cheesy chicken and spinach tortellini

I have a confession.  We’re all into full disclosure here, aren’t we?!?! Ok, great. I used to (pre-kids) have some pretty strong opinions about people who didn’t make things from scratch or who fed their kids take out the majority of their meals.   Didn’t they watch those food documentaries about who terrible fast food is or how we need to juice our entire savings account worth of money into 1 glass of juice?  Come on, don’t these people even care about their health, at all?  Sometimes I forget that just because food is my ‘thing,’ it isn’t other people’s ‘thing.’  Or, just because eating a certain way is my ‘thing,’ doesn’t mean it’s another persons ‘thing.’  We all have our ‘things.’ Oh, and continuing in full disclosure, I still have opinions on all of this, but, they’re far less critical.  Funny how kids, especially picky eaters, can help you see a different side of the things. Read on.

cheesy chicken and spinach tortellini

Since I joined my moms group last fall, I have been enlightened to the way that a typical family eats.  I hear stories and read articles about who the average American family eats, but rarely have I actually met people who seem to fit the mold of who these stories and articles are talking about.  But when you’re in a room with 50 other moms, you’re bound to get a decent variety.  Some moms are totally ok letting their young kids sip diet soda.  Some moms would rather jump in front of a moving train than allow their kids to have just 1 bite of sugar, or flour, or a Cheerio.  Here’s the common denominator with all of these moms and their families: they are all trying to do what they think is best.  They are.  Regardless of whether or not I think what they’re doing is good or not, for them, for their family, it’s what works.

cheesy chicken and spinach tortellini

At the end of the day, some moms and families need a little sanity more than they need a perfectly balanced, made from scratch meal.  Which means chicken nuggets and french fries for dinner.  No, not even a side of fruit.  Give us the dang french fries and just call it a day.  Some days we’re exhausted, we have no more fight left in us to sit down to dinner and beg, yet again, for our kids to pleeeeeeease just eat the stupid carrot and blueberry I put on your  plate.  You happily ate it last night, why do you act like it’s covered in dried worms and dog poop tonight?

All of this being said, in my moms group, I’ve come to find out a lot of them eat out because they simply have no clue how to cook.  By the time dinner rolls around the last thing they want to do is burn dinner.  It’s a waste of time and money.  So they’ve resided to just eating out most of the time.  There are a few moms who have come to me for seeking easy recipes because they desire to not burn water, they just don’t know how.  One of my ‘water burning’ mom friends has made my Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken like 18 times. It’s even become her ‘go to’ meal whenever they have people over for dinner.  Which, 6 months ago, if she had people over for dinner they ordered take out.  She actually cooks for people now and it doesn’t suck.  I’m so proud.  Per her request, I’m trying to add more recipes to my blog that are easy.  More recipes for busy moms who don’t know their way around the kitchen.  I’ve found this usually involves casseroles, canned foods, and many things that I just don’t usually cook or use.  But, you spoke and I’m listening.  Here you go, a delicious tortellini dish filled with protein and veggies.  Will your kids eat it?  I have no idea.   My 3 year old induces a dry heaving reflex if I even say the word tortellini.  Meanwhile, the 1 year old’s would love to bathe in it. So, try it out on your family and see what their response is.

cheesy chicken and spinach tortellini

 

Here are a few more recipes that are easy crowd pleasers:

BBQ Beer Chicken, in the Crockpot

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

Homemade Hamburger Helper 

Pumpkin and Spinach Macaroni and Cheese

 

***Don’t forget to enter my $75 gift card giveaway!***

Giveaway ends on February 21.

 

Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Tortellini

Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Tortellini

Ingredients

  • 12 ounce bag dried tortellini (I buy a bag at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 cups cooked and chopped chicken (just chop up some leftover chicken)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (chopped fresh garlic works too, use 2 cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 packages (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • salt to taste

Instructions

Cook the tortellini according to package directions.

In a large pan combine milk and butter. Bring to a low boil then stir in the cubed cream cheese. Cook and stir until smooth. Stir in the spices, chopped chicken, thawed (and drained) spinach. Simmer while the tortellini finishes cooking.

Drain tortellini then dump into the cheese sauce pan. Stir with a wooden spoon.

Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

*At this point you can cover it and put it in the refrigerator and bake it later (within 2 days).

Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 350° for 15 minutes (or 25 minutes if you chilled it in the fridge prior). Remove the tin foil and bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted. Serves 12.

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