Apparently I have a number of repressed food-related memories. For instance, I have no recollection of what I ate during the four years I spent in college. I have one vague memory of burning a pot of Mahatma yellow rice from one of those foil packets and setting off the smoke detector in one of my apartments. I also sort of remember using the waffle iron in the dining hall to make a waffle ice cream sandwich for breakfast. Maybe every single day (but who can remember?). And there were maybe some Pokey Stix from Gumby’s Pizza but I only remember those making me sick.
I have also apparently glossed over in my mind an entire period of our lives during which we lived off of tortellini. As I was making tonight’s dinner, I had some kind of body memory of pulling down a box of dried DaVinci tortellini from the cabinet in an apartment we lived in a few years ago, probably when I was in grad school. I’m putting the pieces together – I now know that we ate chili, chimichangas, cheesy rice casserole, and tortellini for the two years I spent in graduate school. Oh wait, another one’s coming to me… Those Voila frozen dinners. Can’t forget those. They’re amazing because, despite the careful flavor selection you make, standing in the freezer section, overwhelmed by your options, they all end up tasting like water.
Anyway, this was a little more substantial and interesting and – dare I say? – sophisticated than the dump store brand jarred pasta sauce over cooked tortellini and call it dinner three nights in a row method I used to employ.
This was another recipe that my mom sent me. We’re two for two on these, with both the quinoa burritos and the tortellini soup being winners. I have to say, though, Matt was a little disappointed when he realized that I wasn’t just mispronouncing tortilla soup when I told him what we were having for dinner. The final product didn’t disappoint, and the whole thing ended up tasting really rich and pretty amazing for something so simple. You really just bring some vegetable broth and water to a boil, throw in some tortellini, simmer, add chopped vegetables (carrots and celery), simmer more, add some tomatoes (I used a can of diced tomatoes with their juices and I think it added more dimension to the broth), and add some spinach. I threw some goat cheese on at the end and stirred it in to thicken things up. And to be delicious.
A word about vegetable broth: my favorite grocery store splurge (besides soy cream) is Imagine brand No-Chicken Broth. At Dillon’s, it costs $3.99 for 32 ounces, which would not be in my price range if it wasn’t so delightful. Most vegetable broths are a little too in your face, flavor-wise, for my liking. This vegetarian version of chicken broth, however, is mild and subtle and pretty amazing. I try to stock up when it goes on sale, but that’s kind of rare, so I’m looking for alternatives. I’ve seen no-chicken broth base at the natural foods store, but it’s a little pricey as well (though cheaper in the long run), so I’m kind of afraid to try it and be stuck with a whole bottle. Any ideas? I’m trying to stretch the grocery budget these days, so maybe making my own vegetable stock would be the best way? But how would I get the lovely flavor without making it too bold?
I have so many questions.
Okay, I have to leave the room now. Apparently my being in here is causing some kind of phenomenon that leads already too long NBA games to go on for about a million years and forever prevent me from watching my stories on the DVR.