This recipe just came to me one night! I swear! Everyone (I think) grows tired of cooking chicken the same way over and over and over again. My fridge was full of stuff just nothing I thought I could use to make something new and exciting. HO HUM. Then it occurred to me that I could make a soup. This soup became one of my all time favorites! My family is not big on soup eating; this dish has changed all that! After I made this soup the first time it was requested weekly for several months! Then I added other soups to my repertoire! (I love my recipe for Corn Chowder.) This recipe is done the way I typically cook, by taste. My measurements are usually approximations. You should always taste anything you are cooking and adjust as you see fit. Never, ever, be afraid to make a recipe your own, if it is horrible and burnt then… Chinese takeout is always phone call away, or in my sad little case (ie: broke), grilled cheese is the backup plan. Over years of trial and error though I generally do not have grilled cheese nights anymore. Every now and then you will hear horrible expletives rupturing forth from my kitchen, usually followed by loud crashing noises…. On those nights no one is surprised to see me emerge with grilled cheese for everyone. Occasionally the family takes pity and we splurge on pizza, but my point is that you should never be afraid to experiment! Just go for it!
Creamy Chicken and Spinach Tortellini Soup
4-6 Chicken Breasts (trimmed of fat and gristle pieces, then cubed)
1-2 bunches of Baby Spinach OR 1-2 bags of baby spinach (I find I end up picking through either one of them so I save money by buying the bunches, the amount of spinach you use depends on your taste for spinach…. I love spinach)
1 1/2 pint of heavy cream or half and half
1 large package of cheese tortellini (I use the one you find in the refrigerator section usually next to the cheese)
1 box of Chicken Stock
1/2-3/4 cup lemon juice (more or less depending on your taste)
Dill (dried or fresh, I use probably two tablespoons because I love dill)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garlic Powder to taste
Basil (fresh is best) optional, again to taste
1/2 stick of butter
Bring a LARGE soup pot filled 1/4 to 1/2 way with water and chicken stock. (I throw in a couple of chicken bullion cubes to intensify the chicken flavor.) How much water you use depends on how soupy you like your soup to be and how many people you are feeding. Place over high heat. Once boiling put cubed chicken in water/stock mix. Allow the chicken to cook in the water/stock. Put butter in the water when chicken is half way done, allow to melt. Mix in cream or half and half, lemon juice, and seasonings. Bring liquid back to boil and drop in tortellini. Do not over cook the tortellini; it will get mushy and fall apart! When tortellini is almost “al dente” you can tear the spinach and mix it in the pot or use the leaves whole. Spinach cooks fast! Much more than dunking the spinach in the soup can over cook it. I usually give it about 2-3 minutes in the soup. Make sure you have tasted the soup as you cook to make sure the flavor agrees with you.
I always end up with extra soup, typically 2-3 extra servings, they freeze well and reheat straight from the freezer on those nights you just don’t want to cook.
I love to dunk bread in my soup; I recommend ciabetta bread or crusty French rolls.