Sausage Tortellini Soup with Parmesan Crisps

I mentioned in yesterday's post how this time of year makes me nostalgic for family recipes. With the holidays coming up, I start longing for Kathleen and dad's Thanksgiving dressing, my Aunt Gina, Claire and I's apple pie, my mom's creamed corn...I could go on forever. Aside from holiday recipes there are a handful of family recipes I crave. Exhibit A, this Sausage Tortellini Soup. 

I remember growing up and this soup always showing up on that first really cold day. With the couple chilly days we've had, my taste buds immediately wanted this soup. Although, I actually made this soup on Monday when it was a near 90 degrees. Not quite soup weather... maybe my cooking will help Oklahoma get its fall weather act together!

Growing up we always had sausage tortellini soup with a big wedge of skillet cornbread. Not that I don't loooooooove my fam's cornbread, but I wanted to try something new. Raise your hand if you've had those parmesan crisps they sell at Whole Foods (hand raised high). Last week I was there and they had them out as a sample. I embarrassingly went by three times for another bite. They are just baked cheese but kind of get away as being a cracker. 

I did my best to recreate those coveted parmesan crisps so I didn't have to hand over nine bucks for a box of something I could make at home. I bought a cheap wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano at Trader Joe's then grated it on a box grater. I love the way they turned out and they pair perfect with this soup!

Sausage Tortellini Soup with Parmesan Crisps
yields 10 cups

1 lb. Italian sasauge
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 (14½ oz) cans beef broth
2 (14½ oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup dry red wine
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsps. dried Italian seasoning
2 small zucchini, sliced
1 (9 oz) pkg. refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
*Parmesan Crisps

Discard sausage casings. Cook sausage, onion and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink; drain and return to pan.

Sir in broth and next 6 ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 30 minutes. Skim off fat. Stir in zucchini and tortellini, simmer 10 minutes. Serve each bowl with a parmesan crisp!

*Parmesan Crisps:
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

Using a box grated, great your parmesan cheese. I used a combination of two sizes of grates. Drop heaping tablespoons of parmesan onto the lined baking sheet. Pat out into 2 1/2 inch circles. Sprinkle with black pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them, they may need less time. Let them sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes. Gently lift off, be careful they are delicate. 

Family recipes really are the best. I've been on a kick of remaking some of my favorites from growing up. What are some of your favorite family recipes?


Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread, there's nothing better. Pumpkin bread is the quintessential pumpkin food. It's been around waaaaay longer than PSLs, pumpkin spice puppy chow, pumpkin protein bars, pumpkin spice cookie butter and all the other commercialized pumpkin foods. 

This time of year makes me nostalgic for old family recipes. With the holidays coming up, I've been digging through my mom's recipe binder to resurface some of my favorites like her ginger cookies, sausage tortellini soup (more on that later this week) and this pumpkin bread. It's the best darn pumpkin bread around and deserves to be shared. 

I baked up eight, count 'em, eight loaves this weekend. Six of them were sent off to be used as gifts, but two are taking home in my freezer to be pulled out when the pumpkin bread hunger strikes! It took a few loads into my KitchenAid to complete all the bowls of batter, but well worth it, that is my kind of therapy. Follow below to snatch this family tested, Annie trusted and fall approved recipe!

Pumpkin Bread
yields 2, 9 inch loaves or 3, 8 inch loves

2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1, 15oz can pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsps. baking soda
1 1/2 tsps. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
2/3 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Generously grease and flour 2, 9 inch or 3, 8 inch loaf pans and set aside.

Cream shortening, gradually add sugar beating well. Add eggs, mix well. Stir in pumpkin and water.

Combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves; add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Fold in nuts, reserving a few. Spoon into loaf pans. Top with extra pecans. If using 8 inch pans bake for 55 minutes, 9 inch pans will bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the toothpick trick comes out clean.

What's your favorite pumpkin recipe? Mine 100% is this bread!


Bites of My Life

Winding down from a weekend I don't want to end. Nothing crazy happened and that's exactly why it was so great. Started with a solo sesh dinner, just me, my book and my you-pick-two then joined some friends for Girl on The Train. I didn't read the book which consensus says was a good thing; left for more suspense during the movie. 

Saturday woke up for breakfast and barre with Lindsay then football and bowling with friends. Ended the day making loaves of pumpkin bread and settling into the couch for a triple feature of You've Got Mail, Friends With Benefits and A Walk to Remember. 

Today consisted of the new season of Barefoot Contessa starting, a neighborhood kitchen tour, trip to Trader Joe's, walk with my mom, and a delicious dinner cooked not by me, but for me. A weekend of r&r that I want to repeat ASAP!

-New fav snack: handful of TJ's semi-dried frozen figs microwaved for 20 seconds with AB and CB drizzled on top.
-Celebrated the amazing company I work for with killer views and tasty treats. 
-Cheers to The Social Order Dining Collective being offish!
-I love sneaking over to my parent's house for lunch. Even when my mom thinks there is nothing in the fridge I feel like it's always full with the best goods. 
-Shared my go to work week lunch last week, did you catch the post? Another one of last week's posts here.
-Recipe test round one of Carrot Pecan Muffins. First round came out good, but I'm still perfecting the recipe.
-A perfect delivery of Perfect Bars. I'm a Perfect Bar virgin and can't wait to try these! 
-I hadn't had Panera in about a year and the craving came on strong. Pulled up a table for one before joining my friends at Girl on The Train. 
-Saturday gameday went from football to bowling with a gameday brat on the side. 
-No better smell than loaves of pumpkin bread baking in the oven. Made a huge batch of my mom's pumpkin bread this weekend, recipe will be shared this week!
-The dreamiest pantry in one of the houses on the Nichols Hills Kitchen Tour.
-When you and your UT roommate make a bet on the OU/Texas game and you come out the winner! Bet was if Texas lost, Lindsay had to make me dinner, if OU lost...well we don't need to go there. 


Let Me Entertain You

The fun part of a new season is the new entertainment that comes with it. New TV shows, new (and old) movies, books, yes books, blogs, songs and more. Let's take a bite of how I've been spending/wasting my time shall we? Thanks for the post inspiration MB!

What I'm Reading ::
On my nightstand: Present Over PerfectSavour

In my mailbox monthly: Bon Appétit

In my inbox daily: The Newsette

What I'm Watching / movies ::
New releases: Sully, Girl on the Train

As I fall asleep: Dan in Real LifeYou've Got Mail (the best fall movies)

THis is Us // Starring my #1 Gilmore Crush Jess aka MIlo Ventimiglia

THis is Us // Starring my #1 Gilmore Crush Jess aka MIlo Ventimiglia

What I'm Watching / TV :: 
On Tuesdays: This is Us (WATCH IT!!! Especially if you are a fan of the the next two shows listed)

On Netflix: Gilmore Girls, Parenthood

What I'm Listening To ::
My current fav: This Girl by Kungs vs. Cookin'

All day everyday: oldies by Van Morrison

On my neighborhood walks: OKC Over Easy, Bon Appetit podcasts

What I'm Playing ::
Even though I'm no help to the team: Kickball (They just keep me on around because I bring snacks and make up cheers).

How have you been entertaining your days this fall? Next up for me, a dinner party of sorts. Something that I always plan to do and never get around to. 


My Go To Work Week Lunch

Work week lunches are hard. It's the point in the day when you are starving and have to have something that will satisfy you all the way through dinner. It needs to give you energy to power the rest of the day without making you want to take a nap afterward. Lunch is asking for a lot and usually falls short. 

I used to be a basic salad girl. If I loaded it up with enough goods it would usually fit the bill. It's a good filler meal for when I need to clean out the fridge, but nothing excites me for lunch when I know I just have a salad packed. 

When I was doing Whole30 back in August, lunch was hard. A salad would definitely not cut it. I came up with this easy work week lunch that has stuck with me for the months to follow. It's easy to prep the night before and so filling/satisfying. I eat it about 3 times a week and with a few ingredient tweaks here and there I'm not getting sick of it. 

It's a healthy take on a charcuterie/crudite/cheese board. My "lunch board" as I like to call it! 

Basic components include:

2 hard boiled eggs
1/2 granny smith apple
3-4 pieces of charcuterie (prosciutto, salami, chorizo, pepperoni etc)

Items that change depending on taste and what is in season:

4 figs
stem of grapes
handful of snap peas, tomatoes carrots or bell peppers
crackers if you need the carbs
veggie dip or almond butter if you need the extra protein

Pictured above is how I take it to work. Hardboiled eggs unpeeled (I make a bunch at the beginning of the week), 1/2 apple uncut to avoid overly browning, meat, veggies and a side of veggie dip. I pack a little baggie of salt and pepper for the eggs and a small knife to cut the apple and eggs when I put it together at lunch. 

Give this lunch a try. It's well balanced and hits on all the taste buds. Tart apple, salty meat, sweet fruit, bright veggie, and filling eggs! It's just the thing to get me through the day and I get weirdly excited for lunch when I know I have this packed.

Get creative and make your own version of my lunch board! Share your lunch board pics with me via snapchat or tagging me on insta and using the #takeabite hashtag!