Monday, October 20, 2014

Loaded Broccoli, Cheese and Bacon Soup

Some time ago I posted a recipe for Cream of Broccoli Soup on the blog.  At that time I was still looking for an even better recipe.  This recipe that I found on Mel's Kitchen Café website is excellent.  Give it a try when you've got a bunch of broccoli and are craving a warm thick comforting soup.  The author said it was hearty and delicious.  I also like this soup because it has other vegetables besides the broccoli and I'm all about using vegetables!

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots, diced small
  • 1 cup chopped celery, diced small
  • 3 cups chopped potatoes, diced small
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4-5 cups coarsely chopped broccoli; peel the outside of the tough stalks before using
  • 4-6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk (I used 1/2 skim milk and 1/2 half and half)
  • 3-4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese  
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • In a large saucepan, combine the chicken broth, carrots, celery, potatoes and onion. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to get tender.
    Add the chopped broccoli. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. The pan is going to be very full of vegetables and it might seem like it isn't "soupy" enough since the vegetables overpower the broth but I promise it will all work out when you add the cheese mixture.
    In a separate medium saucepan, saute the bacon until golden and crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain the grease.  If you prefer you can use a combination of bacon grease and butter to prepare the cream sauce.
    Melt the butter (in the same saucepan you cooked the bacon in) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook until the mixture is bubbling and is slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes.
    Stir in the cheddar cheese one handful at a time, adding another handful after the cheese that has been added has melted. Stir in the salt, pepper and dry mustard.
    Slowly stir the cheese sauce into the hot broth and vegetables, whisking to combine well. Stir in the reserved bacon and add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. If you want the soup a bit thinner, stir in a little extra broth or milk a bit at a time until you get the consistency you are looking for.  We like thick soup, so I didn't add any additional liquid.
    Adapted from

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Nut Stuffed Delicata Squash

    This  is a very good vegetarian recipe using Delicata Squash.  I loved it!  I'm not sure Arthur did, but he ate it--just not with as much enthusiasm as I did.

    The recipe calls for a variety of nuts.  Some of which I had and others I didn't.  Just use 1 1/3 cups of whatever nuts you have on hand.  A variety is nice but probably not essential. 

    3 tablespoons butter
    1 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or fresh thyme leaves or a combination of both   
    1/3 cup chopped walnuts
    1/3 cup chopped pistachios
    1/3 cup chopped almonds
    1/3 cup pine nuts
    1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt (you can also substitute sour cream)   
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    About 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
    2 Delicata squash (about 2 lbs. total), halved lengthwise and seeded

    Preheat oven to 350°.  Place squash halves cut side down in pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1/2 hour.  Prepare filling.
    Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in herbs and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, combine yogurt or sour cream, eggs, and 1/2 cup parmesan. Stir in nut mixture.
    Remove squash from oven and remove foil.  Turn squash over and divide stuffing among squash halves, sprinkle with more parmesan, and bake until tender when pierced with a fork and tops are browning, about 30 minutes.
    Adapted from

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    Radish Top Soup

    We got a bunch of radishes in our first CSA box of the season which had the radish greens with the radishes.  The radish tops were much too nice to just toss into the compost.  I found this recipe for Radish Top Soup on that I adapted.  It is a tasty soup that's very easy to make. 

    Another use for the green tops are in green smoothies.  I tried it today with a another bunch of radish tops that I had.  I used the greens (about 2 cups), 1 cup each of mango and pineapple (frozen), 2 bananas and some vanilla almond milk.  The greens added color but didn't change the flavor of the fruit.

    2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
    1 cup (approx.) chopped onions
    3 green onions or you could use 1 or 2 green garlic stalks
    3/4 cup chopped celery
    2 medium potatoes, coarsely chopped
    4 cups raw radish greens (if you don't have enough you could add turnip tops or spinach)
    3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
    1/3 cup heavy cream (or 1/2 & 1/2)
    5-6 sliced radishes

    Sauté onions in the oil until tender.  Mix in the other vegetables.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Add salt and pepper.  Blend with immersion blender or blend in batches in a blender.  Return the soup to pan and add cream.  Serve topped with sliced radishes  which add a nice crunch.  Taste to see if the soup needs additional seasoning.

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

    Steamed Salmon with Lemon and Vegetables

    I found this recipe in the magazine Midwest Living and made it for dinner. Arthur loved it and said he wanted me to save it in my blog so that I could make it again.  Typically I make a recipe once and unless it is really good I throw it away.  With so many recipes available it is hard to keep track of the really good ones which is one of the purposes of my blog.

    This one is interesting because the vegetables are made into vegetable ribbons and serve as a bed for the salmon.  The salmon steams on top of the vegetables and remains very moist.

    1 lemon
    1 medium zucchini
    1 medium yellow summer squash
    2 medium carrots, peeled
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1-1 1/4# salmon fillets (if the salmon has skin it can easily be removed after cooking)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon dried tarrgon, crushed
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    4 teaspoons olive oil

    Zest and juice the lemon (to yield about 4 teaspoons juice and 2 teaspoons zest). Set aside.
    Trim ends from zucchini squash and carrots. With a vegetable peeler, peel vegetables lengthwise into long, thin ribbons.  A Y-shaped vegetable peeler works best to get long wide vegetable ribbons. Place the ribbons in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and drizzle with the 4 teaspoons lemon juice.     

    Place salmon over vegetables. Sprinkle with garlic, tarragon, 1/4 salt and the pepper. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with reserved lemon zest. Cover and bake in a 425 degrees oven for 16 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with Herbed Quinoa Pilaf and, if desired, lemon wedges.

    Herbed Quinoa Pilaf

    3 sliced green onions
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1 1/2 cups chicken broth
    1 cup rinsed and drained quinoa
    1/4 cup chopped parsley

    Cook the green onions in olive oil until tender in a medium saucepan.  Add the chicken broth, cover and bring to a boil.  Stir in quinoa and return to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014

    Corn & Black Bean Pico

    This very simple recipe is a favorite of my 11 year old grandson.  Who would have thought it!

    1/4 or less red onion or yellow onion, finely chopped or chopped green onions
     1 1/2 cups frozen corn (no need to cook)
    1 can drained & rinsed black beans
    1/4 cup or more roughly chopped cilantro
    1 can Ro*tel tomatoes with green chilies or any available brand
    Juice of 1 lime (or lemon)
    Salt to taste
    1/4 t. black pepper
    1/4 t. ground cumin
    1/8 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
    Mix it all together and allow to sit for 30 minutes for the corn to defrost and the flavors to blend.  Serve with corn or taco chips.  The quantities are all adjustable to suit your own tastes.

    Adapted from Ten Dollar Dinners on the Food Network

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    Rhubarb Custard Cake

    This recipe is a great way to use a substantial amount of rhubarb.  I made it for my book club when the meeting was at our place and everyone really liked it.  There is one caveat--the recipe uses a cake mix!  I never use store bought cake mixes but did make an exception with this recipe.  You could probably use homemade yellow cake batter, but I caved in and used a cake mix.  The three yellow cake mixes receiving the best reviews were:
    King Arthur Flour All-Natural Golden Vanilla Cake Mix - I think this is only available through the King Arthur catalogue

    Betty Crocker SuperMoist Golden Vanilla Cake Mix (reviewed well on Good; this is the one I used)

    Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow Cake Mix (reviewed the best on Epicurious)

    1 yellow cake mix
    5 cups chopped raw rhubarb
    1 cup sugar (or a bit less)
    1 pint heavy whipping cream (2 cups)
    Additional whipping cream for serving

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cake mix according to the directions on the box.  Pour into a 9 x 13" oblong pan, preferably Pyrex.  Cover the batter with the chopped rhubarb and sprinkle with the sugar.  Pour the whipping cream over the ingredients in pan.

    Place a pan on the rack under the cake.  The cream in my pan cooked over the top a bit.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly.  You can also test the cake with a cake tester.  The cream and the rhubarb sink to the bottom forming a custard layer.  Serve the cake in squares with cream whipped with a teaspoon of vanilla.

    Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    Sweet Potato Soup with Spinach & Harissa

    I love sweet potato soup.  I wanted to try this recipe because I had spinach from the farmers market as well as a jar of harissa.  Harissa is also known as Tunisian chili paste. This spice mixture originated in Tunisia. It contains chilies, cumin, garlic, coriander, caraway seeds, cinnamon, olive oil and sometimes tomatoes.  The harissa that I have is quite hot.  The first time I used it, my husband said he couldn't eat the dish.  I didn't think it was quite that hot, but now I use less then the recipe calls for and add more after tasting.  This recipe originally called for 1 1/2 tablespoons of harissa.  I cut it in half and used 2 teaspoons.  Your harissa may not be as hot as mine or you may have a higher tolerance than Arthur.

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 medium leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
    3 tbsp tomato paste
    3 tbsp creamy peanut butter (chunky is OK too)
    2 teaspoons harissa paste (read intro above)
    2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tsp ground turmeric
    3/4 tsp ground cumin
    2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 5 cups)
    3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    3-4 oz. baby spinach leaves (about 2 cups packed)  If you are using larger spinach leaves just chop them up a bit.
    Salt to taste
    Garnish with chopped peanuts (optional, but good)

    1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add leeks and saute 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste, peanut butter, harissa, garlic, turmeric and cumin.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add sweet potatoes, broth and 1 1/2 cups water.  Simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
    2. Blend mixture with immersion blender, adding more water if soup is too thick.  Bring soup back to a simmer and stir in spinach leaves. 

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

    Baked Shrimp with Tomatillos

    Although I'm posting this recipe out of season I didn't want to lose it.  It is a great recipe to use tomatillos which if you are a CSA member you may receive in one of your boxes.  Otherwise you can find them in the grocery store in the produce department, often with other Latino vegetables.
    They are most often used for green salsa but this is a great recipe if you want to try something different.

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
  • 1-2 jalapeno chiles, seeded, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb tomatillos, chopped (see note below on preparing the tomatillos)
  • Salt
  • 1/4 liquid (water, chicken broth or clam juice)
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 cup Cotija queso seco cheese (can substitute feta)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Black pepper
    An oven-proof sauté pan or cast iron pan
    1 Heat oil in the pan you will use for baking. Add the onions and jalapeños, cook for 5 minutes on medium high until the onions begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add the tomatillos, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatillos are cooked through, but still hold their shape. Sprinkle salt over the tomatillos as they are cooking.
    2 Add liquid.
    3 Add the cheese and shrimp. Cook in a preheated 425°F oven for 10 minutes.
    4 Remove pan from the oven. Right before serving, mix in the cilantro and sprinkle with lime juice and freshly ground black pepper.  Serve the shrimp with heated flour tortillas to make delicious and unusual tacos.

    Preparing Tomatillos:
    Remove the husks before using, the husks are inedible. Tomatillos are very easy to cook with because they don't need to be peeled or seeded. Their texture is firm when raw, but soften when cooked. Rinse before using as the tomatillo is covered by a sticky substance. Do not peel the green skin.
    Adapted from Simply (see the website for a picture of the dish)

    Friday, April 25, 2014

    Sweet Potato Cornbread

    This is an excellent recipe for a cornbread made with sweet potatoes.  This recipe uses no flour which is a consideration if you have an issue with gluten. 

    5 large eggs, whisked
    1 cup sour cream (low fat is OK)
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
    2 cups (16oz) cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (see note)
    1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal
    2 tablespoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon table salt

    Set oven at 425F. Rub a cast iron skillet with butter and place in the oven to heat up along with the oven. If a cast iron skillet is not available you could use a 9" square pan.
    In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the sour cream and sugar, then the butter and sweet potatoes. Measure the cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.  Combine the baking powder and salt with the cornmeal. Then whisk the cornmeal into the wet mixture, whisking just until combined.
    Turn batter into the hot skillet and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
    Cut into squares or slices to serve warm if you like or let cool, cover and serve later in the day.

    Note:  It took about 1-1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes to yield 2 cups of mashed cooked sweet potato. They can be baked or boiled.

    Adapted from A Veggie Venture which also includes a nice picture of the cornbread:

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Delicious Breakfast Sandwiches

    This recipe was adapted from a recipe from Cook's Country.  I served them when my family visited from Chicago.  They are very adaptable.  You can use different types of sandwich buns; cook the eggs however the eater prefers; and use whatever variety of cheese you like and have available.  The arugula and sliced tomatoes are also optional.

    4 English muffins, split (I used Brownberry sandwich thins)
    3 tablespoons softened butter
    1/4 cup mayonnaise
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    4 large eggs
    Salt and pepper
    4 slices of thin deli ham
    4 ounces shredded or sliced Gruyere cheese
    1 1/2 cups arugula
    4 thin tomato slices

    Butter the English muffins or sandwich buns (split) and broil until lightly brown.  Mix mayonnaise and mustard.  Cook eggs however you like.  I made poached eggs for one, scrambled eggs for another and sunny side up eggs for the third.  Essentially I doubled the recipe because each person ate 2 sandwiches. 

    Take a muffin half and spread with mayonnaise/mustard dressing.  Top with a slice of ham, the eggs, and shredded or grated cheese.  Warm in the oven for a minute or two to melt the cheese.  Remove, top with arugula, tomato slice and the other half of the muffin. 

    I was able to buy the ham, eggs, cheese, arugula and tomatoes all at our winter's farmers market.  I had the mayo and mustard in my frig, so I just needed to get some sandwich buns at the store.  The sandwiches were very popular with my family as well as being quick and easy to make.

    Adapted from Cook's

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

    Strawberry Buttermilk Pancakes

    What another pancake recipe!  Yes, this one incorporates strawberries which I think are a wonderful addition to pancakes.  The recipe was adapted from a blog entitled Simply Scratch.  The author Laurie comments, "I think I could survive on pancakes alone."  I recommend checking her blog out because she has wonderful pictures of the whole process of making the pancakes.

    2 cups All Purpose Flour
    2 tablespoons Vanilla Sugar (available from Penzey's Spices)*
    1 teaspoon Baking Powder
    1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
    1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
    2 cups Buttermilk
    1/4 cup Greek Yogurt {heaping}
    2 whole Eggs
    3 tablespoons Melted Butter {cooled but not solidified}
    1 cup Chopped Fresh Strawberries (heaping)
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

    Preheat your griddle to 350 degrees and wipe with a little oil or spray with organic pan spray.  In a large bowl; sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.

    In a different bowl; whisk together the buttermilk, Greek yogurt, eggs and butter.
    Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and gently stir to combine. Do not over mix.  I needed a bit more buttermilk because my batter was too thick.

    Add in the chopped fresh strawberries and pecans if using and stir only a few times to get them mixed in.

    Drop a 1/4 cup full of the pancake batter on to the griddle. When the center is set and the bubbles no longer fill in with batter when they pop it's time to Flip {about 3-4 minutes}. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes more.  Repeat with the remaining batter. Keep the finished pancakes on a rack and place in a preheated 200 degree oven to keep warm.
    Serve with butter and real maple syrup!

    * If you don't have vanilla sugar you could just use 2 tablespoons of sugar and add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    Bacon and Corn Griddle Cakes

    Looking at the recipe I posted last time it appears that I'm on a bacon kick.  This recipe is for some delicious and very unusual pancakes.  I borrowed the recipe from the Recipe Girl website.  Check it out she has lovely pictures of the pancakes.

    6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2/3 cup milk
    1 large egg, beaten
    1 tablespoon sunflower oil (Driftless Organics) or other vegetable oil
    1 cup frozen or fresh corn
    1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
     maple syrup and/or sour cream for serving

    In a medium skillet, cook the bacon pieces until they begin to brown. Add the onion and continue to cook until the bacon is crisp and the onion is softened. While the bacon is cooking, combine the flour, chives, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Combine the milk, egg and oil and add to the dry ingredients.  Stir just until moistened. Stir in the bacon mixture, corn and cheese. The mixture will be thick. If the batter seems a bit too thick add a little more milk to thin it out.
    Heat and grease a griddle or large skillet. Pour a heaping 1/4-cup of the batter onto the griddle and cook until it is golden brown- 3 to 4 minutes per side. Keep the pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven while making the rest.
    The pancakes can be served with warm maple syrup as per the original recipe or topped with sour cream which is also good.

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

    Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon

    We have been getting quite a bit of red cabbage from our CSA farm.  I find it a bit more challenging to decide what to do with red cabbage than green.  This was a recipe that I found that sounded promising. It was a success and got Arthur's vote of, "put it on your blog." 

    This is easily adjusted for more or less cabbage.

    1 small head of cabbage
    3 slices  (or more) bacon cut into thin slices
    1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
    1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    1 cup chicken broth
    Salt & pepper to taste

    Slice the cabbage into quarters, remove the core and slice into 1/4" strips.  This can be done quickly with a food processor.
    Cook bacon until browned and remove from pan.  Cook onion in the bacon fat until it is tender and slightly brown.  Season with a bit of salt. 
    Add cabbage, stir to coat with the bacon fat.  Cook until it begins to wilt.  Stir in brown sugar and mustard.
    Deglaze the pan with the vinegar.  Add the chicken broth with additional salt & some pepper.  Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover the pan.  Simmer, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is tender.  This can take up to 45 minutes--check at 30.  It should still be a bit soupy.  Add the bacon and check for seasonings.

    I served this with some browned Italian sausage.

    Adapted from a recipe from CHOW.