Missy’s Chicken Tortellini Soup Serves: 8 as a main course (makes 8 to 10 cups) Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 20 to 25 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium-size onion)
3 medium-size cloves garlic, minced
8 cups (2 quarts) low-sodium chicken broth
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
4 cups shredded roast chicken (from a 3-pound whole roast chicken, skin and bones removed)
1 package (9 ounces) fresh cheese tortellini
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 package (5 ounces) baby spinach, stems removed
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
1. Place the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Cover the pot and let simmer until the flavors develop, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the chicken and tortellini and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup simmer, uncovered until the tortellini have cooked, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the spinach, and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish it with the Parmesan.
Hot Spiced Apple Cider and Cranberry Cider Serves: 20 to 24
(Makes more than 3 quarts) Prep: 40 minutes
2 quarts apple cider
6 cups (1½ quarts) cranberry juice
¼ packed cup light brown sugar
3 to 4 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 lemon, sliced
1. Place the apple cider, cranberry juice, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and lemon slices in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the flavor develops, about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let steep in the pot for about 30 minutes.
2. Pour the cider through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot or a slow cooker. Discard the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and lemon.
3. To serve, warm the cider over low heat on the stove or in the slow cooker. The spiced cider can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Reheat it before serving.
Cranberry Tart Serves: 8 (makes one 9-inch tart) Prep: 10 minutes Bake: 40 to 45 minutes Cool: 20 minutes
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) butter, melted, plus melted butter for brushing the pie pan
2 cups cranberries, rinsed and drained
1½ cups sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
Sweetened Whipped Cream (see recipe below) for serving
Confectioners’ sugar (optional), for dusting the tart
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie pan with melted butter.
2. Scatter the cranberries in an even layer in the bottom of the pie pan. Sprinkle ½ cup of the sugar and the pecans over them.
3. Place the butter, flour, eggs, almond extract, and the remaining 1 cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to combine well. Pour the butter mixture over the cranberry mixture.
4. Bake the tart until it has risen, is lightly browned, and the center has nearly set, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the tart to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes, then slice and serve warm with the whipped cream. Or, let the tart cool completely, about 1 hour, before serving. For a final touch, dust the tart with a little confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
Sweetened Whipped Cream Makes: about 2 cups Prep: About 5 minutes
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
Place a large mixing bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer in the freezer for a few minutes while you assemble the ingredients. Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the cream has thickened, about 1½ minutes. Stop the machine and add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat the cream and sugar on high speed until stiff peaks for, 1 to 2 minutes.