Dinner Kid Friendly MettleFork Kitchen

Chicken and cheese tortellini soup

Tonights meal was a really quick and easy meal I’d love to share with you all.  I had stocked up on some fresh pasta from the Tesco because all of their pasta variations looked great. My original plan was to just throw some Alfredo sauce on top because my husband had asked for a quick and simple pasta.  If you’ve gotten to know me, then you know I rarely do quick and simple.  If you’ve been reading you are well aware I’m on a soup kick and I’m trying to work out recipes for my upcoming cookbook.  I’ll let you know now, this one is definitely making a feature.  Since this wasn’t my original plan I had to run out to the store and grab some chicken.  I was sooo close to grabbing some breasts to cook and dice up and then I saw it,  the last roasted rotisserie chicken in the store.  I took it a sig that this was destiny.  By using the rotisserie chicken, the flavor would be so much better and the cook time so much quicker.  I grabbed it and some extra broth and made my way back home.

The base of this recipe started with mirepoix which is the french version of the trinity – Carrot, Celery and Onions.  I sautéed that first before adding in the remaining ingredients.  All in all start to finish this recipe only took me about 30 minutes with minimal dishes. I know, I know I said I rarely do quick and simple which was not my initial plan.  I however, could not have asked for a better soup with so much flavor bursting from each spoonful in such little time.  The carrots were supple, the tortellini was fresh and cooked to perfection.  The chicken was so tender it literally fell off the bone as I was preparing it.  When it all came together it was holy matrimony. As an added bonus I had 2/3 of a whole chicken left for a second meal.  My only regret in making this recipe was not making a bigger pot so feel free to double it.

Chicken and Cheese Tortellini Soup

2 cups Roasted Chicken                      3 cups mirepoix – (carrots, onion, celery)

32oz chicken broth                              1 Tbsp butter
1 pkg cheese tortellini                         3 cloves of garlic minced
4-5 fresh basil leaves                           2 Tbsp Tuscan seasoning (if available)
2 cups of water
In a large stockpot melt 1 Tbsp of butter and add mirepoix.  Saute mirepoix for 4-5 minutes until it the onions and celery start to become translucent and slightly caramelized.  Next add the minced garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes be sure it doesn’t start to burn.  Then add in the chicken broth and allow it to come to a rolling boil.  Add chicken and basil allow to cook for 5 minutes.  Next add 2 cups of water and 2 Tbsp of Tuscan seasoning.  Add tortellini and allow to cook until pasta doubles in size and floats about 5-6 minutes.

  • You can substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth and remove the meat to make it vegetarian friendly.
  • If Tuscan spice isn’t available mix equal parts – 1Tbsp of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley then add 1 tsp of salt, black pepper, garlic powder and lemon pepper and onion salt.


Dinner Florida Lunch

Capital Tacos Tampa Florida

Keep it Capital! Did you know according to Yelp, Capital Tacos is the number 2 taco spot in the U.S.? I surely didn’t, but that definitely explains why they are so damn delicious. Capital Taco boasts an extensive and flavor intensive menu. With names like Catawampus and Longrider who wouldn’t be intrigued by all the taco’s they offer. I usually order at least 4 different ones as I am trying to eat my way through their menu to find my absolute fav. It’s no easy task but somefoodies got to do it. The flavor combinations they create are astronomical. And you know the taco is good when the juice runs down your elbow.

The only thing that gives those tacos a run for their money is the fountain soda. It is pure heaven. I get the orange and it tastes like dreamsicle. It is a refreshing break from the PepsiCo and Coca-Cola choices almost every restaurant offers. Moreover, I love that they use state license plate “numbers” for ordering. It is an original way to keep track of dine-in and carry out orders instead of the old numerical or name system. As an added bonus it doubles as a conversation starter. On our first trip my husband got Oklahoma, my home state. I teased him about being an okie and how it was truly destiny that he got that particular one.
Capital Taco’s currently has one location close to my vicinity and that is in Wesley Chapel and its about a 45 minute drive. Is it worth the 45 minutes? Absolutely! Since Capital Tacos tacos are soooooo good, it would be a shame to keep them tucked away in Wesley Chapel. The most exciting news I had heard in awhile is that Capital Tacos is expanding. Imagine my excitement when I found out they were opening a new location in Brandon, FL. That is literally 10 minutes from my front door.. Oh Taco Day! In addition to the one in Brandon, FL they are also opening a location in New Port Richey, FL. You literally have no excuse not to give them a try. I follow their Instagram and they recently announced they are offering frozen sangrias and frozen margaritas at the Brandon location…YAY!! It just keeps getting better and better right? Don’t wait for Taco Tuesday to get in on this awesomeness at Capital Tacos everyday is taco day.
Remember to Keep it Capital!

Florida Lunch

Fresh Kitchen is a breath of fresh air in Soho

Fresh Kitchen…fast food reimagined.
Veterans day is the one day a year that vets like myself can eat almost anywhere.  Today I chose Fresh Kitchen and here’s why.  First off, the FK concept is dope…you get to choose your base, vegetables and protein.  Second, everything is prepared for you in assembly line fashion so it’s super quick. Lastly it’s fresh and freaking delicious. Does one really need any other reasons besides the last?
On any given day you can create a personalized bowl. You have the option  to choose a four, six or eight bowl.  Each bowl varies in the number of proteins and veggies you can choose.
To start making your bowl you choose from either quinoa, rice, mashed sweet potatoes,  or sweet potato noodles etc. as your base ( I chose mashed sweet potatoes and quinoa YUM).  Next you can choose your vegetables and today the options were broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, and brussel sprouts.  I went for the greener route and chose the brussel sprouts, although it was hard to resist those mushrooms.  The protein choices were buffalo chicken, steak, tofu, tuna poke, almond crusted chicken strips and bbq chicken.  It was a toss up between the almond crusted chicken strips and the bbq chicken, ultimately I thought the bbq chicken would pair best with the sweet potatoes.  Last on the line are their sauces, there are too many to mention here (like 8) besides I forgot due to brain overload.  I will tell you that the holy kale won my heart over and my husband got the jalapeño cucumber.

Fresh Kitchen also offers freshly pressed juices for sale.  I love this option because it’s nice to have a beverage that isn’t soda or water.  Plus they have perfected blends whereas I’m still going with my kale and pear recipe.  They are already pre-packaged and ready for you to grab on your way through the line.  Fresh Kitchen is very easily one of my husbands favorite spots to eat in Tampa and I’m sure once you give them a try it will be yours too.  But don’t wait for a special holiday to visit, you’ll be just as happy on a regular Tuesday.

Dinner Lunch

Visiting an oldie but goodie

Here I am in the city of brotherly love visiting the great grandparents.  We decided to go out for dinner instead of ordering in.  I wanted to try something authentic to the city but after many attempts we had decided on applebees.  To be honest Applebees isn’t one of my favorite restaurants, but I’m also not one to make a fuss over food.  When we arrive at Chili’s instead of Applebee (by mistake) I was much much happier.  I mean who doesn’t love those baby back ribs?

Honey – Chipotle Chicken Crispers

I decided to order a take on chicken and waffles. It had that fancy word new next to it.  I love to try new foods so why not? The honey chipotle crispers and waffles. These crispers were covered in a honey -chipotle  sauce and placed atop a Belgium waffle then covered with applewood smoked bacon and drizzled with ancho-chili ranch and topped with a jalapeno pepper. It’s served with a side of french fries and honey chipotle dipping sauce.

These pictures don’t really do the meal any justice because that first bite was amazing.  Sweet,  spicy and savory all in one.  All you could hear was me mumbling mmm…mmm…mmm.  It was great,  however something was off.  It was too sweet,  I wasn’t sure if it was the glaze so I took the crisper off and just ate that.  Turns out it was the waffle. It was almost as if it had been dipped in sugar and crystallized.  If you suffer from diabetes beware… it was sweet.  Now I will say it didn’t seem consistent and the entire waffle wasn’t crystallized on every portion. I know it would be more time consuming but fresh waffles would have made this dish 1000× better.  Overall it was still good and I had two of the leftover bites the next morning.  They held up pretty well to being microwaved too.  It is a dish I recommend you try and I’d eat it again, just be mindful the sweetness can be a bit much.


Tried something new

Chicken is one of the most versatile of the meats just about anything goes with chicken.  I’ve cut a good portion of red meat out of my diet so that leaves a lot of chicken…A Lot. Those of you that have done the same I’m sure you can relate.  Tonight I decided to try a new recipe and see if i could put a spin on the old chicken wing.  On the menu is Garlic Parmesan Chicken, Sauteed Kale and Red Pepper and Basil Quinoa.
I started with chicken wings and marinated them in a spice rub which included oregano, cumin, garlic powder, salt, onion powder and smoked paprika. The original recipe did not call for onion powder or paprika but i can’t cook chicken without it.  After allowing the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes I cooked it for 35 minutes at 400°
While the chicken was cooking i started a pan with some EVOO and minced garlic then added my chopped kale. I allowed that to wilt and sautee then I  added 1/4 cup of vegetable both to give it flavor. I also cooked the quinoa in a separate pot. I like the brand far east when I’m not making it from scratch.
For the coating i mixed EVOO, basil, salt garlic powder and grated parmesean cheese. It was a little thick so i spooned some of the fat from the chicken in it.
Next i coated the chicken with the parmesean mixture.
Dinner was ready to be served and all i had to do was plate it.   This is my biggest weakness – plate presentation. I have it my best shot,  let me know what you think.  Be sure to look out for the full recipe in my featured recipes next week. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did.