School is almost over. In 15 more days, I will have successfully completed the requirements (I hope) to graduate this program, sit for the NCLEX and become a Registered Nurse. We are soooooo close. I can feel it. I can taste it. I can see it. Over the past few weeks, my classmates and I have been stumbling around, exhausted, overworked and stressed to the max. Now, this is changing a little. We smile a little bit more. We look at each other with the fondness that you feel for people with whom you realize your time is short. Our time is short, both with each other and in our busy days.
Because of this, I've been trying to cook things that are easy and self-contained. I'm a fan of the casserole. The one pot meal. The one bowl brownies. If it can be scooped onto my plate and eaten together, I'm a fan. Who wants to fuss with side dishes?
I made this meal a long time ago (read: before my full time nursing school journey), and I remembered it being delicious. My memory was correct. :o)
You can be a little creative with this, and could probably use any kind of pasta and veggies. I added a green pepper to the recipe in the cookbook, but you could probably take out the peppers and do cauliflower or mushrooms or anything that rows your boat. I used the Perdue Short-Cuts for the chicken, since they are easy and ready to go out of the box. It's also a good make ahead dish: I made this in the afternoon when I got home early and we baked and ate it about 3 hours later. It would probably keep overnight, but increase the baking time by 15 minutes and let it sit out to warm up while your oven preheats.
Santa Fe Chicken Tortellini
(adapted from my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook: New Edition)
9 oz cheese tortellini
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups broccoli flowerets
1 small white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Colby cheese
3/4 cup your favorite salsa
Preheat the oven to 325 and spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Cook the tortellini in boiling water for 5 minutes, or until they float. Drain and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Cook the broccoli, peppers and onions 3-5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Remove the veggies and set aside; turn your heat down to low. Back in your same skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 3 tablespoons flour; stirring constantly, cook until smooth. Add the milk, broth and cumin, stirring constantly. Heat to boiling and remove from heat. Stir in the Monterey cheese and half the Colby cheese. Mix together the cheese mixture, tortellini, veggie mixture and chicken. Spoon into your prepared baking dish; top with remaining cheese and salsa. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.