Friday, March 6, 2009

The Best Feeling...

Have you ever tried an entirely new meal for dinner and had it turn out crappy? Well, that seems like every other day for me...But have you ever tried something new and had it become an instant favorite! That was my night last night, and I'm still loving it!

There are two recipes for this meal, both were relatively easy. Here they are:

Chicken Tortellini Soup

4 cans Swanson's chicken broth
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup + 1 can water
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 package frozen cheese tortellini
2 crowns fresh broccoli
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

Place broth, soup, and water in large soup pot. Add herbs, onions, and garlic, and bring to a boil. Add chicken and carrots, and cook for 5 minutes. Cut broccoli from the stems; add tortellini, broccoli, and cheese to soup. Let cook until broccoli is tender and tortellini begins to float. Serve and enjoy!

HINT: I don't like to take the time to pre-cook my chicken, so before adding the carrots I throw in several raw frozen chicken breasts and let them cook. Once they are cooked through, I take them out and chop them up, then put back in the soup and resume with adding the carrots. The original recipe suggested using the roasted chickens you can get at the grocery store deli, for a quicker prep.

Overnight Soft Herb Rolls

1 pkg active dry yeast (about 1 TB)
1/4 cup cool water
3 TB sugar
1 tsp table salt
1 TB each minced flat-leaf parsley, fresh dill, chives, and rosemary
2 TB melted butter
1 large egg plus 1 TB lightly beaten egg, divided
1 cup milk or half-and-half
3½-3 3/4 cups flour
About 1 TB coarse salt

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over cool water (about 70°). Let stand until dissolved, 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, table salt, herbs, butter, whole egg, and milk; add 3¼ cups flour and stir to moisten.
Knead dough on a lightly floured board until elastic and not sticky, 15 minutes; add flour as needed to prevent sticking. Shape into 12 equal balls; place in a well-buttered 9" square baking dish.
Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, 45-60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Brush rolls with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake until deep golden, 25-30 minutes.
Make ahead: Prepare through step 21; immediately wrap airtight (do not let rise) and chill up to 1 day. Proceed with step 3. Rising may take longer after refrigeration.

HINT: I didn't start these early enough to just let them rise, so I covered them with a papertowel and put them in the oven at 170° for 15 minutes. They still weren't double, but my soup was almost done, so I turned the oven up and let them bake. They doubled just find during baking, and they were pretty good. If you can let them rise, they would probably be a little fluffier.