Easy Tortellini Soup Recipe


I was hungry, but I didn’t feel like cooking or getting take out. Actually, after all the recent traveling, I simply didn’t have a lot of ingredients in the house to make much of anything. So, cooking just meant an extra stop for groceries. After working at the 9-to-5, teaching dance fitness, and doing a toning class, I was ready to eat and sleep. It was about 8:30pm when I decided to stop at Trader Joe’s on the way home since they generally have some good ready-to-eat options. I was thinking a frozen dinner may be in my near future.

As I entered the store, though, I decided to stop by the prepared foods section (near the produce) when something caught my eye – fresh tortellini. The weather was nasty outside. A storm had rolled in while I was teaching dance class with a flash of lightening that was so bright it made me jump. Immediately after that, half the lights in the building went out causing me to worry we were about to lose power and end class early. Luckily, the power held, but the rainy weather was making me think of cozy comfort food in the form of soup. Good bye frozen dinner. Hello, Easy Tortellini Soup recipe. If only I knew how easy and tasty this would be, I would have made this sooner!

Easy Tortellini Soup Recipe

Easy Tortellini Soup Recipe

With the package of tortellini tucked away in my shopping basket, I moved down to the produce section. I found pretty much everything else I needed to make the easiest soup I’ve ever concocted there. I first found a package of mirepoix, which is my favorite soup base. This option contained onions, carrots, and celery all chopped fine. I also snagged a bag of washed and chopped kale and fresh English peas. Sure, I could have just put the mirepoix and pasta in this Easy Tortellini Soup recipe, but I wanted to amp up the health-factor with more vegetables. With all the pre-prepped ingredients, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Easy Tortellini Soup Recipe

I was starting to get excited about dinner. I was going to have a tasty soup that required very little effort. No cutting board, no knife, no excess dishes to wash. And I only needed one pot and a big spoon to stir it all together.

Easy Tortellini Soup Recipe

Not only was the tortellini soup pretty much the easiest soup recipe I’ve ever done, it was also ready so quickly! When you’re cooking at the end of the day, you want something fast and simple, and I had the perfect solution simmering away on my stove. The added bonus was that it made enough for hubby to have some and for me to pack away several servings to freeze for future, even faster dinners. Woohoo!

Easy Tortellini Soup Recipe

Easy Tortellini Soup Recipe
Cook time
Total time
I also like to call this “Lazy Gal’s Quick Tortellini Soup”. Thanks to Trader Joe’s you can have this soup ready in 30 minutes without having to break out a cutting board or break a sweat. There are so many great, pre-prepped veggies at TJ’s, I was able to amp up the health factor by adding lots of greenery. I’ve also included notes for how to replicate some of the ingredients if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby or if you just feel like making things fully from scratch.
*Vegetarian if you use vegetarian tortellini*
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 14.5-ounce container Trader Joe’s Mirepoix (or sub 1 small onion, 2-3 stalks of celery, and 2 large carrots, chopped small)
  • 1 32-ounce container vegetable broth (or sub broth of choice)
  • 2 cups of water, plus more as/if needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or sub 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped fine)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more as needed to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 package tortellini of choice (I used cheese)
  • 4 cups chopped kale (I used about half a bag of ready-to-use tuscan kale from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s fresh English peas (or sub 2 cups frozen peas)
  • fresh or dried parsley, optional for garnish
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil. When the oil is heated, add the mirepoix and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in broth, water, bay leaf, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in tortellini and kale and cook following the cook time on the tortellini package.
  4. Stir in peas and cook for 90 seconds, or until they’re cooked and heated through. Taste test and add salt and/or pepper, as needed.
  5. Serve in bowls and garnish with parsley, if using. Serve with whole grain toast or crackers.
Note 1: switching the tortellini flavor can change the flavor profile of this whole soup. Experiment and see which one you like best!

Note 2: This recipe should make roughly 6-8 servings. If you have leftovers, place them into individual storage containers and freeze them for an even easier, even faster dinner for another busy weeknight.

I hope you enjoy this Easy Tortellini Soup Recipe. Thanks for stopping by!

I’m always on the lookout for an easy and fast weeknight dinner. What do you usually make after a long day? I think I’ve asked about this before, but you guys always have new tips up your sleeves!

Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond


Here’s a new Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond (Oil-Free and Only 6 Ingredients). Since I started making granola without oil, I haven’t felt strongly compelled to start adding the oil back in. Why bother when it’s not needed, right? This recipe gives you the flavor and crunch of a great granola using fruit instead. This recipe makes for a wonderful breakfast or snack you can keep in your pantry or office desk.

I made a batch of this healthy granola recipe on a Sunday thinking I may have it for a day or two of the coming week. But, this stuff was so good, I found myself craving it. I had it for both breakfasts and snacks. It was good straight up, but I especially liked it over yogurt. It didn’t take long at all before I made my way through the whole batch. I’m not even sure it lasted a whole week.

Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond (Oil-Free and Only 6 Ingredients) #recipe #granola #healthy

This healthy granola recipe is made with maple syrup, cinnamon, dates, and almonds. Did I mention it’s not only oil-free but uses just 6 ingredients? It’s tasty, easy, and won’t be a pain to shop for at the grocery store.

Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond (Oil-Free and Only 6 Ingredients)

Though it’s not the fastest in bake time, spending some time upfront will save you lots of time later in the week when you can enjoy this no-cook breakfast. The portability was a big saver for me, too. I took about half of it with me to the office and kept in my desk drawer. On the days I didn’t eat before work, I knew I could easily bring a yogurt with me and crack open that jar of yummy granola waiting for me.

Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond (Oil-Free and Only 6 Ingredients)

Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond (Oil-Free and Only 6 Ingredients)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sometimes you just want a simple granola recipe that doesn’t use a ton of ingredients. Here’s an easy recipe that tastes delicious and has less sugar than most granolas and no oil!
*Vegetarian, Vegan*
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups rolled old fashioned oats (quick cooking oats can be used, too)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (or nut of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup (or one individual) applesauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup, plus additional sweetener (honey or maple syrup), if needed
  • 1 cup dried dates, chopped
  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or use aluminum foil and brushed lightly with oil).
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients oats, almonds, and salt and stir to mix well.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients apple sauce, maple syrup, and additional sweetener (if using), and stir with a whisk to mix well.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until wet mixture is evenly distributed.
  5. Pour granola mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread to an even layer.
  6. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes for 45-60 minutes, or until granola is browned to preference. Remove from oven and stir in dried fruit.
  7. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Serve with yogurt or milk.
  8. Store in an airtight container.
Multiply the recipe to serve more. This made enough granola for me to eat for most breakfasts and some snacks for a work week.

This is a great one to keep at work!


I really enjoyed this Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond over Greek yogurt and this So Delicious vanilla coconut milk yogurt.

Here are some more healthy granola recipes to try:

Hope you enjoy this Healthy Granola Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Date Almond. Happy baking! Thanks for stopping by!

Reynold’s Mansion – Asheville, NC


Tucked away just north of Asheville, NC, sitting on a large green hill, is the Reynold’s Mansion, and there’s a reason it’s currently ranked #1 on TripAdvisor.com. The mansion is more than a bed and breakfast. This B&B has a warm & welcoming feel, serves up a delicious breakfast, and has a rich history that even includes a tie with one of the most famous jewels of all time. Billy, the innkeeper, runs a tight ship, and his dedication to excellence shines through in Reynold’s Mansion.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

There are eight rooms in the main house, plus pet-friendly rooms behind in the Carriage House and Cottage.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

The large, wrap-around porch was one of my favorite features. I enjoyed many quiet moments here over coffee or wine.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

The grounds were beautiful and well-manicured, begging you to wander around and enjoy the many views around the house.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

And the courtyard linked the many rooms of the B&B with a brick walkway, gurgling fountain, and flowers galore.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

This is one of my favorite photos (above). I took this from the garden that sits behind the house.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

There are also peacocks…

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

…and chickens behind the B&B. Billy said they try to use eggs from their own chickens in the breakfasts. How about that for local eggs?

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

And as for that breakfast, here’s one from the weekend. We started with a large bowl of fresh fruit and hot coffee. The coffee was delicious and spiced with a little something. I think it was cinnamon. I meant to ask but forgot.

Reynold's Mansion - Asheville, NC

And for the main course, at this breakfast we enjoyed scrambled eggs, sausage, grits, more fresh fruit, and fluffy blueberry pancakes. The pancakes were light and lofty like clouds, and the whole meal was so enjoyable. I did my best to finish my plate, but there was just too much food. I had a good time trying, though. Billy entertained us with stories about the inn, including some ghost stories. He also showed us some photos of the house from when he purchased it since it had fallen into disrepair prior to him purchasing it. The photos showed a house covered in ivy, and Billy pointed out where there was potentially a ghost captured in the photo!

Don’t worry, I didn’t see any ghosts on my stay. But, hey, there’s always next time!

Oh, and as for that tie in to the famous jewel, you’ll just have to stop by the B&B to hear about its tie with the Hope Diamond. Or, you can read more about it here.

Thank you, Billy, for the wonderful weekend! I hope we can stay longer on our next visit!


For more info on the Reynold’s Mansion – Asheville, NC, check out their web site or call. Tell them Diana the food blogger sent you!

Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe


Since I’ve gotten into using spices for easy weeknight meals, I’m always on the lookout for a simple hack. I decided to try spicing up a simple baked chicken dish with the addition of one of my favorite spice blends. The result was a winner, and the combinations are endless since you can use whatever your favorite spice blend is in this Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe.

Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe #healthy #recipe #food

I used this Crispy Oven-Fried Almond Chicken as my baseline. I switched the spices in that recipe for a spice blend.

Another change I wanted to make was switching to all panko bread crumbs and ditching the almonds. The almonds are delicious, but they add time. Though they add great flavor and texture, they also add some extra steps to get them crushed/chopped small enough to stick to the chicken. My lazy side wanted to just pour the panko straight out of the box without requiring any additional steps. I really do think that these little time-savers can make home cooked meals more realistic for us busy-bodies.

Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe #healthy #recipe #food

The use of a pre-mixed spice blend also shortens the ingredient list. Rather than pulling several spices, you can just get your favorite spice blend and mix it on in.

Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe #healthy #recipe #food

By changing the spice mix you use, you can change the entire flavor of the dish. And there are so many great spice blends out there (not to mention the ones you can mix up on your own, if you’re feeling frisky), there’s a world of flavor out there just waiting to be enjoyed in this Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe.

Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe #healthy #recipe #food

Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Here’s an easy way to spice up a healthy oven-fried chicken recipe. Just add your favorite spice blend. I used Homestead Seasoning from the Savory Spice Shop, but any spice blend will do! I used 1 tablespoon for full on flavor. Afterall, when I grill with this blend, I use it as a rub and use about the same amount to coat the whole chicken. The panko will help dilute the flavor, but just experiment to find your preference.
Serves: 2
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon of your favorite spice blend (I used Homestead Seasoning from the Savory Spice Shop), depending on how flavorful you want it.
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, optional (you may not need this if your spice blend contains a lot of salt)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 chicken breasts, pounded to ⅓ inch thickness
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place cooling rack over aluminum-foil lined baking sheet. Spray cooling rack with non-stick spray (just near areas where you’ll be placing chicken).
  3. Mix panko bread crumbs, spice blend, and salt (if using) in a wide/low bowl (or other small container with sides).
  4. In another bowl similar to the one containing the panko, whisk together the egg and milk.
  5. Dip chicken into the egg mixture, then press both sides into the panko mixture. Be sure to press in the areas that do not easily get covered by the panko mixture. You may have to pick up some of the panko and press it in with your fingers. You’re not going to get a perfect coverage, but try to apply as much of the panko mixture as possible for extra crunch.
  6. Place chicken on prepped cooling rack/baking sheet and bake for 26-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (non-pink center or use a meat thermometer to check).
  7. When chicken is safe to eat, serve and enjoy!
Recipe easily multiplies to serve more.



You may also like these other recipes made with panko:


Like this recipe? You can use the share buttons at the end of this post to share this on Pinterest, twitter, and Facebook. Happy cooking! Hope you enjoy this Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe!

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe


Go ahead and book this one for your post-Easter meal – a Vegetarian Barley Blacked Eyed Pea Soup recipe. After indulging in the traditions – ham, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and what not – you’re going to want something a little on the lighter side afterwards.

But this Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup recipe isn’t just great for a post-feast recovery meal. You can use it for a light entrée any time. In fact, I made a big batch of this one Sunday and saved off individual servings to store in the freezer for later. I’ve had them after post-work workouts and just-plain lazy days, and they’ve been a relief to have on hand. Served with saltines or (my preference) toasted whole grain bread with a light smear of butter, this is easy eats perfection.

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

If you’ve been reading The Chic Life for long, you know I’m a big fan of homemade soup.

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

There aren’t many things I think re-heat better, and I’m so over canned soup. I haven’t had any in years since the canned versions usually have so many extra, unnecessary ingredients and entirely too much salt. With each passing year, I’m turning more and more into that stubborn old woman who knows exactly what she wants and demands nothing less, and I’m okay with that.

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

Did I mention there’s kale in this Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup recipe? Yep. As you know, I’m a fan of this dark green superfood. And hey, it’s one of the most hipster foods, apparently.

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

Guess I’d better stock up on craft beer and PBR to make this a complete meal.

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe
Prep time
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Total time
Vegetarian Barley Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe makes for a great, light meal for lunch or dinner or even a nice, cozy snack. Enjoy with toasted whole grain bread or saltines.
*Vegetarian, vegan*
Serves: 8
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 medium-large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 32-ounce boxes broth of choice
  • 2 cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package (8.8 ounces) 10 minute barley from Trader Joe’s, rinsed (or sub any type of barley, but adjust cooking time, as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 6 sprays Bragg’s Amino Acids, optional
  • fresh parsley, chopped, optional
  1. Pre-heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add broth, black eyed peas, barley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until barley is done, 12-15 minutes (or until cooked according to package directions if you’re using another type of barley). Add more water if you want the soup more brothy.
  4. If using, spray in Bragg’s Amino Acids. Taste test and season with additional salt and/or pepper (or Bragg’s), as needed.
  5. Serve. Garnish with fresh parsley, if using, and enjoy.
Note: I used 10 minute barley from Trader Joe’s, which I recently discovered. This saves a lot of cooking time since most barley cooks for more like 45-50 minutes, but you can use any type of barley you wish. Just be sure to cook the soup long enough so the barley is the texture you want.

Note: If you store the leftovers for later, you may notice the barley soaks up more of the liquid. When you go to re-heat it, you may wish to add some more broth or water to make it more liquidy.

Ingredient Note: I really like the canned black eyed peas from Eden Organic. Not only are the beans organic, the can is BPA free. The ingredients are simply organic black eyed peas, water, and kombu seaweed. Eden Organic uses the kombu instead of salt when cooking their beans since it offers many benefits, including adding flavor and working as a tenderizer for dried beans.



Happy cooking!

10 Easy Kale Recipes


Kale is still king in the land of vegetables and healthy eating, and if you haven’t tried it yet or don’t cook with it often, I wanted to share 10 simple ways to use this superfood. Here are 10 Easy Kale Recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks!

10 Easy Kale Recipes


10 Easy Kale Recipes

So why is kale so great? According to whfoods.com:

The beautiful leaves of the kale plant provide an earthy flavor and more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food around.

Kale’s nutrient richness stands out in three particular areas: (1) antioxidant nutrients, (2) anti-inflammatory nutrients, and (3) anti-cancer nutrients in the form of glucosinolates.

Click here for the source information and to read more about the health benefits of kale on whfoods.com.

Let’s jump into the 10 easy kale recipes…


10 Easy Kale Recipes


1 – Piña Colada Green Monster Smoothie Recipe – just in time for the warm weather and not just for happy hour!

Put kale in a smoothie: This is my favorite way to eat kale because it’s so fast, easy, and tastes great. This is the fastest of the 10 easy kale recipes. You can add kale to your favorite smoothie to give it a pretty green color and boost the nutrition. Usually taking only 5-10 minutes to prep and blend, you can enjoy your kale for breakfast or a snack (or a dessert – see next recipe).


2 – Cookies ‘N Cream Green Monster Smoothie Recipe – and since I like smoothies so much, here’s another one to whip up sometime soon. Try it for breakfast or switch things up and make it for a light dessert.


3 – Green Monster Muffin Recipe – for the baking lover.

Bake your smoothie? And since we’re talking about green monsters, here’s a play on the famous smoothie that I adapted into a muffin recipe! The recipe calls for spinach, but you can sub kale. I should know…I have a new green monster muffin recipe variation just waiting to be blogged.


4 – Easy Kale Chips Recipe – a recipe along with helpful photos and my other tips to ensure successful chips.

Bake Your Kale: And if you’re looking for a baking recipe that isn’t sweet, have you heard of kale chips yet? Of all of the 10 easy kale recipes, this one may be the most well-known. I’m thinking most of you have, but if you haven’t, then click the link above for more details. I wouldn’t say they’re a fair substitution for my beloved salt and vinegar potato chips, but these are delicious in their own right.


5 – Marinated Kale Recipe – This goes great as a side for any meal, but it holds especially well for a pack lunch to take to the office or on a trip.

Marinate Your Kale: If you don’t feel like cooking your kale, besides putting it into a smoothie, you can also eat it raw as a salad. My favorite is massaged with soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger for an Asian-inspired taste.


6 – Southwest Quinoa Breakfast Bowl – a new kind of breakfast.

Steam Your Kale: You can eat steamed kale straight up for a simple side, but I really like this recipe for a unique breakfast recipe. If you’re looking to eat more vegetables, don’t forget about breakfast! This would also make a great light meal. Bonus – according to whfoods.com, steaming kale increases its cholesterol-lowering ability.


7 – Tangy Greens – mixed with other greens and apple cider vinegar, these only take a couple minutes to sauté up.

Sauté Your Kale: Many recipes recommend braising kale for a long time, but I like it sautéed, which takes less time. Braised is great, but go sautéed when you’re short on time.


8 – Vegetarian Italian Farro Soup – simple, delicious and perfect for a light meal any time of year.

Put Kale in Soup: Since kale wilts down so easily, I love to take a bunch, rip it into bite-sized pieces, and toss it into soup. Just a couple minutes of prep work adds extra vegetables and nutrition to your favorite soup recipe. Though 2 of the 10 easy kale recipes are for soup, you could use this method to upgrade almost any soup recipe.


9 – Spiced Red Lentil and Kale Soup – zesty and flavorful. I had to add a second soup since this is such an easy way to eat kale.


10 – Healthified Beef Stew – slow cooker beef stew gets an easy addition.

Healthify Comfort Foods: When I was making this beef stew recipe, I decided to throw kale in at the end because…why not? I can’t decide if this is me being really into eating my greens or being a lazy healthy eater looking for shortcuts. Hmm…I’m thinking of adding some kale to chicken and dumplings next!


Happy cooking! Hope you enjoyed this recipe round-up of 10 easy kale recipes. Enjoy your greens! And remember to share this post for 10 easy kale recipes if you found it helpful!

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