Turkey Tortellini Soup

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker is dedicated to answering the "what's for dinner" question with healthy, quick recipes that can accommodate busy schedules. She is a devout Christian, a wife and mother, and a lover of words and books. She lives in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas and holds a degree in English from Kansas State University.
Brohgan Dieker

Latest posts by Brohgan Dieker (see all)

A versatile soup, great for busy families, made of ground turkey, tortellini pasta, vegetables, tomato, chicken broth. An American take on tortellini en brodo, an Italian soup traditionally served at Christmas.

The saying goes “cold hands, warm heart.” But, I really think there is probably a step missing in between those two things: a mug of something warm and tasty to hold to warm you from hand to heart.

The best new recipe inspiration comes from practical real life experiences: when the weather took an unexpected cold turn this fall, I unfortunately only had dried beans, none pre-soaked. I wanted to make chili, but couldn’t make my favorite chili without beans.

I am a mom. I don’t have time to run to the store and grab missing ingredients. Sometimes we just have to make do with what we already have.

I looked over the contents of my fridge and pantry, and the idea for Turkey Tortellini Soup bubbled to life.

Excuse me while I go reheat a bowl of leftover soup, because I can’t stand not having some in front of me while writing this post… and, done.

I try to keep a list of inexpensive pantry and freezer staples on hand in my kitchen (you can find my list by subscribing to my weekly meal planning newsletter). Ground turkey is the unsung hero on many a weeknight meal at the Dieker house. It’s lean, inexpensive and budget friendly, and keeps in the freezer for months. In a pinch, I brown it from frozen, which can take 5-10 minutes. (I have it on good authority that this is also a safer way to handle meat than thawing it first, so I don’t mind the extra time.)

Browning the meat and chopping the vegetables takes the most time. But, shhh…. you can use frozen vegetables and canned tomatoes in a pinch!!

That’s right, just find an unseasoned mixed of chopped vegetables, even frozen onion, and add some canned tomatoes (I used a 28 oz can last time). Pair that with your ground turkey and some tortellini, and you will have a hearty soup ready in no time!

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Turkey Tortellini Soup

A versatile soup, great for busy families, made of ground turkey, tortellini pasta, vegetables, tomato, chicken broth. An American take on tortellini en brodo, an Italian soup traditionally served at Christmas.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10 people

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tomatoes diced
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and diced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp better than bouillon chicken base (or turkey base)
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 lb three cheese tortellini

Instructions

  1. Brown ground turkey in the bottom of a large stockpot. In the meantime, chop the vegetables.

  2. Cover with water, and stir to scrape up any ground turkey stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the next 10 ingredients (everything besides tortellini) and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes.

  3. Once vegetables have reached desired level of doneness, add tortellini, and cook until pasta is al dente (usually 2 minutes).

  4. Remove from heat, serve in bowls alone or with crackers or bread.

A versatile soup, great for busy families, made of ground turkey, tortellini pasta, vegetables, tomato, chicken broth. An American take on tortellini en brodo, an Italian soup traditionally served at Christmas.

Zero Waste Dinner: Chinese Hamburger

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker

Brohgan Dieker is dedicated to answering the "what's for dinner" question with healthy, quick recipes that can accommodate busy schedules. She is a devout Christian, a wife and mother, and a lover of words and books. She lives in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas and holds a degree in English from Kansas State University.
Brohgan Dieker

Latest posts by Brohgan Dieker (see all)

Once,  I listened to a podcast about a working lunch which was served to a group of 40 world leaders who were gathering at the UN. Sam Krass, who had served as the Obama family’s personal chef, along with a team of other chefs, served these world leaders, most of whom were presidents of their respected countries, a dinner made of trash.

That’s right, the entire meal was made out of perfectly good food that was intended to be thrown away out of NYC restaurant kitchens.

We, as a culture, waste a lot of food. This includes my own kitchen.

This week, I have been noting ways to use Zero Waste Cooking strategies in my kitchen.

Are you familiar with Zero Waste Cooking? This is an term I encountered while pre-reviewing Erin Odem’s book, More Than Just Making It, which will be released in bookstores in September (affiliate link).

As far as I know, I haven’t encountered this exact term before, but the idea behind it is very familiar to me. Zero Waste is a strategy that my mother and grandmother often used in their kitchens to stretch the weekly food budget. It’s actually very common in kitchens around the world, although not so much in the U.S. these days.

The idea behind Zero Waste Cooking is to use every food to its fullest potential.

For instance, this lettuce. It’s not bad or rotten, but it’s wilted after spending several long days in the fridge. It would make a very sad salad.

What do you normally do with lettuce like this? Do you just chop it into a chewy salad?

I normally just do what my mom did: make Chinese hamburger for dinner. And soon, before the lettuce goes bad!

The really nice thing about this dish is that it’s easy to keep the other ingredients on hand. Frozen ground turkey, a box of beef Rice-A-Roni, butter, and water.

Isn’t it nice to have a back up plan for wilted lettuce??!

Of course, there are considerations to be made when trying to elimate wasted food in your kitchen. The first consideration is food safety. (And, food safety has changed over the years as the bacteria changes. For instance, you can’t rely on your grandma’s method for thawing meat on the counter anymore, folks.)

But, at least you can stretch some overlooked lettuce from the back of the fridge instead of throwing it away!

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One-Pot Chinese Hamburger

This easy recipe is a great Zero Waste Cooking strategy for using wilted lettuce!

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 box Beef Rice-A-Roni
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 head lettuce
  • reduced-sodium soy sauce optional

Instructions

  1. Heat ground turkey in large skillet over medium heat until cooked.

  2. Add butter and rice-vermicelli mix and sauté over medium heat until vermicelli is golden brown, stirring frequently.

  3. Slowly stir in water and 1/2 bag seasonings (to lessen sodium), and bring to a boil.

  4. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 15-20 minutes until rice is cooked.  Chop lettuce into bite sized pieces.

  5. Turn off burner, but keep pot on stove. Stir lettuce into pot and cover. Leave 1-2 minutes to allow lettuce to wilt.

  6. Plate, sprinkle with soy sauce, and enjoy!

This easy recipe is a great Zero Waste Cooking strategy for using wilted lettuce!