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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: Tortellini Soup feeds a hungry husband

Thursday, January 25, 2001

Tested by Nancy Anderson

Today's recipe for hearty Tortellini Soup comes from Lynne Walsh of Rochester, Beaver County, who was one of our first ever contributors to Countdown to Dinner.

Her Ground Beef Stroganoff, which ran on Oct. 8, 1998, was the sixth recipe in this fledgling new feature.

Since then, she's become a Countdown fan because fast, simple and delicious are high on her list of "musts" at dinnertime.

"Being a working mom [she has a 4-year-old son and another child on the way], I especially value 'Countdown,' " she said, "and look forward to the Food section every week."

Tortellini Soup is on the menu about once a month at the Walsh house because husband Bryan, a cook at a restaurant near Rochester, loves the leftovers.

"This recipe makes a lot," she said, "And he'll eat it for days. It's great to go home from work and not have to cook."

Lynne commutes 30 miles each way to her Downtown office, where she's an appeals coordinator for Gateway Health Plan in Chatham Center.

Although she's an avid recipe collector who uses her computer to keep track of her stash, she isn't a slave to the printed word. "I sort of use a recipe as a base and take off from there," she said.

Today's savory, vitamin-rich soup is filling enough to stand on its own with just bread and butter, but Lynne adds sandwiches to the menu "if we're really hungry."

Tortellini Soup

1 48-ounce can fat-free chicken broth
1 package frozen cheese tortellini
1 large can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning, undrained (we used 2 14.5-ounce cans)
1 package frozen chopped spinach
1 small onion, chopped
Chopped garlic to taste

Saute onion in a Pam-type cooking spray until translucent. Add garlic (we used 3 teaspoons of jarred) at last minute. Add chicken broth (we used regular, not fat-free) and tomatoes and bring to boil. Add tortellini and spinach and cook until warmed through. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Serves 6 to 8.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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