Food + Family = Fun

Sorry I haven’t been around much the last 2 weeks. I was taking advantage of the warm weather and doing lots of clean-up around the yard. I’ve also been busy with the kids, Spring Break, and I got suddenly busy with design work, which is good for me but bad for the blog.

I don’t have a post prepared for today either, but I did find this old post from my previous blog. It made me smile and it comes with a yummy recipe that is perfect for the rainy, spring days ahead, so I thought it was worth re-posting here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any photos. This was written before I had a nice camera or even knew how to use them.

My son always frustrates me at the dinner table. There are very few foods he will eat. He won’t eat anything that looks “weird”. And he won’t eat anything that “his smell sensors” tell him are off. Last night I accidentally found a remedy to this situation.

A few days ago, while the kids were at school, I had an ambitious moment and decided to roll my own tortellini. I spent all afternoon in the kitchen making the pasta and strolling down memory lane. I remembered slurping tortellini soup in my grandmother’s kitchen when I was little. I remembered getting bags of fresh rolled tortellini from my grandmother to take back with me when I was in college. I also remembered a weekend I spent with my grandmother talking and rolling, stuffing and folding pasta. It was a fun and relaxing day. And so was this particular afternoon.

When I served up my labor intensive creation for dinner, my son responded with, “What the heck?”

“It’s tortellini soup.”

“It looks weird.”

“But it’s very good.”

“My smell sensors tell me it’s off.”

“Your smell sensors must be off then, because this is very tasty.”

“Delicious!” my daughter exclaims as she noisily slurps up the soup. At least somebody likes it. Joe on the other hand made himself a salami sandwich with some carrots.

Last night, I had some filling left over so I decided to make a batch of tortellini to freeze. Joe wandered into the kitchen while I was getting my pasta roller out.

“Wow! What is that?”

“A pasta roller.”

“You mean you’re going to make pasta? Without a box?” He was completely amazed that you could make pasta from flower and eggs and that there was no box involved. “Can I help?”


We spent the next three hours kneading, rolling, stuffing and folding. And when all the filling was gone, but there was still dough left, we rolled out some fettuccine to dry for later. And then surprisingly he asked if we could eat some of the tortellini for dinner. “Sure, buddy.”

So while he went into the living room to work on his homework, I heated up some chicken stock and put into it the left over tortellini from the night before. I put our new tortellini in the freezer for another day. And you know he ate 3 servings of the same soup his “smell sensors” told him was off the night before. And now I know to have him help me make dinner the next time I serve something new. Maybe then his “smell sensors” will tell him its good!

And for the recipe:

For the filling I use:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb of ground turkey or chicken
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • oregano
  • basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • You can also substitute portabello mushrooms for the meat for a vegetarian version.


  • Heat up olive oil in a skillet and saute garlic just until you start to smell it. Add the meat and brown. Add oregano and basil. Stir for a minute more. Remove from heat. Add cheese, salt and pepper.
  • The filling needs to cool completely before you can stuff your tortellini.
  • I make the pasta dough following the instructions that came with my pasta roller. It’s never disappointed me yet. After I roll out the dough as thin as I can get it, I cut it once lengthwise down the center with a pizza cutter. Then I cut it into 1-2 inch squares.
  • You’ll need to get a little pastry brush and a cup of water for the next part.
  • In the center of each square, place a small amount of filling. You don’t want to over stuff them or they will fall apart when you cook them. After you’ve placed the filling on each square, brush the edges with a little water. Fold them into triangles and press the edges together. Then fold two of the points around your finger and pinch together.

(Here’s a trick I learned if you plan on freezing them – place all your tortellinis on a cookie sheet and put the freezer for about 20 minutes. Take them out and put in a freezer bag. Now they won’t stick together. They should keep in the freezer for about 3 or 4 months.) You can also use wonton wrappers instead of rolling your own dough. It’s not as good, but it works.

You can serve your tortellini with your favorite sauce. Or you can serve them my favorite way, in clear broth. Just before serving I throw some fresh parsley into the broth and serve with warm, crusty Italian bread.

2 thoughts on “Food + Family = Fun

  1. That is hysterical! “Smell sensors” – I love it! Although, I can imagine after a hard day of work, you don’t want to hear about the smell sensors. Thanks for the recipe – sounds delish!

    • Luckily his “smell sensors” have grown up a bit since I wrote this. Although they’ve turned him into a bit of a cheese snob as his “smell sensors” can tell the difference between fresh grated Parmesan from the stuff in the can. Now he won’t eat the “cheap cheese” (as he calls it) on his pasta.

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