from the Kraft website (original here). Bacon Quesadillas are the twentieth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 4 flour tortillas, 6 inches in diameter
  • 1 cup KRAFT Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheeses
  • ¼ cup OSCAR MAYER Real Bacon Bits
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place tortillas in single layer on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Top half of each tortilla with ¼ each of the remaining ingredients; fold in half.
  4. Press lightly to secure.
  5. Bake 8 to 10 min. or until edges are lightly browned.
  6. Cut into wedges with a pizza wheel or knife.

Variations

  • Substitute 1 drained can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles for the green onions.
  • Customize the fillings to fit the tastes of your family. For instance, you can add cooked chicken, black olives, green or red pepper, black beans, or salsa.