February 13 is Tortellini Day!

February 13 is Tortellini Day. Imagine, a day to celebrate pasta filled with cheese or meat! Sounds good to me! I love these little pasta rings! They taste great in salads and prepared in any recipe that would utilize pasta! Here are a couple recipes that use tortellini and are just delicious! One is a complete meal in a dish and the other is a nice side dish that in fact can be a perfect lunch!

Chicken Cheese Tortellini Cacciatore

  • 4 cups cooked cheese tortellini
  • 1 1b. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepper
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 can diced onion, basil, garlic tomatoes
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Cut up the chicken and saute in the oil in a frying pan.
  3. Add in the onions, peppers, garlic, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sauce and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tortellini, cover, and heat through on low for about 10 minutes longer.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Tortellini Salad

  • 1 lb. tortellini
  • 2 cups cooked chopped chicken
  • 1/2 cup minced red or sweet onion
  • 1 cup chopped or small tomatoes1 cup chopped cucumbers
  • 1 cup Greek salad dressing.
  • 1 cup feta cheese or any cheese cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  1. Prepare tortellini according to package directions. Cool.
  2. Mix all ingredients and serve.
  3. Makes 4 generous servings.

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Chicken Parmesan for Sunday Dinner

One of the things about growing old is that we tend to look back over the years. One of my fondest memories is the Sunday dinner with family. I don’t have much family around here anymore, the kids have grown and moved on to better places. However, I still have my husband and luckily, my mom. I do like to have a traditional Sunday dinner once in a while so this weekend I will prepare one of my mom’s favorite dishes, chicken parmesan.

I must admit, it is also one of my favorite dinners. I sometimes make it the delicious, high-calorie way, but often, I make it a reduced calorie, healthy version, which is what I will do this time. I am trying to rid myself of some unwanted winter weight gain so that when springtime finally raises its weary head, I will be one step ahead of the game, and be a little thinner. I don’t want any surprises when I get out last year’s capris and put them on.

I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs as they are very tender and moist. I will also use a couple of chicken tenders so as to have some white meat to save some calories. When I don’t have the ingredients I need to make the low-calorie version, I will use an old standby: Shake and Bake Italian Chicken Seasoning mix, and bake it in the oven. Very good, very tender, and when I use my sauce on it, very very good. Put some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top, you have one meal fit for a king, or in my case, a mom!

Boneless Chicken Parmesan

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 cup nonfat or low-fat milk
  • 1 egg
  • nonstick spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450*.
  2. Lightly spray a baking pan. I use my broiler pan.
  3. Put breadcrumbs in a bowl.
  4. Stir in Parmesan cheese, parsley, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, and thyme.
  5. Put milk in another bowl.Beat in egg.
  6. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
  7. Dip chicken into egg-milk mixture, let extra liquid drain off, roll in crumbs, and shake off excess crumbs.
  8. Put chicken in pan and bake for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.
  9. Spread with tomato sauce, top with parmesan cheese, and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  10. Serve with linguine and sauce and a crusty bread.

Higher Fat Version-Very good

Follow the directions for above but instead of baking in the oven, heat 1-inch oil in a cast iron pan. Brown dredged chicken pieces on both sides. Place on paper towels to drain. Place in a pan spread tomato sauce on top, add the cheese, and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cooked.

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