Beef & Tortellini Marinara with Green Beans

This. Is a keeper.

This was a huge hit with everyone involved. Everyone involved being my family…and that says a lot. My family isn’t picky really, but not all dishes are a hit with everyone at the same time. This dish was. For me it was a huge hit because it was simple to make and pretty healthy. The flavor was deep and rich – which doesn’t always happen with slow cooked meals.

I used frozen green beans (the haricot vert if you are fancy) from Trader Joe’s and they worked wonderfully. I love their frozen veggies and I very often use frozen instead of fresh veggies when it is more convenient. I don’t know what it is, but TJ’s has the best frozen veggies.

****Can I give you my tip on frozen vegetables? Don’t microwave them. Maybe there is a good way to nuke frozen veggies, but I haven’t found it yet. I will sometimes sauté them in a little olive oil right from frozen and sometimes I will boil them in some water with a little bouillon. I have even roasted veggies in the oven right from frozen and it works great. Another thing I will do is put them in some foil with a little seasoning salt and some olive oil and throw it on the grill. It steams in the foil and cooks up really nice. I do this with frozen asparagus quite a bit.

Thank you for that brief interruption, now back to our regularly scheduled program:-)

Seriously – try this dish today. This is some absolutely delicious Italian food. Another great recipe from Taste of Home.


Beef Tortellini Marinara with Green Beans
This is a great slow cooker recipe with some amazing Italian flavor!
Recipe type: Main
  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jar (26 0z) marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups dry red wine or beef broth
  • 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed - (I might do 1.5 lbs next time)
  • 1 can (14½ oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • lb small fresh mushrooms
  • 2 envelopes thick and zesty spaghetti sauce mix
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • tsp salt
  • 1 pkg (9 oz) refrigerated cheese tortellini
  1. In a large skillet, brown beef in oil until no longer pink. Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to a 5 or 6 qt slow cooker.
  2. Stir in the marinara sauce, wine, green beans, mushrooms, sauce mix, parsley, onion, rosemary, pepper and salt. Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hrs or until meat is tender.
  3. Stir in tortellini. Cover and cook on high 30 minutes longer or until tortellini are heated through.

Easy Homemade Pizza Crust

I have these recurring dreams that I am back in high school. Scary stuff, huh? In these dreams I still need to graduate, but I keep missing my classes. I guess it’s probably college because I always have MWF classes and T,TH classes and they are all at different times. The problem is always that I never know what time my classes are so I just keep missing them. Then in my dream I can’t graduate and I get really worried….and then that’s it. Not sure how many times I have had this dream, but it seems like it is a lot. This is actually better than my old recurring dreams which are truly scary so I will spare you the details….

I am wondering if in my dreams I skip science class because in real life I have a fear of yeast…which I can only attribute to the fact that maybe I didn’t pay nearly enough attention in Chemistry class? I’m sure that is what these dreams are about…I am subliminally attributing my fear of yeast to my lack of attention in Chemistry? I mean, they wouldn’t mean anything more serious, right??

So, when I read the words easy, pizza crust and yeast all in one recipe I knew I had to try this recipe. We have made it several times and one time the crust was real thick and the other time we made it more thin and I made individual pizzas for the girls. It turned out great both times. It really is easy and a great way to get used to working with yeast. We used to get the packets of pizza dough that you can buy next to the pizza sauce at the store, but to be honest with you, this is just as easy. We will probably also use this dough for grilled pizza once the fall weather appears in North Carolina.


Quick and Easy Pizza Crust

Adapted from

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45
degrees C)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon saltPreheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let stand until creamy – about 10 minutes.Stir in flour, salt and oil.  Beat until smooth.  Let rest for 5 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and  pat into the shape you would like your crust.  Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or cookie sheet  dusted with cornmeal.  Spread with desired toppings and bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

We typically grease the pizza pan with some olive oil before baking and then brush it lightly with a bit more olive oil.  We also poke the crust with a fork all over.  I think this prevents bubbles.  Sometimes we cook the crust for about 10 minutes before putting the toppings on and then we broil the pizza.