Kale and Meatball Soup

Kale and Meatballs Soup

Kale and Meatball Soup

I am at the end of my rope with my kale.  Matt keeps mentioning blanching, freezing, saving for the end of the world…. I have enough in my freezer at this point to last us until we have grand children…WHICH WON’T BE ANYTIME SOON!  So, what’s a resourceful girl like me to do?  Make soup.  In August.  This happens a lot at our house, seasons don’t dictate our menu.  Need and what I crave usually do.

About this soup.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Isn’t it interesting that I have to set the tone for a soup…in august…about kale!?  That being said feel free to substitute, switch, add to your liking or mood, freelance, go with the flow…. cool?  Great!  Knew I could count on you guys!

who says you can't eat soup this delicious in August?!!!

who says you can’t eat soup this delicious in August?!!!


For the meatballs:

1 lb ground beef (or chicken, turkey, pork or sausage)

1/3 cup Panko

1 egg

1 tablespoon each: fresh basil, thyme and parsley

salt and pepper

For the soup:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 cup diced carrots

1 15.5-ounce can great northern beans

8 cups chopped kale (about 1/2 lb)

8 cups vegetable broth (or chicken)

1 cup orzo (or any small pasta)

1 tablespoon each: fresh thyme, basil and parsley

Parmesan Cheese for serving

How to:

For the meatballs:

In a large bowl combine all your ingredients: ground meat, Panko, egg, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.  Combine well and form into small to medium size meatballs.  Set aside.

cute little meatballs!

cute little meatballs!

browning in all its glory!

browning in all its glory!

For the soup:

In a large dutch oven heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.  Working in batches brown your meatballs on all sides.  Set aside on a baking sheet.  (you do not have to cook your meatballs completely, they will finish cooking in your broth).

Do not clean your dutch oven from browning the meatballs (this is full of flavor!) add a bit of olive oil if needed or simply use what is left.  Sautee your onion and carrots until soft and fragrant, 4-5 minutes.  Add your beans and broth, bring to a boil.  Add your kale and orzo, cook for another 7-8 minutes until pasta is al dente.

that's a big pot of scrumptious soup!

that’s a big pot of scrumptious soup!

Ladle your soup into your serving bowl topped with some Parmesan cheese.

bright, healthy and superbly delicious!

bright, healthy and superbly delicious!

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Note: this is somewhat similar to an Italian Wedding Soup, but out of respect for the “real” deal I don’t think mine is exactly that.  Which is why I call my soup: Kale and Meatballs Soup.

time to fill my belly!

time to fill my belly!

Peace and Dictate Your Menu,



Aunt Sara’s Creamy Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

As much as I love soups, evident with my: Soups Round Up, I had never made my Aunt Sara’s Creamy Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup.  She makes it every year for our Christmas Family Party.  We keep it simple for everyone with 3 large Crockpots filled with yummy food: one with her soup, one with my classic chili (which I have yet to share with you…hint: BEER is my secret ingredient) and one with Grandma Georgia’ Seafood Chowder (a recipe I am not privy to).  We also have platters of lunch meats and a crazy amount of breads to choose from.  Easy and practical for the big day!

Since I’ve had somewhat of a sore throat the past few days I thought it would be yummy and delicious to make her soup.  Isn’t chicken noodle soup the cure-all?


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery (not in original recipe but Aunt Sara said to add what ever veggies I wanted!)

1 tablespoon dry oregano

6 cups chicken broth (low-sodium is best, 49-ounce can)

1, 12-ounce can evaporated milk

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1-inch cubes)

1 whole roasted chicken, shredded (store-bought or homemade, I had about 6 cups of shredded chicken)

1 cup frozen peas, thawed (I think I was closer to 1 1/2 cups)

2 cups egg noodles (I prefer the extra-wide & I did use the no-yoke kind)

Salt and Pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon each should work)

How to:

In a large soup kettle or dutch oven heat your oil.  Add your onion, carrots and celery.  Saute for 5 minutes until soft and fragrant.  Add your oregano, salt, pepper, chicken broth, evaporated milk and potatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer for about 30-40 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

from start

from start

to finish...nicely reduced after 35 or so minutes

to finish…nicely reduced after 35 or so minutes

Add your roasted chicken, peas and egg noodles.  Cook until noodles are done, approximately 8 minutes.

the home stretch! All aboard!

the home stretch! All aboard!

done! Looking gorgeous and delicious!

done! Looking gorgeous and delicious!

oh my goodness....and NO cream...yet all this creaminess!

oh my goodness….NO cream…yet all this creaminess!


***You may want to add another cup or so of chicken broth if you feel your soup is getting too thick, especially if you have leftovers.  Totally up to you, some people like their soup to be thin and lively (!) others (like me) like them thick and robust!  😉

Note: I am always hesitant to give salt and pepper amounts.  It is such a personal preference.  We don’t like it too salty at my house, some people hate the taste of pepper in food, some people actually think pepper is spicy; they wouldn’t survive here….we LOVE it really spicy, Tabasco seems closer to ketchup for us!  So you can imagine when I make spicy stuff it can really take it to a new level!  Therefore salt and pepper so your taste buds are happy happy!

now that's a happy happy soup!

now that’s a happy happy soup!

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Peace and I had to look up the word privy to make sure I was using it correctly,


Creamy Pork Taco Soup

Creamy Pork Taco Soup

Creamy Pork Taco Soup

In all honesty this should be called: Creamy Leftover Taco Soup.  You can truly substitute with any leftover chicken ( roasted chicken or wine “can” chicken ) , turkey (hello thanksgiving!) pork ( pulled pork ) even ground beef!  The idea is to go for flavor.  I know many of you like the idea of using store-bought rotisserie chicken and by all means go with that!  Easy and practical.  Just make sure it is not loaded with salt (some stores seem to think salt=flavor…..hmmmm no!)

Bottom line.  This recipe is a guideline for a protein you may have on hand.  It’s a no brainer.  Also with the upcoming Turkey Feast upon us, it only seems fitting to have a couple good recipes you can count on to feed your people!  I am one of the crazy people who roasts a Turkey for our family Thanksgiving (held at Aunt Sara’s house) and makes a second one just for our house to make sure we have plenty of leftovers.  I have NEVER complained about too much leftover turkey.

pretty darn scrumptious soup!

pretty darned scrumptious soup!


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

4 cups leftover cooked pork (shredded or cubed)

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed (I use the low-sodium)

4 cups frozen corn, thawed

4 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning (or store-bought, you will need to get 2 packets)

Splash hot sauce (optional)

Sour cream, for serving

Shredded Pepperjack cheese, for serving

Crushed tortilla chips, for serving

How to:

In a large Dutch oven melt your butter with your olive oil.  Add your onion and cook until soft and fragrant.  Add your flour and combine well with your onion, cook your flour mixture for about 2-3 minutes (this will remove the raw flour taste).  Add your evaporated milk and broth.  Bring to a gentle boil.  Add your pork, black beans, corn, taco seasoning, and splash of hot sauce.  Stir everything well, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.  Serve, top with a spoonful of sour cream, shredded cheese, and crushed chips.

this is so easy it's almost unreal the amazing flavors you get from these simple ingredients

this is so easy! The amazing flavors you get from these simple ingredients is unreal

Other delicious topping ideas: fresh cilantro, diced avocado, a spoonful of salsa, diced jalapenos…the sky’s the limit!

time to get topping creative!

time to get topping creative!

Note: if you use the store-bought taco seasoning you may want to add a touch (about 1 teaspoon) of cumin.  It seems the store-bought stuff doesn’t have much cumin flavor.

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Other lovely recipes that work wonderfully with leftover turkey (or chicken or pork….you get the idea!)

Southwest Chicken Salad

with avocados...I know hard telling the difference but take my word for it.

this would be such a refreshing after Thanksgiving’s day dish!

Chicken and Corn Chowder

a little close up of the delicious chowder

so delicious!

Creamy Chicken Bundle Casserole

Perfect weeknight meal!  My kids love helping with meals like this.

Fast, easy and a definite crowd pleaser!

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Who doesn’t love CHILI?! OH MY WORD THIS IS SO GOOD!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

    Delicious Buffalo Dip

This is as delicious with turkey or pork!

Chicken Shells

feels and smells like my mom's cooking :)

thanks Mom for a great recipe!

Red Enchiladas

please, please do not judge this dish by this horrible pic...please

please, please do not judge this dish by this horrible pic…please

And finally my Sunshine’s favorite:

Sunshine’s Taco Soup

oh the possibilities :)

I could eat my weight in Taco Soup! YIKES!

Peace and I am a Turkey….gobble gobble….


Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and Bean Soup

It’s Fall.  Got to go with the flow I guess.  That and I have so much ham to use I don’t know how many ways I can “re-invent” a ham and cheese sandwich!  So soup it is!

It also happens to be a favorite of Mr. Man….I have to keep the man fed and happy, right?  😉

I am not re-inventing the wheel on this one, it’s a classic.  Can’t mess with success!

simply ham and bean....can't go wrong with ham and beans!

simple ham and bean soup….can’t go wrong with ham and beans!


4-ounces (weight) diced pancetta (or bacon) about 1 cup

4 carrots peeled diced

4 celery sticks diced

2 medium onions peeled and diced

4 15-ounces cans Northern Beans, drained and rinsed

4 cups cooked ham, diced

2 bay leaves

1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme

Salt and Pepper to taste

8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken)

big splash hot sauce

How to:

In a large soup pot (I used my large Creuset pot) render your pancetta (or bacon) until crispy but not burnt.  Using a slotted spoon remove your pancetta to a side plate, do not clean your pot, add your onions, carrots, and celery, cook until tender and fragrant, about 5 or so minutes.  Add your diced ham and cook for another 2-3 minutes until ham is lightly browned.   Add your northern beans, bay leaves, fresh thyme, salt and pepper gently stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add your vegetable broth and splash of hot sauce, bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook on medium-low for 2 hours.  The soup will reduce slightly, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Serve.

one pot and all this magic happens!

one pot and all this magic happens!

This is a classic, simple yet hearth warming soup.  Perfect for fall or winter.  Simple ingredients can truly transform into something magical and soul satisfying dishes.  Give it a try.



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Peace and Be a Ham,


I share my recipe here as well:

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Pesto Shrimp

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Pesto Shrimp

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Pesto Shrimp

I have to say I have never been a fan of cream of tomato soup.  I don’t know about you but it’s a total flash back to the canned stuff my mom would serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.  My brother and her would dig in like crazy and I would have a peanut butter or molasses sandwich (it’s a family thing).  This year however I have been blessed with lots of tomatoes….and by blessed I mean I have canned so much that I have enough to carry us through the long nasty winter months.  I needed a little creativity with the final crop.

So with my last few tomatoes, I decided to “welcome” fall with some more roasted tomatoes and turn them into a lovely soup.  Hopefully this will be a nice change for my lack of cream of tomato excitement!

well hello gorgeous!

well hello gorgeous!


For the soup:

2 1/2 lbs tomatoes, quartered

2 medium onions, quartered

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 “twig” of each fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (chicken broth will work as well)

1/2 cup milk (or cream if you are feeling particularly frisky!)

For the pesto shrimp:

4 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup almond

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

1lb raw shrimp, peeled & cleaned

How to:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine your tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil (1 tablespoon) and fresh herbs.  Toss lightly to combine and pour onto a baking sheet.  Roast in your preheated oven for 40 minutes.  Remove fresh herbs twigs.  Let cool slightly.

nothing is better looking than fresh from the garden veggies and herbs!

nothing is better looking than fresh from the garden veggies and herbs!

here we go!

here we go!

pure happiness = roasted vegetables!

pure happiness = roasted vegetables!

Meanwhile, prepare your pesto.  In a food processor (I use a ninja) put your spinach, almond, sharp cheddar, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil, pulse until you get the desired consistency.

aaaaahhhh pesto is so pretty!

aaaaahhhh pesto is so pretty!

In a large bowl toss your raw shrimp with 2 heaping tablespoons of pesto.  Put your shrimp on a baking sheet and roast in your oven for 8 minutes.  Careful not to over cook your shrimp you will end up with rubber!  Set aside.

all together with lots o' flavor!

all together with lots o’ flavor!

careful not to eat all those before you finish your soup....they are addictive!

careful not to eat all those before you finish your soup….they are addictive!

In a large pot put your roasted vegetables and your vegetable broth, bring to a gentle boil for about 10-15 minutes.  Turn off your heat, using an immersion blender (or you could put everything in your blender) puree your soup to desired consistency.  Add your milk or cream, bring to a gentle simmer (no not boil) for another 5 minutes.

almost there!

almost there!

To serve, ladle your soup into your bowls, add some shrimp (I did about 6 per bowls) and top with a spoonful of pesto.

so gorgeous and simply scrumptious!

so gorgeous and simply scrumptious!

Simply delicious!  “Canned” soup has nothing on this little amazing soup!  Lots of fresh roasted tomato flavors and the pesto makes it all come together.

Note: as you know I love pesto, I always use the same technique and formula….again do as you wish, use what you have: basil, arugula, kale…pine nuts, almonds, walnuts….parmesan, swiss, romano….etc…

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Peace and in case you didn’t know I was using my sarcastic font to say “welcome” fall…. 😦


I shared my recipe here as well:

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

So it’s May…It’s getting nice and hot outside…just the way I love it!  Mr Man texted me a recipe he found for his favorite soup: Panera Bread’s Black Bean Soup.  Ummmm OK?  I am up for soup in May.

Before I continue…I have to point out TWO important things.

First off, I am anti-Panera Bread.  Why?  I think in some ways just to irk my mother.  She loves that restaurant.  Anytime you would ask her where we should go for lunch she would say Panera Bread.  So my dad and I started to refuse to go there.  Now she will say: “let’s go for lunch but I know I am not allowed to ask for Panera Bread so let’s find a place that you guys prefer”.  She even uses a bit of a sarcastic tone.  Not cool Mom!  I just find the restaurant and food over-rated…there I said it.  Panera Bread is over-rated!

Second, when Matt went to Panera Bread with a client of his, they went to Panera Bread (obviously! Hence this story!).  He had the Black Bean Soup.  Seriously, it was as if  he had found Atlantis.  He talked and talked and talked some more about that darn soup.  I swear, I thought he would never stop.  He did and then he found the recipe in the local newspaper….so then making THAT soup for supper became important and vital to our well-being.

I aim to please…and to irk my Mom….and to make my husband stop talking about a soup.

It is quite delicious and surprisingly healthy!

It is quite delicious and surprisingly healthy!


1 onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 celery ribs, chopped

1/4 large red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 small chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes

1 1/2  cups boiling water

2 15-ounce cans black beans undrained

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch

How to:

In a large dutch oven or stock pot add your onion, garlic, celery, red bell pepper bouillon cubes and boiling water.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add half a can of black beans, salt and cumin, cook for another 5 minutes.

Puree soup in a blender or immersion blender.  Add the rest of the beans to the soup.  Combine the cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water.  Add the lemon juice and the cornstarch to the soup, bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.

looking good so far!

looking good so far!

looking good and smelling fantastic!

looking good and smelling fantastic!

Serve with finely diced red pepper.  You could even add a dollop of sour cream or maybe some diced up jalapenos…trust me I could go on!  Which I won’t because that would be oh so not like me….sarcasm is much like me!

Enjoy, this is a super easy and wallet friendly soup.  I bet you could make the whole thing for what they sell a bowl at Panera Bread.  Crazy isn’t it!

delicious any time of the year!

delicious any time of the year!

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Peace and Irk,


Note: I actually made this soup at 6:45am.  It does make your house smell fantastically delicious!  Great way to start the day!

Second Note:  Per Mr. Man…add twice as much cumin as what this call for!

Final Note: I have no way of knowing if this is the true Panera Bread recipe but that’s what the newspaper said!

New England Clam Chowder

Fair warning: I am all over the place rambling on this one…good luck!

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Pet Peeve: a frequent subject of complaint.  Thank you Merriam-Webster On-Line Dictionary (or as I like to call it: my vocab saver!)  It’s not that I have bad grammar or spelling, it is simply that bad grammar or spelling is a pet peeve of mine.   Amongst others…you will see this post unravel quickly…just watch.

Bear with me here. (pretty please)  I knew how to spell pet peeve.  I wanted to give you the dictionary’s exact definition.  BUT while reading the definition I saw people’s comments on said definition (here), it seems that you cannot have many pet peeves.  (I, of course, have a plethora of them!)  Because as per the definition “pet” would imply the one and only, “the teacher’s pet” if you will.  Therefore one could only have ONE particular pet peeve…not many…but as one commenter said what if I have many favorite “pets”?…have I lost you, yet?

Bottom line, here is where I was going (before I rambled on about lord knows what!).  One of my pet peeves (and YES I have many!) is people reviewing recipes but stating: “I changed this and/or that about this recipe and it was horrible.  I am giving it only 1 star”  WHAT?!!!  You cannot judge or rate a recipe if you have changed it.  Come on!  Now if you tell me that you followed the exact recipe and it was a total flop then OK, I get it.  Not if you were freelancing!  (Getting off my soap box, thank you for indulging me…again)


Isn't that just a gorgeous chowder?  The smell alone is simply amazing!

Isn’t that just a gorgeous chowder? The smell alone is simply amazing!

My husband had this soup at our friends house last weekend (while I was living it up with Janine in Chicago) and he hasn’t stop talking about it.  Truth be told my friend Chris is a fantastic cook & baker, therefore I trust her to give us only the best.  I texted her until she gave in and sent me the recipe!  Hurray for us…happy Mr. Man 🙂  By the way, the reviews were fantastic not only from Matt but on-line as well (unless they changed it!!!)

Recipe was in Bon Appetit Magazine Nov. 2000 but originally from: Epicurious.com


3 8-ounce bottles clam juice

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

3 slices bacon, finely chopped

2 cups chopped onions

1 1/4 cups chopped celery with leaves (about 2 large stalks)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

6 6 1/2-ounce cans chopped clams, drained, juices reserved

1 1/4 cups half and half

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

How to:

Bring bottled clam juice and potatoes to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. (DO NOT DRAIN POTATOES)

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add onions, celery, garlic and bay leaf and sauté until vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes (do not allow flour to brown). Gradually whisk in reserved juices from clams. Add potato mixture, clams, half and half and hot pepper sauce. Simmer chowder 5 minutes to blend flavors, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before serving.)

Enough Chowder for about 8...although serving it to 4 and having leftovers...heavenly!

Enough Chowder for about 8…although serving it to 4 and having leftovers…heavenly!

Note: Chris says that she likes to use frozen clams instead of canned but they are not readily available so I opted for cans.

My review: simply amazing, and so easy to make.  Perfect for company since you can prepare it ahead of time and easily re-heat the whole thing.

It’s a good thing the recipe is short because I couldn’t stop talking (or rambling) making this post somewhat painfully long…I am sorry!

very difficult to take pictures when all you want to do is eat it! :)

very difficult to take pictures when all you want to do is eat it! 🙂

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Peace and I never was the teacher’s pet (trust me! NEVER!)


Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta E Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

This is an easy way to have a delicious fall,head into winter, meal full of vegetables and low-fat.  I made this recipe which could or should feed 8.  It’s all gone.  We had a little bit leftover but Bear took it all and mentioned the dish to me twice while we were running errands the following day.  I have to tell you this coming from the child who ate pasta with butter and Parmesan (freshly shaved if available, of course!) from 3 yrs old till about 11 yrs old…I say that’s a big deal in our home!  Especially since it has beans in it…she once sat for 2 hours staring at bowl of chili simply because she refused to even taste it!  That’s the rule around here: you can’t say you hate it if you haven’t even tasted the food, you HAVE to taste it.  Yeah, yeah, I know I am a meanie but then again both our girls are now adventurous eaters with a formidable palate!

Here’s my version of this delicious Italian dish…no need to go to that “silly-wannabe-not really Italian” Garden place….just sayin’!

Is it a soup...a stew or a Rachael Ray calls it: a stoup?  ;)

Is it a soup…a stew or as Rachael Ray calls it: a stoup? 😉


1 lb Italian turkey sausage (sweet or hot which ever you prefer)

1 pound lean ground beef

2-ounce pancetta diced (or bacon if you prefer)

2 medium onion finely chopped

2 celery stalk finely chopped

1 carrot finely chopped

3 garlic cloves crushed and chopped

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable) (you may need to have another cup or so on hand)

1 28-ounce can small diced tomatoes (not drained)

2 cans (15.5-ounces each) cannellini or navy beans, well-drained and rinsed (keep 1 cup separate)

1 can (15.5-ounces) red kidney beans, well-drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dry)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dry)

1 tablespoon dried basil

12-ounces small pasta (I had orecchiette but choose what you like as long as it is small)

Fresh Parmesan for serving

How to:

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, cook your sausage until no longer pink.  Remove to a plate and reserve.  Next cook your ground beef, once cooked remove to a plate and reserve.  In the same pot add you pancetta and cook until just crispy.  Add your onions, celery, carrots and garlic, cook on medium-low heat until soft and fragrant, do not burn or the garlic will taste bitter.  Add your meat back to your pot, along with the broth and canned tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer.  In a small bowl mash your reserved 1 cup of beans with a fork.  Add to your pot along with the other beans.  Add your herbs, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.  You may halt your soup at this point until you are almost ready to eat.

the pausing point!

the pausing point!

Once you are 15 minutes from serving, bring back to a boil and add your pasta.  Cook until al dente (not mushy) about 8-10 minutes.  You may want to add liquid to your soup if you like a more brothy soup or leave it be.  I like to have a very thick consistency but it’s your battle, do as you wish!

Ladle your soup and sprinkle some Parmesan.  Dig in!

simply gorgeous!

simply gorgeous!

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Peace and No Garden Party Around Here!


Go check out my recipe on this great linky party as well:


Chicken and Corn Chowder

Chicken and Corn Chowder

Have you ever had something in the back of your brain that keeps on gnawing at you?  When it comes to food I sometime feel like an idiot savant.  I can read a recipe and 10 years later it will make a sudden appearance and my thoughts will be consumed by it.

On Thursday, my friend Aislinn texted me about her crazy day (and I mean CRAZY) mine wasn’t much better but at least once we left the funeral/service for our sweet Mommo (Aunt Sara’s wonderful mom) my husband’s only request was Subway.  Aislinn, on the other hand, was elbow deep into kids stuff and homemade corn chowder with a recipe sent to her by her man.  She forwarded the recipe (because she knew I HAD to check it out) and of course somehow, somewhere in the back of my crazy brain, I knew I had seen that recipe….but not on Miss Paula’s Butter Frenzy Show (she is the Queen of Butter)  Nope, I had seen that recipe somewhere else….and it started to kill me that my 43-year-old brain wasn’t making the connection!

Well, it took 3 days but I figured it out!  It was in one of my many many many cookbooks.  This one was a “traditional southern cooking” given to me by my father in law.  Great book!  I guess southern is southern regardless of whom shares it with y’all!

So I improvised my own version of corn chowder.  Since I had leftover roasted chicken, I decided to make it a double whammy! (yep…a whammy…)

You can find Mrs Deen’s recipe on here:  Food Network

I decided to make mine with about 90% less butter!  🙂

Satisfying and Delectable Chowder


4 bacon strips, chopped

4 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cup peeled & diced potatoes

1 1/2 cup chopped roasted chicken

3 cup frozen corn

3 cup low-sodium chicken broth (warm)

2 cup half & half (or 1 cup milk & 1 cup cream)

Splash hot sauce

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chopped jalapeno for serving (optional)

How to:

In a large dutch oven sauté your chopped bacon until crispy.  Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.  Set aside.

Do not drain your bacon fat (unless you have a huge amount) add your butter and melt.  Add your red pepper, onion and celery.  Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes until soft.  Add your flour and cook for another minute.  Add your potatoes, chicken, corn, broth, half & half, hot sauce, fresh thyme and paprika.  Gently bring to a soft boil (not a raging inferno please!) and let cook for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender.

this makes a decent quantity but who doesn’t want leftovers? 🙂

Serve with crispy bacon and chopped jalapeno, such a wonderful fall dish!

a little close up of the delicious chowder

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Peace and I only wish I was an idiot savant,


Chicken Saffron Rice Soup and Country Bread

Isn’t that cool? That’s my hottie hubby on the paddle board. This is the view from our friends backyard! Simply perfect!

Back home after a week-long in Florida.  What do I want to do?  Well it’s not clean my house if you were wondering but COOK…OK so you probably already knew that, but it was worth mentioning.  I have to admit that even at Dan and Janine’s I did my fair share of cooking but I still love to get back home and cook for us.  We had a wonderful time in Florida and it truly was perfect to spend time with our dear friends.  I made plenty of banana bread for my little Janine.  We had some delicious home-cooked meals.  We had fun playing Dominos….I lost a LOT…I talk too much and I tend to enjoy my wine….a LOT!  But I had fun trying…that’s the spirit, right?

Note: according to Dan I am a very sore loser but that didn’t stop him from kicking our butts almost every single game!

My first craving is soup.  Although it is so hot, humid and still feels very much like summer, I am craving soup.  Not one to ignore my craving I decided we should embrace it for supper tonight.

Note: this is enough soup for about 8-10. Feel free to cut the recipe by half.  I just love having leftover soup in the fridge for a quick-lunch.

Chicken Saffron Rice Soup with Country Bread


4-5 cups cubed or shredded chicken (leftover or about 2.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts)

2 medium onions finely chopped

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 cans 14-ounces each of roasted diced tomatoes (or 1, 28-ounce, can but I can never find them) *do not drain

1 cup chopped roasted sweet red peppers (I use the jar stuff, feel free to make your own)

4 cups frozen corn (or leftover fresh)

4-5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade)

2 “big” pinches saffron

Brown or wild rice for serving (depending on how many you serve I would count on 1/2 cup cooked rice per serving)

Fresh Basil for serving, roughly chopped

How to:

In a medium pan heat your chicken broth with your 2 pinches of saffron.  Bring this to a gentle boil and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Keep warm until ready to use.

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add your onion and cook until soft and fragrant.  Add your garlic and cook 3-4 minutes more.  Add your chopped roasted red peppers, tomatoes, corn and chicken.  Stir everything well and add your reserved chicken broth.  You may choose to only add 4 cups at this time depending on how thick you like your soup.  I added all 5 cups.  Let this simmer on medium-low for about 30 minutes.

smelling delicious!

To serve, put 1/2 cup of rice in the middle of your bowl and ladle your soup around the rice.  Sprinkle with basil and add a nice slice of thick country bread.

nothing like satisfying a craving!

Speaking of bread here is the EASIEST bread to make at home.  It is so delicious and makes your house smell amazing.  From Le Creuset website: here

The Bread recipe:


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water

How to:

Get your biggest mixing bowl and mix together your flour, salt & yeast.  Pour in your water, little by little, stirring until your left with a mixture that looks like this:

starters are never really pretty 😉

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it somewhere warm for about 12 hours, it’s best if you make it in the evening and leave it overnight.  When you come back you should have a bubbly mixture, about twice the size.

and look something like this

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F and put your Creuset pot (or medium size dutch oven) in to preheat for 30-45 mins.
While things are heating up, scrape your dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.

in case you were curious!

Set aside to rest until your “creuset” is heated.
Get your “creuset” out and carefully place your dough inside.  Using your mitts, place the lid back on top and place it back into the oven.
(Note: You don’t need to oil, grease or butter the dish)
Bake for 30 mins.  Remove lid and bake for a further 15 mins.  Oh! Sweet bread heaven!  So delicious with a little bit of butter or toasted for breakfast! YUM!

seriously??? this is insanely mouth watering!

gorgeous and yummy and yummy and….

Printer Friendly (soup): Chicken Saffron Rice Soup

Printer Friendly (bread): Le Creuset Bread

Peace and Oh Dominos!


Go check out my recipe on this lovely linky party: