Winter tortellini soup solves sad lunch problems

Soup is so awesome, right?

I can make a vat of it for little money, it's warm and soul satisfying, and so easy, particularly when there is a slow cooker involved.

I'm so busy these days and packing my own lunch, while financially desirable, is often a real bummer. I have to have things prepared and on hand or it won't happen. So I've been working on making one or two large amounts of something every week so as to ensure myself a decent something to look forward to in the middle of the day that won't land me in my friends' online "sad lunch club," which is a Facebook page of photos of lunches at people's desks that include things like "a saltine and two green olives" or "mustard on some bread." My days are pretty jam-packed and I'd really rather not resort to scooping BBQ sauce out of a packet with a carrot for lunch.

Soup is the sad lunch savior. Because it makes so much with so little effort, I am usually covered with something decent to heat up and eat while I work. And sometimes even my kids will eat it for dinner!

This particular soup will not be one my kids will want. THERE ARE GREEN THINGS IN THERE. But it is a wonderful, warm, filling soup that I made for myself for about $14 and I can freeze some. I am guessing it will produce at least 12 good-sized portions. I call that a nutritious bargain.

Spinach and Tortellini Winter Soup

Spinach and Tortellini Winter Soup by Richard Gwin

Spinach and Tortellini Winter Soup
1 1-pound bag frozen tri-color tortellini
1 bag frozen corn
2 pounds chicken pieces (I bought a bag of frozen breasts already in chunks)
2 cans beef broth
2 cans diced tomatoes (I used one can of fire roasted and one plain)
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
1 block cream cheese
2 tablespoons panang curry
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and black pepper to taste

Basically, you just throw all of this into a slow cooker and let it cook for about 10 hours on low heat or 6 hours on high heat. It's fine if the uncooked chicken chunks are frozen when you toss them in.

Stir when it's time to eat and serve with a good slice of bread. Garnish with some more fresh sweet pepper or green onion or cilantro, or all of the above. I also think a squeeze of lime before you eat is a nice finish.


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