20-Minute Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Soup

This cheesy tortellini soup is only 20 minutes from start to finish and your family is going to love it!

Whenever I’m trying to survive through a busy week, I turn to quick soups like this one. They’re packed with vegetables, customizable (hello, using up leftovers), freeze well, and they’re cheap to make. It’s like a one-two-three punch of deliciousness.

Like, I’m not even sure ‘deliciousness’ is a word, but it totally can be when you’re talking about making this easy, flavorful and low-cost soup.

Earlier this week in the Meal Plan Buddies email, I talked about meal planning during weird weeks.

You know the weeks I mean: when the ish is hitting the fan and you’re busy, trying to hang on to your sanity, yet you’re not always sure how your evenings will be so how the heck can you plan for the cooking? 

If you’ve ever had a week like that, then I feel ya sister. That’s when knowing how to pivot, understanding your kitchen strengths, and being kind to your future self will come into play big time.  

It’s also where dishes like this 20-minute cheese tortellini and vegetable soup make an appearance on our dining room table.

Just 20 minutes and it’s so easy that it kinda feels like cheating.

As in, “I’ve just called Dominos for dinner and now I’m going to lie here and stare at the wall til they arrive’ kind of cheating.   

It’s full of flavor, bursting with vegetables, comforting to make and kids love it.  

It also freezes awesome, although the tortellini have a tendency to taste a little soggy if they’ve been cooked prior to freezing and thawing. So if you want to make this ahead of time, I ‘d recommend planning ahead on the soup part, and then storing the soup in the freezer alongside a separate baggie full of tortellini. Then you can add them in during the reheat.  

I also made a video for this cheesy tortellini soup! It’s slightly choppy, since I’m still honing my little video skills, but you can see how simple the soup actually is. Especially for one with so many vegetables packed inside!

It’s slightly choppy, since I’m still honing my little video skills, but you can see how simple the soup actually is. Especially for one with so many vegetables packed inside!

And, before you say it- in the video, I added crumbled brown sausage. This is totally up to you in this recipe; you can leave out the sausage and swap vegetable stock to make this a vegetarian soup. You could even use vegan pasta and hold the cheese to make these even more of a plant-based soup! So when you see me popping the crumbled sausage into the soup but don’t see

So when you see me popping the crumbled sausage into the soup but don’t see that part in the recipe, have no fear: it’s simply an addition we like to do around here because I <3 sausage, but it’s not needed for this delicious soup.

In any case, it’s an easy, flavorful, family-approved soup. It takes 20 minutes from start to finish and most of that is waiting for the carrots and onions to soften.

I mean, come on. When you’re looking for an easy dinner, you can’t do much better than a cheesy tortellini soup.

Enjoy!

An easy soup that comes together in only 20 minutes and is so tasty, it feels like cheating! This cheese tortellini soup is a kid favorite, too.
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20-Minute Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Soup
This soup is so easy it almost feels like cheating; with just a few handfuls of ingredients and a box of stock, you’ve got a flavorful soup comes together quickly and is so flavorful! Crumbled sausage is a nice addition to this soup, if you have some on hand. If you’ve got fresh tortellini and diced kale, all the merrier; but I also keep both in my freezer so that this soup can be pulled together in a pinch.
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 large carrots diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2-3 stalks celery diced (about 1 cup)
  • teaspoon chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4-5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 3 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 cup cheese tortellini
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat butter over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and carrots have softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and stir to combine, cooking until the garlic has whitened and become fragrant about 1-3 minutes.
  3. Add the corn and the spinach and stir to wilt the spinach, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Once the spinach has wilted, pour in the chicken broth.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  6. Add the tortellini and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with grated parmesan cheese.

Make Ahead Breakfast Egg Muffins, 3 Different Ways

I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!

These easy, low-carb, make ahead breakfast legg muffins a just the thing for busy mornings!

They’re so easy to make the night before and then pop into the freezer once cool. You can also fill them with leftovers, extra veggies, and CHEESE.

The word ‘cheese’ is capitalized because cheese is life around here.

 

And did I mention the leftovers part? Other than glorious cheese, using up leftovers is totally my jam.

Shredded chicken from tacos? Add it in with some onions and cheddar.

Leftover spinach from dinner’s salad? Toss with some tomatoes and add it in!

Leftover roasted broccoli? Add those babies in!

It’s up to you, and I love that.

These make ahead breakfast egg muffins are made 3 different ways.

I played around with the fillings, but I have a basic ratio for you: For every four cups, you’ll need:

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk (doesn’t even have to be dairy! Coconut milk worked great in these muffins)

2 tablespoons filling, whatever you choose that to be.

That ratio will vary slightly depending on your filling, but it’s pretty standard. Just double it or triple it depending on how many breakfast egg muffins you feel like making!

A note about the coconut milk I used in these breakfast egg muffins:

It totally works just like milk! Those of you who have always been down with milk alternatives probably knew this, ut if you’re like me, or you’re new to the world of living dairy free, this may make your day.

Make sure it’s unsweetened (for no other reason than vanilla egg muffins might be…. odd tasting. But you do you, boo). And try other plant based milks, like almond milk, or cashew milk, or even soy milk.

The world is your milk oyster.

Below, I’ve written out the ‘recipes’ I used, although like I said earlier, making a make ahead breakfast egg muffin is more about playing around with ratios than anything.

But this is a recipe post, and thee shall have a recipe.

But I’d love to know what kind of combos you guys dig! Have you tried making make ahead egg muffins? Have you tried making eggs with plant based milks?

I am LOVING these easy, low-carb make ahead breakfast egg muffins on busy mornings! I just make a tray ahead of time, pop in the freezer, and we can eat them for a healthy breakfast throughout the week. This post has three different kind of fillings ideas, too!
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Make Ahead Breakfast Egg Muffins, Three Ways
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Use the recipes below as guidelines; depending on your fillings, your egg muffins mixtures may make one or two more muffins than what is described below. Typically, the different recipes below will make about 4 muffins each. 


Servings: 3 people
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
For the Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach:
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons shredded spinach
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
For the Asparagus and Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced asparagus about 3 trimmed stalks
  • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Spanish chorizo and potato
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced Spanish dry-cured chorizo sausage
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced white potato
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Instructions
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375*F
  2. Spray a muffin tin with vegetable or coconut oil, or line with paper liners.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the bottom of each muffin cup.
  4. Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.
  5. Evenly pour the egg and milk mixture on top of each, evenly distributing between each. Leave at least 1/2" space below the rim of the cup.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until the center has set and is no longer jiggly.
  7. Remove and let cool, then remove from the muffin tin.
  8. Eat immediately, or store, tightly covered. These will last up to 6 weeks in the freezer if tightly wrapped, or up to 5 days in the fridge.
 

Baked Chicken Meatballs with Garlicky Honey Mustard Sauce

Try these easy baked chicken meatballs in garlicky honey mustard for an easy dinner recipe tonight! They only take 20 minutes from start to finish, work great in a crockpot, and kids love them. They're perfect for party appetizers, too! Try these easy baked chicken meatballs in garlicky honey mustard for an easy dinner recipe tonight! They only take 20 minutes from start to finish, work great in a crockpot, and kids love them. They're perfect for party appetizers, too!

Try these easy baked chicken meatballs in garlicky honey mustard for an easy dinner recipe tonight! They only take 20 minutes from start to finish, work great in a crockpot, and kids love them. They're perfect for party appetizers, too!

Try these easy baked chicken meatballs tossed in a garlicky honey mustard sauce for an easy dinner recipe tonight!

Some of you may be familiar with the fact that I am on the constant hunt for foods that are:

  1. quick
  2. easy
  3. kid-approved

It’s pretty much my criteria for 99% of the meals I make! Occasionally I like stretching my professional cooking skillz a notch but with a husband who works long, irregular hours and two small kids at home, I’m usually just thankful to get dinner on the table at all.

I figure my life is currently in a season of busyness, and I can start cooking the complicated stuff later when my time isn’t so stretched! So with that, I bring you these fab baked chicken meatballs tossed in garlicky honey mustard. 

Try these easy baked chicken meatballs in garlicky honey mustard for an easy dinner recipe tonight! They only take 20 minutes from start to finish, work great in a crockpot, and kids love them. They're perfect for party appetizers, too!

These babies (as in, the baked chicken meatballs) fit every step of my criteria above.

My kids love them (once my son was past a year and could eat honey, obvs), the meatballs are baked instead of needing to be babysat in a saute pan, and the sauce is simple, tasty, and holds up like a rockstar in a crockpot.

Do you think there’s a coincidence in that a favorite bar-style comfort food is chicken tenders with honey mustard… and that’s also a staple kid menu item?

Like, does it say something about people drinking booze that they also love a faved kids food?

Probably. I know a few people who turn slightly infantile when they’re drinking. Maybe saying “slightly” is being a little generous!

Try these easy baked chicken meatballs in garlicky honey mustard for an easy dinner recipe tonight! They only take 20 minutes from start to finish, work great in a crockpot, and kids love them. They're perfect for party appetizers, too!

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: everyone freaking loves this dish. It’s perfect for parties (Christmas parties, Superbowl parties, tailgating!). It’s easy to break up the workload and make the chicken meatballs ahead of time, freeze them, and then defrost and make the sauce another night, saving you some time. And they’re banging in kid’s lunches.

As you can see from the photos, we prefer serving them over rice on the nights I make them for dinner.

The sauce isn’t ridiculously sweet, but it works well with starchy white long grain rice. Roast a side of broccoli florets with some olive oil and a little salt and pepper, and you’ve got a healthy and tasty dinner in under 20 minutes.

Perfect.

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Chicken Meatballs Dipped in Garlicky Mustard Sauce
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
For the meatballs:
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • cup creamy dijon mustard
  • 4-5 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
Make the meatballs:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.
  2. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Using a spoon or a small dough scooper, scoop the meatballs into balls about 2-3” around. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place the balls on the sheet, spacing evenly. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cooked through and browned underneath.
Make the sauce:
  1. While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. In a medium sized saucepan, whisk all the sauce ingredients together over medium heat until combined. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low. Cook, stirring often, about 10-12 minutes or until the sugars in the sauce brown, and the sauce is reduced enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon.
  2. When the meatballs have finished cooking, add them to the sauce and toss gently to coat.

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Caring for Your Cast Iron Pan

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

Pressure Cooker Potato Soup

39+ Kid-Approved After School Snack and Lunch Box Ideas

 

It isn’t always easy finding snacks and lunch box ideas that kids will eat, so I’ve rounded up some ideas from a couple of my fave food bloggers to help inspire you!

When my daughter (now 3) was a baby, she ate everything. It was great! I felt like the best mom ever, smugly feeding her all kinds of foods and saying things like, “Oh, it’s just what she’s used to!”

Now, with a mind of her own and a beautifully stubborn attitude to match, she would be thrilled to live on a diet of goldfish crackers and air. I’m hoping this is all a phase and just trying to go with the flow. In the meantime, though, I’m on a constant search for healthy-ish, tasty, quick and easy meals and snacks I can make for her that won’t wind up cast aside by her, ah, discerning palate.

Want to see more ideas for lunch box ideas and after school snacks?

Click to follow my Pinterest board, Baby and Kid Approved! It’s full of quick and simple kid-friendly meal ideas, and I add new stuff to it all the time.


On to the meal ideas!

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Nutella Pastries by Percolate Kitchen

With just five ingredients and 25 minutes, these flaky, sweet little Peanut Butter, Banana, and Nutella Pastries are the easiest dessert ever.

Apple Cookies by NaturBaker 

Kid-Approved Snack Ideas from The Messy Little Kitchen

20 Freezer Friendly Lunchbox Items from Kidgredients

Super Creamy Macaroni and Cheese from Percolate Kitchen

Pick-and-Choose Kid’s Packed Lunch Chart from Percolate Kitchen

Use these ideas to make your kid's packed lunch even faster! Pick one food item from each section. There's even space to add in your own favorites!

Chocolate Banana Cupcake Muffins from NaturBaker 


Annnnnd, in case you missed it, I just featured Back to School Lunch Week on the Percolate Kitchen Facebook Page!

You can find all my lunch related posts on Facebook, including recipe videos, Facebook Live, even a gif of me and peanut butter (really!)

You might also like:

Picky Eaters? Here are 13 Kid-Approved Recipes from Percolate Kitchen

17 Easy Sheet Pan Dinners for Busy Nights

5-Minute Blender Green Goddess Dressing

Sheet Pan Chimichurri Pork Chops

We’re keeping it simple again this week with another sheet pan recipe, this time with chimichurri slathered pork chops and roasted green beans!

I’m kind of obsessed with recipes that do double duty. If something can be repurposed or changed around, then it’s a total winner as far as I’m concerned! And that’s just what’s happening this week with this sheet pan recipe of chimichurri pork chops and roasted green beans.

Earlier in the summer, I shared this recipe for chimichurri sauce. It’s one of my favorites and, if you have a food processor, can be whipped up insanely fast!

I heart chimichurri sauce because it’s got a zingy, spicy, herby flavor and works so well on a million different ingredients.

Toss it with roasted carrots, marinade flank steak in it, brush it on chicken thighs on the grill. It’s versatile, flavorful, and you can make it as spicy as you wish.

Since we’re heading face first into fall, it’s time again to start busting out the trusty sheet pan recipes! They’re my go-to on busy nights; I still kind of can’t get over how easy they are. This chimichurri pork chop recipe is no different.

If you’ve got time, I recommend brining the pork chops for at least a few hours beforehand, overnight if possible.

I usually do a 2:1 water to salt ratio, and make sure to rinse the pork chops well afterward. Pork has a tendency to dry out, but brining keeps the chops moist and practically fool proof!

If you don’t have time to brine, however, no worries. Even if you leave the chops in the oven a bit longer than intended, the chimichurri sauce makes up for all kinds of ills!

I love serving these zingy chimichurri pork chops with green beans, since their fresh flavor holds up well to roasting, which brings out an innate nuttiness in the beans.

But again, the beauty of sheet pan dinners is their versatility.

If you can’t get your hands on green beans, lots of other veggies would work; diced potatoes, sliced zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, even carrots, if they’re sliced thin enough to roast at the same time as the pork.

Because that’s the only trick with sheet pan dinners, isn’t it? Everything needs to roast alongside together and be done at the same time. Make sure your vegetables are in that kind of sweet spot size; not too thick and not too thin. Whatever side you choose needs to be done in the same amount of time as the pork.

(Although… if you have to remove one item beforehand and then finish cooking the rest, no one will die. The world will keep turning. You have my permission to experiment when you like).

 

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Sheet Pan Chimichurri Pork Chops and Green Beans
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chimichurri sauce see recipe link in notes
  • 2 pounds boneless pork chops
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound trimmed green beans
Instructions
method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400*F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spoon the chimichurri sauce evenly over the pork chops and arrange on one end of the sheet pan, leaving an inch or so space between each chop.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the green beans with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add the green beans to the sheet pan at the opposite end of the chops, spreading out as much as possible without touching the chops.
  3. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 15-18 minutes, or until the green beans are cooked through and the chops register 165*F with a meat thermometer inserted at their thickest point.
  4. Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Recipe Notes

Click here for the chimichurri sauce recipe. Pork chops will cook up extra moist if they've had a chance to brine before cooking. At least 2 hours before cooking, mix together a ratio of 2 parts water or buttermilk to 1 part salt, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the pork chops to the brine and store in a large ziplock bag or a bowl covered in plastic wrap. Let sit for up to overnight or at least 2 hours. Make sure to rinse the pork chops thoroughly after they are removed from the brine.

Looking for a perfect marinade or sauce for your grill or bbq dish? This chimichurri sauce is full of fresh, herby flavors with a spicy kick!
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Chimichurri Sauce
This fresh, herby, zingy sauce is kicked up with a dash of spicy heat. It makes a great marinade or dipping sauce for your items on the grill! When you’re removing the stems from the herbs, don’t worry about some stems left on; just remove what you can. I grasp the bundle by the leaves and use scissors to cut them stems below; anything above that is fine to be blended in the food processor. You don’t need a food processor to make this sauce, but it does make a smoother sauce much more easily than just chopping by hand. This sauce will last about 1 week if covered tightly and kept chilled in the fridge.
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
ingredients
  • cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 bundle fresh cilantro , most of the stems removed and roughly chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ½ bundle fresh parsley , most of the stems removed and roughly chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 ounce fresh oregano , most of the stems removed and roughly chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 shallots , roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
equipment:
  • 3- QT or larger food processor , fitted with the S blade
Instructions
method
  1. Add all ingredients except for the olive oil to the food processor.
  2. Pulse 5 or 6 times, pausing in between to remove the lid and scrape the sides down, until all the ingredients are combined and starting to blend.
  3. Add the olive oil in 2 or 3 batches, pulsing in between additions. Scrape down the sides as necessary.
  4. To finish, blend on high until the sauce is smooth and blended.
Recipe Notes

Makes: about 2 cups