Italian Tortellini Soup

I’ve been away from the blog too long. But my fall semester was a busy one, filled with music students and hours of piano practice and a number of performances and hours of research and a presentation. More about all that another time.
And before I knew it, November was drawing to a close. I was sick with a nasty cold the week of Thanksgiving, but, as always, I thoroughly enjoyed the plans and preparations, the shopping and baking, the crafting and cooking that accompany the Christmas season. I can hardly believe that another twenty-fifth of December has come and gone, but I have happy memories of time spent with family, lovely gifts that I will enjoy for years to come, and hundreds of pictures to remind me of the details.
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I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but both my mom and dad (from Mt. Carmel, Illinois) and my brother and his wife (from Dunedin, Florida) arrived simultaneously at my house at approximately 6:10PM on Friday, December 23rd. Less than an hour later, we were all seated around my dining room table noshing on steaming bowls of tortellini soup with sides of garlic bread. My sister-in-law asked me to share the recipe, a blending of a couple I found on Pinterest. I thought you might enjoy it too. Here goes.


1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 heaping tablespoon jarred minced garlic or about 6 garlic cloves, minced
3 cans (14 1/2-ounce) chicken broth
1 can tomatoes (14 1/2-ounce) undrained
2 small fresh carrots ,sliced thinly
1 package baby spinach
1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash crushed red pepper flakes
Grated parmesan cheese

1. Brown ground beef; set aside.
2. Sauté onion and carrot in 1 teaspoon olive oil until onion is translucent and carrot is tender.
3. Place the chicken broth, tomatoes, browned ground beef, sautéed onion and carrots, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and tortellini in a dutch oven; bring to a boil. Boil about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down and add the spinach. Cook 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove from heat; serve in bowls topped with grated parmesan cheese.