(Beefy) Chicken Noodle Soup

3/4# of chicken thigh meat
1/2 red onion - chopped
2T butter
2T mild white balsamic vinegar
1-2c chopped celery and tops
1 carrots - sliced
1 clove elephant garlic - minced
2qts. water
2± chicken (or beef) soup base
a couple handfuls of wide noodles

Today was a long day and chicken noodle soup sounded good.  I started by cutting the chicken into bite size pieces and sautéing the meat with a little of the onion in the butter and vinegar.  When starting to brown well, add a little water until it all evaporates and browns further.  Repeat this browning and water process several times until the pan and the meat are nicely browned.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the noodles.  Simmer, stirring the pot to blend all the brownings into the water.  Ideally, you want to use chicken soup base, but unfortunately I didn't discover I had run out that until this was simmering.  Decided to go with the beef this time, since I've never been one to dash to town for just a couple forgotten items.  Much better to just improvise.  :-)  Simmer all this for 20 minutes.  Add the noodles and simmer until those are done the way you like them.  Great with a salad or some crusty garlicky bread. . .Lin   

"Tired Vegetable" Casserole

This can be made with whatever almost questionable, vegetables you may have lurking in your refrigerator crisper.  My dad used to call these 'tired vegetables' :-)  Today, this is what I found:

2 lg. carrots
water to cover sliced carrots
1/2 med. head of green cabbage
1 bunch of broccoli
1/2 med. red onion
2-3T coconut oil
1-2T seasoning of the day
fresh ground garlic sea salt
   sour cream
   plain Greek yogurt
chopped nuts or seeds

Slice the carrots into a big pan - just one layer deep.  Barely cover them with water and simmer, covered about 5 minutes to give them a head start.  Carrots are very dense and take longer to cook than most vegetables.  Layer the vegetables as shown.  Chopped cabbage, broccoli florets broken into bite-sized pieces, sliced red onion, top with coconut oil and sprinkle with whatever seasoning strikes your fancy!  Chili Lime Seasoning was my choice today, but Curry Powder or Tandoori would also be wonderful.

Cover and simmer on low long enough to melt the coconut oil and steam the vegetables.  Maybe 10 minutes.  Uncover, stir gently, continue to cook on low, uncovered until all the water evaporates.  Stir in the sour cream and yogurt, cover and heat just until the sauce that's created warms, don't let it bubble.  (My broccoli was overdone today.  It should be bright green when served.  Next time I'll only steam-cook the florets 5 minutes or so.)  Serve topped with chopped pecans, almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds.  Yum! . . . Lin

Penny - my Food Hound, and Oliver - my laid-back Puggle!  As a footnote, when I'm preparing anything in the kitchen, my sweet dogs are always right there.  You have to be careful what you give them, chocolate, grapes and raisins for instance should absolutely NOT be given to dogs!  However, apples, carrots, lettuce cores, broccoli stems, cabbage leaves are given to mine regularly.  Keeps them healthy, and they love it!  Try it with your pups. . .Google "safe fruit and vegetables for dogs."
I only post recipes from other sources occasionally, when I find something really unique or that sounds so good I'd like to try it, or a variation, at some future point. . .This is one of those.

ALL my favorite things go into this guac - and then - THAT goes into an onion ring!  What could be better?

The breading and frying aren't the best, but, for a special, rare occasion. . .I've got to try this sometime soon.  

c l i c k:

Pork and Cabbage Soup

1# very lean 'leftover' pork
1 med. onion - chopped
2T butter or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lg. heavy head of green cabbage
2-3 lg. carrots
1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
28oz. ± water
your favorite soup seasonings

Cut the pre-cooked pork into cubes and brown with butter or olive oil, and a little of the onion in a 3qt. pot.  Brown and deglaze with a little water, white wine or beer, several times until the meat and pan are nicely browned.  Add cabbage you've cut into cubes, sliced-chopped carrots, tomatoes, water and seasonings.  Simmer, covered, on medium heat for an hour or so.  Serve when vegetables are done the way you like them.  Would go nicely with some crusty garlic bread. . .Lin

SuperFruit Yogurt Smoothie

1 sm.-med. banana
3/4c pineapple juice
3/4c fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4c plain Greek yogurt

This is just packed with great nutrients.  Bananas for Vit. B-6, Vit. C, fiber and potassium.  Pineapple juice, in this amount, for 100% of your MDA requirement of Vit. C and bromelian which is a powerful, natural anti-inflammatory.  Cranberries contain Vit. C, fiber, and both these and pineapple juice are great antioxidants.

Good quality Greek yogurt has 15+g of protein for a serving this size, as well as 20% of your daily calcium needs.

Also, of course, the live and active probiotic cultures, that are easily digested in yogurt, and are SO important for maintaining good 'gut' health.

Get in the habit of buying these ingredients - whip one up each day, and your body will be happy! . . . Lin

Asparagus-Shrimp and Pasta

8-12oz. frozen raw shrimp
4oz. frozen asparagus
3 lg. garlic cloves
1/2 lg. onion
2-3T butter
a little water
salt-pepper-hot Hungarian paprika
2/3c sour cream
cooked spaghetti, drained

Thaw, shell and de-tail the shrimp.  Combine first 7 ingredients in a big non-stick pan.  Simmer-saute' for 5-10 minutes, covered.  Check the shrimp and asparagus for 'doneness'.  At the very end, just before serving, stir in the sour cream and spaghetti.  Makes 2 big servings.  And...it's...awesome! . . . Lin

Not My Recipe!

Not My Recipe!
This is one of those few times I'll find something that sounds so good to me, I just don't want to lose it. I was immediately attracted to this recipe, and even moreso when in the very beginning of the description it mentions you don't need an exact recipe for this. In other words: Be creative! Sounds like such a good one though that I'm anxious to try it sometime soon.

Surprising Sauerkraut Pork

3# boneless pork
2T butter, coconut oil, bacon fat
16oz sauerkraut 
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

This is a recipe my daughter's fiance' started using several years ago, it's not one of my originals, but I wanted to post it here since it's SO good!

After trimming away all visible fat, brown the meat on high to quick sear it.  Turn heat down and continue to brown well.  Add sauerkraut and soup - and a little water if this mixture looks a little too dry.  Simmer on low, covered for several hours, checking so it doesn't stick and turning it regularly to keep meat coated and moist.  Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables. 

Carrot-Cranberry-Banana Smoothie

1 med. carrot - scrubbed and sliced
3/4c fresh or frozen cranberries
1 sm.-med. banana
1c plain Greek yogurt
3/4c or more cherry juice

Combine all in the blender container.  Cover and pulse a few times to get the blending started.  If it doesn't blend easily, add a little more juice.  Blend on medium or high for a minute or so.  Pour and serve.  Makes 2 big glasses. . .Lin

Florentine Shrimp and Pasta

10oz. pkg. frozen spinach
1 lg. clove elephant garlic
2T coconut oil or butter
12-16oz. raw frozen shrimp
cayenne pepper - for some wonderful heat  :-)
Himalayan pink salt
2t ± nutmeg
3/4-1c sour cream
chicken bullion and water
perfectly cooked spaghetti

In a large non-stick pan, thaw the spinach - use the liquid.  Heat and break it all up, adding the garlic and coconut oil or butter.  Cover and steam a few minutes.  Push to the edges of the pan and put the shrimp in the middle.  Stir and sauté the shrimp until they begin to color up - they'll go from grey to a beautiful coral color.  Add the seasonings then blend the seasoned shrimp with the spinach.  Add the sour cream and a little chicken 'stock' if needed, then simmer all together a few minutes.  Serve over that wonderful spaghetti.  This is soooo good! . . . Lin

Onion-Tomato Pesto Eggs

2 Jumbo Free Range Chicken Eggs
1/2 medium Vidalia onion
Aldi's Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

As some of you may know, I've been busy lately with 3 nasty surgeries, since late September.  After my most recent one, while recuperating here in a rehab facility in my home town, a friend came to visit with some wonderful things she had cooked for me AND a dozen wonderful jumbo free-range chicken eggs that were sent along by a sweet-good friend who raises chickens.  (thank you Steve!)  Today, finally, I feel like actually cooking.  This was the Most Magnificent Breakfast!!!

Saute' the onion in the butter until just barely translucent.  Add the eggs and stir.  When almost done cooking, spoon on the pesto, stir and simmer just long enough for everything to be combined, real and vibrant.  Transfer to a perfectly-sized plate and devour!!!!. . . .Lin

Apple-Pecan Butternut Squash Soup

1 lg. butternut squash
1 honey crisp apple
2 lg. cloves elephant garlic
1 med. onion
1/2-1c chopped pecans
salt and pepper
2-3T coconut oil
2T pumpkin pie spice
1-2T chicken soup base
1T raw or brown sugar
1c sour cream

Peel the squash and apple, seed both and dice into a 9x13" glass baking pan.  Chop the garlic, onion and pecans and add to the pan.  Season and drizzle with melted coconut oil.  Toss and put in a 390° oven.  Roast for 40 minutes or so, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

Put roasted vegetables and apples in a 5qt. pot and add the spice, soup base, sugar and water.  Mash well and simmer until the whole house smells wonderful!  Stir in the sour cream and serve. . .Lin

Plum-Spice Sour Cream Coffee Cake

2c Bisquick Baking Mix
1t baking soda
1T cinnamon
1t nutmeg
1c quick cooking oats
2 jumbo eggs
1 stick butter - melted
1-1/3c light brown sugar
10oz. sour cream

10oz. plum preserves

1/2c Bisquick
1/2c coarse natural sugar
4T butter
1t cinnamon
1t nutmeg

I'm not intuitive in regard to baking.  I am with cooking, which to me is more of an art.  Baking is a science, and it sort of scares me.  Today I had three ingredients in mind.  Oatmeal, Bisquick and plum preserves.  I thought that sounded like a great start for a coffee cake.  So I searched with Google on those ingredients and didn't come up with much.  I finally used ideas from several basic recipes in creating my own here.

In a medium bowl, combine the first five ingredients.  Crack in the eggs.  In a small pan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar, stirring well.  Add this to the bowl, along with the sour cream and stir well with a wooden spoon.

Spoon about 1/4 of the batter into a small bowl and combine with the plum preserves.  Spread 1/2 of the remaining batter into a well buttered 9x13" glass pan.  Spoon the plum mixture on top and spread.

Add remaining batter and spread it over the other two layers.  In another small bowl, combine the last five ingredients for the crumble topping.  Cut with a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter is small pea size.  Sprinkle this over the coffee cake.  Bake in preheated 350° oven for about 50 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting into squares. . .Lin

Horseradish Sweet Potatoes / Yams

4 sm.-med. sweet potatoes / yams
6 lg. garlic cloves - chopped
4T hot-spicy horseradish
4T brown sugar
4T butter
8oz. half & half or heavy cream
salt and pepper

Peel and cube the sweet potatoes / yams into a pan with salted cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender.  Add garlic, cover and let stand 5-10 minutes.

Drain, add all remaining ingredients, mash and spoon into a flat baking dish.  Broil on high for a few minutes to brown the top and give it a little crustiness.  Goes well with all sorts of meat, poultry, ham, etc. . .Lin

Sour Cream Cabbage and Ham

1 med.-lg. green cabbage
2T butter
3/4c water - to start
1/2# precooked ham
3/4c sour cream

Cut the cabbage in quarters and remove the core.  (Give it to you dogs if they love vegetables as much as mine do.)

Slice and chop the cabbage in smallish pieces, into a 2qt. pot.  Add butter, pepper and water.  Simmer, covered for about a half hour.  Check to see if it needs more water.  Repeat this step 4 or 5 times.  Add the chopped ham for the last 30 minutes of simmer time, and continue to cook, uncovered so there's only a little water left at the end.  After the last 30 minutes, stir in sour cream and serve.  If you're not counting carbs, this would pair really well with some Parslied New Potatoes. . .Lin

Lemon-Florentine Chicken Noodle Soup

1-1/2# boneless skinless chicken
2T butter
1-1/2c chopped celery

4-6c water
2T chicken Better Than Bullion
5 lg. cloves garlic - chopped
2 med. carrots slice-chopped

1 5oz. bag fresh baby spinach - sliced
1 lemon - zest and juice
4-8oz. vermicelli noodles. . .
- broken and cooked el dente'
- then rinsed in cold water and drained

Combine first ingredients in a heavy-bottomed 3 qt. pot.  Saute' until liquid from the chicken has evaporated and everything's beginning to brown.  Add next ingredients; stir, cover and simmer about an hour.  Add the last ingredients; stir and simmer, covered on low just until spinach is wilted.  Serve with some crusty bread if you'd like. . .Lin

Fall Harvest Soup

1 lg. sweet potato - peeled
1 jumbo carrot - scrubbed
1 med. yellow onion
1 lg. apple - unpeeled
2T butter
sea salt, ground black pepper
2-3t ground cinnamon
1T raw sugar
2-4c water
1-2T chicken Better Than Bullion
3/4c± sour cream
sunflower seeds

Finely dice (or chop with a food chopper) the first 4 ingredients and combine with the butter in a 3 qt. pot.  Season, stir and saute' for 15 minutes or longer, until everything softens.  Add water and bullion and simmer another 20 minutes until everything's done the way you like it.   Cool a little and stir in the sour cream.  Reheat just to a small bubble then serve with some sunflower seeds sprinkled on top.  Makes 4 servings. . .Lin 

Thai Shredded Vegetable Pasta

1 med. zucchini
2 med. carrots
2T butter
6 cloves garlic - minced
a big handful of spinach
1/3c sunflower seeds
3T crunchy peanut butter
a little soy sauce
a big handful of cooked spaghetti

This was fun.  I had leftover spaghetti that had been rinsed, drained and stored in a plastic bag.  I decided to shred up some vegetables, combine everything and keep it simple tonight.  It was so good!

Into a big non-stick pan, shred the zucchini and carrots.  Simmer in the butter, on low heat, covered, for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and finely sliced spinach.  Cook until the spinach wilts.  Add all remaining ingredients, stir a little to melt the peanut butter and coat the vegetables and spaghetti. . .Lin

Butternut Squash Soup

1 lg. butternut squash
6 lg. cloves garlic
2T butter
2T extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground salt and pepper
sm. carton of butternut squash soup
1T cinnamon
2T raw sugar
3/4 c sour cream
1 c half and half

Peel, scoop out the seeds, and dice the squash into a 8x10" or a 9x13" glass baking dish.  Add chopped garlic, dabs of butter and drizzle on the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400° oven a half hour.  Reduce heat to 350° until squash is soft, which could take a couple hours.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Stir and put into a heavy bottomed pot.  At this point, while rounding up the remaining ingredients, in the kitchen of the home I'm renting, I discovered a little carton of Butternut Squash Soup!!!  Oh my, what to do. . .well, I added it to the mix.  Stir in the remaining ingredients, mash with a potato masher if you'd like to get the soup a little smoother.  Heat to a low bubble, top with some pine nuts or chopped pecans and a little dab of sour cream.  Mmmm. . .it's really good! . . . Lin

Tri-Meat Loaf and Sour Cream Cabbage

1/2 lb. 'Butcher's Blend' - ground beef and pork
1# ground turkey
1/2 lg. onion - chopped
1/2 pkg. Stove Top Stuffing*
8oz. tomato sauce
1 jumbo egg

Combine all well, in a large bowl, with a wooden spoon.  Form into a long loaf or two smaller loaves in a 9x13" glass baking pan.  Bake at 325-350° for one hour.  Serve with or without ketchup or barbecue sauce.  The stuffing adds a lot of flavor.  *If you'd rather make this gluten free, use a cup of quick cooking oats instead of stuffing.  Add seasoned salt and pepper. . .Lin

1 sm. heavy head of green cabbage
1/2 lg. onion - chopped
1-2T butter
salt, ground garlic and black pepper
1c. sour cream

Core and slice - cube the cabbage.  Add the onion, butter and seasonings, along with a little bit of water.  Cover and cook for an hour.  At the end, stir in the sour cream and reheat before serving. . .Lin

Never Fail Chicken (Beef, Elk, Pork, Venison) Stew

1 to 1-1/2# excellent quality meat - cut in small cubes
extra virgin olive oil and butter
1 lg. onion - part minced and part chopped
3 stalks celery - chopped
3-4 carrots - cut into chunks
2 potatoes - cut in cubes
4-6c water
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. dry onion soup

Saute' the meat and minced onion in olive oil and butter.  When brown, add a little water, chicken or beef stock, or wine. Saute' and brown again, repeating several times.  Add chopped vegetables, stir and saute' another 15 minutes or so until the onions are translucent.  Add the remaining 3 ingredients, stir well then cover and simmer an hour or so.  Serve in big bowls with crusty bread. . .Lin

Peas and Carrots Vegetable Casserole

1-1/2c chopped frozen pea pods
1/2 med. onion - chopped
1 grated carrot
1T butter
1/8c water
1c frozen peas
2/3c stuffing mix

Saute' the first 5 ingredients, then cover and simmer 5 minutes.  Add peas and stuffing, toss together, cover and continue to cook another 5-10 minutes.  Great, quick side, or as a vegetarian main dish. . .Lin

Stuffed Zucchini

1 lg. zucchini
1/3# beef-pork mix
1 med. onion - chopped
2 stalks celery - chopped
1-2T extra virgin olive oil
1/2c water
1-2T chicken Better Than Bullion
1/2 sm. box of stuffing mix
1 egg

Cut the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Brown the meat, onion, celery in olive oil.  Add water, BTB, stuffing mix and egg.  Simmer a couple minutes after stirring it all together.  Fill the zucchini and bake, covered at 350° for a half hour.  Uncover and continue to bake another half hour - until zucchini is tender.  Serve with a tossed salad. . .Lin