Italian Chicken Tortellini Soup

The weather is starting to change as we get in the full-swing of fall. While we may not like the lower temps, we can all agree that it’s great for soups! This was our first soup of the season, and boy was it a good one. The color was gorgeous and it made the whole house smell like a cozy cottage. We served it alongside cheese melted onto buttered Cottleston Italian bread and topped with a bit of garlic powder, perfect for dipping. You could easily swap in fresh spinach or chicken shredded from a store-bought rotisserie.

Italian Chicken Tortellini Soup


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups broth/water with bouillon
  • 2 raw chicken breasts
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste/concentrate
  • 5 oz spinach (half frozen brick)
  • 20 oz fresh refrigerated tortellini
  • ½ cup heavy cream


  1. Warm olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until soft. Add garlic and sauté for a few more minutes, until fragrant.
  2. Add broth/water with bouillon to deglaze and get brown bits off the bottom of pan. Add whole raw chicken breasts and seasonings. Bring to simmer.
  3. Cover. Simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken to a plate and shred with two forks. Return to pot.
  5. Add diced tomatoes, paste/concentrate, and spinach. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add tortellini and cook till done, according to package.
  7. Add heavy cream. Serve once heated through.

Zucchini and Sweet Corn Casserole

Corn casserole is a holiday dinner tradition in our family. My mom has been making it for years, originally from the Tripp, SD community cookbook. It’s easy to throw together, is deliciously cheesy, but has a bit of sweetness from the corn. This recipe is an adaptation from the original to include fresh zucchini and sweet corn, a late summer garden staple in our community. There seems to be a sweet corn farm stand on every corner, as well as an abundance of neighbors begging you to take some squash off their hands! The original recipe is at the bottom of the page, in case you are baking this side dish when sweet corn and zucchini are not easily available. I used a USA Pan that did not require greasing due to it’s unique silicone coating, but I would recommend rubbing your pan with butter if using one without non-stick properties.


Zucchini and Sweet Corn Casserole


  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 can cream style corn
  • 2 cups of sweet corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 8 oz package of Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400º. If not using a non-stick pan, grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
  2. Place shredded zucchini in a floursack towel or folded cheesecloth. Twist the cloth closed and squeeze as much water out of the zucchini as possible. You should end up with about 2 cups.
  3. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, except cheese.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.


Original Corn Casserole


  • 1 can cream style corn
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn, partially drained
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 8 oz package of Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400º. If not using a non-stick pan, grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, except cheese.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Eggplant Parmesan Bake

Nothing beats a meal showcasing fresh summer vegetables and lots of cheese! Try this eggplant parmesan bake for an interesting meat-free meal. I like to serve the bake with a side salad and spaghetti tossed in oil and balsamic vinegar. You can easily use canned sauce, homemade sauce, or a mix between the two, like this recipe does.


  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs (or regular crumbs with a tsp of Italian seasoning added)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 16 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil (more if needed)
  • 1/2 cup Italian cheese mix
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella (1/2 log)


  1. Peel and slice eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and layer into a colander, covering directly on top with plastic wrap. Place a heavy bowl or cans on top of plastic wrap. Let sit in sink for 45 minutes to pull out bitter liquid. Uncover and rinse with cold water.
  2. Preheat oven to 400º. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup bread crumbs with 1 tbsp parmesan cheese. In a separate bowl, crack egg and lightly whisk. One by one, dunk eggplant slices into egg, coat in bread crumb mixture, and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip slices, and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool.
  3. While eggplant is baking, add chopped tomatoes, minced onion, tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, chopped basil, chopped oregano, minced garlic, and cayenne pepper to a small sauce pan. Cook on medium-low until heated through, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add a little water or stock.
  4. When eggplant and sauce are ready, reduce oven heat to 350º. Pour olive oil into a small casserole dish and swish around until surface is covered. Put about a 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of the dish. Top with a single layer of eggplant slices. Cover with a sprinkle of each cheese (Italian cheese mix, fresh mozzarella, and remaining parmesan). Continue sauce-eggplant-cheese layering until it’s all used up. Sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Spanish Style Gazpacho

Prep Time:  30 Minutes

Cook time:  0 minutes!!

Chill Time:  Up to 6 hours
Total time:  Up to 6 hours, 30 minutes

Difficulty Level:  Easy
Serves: 4-6
Modified from this recipe on Epicurious




10 oz. of day old bread, crust removed
21 oz. of fresh summer tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
1 tsp Ellbee’s Original Garlic blend
1 medium sweet onion chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground Cumin
8 tablespoons of good Spanish Olive oil, extra virgin
2 tablespoons of good Spanish Sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons cold water, or more as needed


1 cucumber, peeled and finely diced, for garnish

Sour Cream, for garnish
Croutons (preferably homemade, optional) or crostini (grilled bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil)

Cracked Peppercorns


In a bowl, soak the bread in 1/2 – 1 cup of water for 10 min. Squeeze out, by hand, as much water as possible from the bread.

In a food processor (a Vitamix purees everything quickly and like a dream!) puree all the chopped vegetables.  Add the cumin, garlic, the soaked bread, sherry vinegar, olive oil and 2 Tbsp cold water. Puree in the food processor until the mixture is entirely pureed and smooth. Add more cold water if needed to get the right consistency; it should be slightly thick but should pour easily. Add salt to taste (start with 1-2 tsp).

Refrigerate at least 2 hours and re-taste for salt.

Serve chilled with garnish of chopped cucumber, cracked peppercorns, and/or croutons as desired.  You can also serve with crostini.

Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips

Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  10 minutes
Total time:  20 mins
Serves: 4 servings

1 pint strawberries, hulled and finely diced

2 kiwi, peeled and finely diced

1 Granny Smith apple – finely chopped
1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
Half of a small red onion, peeled and finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup finely-chopped fresh cilantro, loosely-packed
Juice of 2 limes, about 4 tablespoons
¼ tsp salt

1 tsp Golden Fig brand basil pepper

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 flour tortillas (10 inches in diameter)

PS – if you don’t want to make your own – there are pre-packed cinnamon-sugar chips (Stacy’s pita chips) that are also delicious, or you could use a variety of graham crackers for dipping.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Combine strawberries, kiwi, granny smith apple, jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro.  In a small bowl combine lime juice, salt and basil pepper – whisk to combine.  Pour over salsa and mix until combined.  Taste for seasoning – add additional salt and pepper, if needed.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  This can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. 

In a small bowl combine cinnamon and sugar.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Brush top of first tortilla with melted butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Cut with a pizza cutter in half, then each half into 4 segments; you should have 8 wedges from each tortilla.  Arrange wedges in a single layer on baking sheet.  Bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Repeat with any remaining chips.  Let chips cool before serving.  Serve with chilled fruit salsa.