Thursday, February 1, 2018

Slow-cooker Italian Sausage & Vegetable Soup

This recipe is from this fabulous cookbook

Yield 8 servings

2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon fennel seed
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1-1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage links
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 kale leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
Shredded  Parmesan cheese for serving

In the slow cooker pot, add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, both beans, chicken stock, onion, garlic, salt, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, fennel and red pepper flakes.  Stir well to combine and set slow cooker to low.  Cook for 6 hours.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage links for 15 minutes, flipping once, until sausage is cooked through and set aside.  Once cool enough to handle, slice sausage into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Add sausage, zucchini and kale to the slow cooker and stir well to combine.  Cook on high for 30 minutes.  Serve soup with Parmesan cheese on top.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Vegan Sweet Potato Chowder

Vegan Sweet Potato Chowder

From the Kitchn website

Serves 6
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (2 to 3 medium potatoes), peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups
    vegetable stock
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the sweet potatoes, coriander, paprika, sage, salt, and pepper; stir to combine; and cook for 1 minute.
Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer about 2 cups of the soup, broth, and vegetables to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Stir the purée back into the soup and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Easy Chicken and Rice Soup

 From two peas and their pod website

The perfect soup for a cold day or if you have a cold! It also makes a great weeknight meal.

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock or broth (we use low sodium)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (can use rotisserie chicken)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
  2. Pour in the chicken broth and water and bring the liquid to a boil. Add in the rice and chicken; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook on medium-low until the rice is tender, about 25-30 minutes. Serve warm.
*Note-for the shredded chicken you can use rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken and shred it. To cook the chicken for the soup, bring a pot of water on the stove and add two chicken breast, that have been cut into large pieces. Boil the chicken until it is cooked all the way through and there is no pink left. This will take about 7 minutes or so. Drain the water and shred the chicken once it is cooled. I use 2 forks to shred the chicken. You can also use leftover turkey in this soup recipe. You can use wild rice or brown rice, it will just take a little longer to cook!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cheesecake Rice Pudding

From Mel's Kitchen Cafe


4 cups half-and-half
2 cups cooked medium grain rice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten and brought to room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


6 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons powdered sugar


2 tablespoons cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-process)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Pour 3 1/2 cups of the half-and-half, cooked rice, sugar, and salt into a large 3 to 4 quart pot. Stir constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon or flat silicone spatula until the mixture thickens, 25-35 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Place the beaten egg in a medium bowl. Slowly add a spoonful of the hot pudding to the egg, whisking vigorously and constantly. Continue to temper the egg with 3-4 more spoonfuls of the hot pudding, whisking constantly. Add the tempered pudding and egg mixture into the pot of hot rice pudding, stirring quickly to incorporate. Return the pot to medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture boils.

Remove from the heat and stir in the last 1/2 cup of half-and-half and the vanilla extract.


For the cheesecake version, stir the softened cubes of cream cheese into the hot pudding. Add the powdered sugar and stir well until the cream cheese is fully melted and incorporated. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to avoid a skin forming and refrigerate until ready to serve. The pudding can be served warm, room temperature or cold and will keep well covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

For the chocolate version, add the cocoa, powdered sugar and 1/3 to 1/2 of the chocolate chips to the hot pudding. Stir until melted and smooth. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to avoid a skin forming. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Once chilled, stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled. It will keep well covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Apple Strudel

From Paula Deen

Apple Strudel:

1/4 cup bourbon or apple juice
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 to 3 Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound), peeled, cored, halved, and thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup crushed shortbread cookies
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
5 sheets phyllo dough from 1 pound package of frozen dough
2 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing phyllo sheets, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Confectioners' sugar
Caramel sauce, purchased


2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons milk

For the Strudel:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, pour the bourbon or apple juice over the raisins and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Combine the raisins, apples, lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, cookie crumbs, pecans, and butter in a large bowl.

Remove the phyllo dough from the box, unfold, and cover with a damp towel. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on the work surface and brush lightly with melted butter. Repeat with the remaining sheets, brushing each with melted butter, stacking when done, being sure to keep the unbuttered phyllo covered.

Place the apple mixture on the nearest third of the phyllo stack, being sure to leave a 2-inch border. Gently lift the bottom edge of the phyllo stack to cover the filling and fold the side edges over. Continue to roll the stack away from you until the filling is completely sealed in and the seam is on the bottom. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Pour over the glaze and sprinkle with cinnamon and confectioners' sugar. Pass warm caramel sauce, to drizzle over the strudel.

For the Glaze:

Mix ingredients thoroughly.

*Cook's Note: If too thick add a little bit of milk. If too thin add a little bit of confectioners' sugar.

Tartine's Soft Glazed Gingerbread


3 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄4 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup and 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 large egg
1⁄2 cup blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons water

To make the dough, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is completely smooth and soft. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

Add the egg and mix well. Add the molasses and corn syrup and beat until incorporated. Stop the mixer again and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until a dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl and all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Remove the dough from the bowl, flatten it on a large piece of plastic wrap into a rectangle about 1 inch thick, cover the dough with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick liner.
Unwrap the dough and place on a floured work surface. If using a plaque with a design, roll out the dough 1/3 inch thick, lightly dust the top with flour, press your cookie molds over the dough, and then cut out the shapes with a small knife and place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Alternatively, using the mold as a guide, cut around it with a small knife, flip the mold over so the design is facing you, and place the dough over it, pressing it into the design. Unmold the shapes onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them.

If using a patterned rolling pin, lightly dust the lined baking sheet with flour and transfer the dough to the pan. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and roll it into a rectangle about 1/3 inch thick with a plain pin. Then, using the patterned pin, roll over the dough with enough pressure to ensure a clear impression of the design. Trim the sides with a small knife. It is not necessary to cut into smaller sizes before baking.

Bake the cookies until lightly golden along the sides but still soft to the touch in the centers, 7 to 15 minutes. The timing will depending on the size of the individual cookies, or if you have made a single large patterned piece that will be cut after baking.

While the cookies are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar and water until smooth.

When the cookies are ready, remove from the oven and let cool on the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then, while the cookies are still warm, using even strokes, brush a light coat of glaze on the top of each cookie, evenly covering it.

Let the cookies cool completely. When the glaze dries, it should leave a shiny, opaque finish. If you have used a patterned pin to make a single large plaque, cut into the desired sizes with a small, very sharp knife. At the bakery, we cut them into 3-by-4-inch rectangles, but 1 1/2 by 4 inches makes a nice smaller size.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Marinated Chicken Breasts

One of Mom's favorites from the first cookbook

12 chicken breasts boned and skinned
1/2 pint sour cream
2 tsp salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp paprika
Pepperidge Farm Dressing Mix

Mix and marinate breasts.  Let stand at least 1 hour.  Blend Pepperidge farm dressing into bread crumbs.  Dip breasts in crumbs and place 1 deep on cooking sheet.  Melt 1 square butter and drizzle over chicken.  Cover and bake for 2 hours at 300.
Uncover last 1/2 hour.