Tortellini Twist

As I’ve mentioned before, my fiancé and I have tortellini once a week, almost every week. We originally started the tradition because of the Wednesday night radio show that he did, which required a quick dinner. There’s no more show these days, so we have some more free time in the kitchen, but there are plenty of times we just want something quick and easy. Sometimes if we have leftovers (like this yummy pumpkin turkey chili), I’ll throw it on top instead of sauce just to snazz it up.

After using up most of the Philadelphia Creme, I still had a little bit left. So, I decided to make our usual tortellini with a southwestern/santa fe twist. When I realized I still had enough left to make another meal with it, it immediately made me think of the story of Strega Nona and her magical pasta pot that was never ending. This was one of my favorite books in elementary school, and I remember making my parents read it to me all the time – my dad was always so animated when reading it, too. It was a Caldecott Honor book!

At any rate, it was a nice twist on something different. Even though our meals are planned a week in advance (so I can grocery shop accordingly), and I was planning on pairing the tortellini (or as we call it on our house, torts) with regular tomato sauce, there’s always a little wiggle room with the menu. Plus, since my 10 mile run on Sunday was successful(ish), I’m all about the carbo-loading this week for the half marathon this coming Sunday! I have a feeling I’m going to wind up clocking about the same time, give or take, for this half as well. Which, considering the lack of training I’ve been afforded, I can’t complain! I’m just hoping I’ll eventually be back to feeling 100% so I can actually get a new PR!

Santa Fe Tortellini
– Serves 2 –

3  cups of uncooked tortellini (I used Barilla’s ricotta & spinach style)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 medium green pepper, sliced
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 cup chunky salsa
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup Santa Fe style Philadelphia Cooking Creme

1. Cook tortellini according to package (bring water to a rolling boil, cook for 11 minutes until tenter)
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet, and add onion and pepper, sautéing for  about 5 minutes over medium heat until it begins to soften.
4. Add chili powder and salsa, cooking an additional 2 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, and add in  cooking creme and shredded cheese, making sure to combine well. Top with additional shredded cheese.

Our Wednesday Routine: Barilla Tortellini

This might sound ridiculous, by every Wednesday for at least the past six months, my fiance and I have dined on Barilla tortellini without fail. Sure, lot’s of families have different themed dinner nights; maybe Thursday is taco night and Friday is pizza. But I’ve never heard of say “Eggplant Pizza Friday,” something so specific as to the exact flavoring. But my fiancé and I have taken it that far. So, each and every Wednesday night we have the spinach & ricotta stuffed tortellini, smothered in red sauce and doused in red pepper flakes, with a salad. Every once in awhile, we throw in some garlic bread.

They are actually really filling too. The bag says they serve 2 people, and that’s definitely more than enough with a side salad. They offer 4 serving bags as well, but we stick with the 2 servings instead. And, they’re always on sale; we get 2 bags for only $5! They aren’t “bad” for you, but it is pasta stuffed with cheese. So, it probably won’t be the healthiest meal you eat all week (or, it might be). I took a nutrition class in college, and the professor said that if the food is cheap, 99% of the time it’s poor quality and isn’t good for you. I mean, sure, the 99 cents you pay for mac ‘n cheese in a box isn’t exactly a healthy meal. But sometimes you just want that quick, easy, comfort. And if you’re pairing it with veggies and plan to do some type of exercise, who cares?! A cheap indulgence should be allowed from time to time!

I’ve often been the type of person that craves the same type of food for a brief period. I’ll go through a sushi phase where that’s all I want. Or maybe a cheeseburger phase. But every Wednesday, I look forward to my tortellini. The reasoning might be twofold; not only are they delicious, they’re super easy. All I need to do is boil a pot of water, dump the tortellini’s in, and let them cook for 10 minutes. Then, I can heat up some sauce, throw together a salad, and dinner is ready!

Because my fiancé does his weekly radio show on Wednesday nights at 90.3 The Core (you should listen – head over to from 9-10p Eastern), we need something quick and easy by the time we get home from work. We stumbled upon these guys one day in the pasta aisle, and it’s been love ever since.

The possibilities for these tortellinis are endless. Add it to some broth and throw in some veggies you’ve got yourself a tortellini soup. Sauté some veggies and throw them in, you have yourself a tortellini primavera! You can always use this as a side versus a meal too, and pair it with pretty much anything. Not interested in a red sauce? What about pesto? Or alfredo? Or maybe a cool pasta salad? Do you see where I’m going with this? These things RULE!

There are definitely other brands of tortellinis available too (such as Bertoli and Buitoni). However, both the fiancé and I have concluded after trying a few different variations, the Barilla Spinach & Ricotta is the best. We even tried the Barilla Four Cheese and weren’t impressed. But, I’d suggest trying some different varieties to find what you like!

Next time you’re in the pasta aisle and are looking for some quick and easy meal options, check out Barilla’s tortellinis, I think you’ll be glad you did!