Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Lately I've found a need to simplify life a bit.  Some of you know that I underwent emergency abdominal surgery right before Christmas.  I had been taking prescription Ibuprofen for a neck injury, and apparently for some people that's really bad stuff.  It blew a hole out in my intestine and I had to have surgery to repair it.  I was in the hospital for eight days and was lucky enough to be released on Christmas Eve.  It was a terrible time, but I survived.  I have had two C-sections, and the pain of a hole in your intestine is much worse.  I only took off three weeks from work, and I'm doing fine now.  I have an occasional muscle pain every now and then, but I'm a trooper.  I keep on going.

Anywho, no whining here.  But I have decided that I need to maybe not take on so much and do things a little easier. Cooking is one thing I really love, and I could spend all day in the kitchen.  But I have a family and a job and three dogs.  I have other things to do.  So I've been trying to make easier recipes that make everyone happy and taste great.  Like this Ham & Pea Tortellini.  This seriously took less than 30 minutes from start to fork in my bowl.  And it's so yummy! Cheese-filled tortellini gets kicked up with ham and peas and a creamy, cheesy, slightly spicy sauce.  I thought it made kind of a lot, but when I got home today almost all of the leftovers were gone.  Teenagers.  Oh, well.  At least I didn't have to pawn leftovers off on people at work, who, by the way, are always asking for my leftovers.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

One 20-ounce package cheese tortellini
1 small onion, chopped
3 T butter
1 C frozen peas
2 1/2 C diced cooked ham (see note)
2 C chicken stock
1 pint heavy cream
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
Black pepper, to taste
1 C shredded Pepper Jack cheese (or other white cheese)

NOTE:  I bought a Cook's ham steak and just cut it into cubes.  It didn't have a weight on it, but I estimated it to be 2 1/2 C.  You could use other leftover ham or chopped deli ham or even cooked, shredded chicken.

Melt the butter in a dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat.  Cook the onion in the butter until it's tender.  Add in the ham and cook for a couple of minutes to heat it through and slightly brown it.  Add in the heavy cream, peas, chicken stock, garlic powder to taste, and black pepper.  Stir in the tortellini.  Bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat and cover the pot.  Simmer the pot for about 20 minutes or so or until the tortellini is done and the sauce is reduced.  Remove it from the heat and stir in the cheese until it's melted.

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