I've never been a big fan of meal planning and menus. Too often we would look at what had been planned and no one wanted that meal at that time. It was really frustrating and just didn't fit in with our family.
What I have found that works for us is taking the time to prep the freezer and pantry with ingredients that make a variety of meals. Then we can grab something quick to make or, if we have time, make something that takes a bit longer.
A lot of Sunday afternoons you will find me in the kitchen prepping foods that will last anywhere from a week to a few months. For example, yesterday I spent the afternoon roasting the last of the butternut squashes to freeze for winter, making shrimp egg rolls for the freezer, canning applesauce from local apples and making these adorable little tortellini to freeze for later.
I understand this won't work for everyone, but it works for us and I can normally get dinner on the table every night in under 30 minutes when I prep a few things ahead of time.
I adore wonton wrappers! They are little fresh pasta sheets ready for any filling you can throw at them. The ones I buy are in the fresh veggie section (refrigerated) of the store and are all-natural with only flour, egg, salt and cornstarch as the ingredients. No different than what I can make at home, but it saves the giant mess that happens when I pull out the pasta machine.
This recipe will make enough for 1-3 meals depending on how many you are cooking for and how many helpings they want. I could eat most of these all by myself if I'm not paying attention. Often I will double this recipe so I have a freezer full of tortellini ready to go at a moments notice.
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Small pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 package wonton wrappers (approx. 60)
Small bowl of water
Mix together all the ingredients except the wonton wrappers and water. This is your filling.
Reminder: When working with wonton wrappers or any fresh pasta, work with one at a time and keep the others covered so they don't dry out too fast.
Find the largest round biscuit cutter you've got that will fit on the wrapper. I forgot to measure but I think this is a 3" cutter. Cut a circle out of the wonton wrapper square.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of the ricotta mixture to the center of each. Dip your finger into the bowl of water and wet half the circle's edge. Fold the wet half of the circle over the ricotta to meet the other side.
Bring the corners around to the bottom to meet and stick them together using water.
Repeat until you've used all of the filling.
On a cookie sheet, spread out parchment paper and put the tortellini in a single layer, without touching and freeze for 1 hour. This makes them easy to handle and they wont stick together.
Transfer the tortellini to a freezer bag or container and either store them in the freezer, or if you are using them right away, cook in simmering water until they float to the top, about 5-7 minutes and serve with your favorite sauce.
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Welcome to Homemade Wonders!
I love cooking with real food, knitting with good yarn, sleeping in (when the kids let me), staying up late to finish that last chapter, DIY projects, and most of all enjoying life.
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