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All the cold weather here in Atlanta makes me long for comfort food, but you can only eat so much pot roast and chili although we have had some great Southwestern Black Bean Chili.  To the rescue is this delicious pasta casserole with garden vegetables and chicken. I love the sauce made with chicken broth, oregano, flour and other spices.  Of course, you know I love sauces.  I also like using low-fat cream cheese without affecting the taste or texture.  This dish is so colorful with the cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas. See below for difference between sugar snap peas and snow peas. If you don’t like these particular vegetables use ones you do like.  I think this recipe is a good starting place for lots of variations of vegetables and even different filled Tortellini’s.   What would you and your family like?  Leave me a comment I would love to see what combinations you come up with.  Let’s eat our veggies!!!

Items for Casserole with Chopped Vegetables

Items for  casserole with chopped vegetables

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Cook chicken and mushrooms in skillet with butter

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Cook tortellini in boiling salted water according to package directions. Tidbit Tip: Don’t add salt to water till the water boils.  Adding it sooner will cause pits in your pots.

 

Add Carrots to cooking tortellini last 5 minutes of cooking time (forgot to take picture); add sugar snap peas during last 1 minute of cooking time

Add carrots to cooking tortellini last 5 minutes of cooking time (forgot to take picture); add sugar snap peas during last 1 minute of cooking time

Chicken broth with ingredients added to skillet after removing chicken

Remove chicken from skillet and add chicken broth with ingredients to skillet along with milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly

Add Cream Cheese- Stir in Well

Add cream cheese and Stir in Well

Toss to coat pasta mixture (pasta with sugar snap peas and carrots)

Add the pasta mixture (tortellini, carrots and sugar snap peas) to the sauce and stir to coat

Add Chicken and mushrooms, chopped pepper and halved cherry tomatoes; stir to coat with sauce.

Add chicken and mushrooms, chopped pepper and halved cherry tomatoes; stir to coat with sauce.

Pour into 13 X 9 baking pan sprayed with cooking spray

Pour into 13 X 9 baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.  

"The Best I Ever Made"

“The Best I Ever Made”

Snow Peas and Sugar Snap Peas–Prepare to be confused till you are not-confused!!! 

There are generally 3 types of green peas.  The one we know best is the Garden Pea, probably one of the first things you ate as a child.  Then the Snow Pea, used in Chinese food and the Sugar Snap Pea which is a combination of both developed by Calvin Lamborn in 1979.  

Garden Peas – the ones of “eat your peas and carrots”.  Their pods are rounded and full of large peas.  Their pods are not edible; must be shelled and then the peas can be eaten raw or cooked.

Snow Peas – Chinese Peas —Their pods are edible and are flat, wide,  flexible and bend easily.  They are not shelled, they are eaten whole, raw or cooked. The peas are very small and appear as tiny bumps that can be seen through the thin skin.  They are most often used in Chinese stir-fry dishes.

Sugar Snap Peas – the combination of Garden Peas and Snow Peas –Their pods are edible; they do not need to be shelled but can be.  The peas are large and sweet and can be eaten raw or cooked.  Their shape is similar to a traditional garden pea pod fat and rounded.

The bottom line is you can use either Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas in this recipe.  I prefer Sugar Snap Peas, but hey you may want roasted broccoli now that sound good!

Tortellini and Garden Vegetable Bake with Chicken
Serves 12
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Ingredients
  1. 10 ounces dried cheese-filled tortellini or two 9-ounce packages refrigerated tortellini
  2. 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  3. 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, halved crosswise
  4. 1 tablespoon margarine or butter
  5. 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  6. 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (2 cups if making vegetarian)
  7. 1/3 cup chicken broth (vegetable broth if making vegetarian)
  8. 2 tablespoons snipped fresh oregano or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
  9. 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  10. 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  12. 1 cup milk ( I used 2%)
  13. 1 8 ounce package cream cheese or light cream cheese
  14. 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  15. 1 small red or green sweet pepper, coarsely chopped
  16. 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook tortellini in boiling salted water according to package directions, adding the carrot during the last 5 minutes of cooking and the sugar snap peas during the last 1 minute of cooking; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat margarine or butter in a skillet. Add chicken and mushrooms (if making vegetarian increase mushrooms to 2 cups) and cook about 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from skillet.
  3. Shake together chicken broth, oregano, flour, garlic salt, and pepper in a screw-top jar until smooth.
  4. You can do this in a bowl with a whisk instead of the jar. Be sure to mix well.
  5. Add to to skillet along with milk.
  6. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; add cream cheese. Cook and stir until cream cheese is smooth. Remove from heat
  7. Add pasta mixture, chicken mixture, tomatoes and chopped sweet pepper.
  8. Toss to coat.
  9. Turn into 13 X 9 X 2-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray or shallow 3 quart casserole.
  10. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degrees F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through.
  11. Stir mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.
Notes
  1. This is a great recipe for a covered dish meal.
  2. Make it Vegetarian by leaving out the chicken, increasing the mushrooms to 2 cups and using vegetable broth.
  3. It also freezes well. Make sure to use a freezer safe dish and cool completely before freezing.
  4. Double the recipe so you will have one for the freezer or one for a "Gift from your Kitchen" to bless another family. Enjoy!!!
Adapted from Better Homes and Garden
Adapted from Better Homes and Garden
Tidbits of Joy http://tidbitsofjoy.com/

 

 

 

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