Five Minute Soup
I did not set out to rock the culinary world with this post. What I am trying to show, is that many ingredients can be combined and heated for a near-instant meal that is satisfying while still packing punch in the nutrition department. This is not to say that there's anything wrong with this kind of cooking. Any good cook has a few tricks up his/her sleeve and sometimes simplicity is damn satisfying.
Here, beans and spinach are the real stars of the balanced eating show so make it without the tortellini if you are not a pasta eater (or perhaps throw in some quinoa instead). I was able to locate a whole wheat pasta that was made with just a few ingredients so I tossed it in.
If you can open a can, you can throw together dinner. It will taste better than a TV dinner and is healthier, too (I don't care if healthy is in the title of the tv dinner or not!).
4 cups chicken stock or low sodium broth
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in their juices
1 15.5 can of small, white beans, rinsed thorougly
2 cups fresh (or fresh/frozen) whole wheat tortellini
3 cups frozen, chopped spinach (two of the small "bricks")
Optional: Additional seasoning agents, as described below
1 - Pour chicken stock into large stock pot.
2 - Add the tomatoes and their juice, beans and tortellini (don't add spinach yet or it just gets brown and ugly!).
3 - Bring to a boil. Cook until the tortellini have begun to float. Add the spinach, stir and serve immediately.
SEASONING NOTE: There you have it! And now that your culinary confidence has been boosted, consider experimenting with some seasonings. Added just before serving, lemon zest and some freshly grated parmesan cheese would be nice here. Or, instead of lemon, drop in a little bit of rosemary (a little goes a long way). Like heat? Red pepper flakes would fit well. Need more depth of flavor without added sodium? Add balsamic vinegar. These tricks, by the way, will add flavor and a brightness to a wide variety of dishes--without adding salt.
Now get cooking and enjoy!
~ Lynn, a.k.a. The Country Tart.
Recipe makes 8, 1 cup servings (without tortellini, it makes 6, 1 cup servings):
Per serving (with tortellini on left, without on right):
Nutritional info created using ingredient compilation tool for a 2,000 calorie diet and is deemed close but not exact.