Cooking Challenge: Jenn F’s Improvised Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Today I have a special treat, an emergency recipe thrown together in the midst of Winter weather.  As a Midwestern gal, I have great appreciation for last minute or dramatic weather situations – and hope Jennifer’s adventure with tweaking a recipe to work with available ingredients will inspire you to do the same. I am all for recipes, however being able to roll with a lack of an ingredient or improve upon regular versions of recipes are crucial skills for all home cooks to learn. Enjoy!


“Improvised Sausage and Tortellini Soup

I went to the store a few weeks ago with every intent to follow this recipe: However, the incoming snowstorm struck fear into many a city resident, so I grabbed what I could and improvised.

Total time: 50 minutes (15 for prep, 35 cooking)

Serves: 8-10


1lb of Italian Sausage

1 purple onion

1 yellow onion

1 tablespoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

7 cups of chicken broth (I used Swanson’s Tuscan Chicken because everyone and their mom needed regular chicken broth for the snowpocalypse)

1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (I used the ones seasoned with basil, garlic, and oregano)

1 10 oz package of frozen spinach

1 cup of half and half milk or whole milk

1 package of cheese tortellini (the refrigerated Bertoli tortellini was on sale so I used that. I think it was about a 20 oz package. Whatever the large box shaped sized one is)

1 cup of parmesan cheese

Salt, pepper, red chili flakes and Penzys Tuscan Sunset seasoning to taste


1. In your soup pot, brown the Italian sausage. Once it’s completely cooked, drain and set aside.

2. In the same pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add chopped onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are caramelized.  

3. Once onions are caramelized, add tomatoes, chicken broth, sausage, and spinach.

4. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and add seasonings to taste. Let the mixture boil for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors merge.

5. Add cheese tortellini and cook until al dente. (I followed the directions on the tortellini box)

6. Add half and half and parmesan to the soup and let it simmer for a few more minutes. ”


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