This is a recipe that I tweaked from several other recipes. It uses the sausages that I mentioned a couple of month's ago -- the low-fat, chicken sausage from Sam's. Tonight I used the Italian flavor with mozzarella but you could use any of the varieties.
2 T. olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 sausage links, casing removed, chopped
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
5 cups chicken broth
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
15 oz. can Great Northern beans, drained
20 oz. frozen cheese tortellini
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in large stock pot over medium high heat. Saute carrots, onions and red pepper until semi translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sausage, garlic, basil, rosemary, red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to saute for 3 - 5 more minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes with juice and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the tortellini to the soup and simmer until tender, about 10 more minutes. To serve, top bowls of soup with grated Parmesan cheese.
This soup comes together pretty quickly but in order to speed it up on a work night you could pre-prep your carrots, pepper and onion and put them in an air-tight container in the fridge and pre-cut the sausage and put it in a container or bag. I also think you could double the recipe right up until you add the pasta and then take out half and freeze it. Then finish it with the tortellini. When you are ready to eat the frozen half you could just put the whole frozen block in the crock pot in the morning and then come home and dump in the tortellini for the last 30 minutes.
I like to serve this soup with a nice loaf of bread. Hope you love it as much as we do!