Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Speedy pasta soup packs lots of flavour

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Krista Paulson was hoping to find a recipe for the peanut butter-chocolate chip granola bars at the late, lamented Bread & Circuses. Thanks to Lila Powell of Grandview for that recipe, which is a favourite at her house.

We also have a tortellini soup from Heida Bottrell, with more soup recipes to come next week. Thanks to everyone who sent in their best recipes. Also, I should mention that during the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies, I printed a recipe for white chocolate-orange dream bars. I couldn't find a name attached to the recipe, but it looked so good I put it in anyway. It turns out the dream bars were from Edna Mroz, one of Recipe Swap's regular contributors.

Linda Burbury is hoping someone might have a good recipe for gluten-free bread. And Kathleen Teillet, who wrote in about a "sour cream" coffee cake made with pumpkin instead of sour cream for a vegan family friend, points out that vegan recipes might be of interest to some readers. Even if you aren't a vegan, you might be cooking for someone who is. If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.

Speedy tortellini soup

15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped fine

125 ml (1/2 cup) diced carrot

10 ml (2 tsp) minced garlic

about 1 L (4 cups) chicken broth

125 g (4 oz or about 1 1/2 cups) cheese tortellini

250 ml (1 cup) chopped spinach or escarole

125 ml (1/2 cup) frozen green peas, thawed

30 ml (2 tbsp) Parmesan cheese, grated

30 ml (2 tbsp) prepared pesto

salt and pepper to taste

In large pot, warm oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in tortellini. Simmer until tortellini is cooked, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in spinach or escarole, peas, cheese, pesto and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Tester's notes: As the name suggests, this is a speedy and easy soup, with lots of flavour. Using prepared pesto is a smart short cut, and the Parmesan cheese adds richness. I used some for garnish as well. I find soups made with spinach need to be served right away. If you plan on making the soup and serving it later, just leave the spinach out and add at the last moment.

Homemade chewy granola bars

250 ml (1 cup) brown sugar

150 ml (2/3 cup) peanut butter

125 ml (1/2 cup) corn syrup

114 g (1/2 cup) melted butter or 125 ml (1/2 cup) melted margarine

20 ml (2 tsp) vanilla

750 ml (3 cups) quick oats (not instant)

125 ml (1/2 cup) coconut

125 ml (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds

125 ml (1/2 cup) raisins

75 ml (1/3 cup) wheat germ

30 ml (2 tbsp) sesame seeds

250 ml (1 cup) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 175C (350F). Grease a 33 x 22 cm (13 x 9 in) pan. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, peanut butter, corn syrup, melted butter or margarine, and vanilla. Beat until blended and smooth. Add oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, raisins, wheat germ, sesame seeds and chocolate chips and stir until combined. Press evenly into pan and bake for 20 minutes or until set on top and just browning at edges. Cool on rack, score lightly into bars while still warm, and then cut into bars when cooled completely.

Tester's notes: These are a great alternative to store-bought granola bars. With crisp edges, a chewy middle and loads of good ingredients, these bars got rave reviews from my son (who used to work at Bread & Circuses).

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 1, 2012 C5

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