Tortellini and Shredded Beef in Broth with Vegetables


The famous Italian dishTortellini en brodo, is a beautiful, well-known holiday pasta and broth soup upon which my simplified, shredded-beef American version is based.  I truly didn’t have this dish in mind, I just happened to have a pot roast, a bunch of tortellini, and a desire for something besides the things I usually make with pot roast on a cold snowy day: pot roast and vegetables,  beef-vegetable soup, beef-barley soup, beef burgundy, and so on.


If you’d like to make the real Tortellini en brodo, visit a blog that has the directions in English; many are in Italian!  Here’s a good home-made blogger’s  version  (Stefan’s Gourmet Blog) that is totally from scratch, including the meat filling for the tortellini, and looks luscious.  If you’d rather have a little video action and a Mario Batali recipe, here’s that link.  The simplest shortcut recipe is here.  In other words, you’re not cooking meat for broth, bones for stock, or making homemade pasta and filling in my soup, but you are cooking a pot roast!  And while my ingredients’ list isn’t short, the method is simple and gives you time for other things.  

Because while writing the recipe, I realized it sounds long and ponderous, you can read — and cook from, if you like — the basic method, or the short version:

Brown a well-seasoned pot roast with carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and fennel and cook until tender — 2 – 2 1/2 hours — in wine, tomatoes, and broth (a little more than 3 quarts liquid) with bay leaf, dried oregano, and basil. Shred the beef, chop or puree the cooked vegetables, and cook the pasta and peas in the broth while you do that.  Stir it all together, add a small handful of fresh basil and garnish in bowls with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

While the beef cooks, a couple of hours, you have time to work on a project, read a good book, watch a movie, or have coffee with a friend.  If you’d like to cook this in the slow cooker, I think you would have some success, though I haven’t tried it.  A  link for similar recipe made in a slow cooker (tortellini is added the last twenty minutes) is here.  Buon appetite! Continue reading

Baby Kale and Kluski Noodles with Chicken


When you google Chicken and Noodles, there are over 23 million results.  Anyone who cooks and isn’t a vegetarian has probably made some variation on the Chicken and Noodles theme, such as this one from a couple of years ago on this very blog:

How quickly can you say Chicken and Noodles?

Chicken and Noodles FAST or How I Got my Snow Day (click for recipe)

I will promise you that not every pot of chicken and noodles is created equally, despite the therapeutic advantages of most of them.   I could say more, but perhaps you yourself remember tasteless or greasy noodle messes you were forced to endure somewhere.  These deconstructed chicken and noodles — as it were –aren’t either of those things.  Neither are they the typical chicken and noodles all together in a big pot and ladled into deep bowls to warm you up or chase away a cold. (Though this might do both anyway.)  This meal is perhaps simpler, but is definitely just as satisfying and has the added bonus of several cups of fresh baby kale. Is it faster than a pot of chicken and noodles?  It’s probably faster than most of them, but not as fast as my Chicken and Noodles Fast! (above) Continue reading

Mom’s Turtle Cheesecake for a Special Son’s Birthday


Welcome to the new More Time at the Table on WordPress.  Just moved from blogger and will post in both places for a while, but not for long.  Change your favorites and links.  Do Follow me here on WordPress!!  Please be patient while I work out the kinks on the posts that need help after the move. Great thanks to my beautiful daughter, Emily Morgan, who managed the migration.  Great to have smart kids!!  Follow Emily at FIGHT THE BEES.


80eee-img_4348When your children are growing up, if you’re a baker (and sometimes even if you’re not), you bake a cake for their birthdays.  I wonder if that’s still true?  Most of the time my kids’ parties were simple affairs—celebratory and fun, to be sure–but sort of cake and ice cream parties for a bunch of their buddies or maybe even just the family and neighbors.

(below:  Sean, a marvelous cook, making his world-renowned pizza–one of my frequent requests.  He’s also a fine brewer.  Nice combination, huh?)



As they grew, and our budget expanded, we might have extended the celebration a bit to include supper out (pizza) or to have a sleepover with pizza ordered in.  But the cake remained.  Mom made the cake.  And it wasn’t always a cake, per se.

Sometimes there was a request for pie, cupcakes,  or even for lemon bars.  My famous brownies came up on the list.  Actually, they still do.  At one time, I taught myself to decorate cakes; I couldn’t afford the class.  My cakes always tasted better than they were decorated, but at least I could get someone’s name written and a border piped.  I did learn — somewhat — to draw on cakes and that’s incredible since I can’t draw at all. A carrot that looks like a carrot still appears on my carrot cake.  Leaves show up come fall and so on.  And my friends all know I’m good for a birthday sweet if they only say the word or tell me what they want.  I just like to have an excuse to bake.

(right, above and below:  Sean, the dog whisperer)


Continue reading

Green Chile Beef with Cheddar Mashed Potatoes


Thanks for visiting the new More Time at the Table, now hosted by WordPress.  This blog has for nearly five years been hosted by Blogger (  I will continue to post at that url as well as this one for a while, but not for long!  Change your bookmarks, favorites,  and links, and follow me here!  Many thanks to smart-kid daughter, Emily Morgan (follow her at for managing the transition and migration.


Over the holidays, and since, we’ve been making big pots of soup when we weren’t finishing off the leftovers.  Colds, strep throat, and the need for lighter fare after all the heavy meals were the instigators, but the weather contributed…  Today, the sun came out to melt the snow–


and it was time for something else:  real cooking in the oven maybe?  Two big pot roasts called my name at the store the other day, and one of them simply jumped into the Dutch oven cut up with a big bunch of cooked green chiles and onions.  Sounded incredibly homey–a beef and green chile braise kept coming to mind (rather than chili, per se)–but I also decided to whip up a pot of cheddar mashed potatoes to keep it company.  A side of barely tender green beans, stirred up with just the teensiest bit of butter rounded out the meal.


Dave’s on the road (he’ll have his share Friday night), but Sean and I each had a lovely bowl of this goodness and, when we did, we happened to look out the big, low window in the sun room that’s becoming my dining room only to meet eyes with a  great big, muscular bobcat (lynx.)  Living in Colorado has its beautiful moments.  And other things.  The dogs said zip. Scaredy cats. Which was good; they were staying inside. Continue reading

Chicken-Wild Rice Soup with Butternut Squash and Pecans


Weren’t you just waiting for soup with alcohol? A bit of sherry stirred in at the end makes this soup even better.

Welcome to the new More Time at the Table on!  This blog has been hosted by Blogger for the past four-plus years and will be published at both urls until all the kinks are worked out of the transition process.  Do change your bookmarks or links, please, and follow me here on Word Press! Great thanks to my gorgeous daughter Emily who managed the migration.  So cool to have smart kids!

In January it’s so nice
While slippin’ on the slidin’ ice
To sip hot chicken soup with rice
Sippin’ once, sippin’ twice
Sippin’ chicken soup with rice..

Book-Nutshell Lib

Lyrics (original text) by Maurice Sendak.  Music by Carole King, Really Rosie. (Click here to listen.)  First published in the book Chicken Soup with Rice, part of the Nutshell Library.

As a student in library school, I once was in charge of a weekend seminar about famed children’s author, Maurice Sendak.  I had to plan the event from soup to nuts, including speeches, lunches, lodging, etc.  I also had to invite the man himself.  I was flabbergasted when he accepted.  I was near collapse when his assistant called a few days ahead, and citing illness, informed me the author would need to miss this particular conference.  Hundreds of people from miles around were nearly on their way.  Crushing…  But, still–the weekend went on as planned….though we certainly missed the main attraction.  No great matter in the long run, though, I never lost my deep and sincere admiration for this talented, innovative author, nor my love for his sweet lyrics about one of my favorite soups ever, Chicken Soup with Rice!  All of my children heard and read the Sendak books (Remember Where the Wild Things Are?) and we kept the REALLY ROSIE book around until…well, actually I still have it. Continue reading

Ina Fridays – Soups, Salads, and Sides – Winter Minestrone and Garlic Bruschetta


Welcome to the new More Time at the Table on!  This blog has been hosted by Blogger for the past four-plus years and will be published at both urls until all the kinks are worked out of the transition process.  Do change your bookmarks or links, please, and follow me here on Word Press! Great thanks to my gorgeous daughter Emily  (below in red sweater) who managed the migration.  So cool to have smart kids!


Once a month, I blog an Ina Garten recipe with a great bunch of food blogger friends…

A fast, hearty, healthy, rich, and inexpensive main course is what this soup is all about. A little pancetta to set the stage for the quickly sautéed vegetables bolstered by a heart-happy hit of garlic.  A big blustery can of Italian tomatoes added to chicken stock to create instant broth.  Pasta and beans to fill your tummy.  A few fresh leaves of spinach and a splash each of white wine and pesto to top it all off and make it so.

Books-Ina Garten Foolproof1

Winter Minestrone & Garlic Bruschetta (click link for recipe) comes out of Ina Garten’s most recent and seventh book,  BAREFOOT CONTESSAFoolproof — Recipes You Can Trust, published in 2012 by Clarkson Potter.  Quentin Bacon did the stellar photographs.  That’s right; this is a coffee table book even if you plan to cook from it.  You can dream with this gorgeous tome while you sip a cup of tea early in the morning.  Put it on the bedside table and then discuss menus with your partner over a glass of white wine at 11 p.m. Or drag it along to the JW Marriott in Denver’s Cherry Creek (my local escape) like I did.  One of my favorite things about this book is the way the paper feels and the quintessential new-book aroma wafting upwards each time it’s opened.  I am a book, a real book, fanatic.  (I did make my living as a librarian, as well as a choral director.  I even taught English a few years.)  It’s not that I don’t read on the iPad — or even on Dave’s Kindle — I do.  But I’m enamored of the senses provoked by books I can see, smell, hold, feel, touch, and even shelve.  There. Continue reading