Archive of ‘recipes’ category

Tortellini Soup Recipe

Last week I made the first pot of soup for the season and shared a photo on Instagram. I got a few requests for the recipe, so here you go!

Tortellini Soup

My favorite thing about the recipe is the base. It is a good, hearty beef broth base that you can add to or take away from and it’s still good. Below the original recipe are ways I have varied this recipe, and all ways are very good.

I can’t take credit for this soup, nor finding it. My friend Allison made it a few years ago and told me about it, and it’s since then become a cold-weather favorite. It should be known a lot of my favorite recipes come from her, so basically, if you see a recipe on Allison’s blog, chances are it’s a winner.

That said — here’s the recipe, originally found on the Culinary Couple.

Tortellini Soup Recipe

Tortellini Soup
  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 8 oz. cheese tortellini
  • 1 package or 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. In large pot, cook sausage ~5 minutes. Remove meat and set aside.
  2. Add onion and garlic. Saute.
  3. Add broth, water, wine, tomatoes, herbs, vegetables (except zucchini and spinach), and sausage. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered ~30 minutes.
  4. Add zucchini, spinach, and tortellini. Simmer ~25 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve with crusty bread.

Some variations:

– Omit the sausage and replace cheese tortellini with sausage-stuffed tortellini
– Replace the zucchini with butternut squash in the winter
– Omit tortellini (for gluten free folks) and replace it with cooked quinoa

I’m sure there are many other possible variations and it would still be delicious. Enjoy!



Recipe: Key Lime Cream Pie with Meringue

My sister Carrie got me a pie dish for Christmas, and I’m pretty sure I’ve used it at least once a week so far this year. I have made apple pie, chess pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate silk pie, strawberry pie, tomato pie. I honestly didn’t know I was such a pie person until I had the pretty dish in my house. (In case you think I am obsessed with desserts, I also use it for making savory dishes like roasted chicken and quiche).

One of my favorites is this key lime pie recipe. I have actually made two key lime pies this season (don’t judge, we’ve had lots of dinner parties to attend), and this one is my favorite. It’s the meringue topping. Really creamy and light. The first time I made it I was thrilled that I could make something that tasted like it came from a French bakery. Yes – it’s that good.

Is this recipe easy? Yes. Is it something I can whip up quickly and effortlessly? No. That’s what people really want to know when they ask if a recipe is easy. Any recipe is “easy” if you can read and follow basic cooking instructions (well, except for this icing which is incredibly hard to master), but this one calls for a little more attention and time for chilling.

All I’m saying is if you are planning to make this pie for a party on Saturday night, the latest you can start on it is early Saturday morning. I made the mistake of making it too late and while it was tasty and still had raving reviews from my friends, the next time I made it I allowed for much more time to chill.

Key Lime Cream pie with Meringue Recipe

Key Lime Cream Pie with Meringue Recipe
Adapted from the Chicken and Egg cookbook


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
(or just use a store-bought graham cracker crust)

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
6 egg yolks
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup water
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
3/4 sugar


To make the crust:
(Omit this step if you are using a store-bought crust and follow the instructions on the packaging).) Preheat the oven to 350. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and lime zest. Pour in the butter and stir until all of the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-ince pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes or until set and slightly deeper brown in color. Cool on a wire rack and leave the oven on.

To make the filling:
Beat the cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in the condensed milk and the lime zest until blended. Whisk in the lime juice. Gently fold in the whipped cream and pour the filling into the cooked pie crust. Bake pie for 15 minutes or until the filling it set. Leave the oven.

To make the meringue:
While the filling is baking, dissolve the cornstarch in the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 30 seconds or until very thick, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and ocver to keep warm. Beat the egg whites and cream of tarter in a large bowl until the whites are frothy. Increase the speed and beat until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in the sugar. Next slowly add the warm cornstarch mixture, one spoonful at a time. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the egg whites are glossy and will hold a stiff peak. Remove the baked pie from the oven and immediately spoon the meringue topping over the hot filling.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the meringue is dry to the touch and lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until cold before serving.

What’s your favorite pie?

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


“You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say “nothing” I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.”

I love that quote from the movie Julie and Julia. I feel the same way when I bake. It is such a comfort that if you put butter and sugar and eggs and flour together, it will create something more delicious than you could ever imagine tasting each individual ingredients. It kind of reminds me of 1 Corinthians 12 and the body of Christ. Now who would have thought there would be a biblical lesson to baking? :)

Moving on, today I’d like to share my favorite cookie recipe. And I don’t take the word favorite lightly.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

It tastes like your basic chocolate chip cookie, except the oatmeal makes it a little more dense and not as sweet. I got this recipe from my first wedding shower, when guests were asked to bring their favorite, and I’ve lost count how many times I’ve made it. My recipe card lives in this sweet box the hostesses gave me:

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

I’m not endorsing cookies for breakfast, but if you happen to dip a cookie in your coffee, you may find the greatest combinations.


Recipe: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 dozen
Note: If you like nuts, feel free to add 1 1/2 cups of crushed walnuts.
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 package (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugars; add vanilla, milk and eggs.
  3. Mix flour, salt, baking power, and baking soda.
  4. Blend butter mixture with flour mixture and stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  5. Put rounded teaspoons of batter on cookie sheets and bake for 12 minutes.
What is your favorite cookie? Sugar? Peanut butter? Plain chocolate chip? I’d love to hear!

Recipe: Cucumber Salad

I’ve been in a cooking rut for about a month. I blame this diet. I can’t have bread, onions, garlic, pasta, soy, dairy, and specific fruits and vegetables. And something else I’m forgetting… oh yes, any type of condiment that you can think of. That leaves me most nights eating a simple piece of meat (normally chicken), a cooked potato (sans anything tasty), and a very boring raw salad.

Cucumber Salad | My Pretty Pennies

I decided I needed to mix it up and bring more flavor to my pallet, so I looked in my cookbooks and came across this cucumber salad recipe. I had forgotten about this beloved salad, but it’s one of our favorites. I normally make it in the summer, since it is nice and cold, but really it’s fine any time of the year.

I’ve tried to make other salads and slaws with a cucumber base, just to test if I could make it better, but each time J and I agree that this recipe is superior. So, I’m going to stop trying other cucumber salads altogether; this will be my tried and true go-to cucumber salad forever.

Cucumber Salad | My Pretty Pennies

It has garlic, sesame seeds and spring onions (all things that I can’t have), but I decided to live on the edge and hope for the best minus those secondary ingredients. And it turned out great! I used garlic powder instead of cloves and omitted the green onions and sesame seeds, and it tastes just fine. I made it twice in the last month and have been munching on it as a snack or side for lunch or dinner, and still am not tired of it.

Sidebar: I’m a big believer in writing in cookbooks. I always like to mark the date I first made the recipe and my initial thoughts right after. It’s so helpful later when you browse through your books! It looks like I made this dish for the first time 4/19/2011, just 10 days after we got married. That was about two days after we got back from our honeymoon! I have such fond memories of those days. :)

Cucumber Salad | My Pretty Pennies

Anyway, on to the recipe. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but I want to emphasize the first phase, when the cucumbers soak in the salt and sugar for 30 minutes. You really shouldn’t skip this step, as I tried it once and it wasn’t nearly as flavorful. Hope you enjoy!

Cucumber Salad Recipe | My Pretty Pennies
Recipe: Cucumber Salad

Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Adapted from Williams Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook
Serves: 8-10
  • 4 cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • Scant 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 6 green spring onions
  1. Peel the cucumbers, leaving a few strips of peel if unwaxed. Cut them in half lengthwise, and scoop out any seeds with a spoon. Slice thinly crosswise.
  2. Combine the cucumbers, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Toss the sugar and salt evenly, and let stand for 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer the cucumbers to a colander and rinse and drain well, then squeeze out excess moisture with your hands. The cucumbers will have become soft and pliable but will still be bright green.
  4. In a serving bowl, stir together the vinegar, garlic, chili flakes and sesame seeds. Add the cucumbers and toss to coat. Thinly slice the green onions and sprinkle them over the top.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours. At this point, the salad can be refrigerated for up to 1 day before serving. Serve cold.


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