Hearty Northland Beef Stew

1-1/2# boneless beef ribs
1T bacon fat
1/2 onion - minced
1-2T granulated roasted garlic
sea salt, ground red and black pepper
2T dark balsamic vinegar
1/3-1/2c flour

Start by browning the meat that's been cut into small pieces, in the hot bacon fat with the minced onion.  Stir and brown this, adding a little water.  When the meat is browned, add the seasoning and vinegar and a little more water if needed.  When this is browned, after another 10 minutes or so, it should look like beef in thin brown gravy.  Sprinkle in the flour, stirring well.  Add another couple cups of water.

16oz. crushed tomatoes
2 lg. sliced carrots
1-1/2c sliced celery 
1 diced onion
6 sm. quartered red potatoes
1 med. zucchini - chunked
4-8oz. sliced fresh mushrooms

Add all the above ingredients and a little more water if needed.  Instead of the crushed tomatoes, I used 2c of the tomato soup I made the other day.  Bring to a simmer, cover, stir every 10 minutes or so.  Check the flavor of the broth, adding whatever is needed to give it the taste you'd like.  You could add more seasonings, some beef soup base, water or a little red wine for flavor.  Be creative and have fun.  Happy Cooking!! . . .Lin

Italian Christmas Cookies

As most of you know, I'm Not A Baker!
Anytime I see a recipe for cookies or
Cake - that looks good - I'll post
It here - on my blog

Happy 😊🍪 Baking!
(click ↓ here)

Colorful Hearty Tomato Soup

1c celery - sliced thin
2 carrots (2c shredded)
1 med.-lg. onion - chopped
1-2T coconut oil
1 lg. (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1.5# assorted colorful tomatoes
2T garlic - fresh or from a jar
2t rosemary seasoning *
1t sugar
1T± MSG-free chicken soup base
1c coconut milk coffee creamer
~Stir-sauté celery, carrot and onion in the coconut oil over medium heat, for 5-10 minutes.  Add all the tomatoes, garlic.  Sprinkle on the rosemary seasoning and sugar.  Stir and simmer 20-30 minutes over low-medium heat, depending on whether you want the vegetables fresher or a little more cooked. 
Our bodies don't actually use the lycopene* found in the tomatoes unless they're cooked!  So there's that to consider.  The temperature should be just hot enough to keep the soup at a small bubbling point for that amount of time.  
Check flavor and make any changes needed.  For a little less texture, you can mash it with a potato masher.  For a really smooth soup, cool a bit, then blend it in the blender, or use an immersion blender, in the pot.  If you blended it, return it to the pot, stir in the coconut milk and bring back to a small bubble again before serving.  This would be great with croutons on top or accompanying a grilled cheese sandwich.  I think it also might freeze well - but I haven't tried that. . .Lin

Cowboy Breakfast Bake

3/4# bacon - cut in small pieces
4 sm.-med. Yukon Gold potatoes
(I used all 6 and it was too many)
(I did not use the curry paste)
1 lg. orange pepper
2T olive oil
1-2t rosemary seasoning *
1-1/2c thin-sliced celery
6 eggs - lightly beaten
1/2c milk (or half & half)
1/3c corn flour
1t baking powder
1 can white chili beans
7oz. sharp flavorful cheese

Fry the bacon in a medium non-stick pan, until brown and crisp.  Drain the grease and put bacon on brown paper or several layers of paper towel.  Pour the drippings into a can leaving any brownings in the pan.  

Chop the potatoes into small pieces.  Put into a medium size bowl.  Add the pepper that's been seeded and cut into 6 pieces.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the seasonings.  Put the peppers on a jelly roll pan covered with parchment paper and roast in the oven at 375° just until they start browning around the edges.  Meanwhile, put the chopped potatoes and celery in the bacon pan and sauté until the celery goes translucent and the potatoes begin to brown a bit.  Scoop all this out and add it to the pan the peppers are roasting on.  Return this to the oven for another 15 minutes or so.  Remove the peppers, peel and chop back into the bacon pan.  Add the potatoes and beans.  Mix together.

Beat the eggs with a wire whisk in a medium size bowl.  Add milk then slowly spoon in the corn flour and baking powder that have been mixed together.  Whisk all this well, then add everything in the pan to the bowl.  Stir together and pour into a greased 9"x13" glass baking pan.  Shred the cheese over the top of this, then sprinkle on the bacon.  Bake at 350° until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  20-30 minutes or so.  Makes 12 good size breakfast squares that keep well in the fridge or can be frozen.  Reheat in the microwave for a quick breakfast. . .Lin

Winter Squash Soup

2T coconut oil
6 cloves of garlic - minced
1/2 med. onion - chopped

1 lg. Butternut squash
1 sm.-med. Kobocha squash
1 lg. sweet red pepper
1 med. onion
coarse sea salt and black pepper

1T coconut oil
1t hot Hungarian paprika
1t cinnamon
1/2t coarse sea salt
1-2T chicken soup base
1c coconut milk coffee creamer
- or coconut milk - or half and half

Put 2T of the coconut oil into a 5qt. pot.  Add the garlic and onion.  Simmer-stir-fry until the onion is translucent and the garlic begins to brown.  Cut the squash in half, or quarters if large, and scrape out all the seeds and stringiness with a metal spoon.  Roast the squash, 1 onion and pepper, after preparing as shown, on baking sheets covered with parchment paper, and after drizzling with 1T melted coconut oil
and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Place in 350° oven and cook about an hour, or until the squash is soft.  Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheets, about 20 minutes, or until everything is cool enough to handle.

Scoop out all the squash being careful not to scrape through the skin.  Slice-chop the roasted onion and peeled pepper, then add these, and the squash to the pot.  Mash well, then add the remaining spices and soup base.

Stir in 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer.  If you want, you could blend the soup at this point of you'd rather have a smoother texture.  Let simmer on low 10-15 minutes, stir in the milk, then bring to a simmer again, turn off heat and serve.  Shown here with croutons, pumpkin seeds and sour cream. . .Lin 

After-Thanksgiving Turkey Soup

I did this as a long, putzy 2-day project, which I love.  Crank up your favorite tunes, pour yourself a mug of steamy-hot tea, or a glass of wine...and...COOK!  You need to chill the broth after boiling and straining, so the fat will rise to the top and solidify enough to be removed.  If you have freezer space, it can be done in one day if you allow enough time.  It's only 40° here and I don't have 'fridge OR freezer space, so it's chillin' on my deck.

Remove all the meat from the bones.  Refrigerate it with the rest of the leftover turkey.  Return bones, skin, clumps of toasty-crusty stuffing, etc. to the roasting pan.  Add 5 cups of water to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any little bits that are stuck to the bottom.
To this, add a head of garlic, still together, that you peel as much as possible, then slice each clove lengthwise.  Halve a large, strong yellow onion, toss in some peppercorns, a couple sliced carrots, some celery stalks, the core of a head of green cabbage, giblets: turkey necks, hearts, gizzards, and toward the end of cooking time, livers, for 10-15 minutes only, so they don't get tough.

turkey carcass, bones and skin
5c water
a whole or partial head of garlic
1/2-1 lg. yellow onion - cut lengthwise in 1/8ths
1T±  black peppercorns
a generous sprinkle of coarse sea salt
2 old carrots - scrubbed and sliced
4-6 outer stalks of celery scrubbed and chunked
a green cabbage core + a 1/4 head of cabbage
turkey giblets + (liver(s) added at the end

After the initial cooking time, take out the bones and discard.  Pick around the remaining skin and any miscellaneous meat that emerged, cut this up and give to your cat or dog as a special Thanksgiving treat.  You can use the gizzards and hearts in the soup if you want, or chop and add these to your pets' bowl.  I saved the carrots and livers.  I made up some Garlic-Black Pepper-Mayonnaise Aioli using the mashed garlic after it was boiled, as a dip for the cut-up liver and had this for dinner.

Day 2:  Stock skimmed, strained and ready to be soup!
Strain off and discard what's left in the roaster, mashing it through a colander, into a 5qt. covered pot.  Chill this broth well so fat accumulates at the top and can be skimmed off.  This will take 6 hours at refrigerator temperature, but quicker if chilled in the freezer.  Once the fat is gone, stir and warm remaining broth.  Strain, through a much finer strainer or layers of cheesecloth, to get rid of unwanted sediment.  The stock will be much clearer than after the straining with the colander.  Check the flavors now.  If needed add some chicken flavor Better Than Bullion soup base and more water.

In a large non-stick pan, put:  1/2 med. chopped onion
1-1/2c finely chopped (center more tender) celery
~Sauté:  in 1T+ butter quickly, browning just a little
~Add:  3-4c frozen peas and carrots - stir a few minutes
8oz. Spaetzle - Swabian egg noodles !?!

Add this to the warm, well-strained, stock in the 5qt. pot.  Simmer at a low bubble for 10-15 minutes, add some leftover turkey, necks  or other odd parts and gravy if you like.  For starch, texture or grain, stir in some rice, orzo or hearty egg noodles.  I used Spaetzle that I partially pre-cooked in another pot.  Simmer all this until the Spaetzel are tender and serve.  This is a recipe I'd categorize as "sick soup."  When you're fighting a bad cold, this, or some Lemon Chicken Soup are real lifesavers.

I hope all of you who celebrate it had a Wonderful Thanksgiving. . .Lin

Orange Vegetables

2-3# peeled sweet potatoes
5-6 med. carrots - scrubbed
1/2 lg. onion
4T butter
1-2T pumpkin pie spice
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Slice-chop the sweet potatoes into medium size pieces and slice the carrots a little smaller.  Slice the onion and combine all the vegetables in a medium-size casserole dish.  "Dot" with butter and sprinkle with the spices-seasonings.  Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes until the carrots are done the way you like. . .Lin

Holiday (make-ahead) Mashed Potatoes

3-5# scrubbed baby Yukon Gold potatoes
1/4-1/2c butter
8oz. cream cheese (Neufchatel Cheese)
6-8oz. half & half
granular roasted garlic
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Cut the potatoes into small pieces - no need to peel them, just cut away any dark spots - cover with water and simmer until tender.  Mash with a potato masher and add the remaining ingredients.  If this is a little too thick, add some half and half.  Transfer the potatoes to a glass 9x13" baking pan and broil until the top is lightly browned.  Sprinkle some shredded sharp cheddar over the top if you'd like.  I made these today and will heat them in the oven for the last half hour of the turkey's cooking time tomorrow. . .Lin

Herbaceous Chicken and Pasta

2-3 skinless-boneless chicken breasts
2T Italian herb flavored olive oil
1 lg. purple onion minced and chopped
2T minced garlic in a jar
a little good quality white wine or Vodka
12oz. good quality red sauce from a jar
1-2T fresh herbs that have been dried and crushed
1 sm. can of sliced mushrooms, drained
12oz. assorted mini heirloom tomatoes, cut up a little
1c sour cream
al dente' cooked pasta

Sauté the chicken that has been cut into strips or bite-size pieces in the oil for about 10 minutes.

Add onion and continue to cook and stir until the chicken is browned and onion is translucent and aromatic.  Add garlic - then mix the wine/Vodka, sauce and herbs together and add to the chicken along with the mushrooms.

Continue to cook at a low simmer for about 30 minutes.  At the very end, stir in the tomatoes and sour cream.  Heat again and serve over the pasta.  This would be great with some really crusty garlic bread and an organic green salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette. . .Lin

Purple Orange and Green Vegetables

1 bunch long bubbly leaf kale
3 lg. carrots
1/2 head of purple cabbage

I went to our local Whole Foods Co-Op today.  (Not to be confused with Whole Foods - this is a Co-Op with the same name, and I haven't a clue just how they're able to do that. . .)  I usually go there with 2 or 3 things in mind, then after perusing all the aisles, including the soup and hot food, deli area, I invariably end up backtracking.

Today there was this great looking hot carrot, kale and red cabbage thing.  I decided I had to make it, the instant I got home!  I had carrots, but not enough red cabbage, and no kale.  I've had bad luck picking good kale.  A friend of mine makes this phenomenal raw kale salad with toasted sesame Asian dressing that's just awful every time I make it.  I finally found the right kind of kale!  I have no idea what it's called, but the leaves are long, oval shaped and they have a bubbly texture.

That's the best I can do!  I just devoured a big bowl of this and it's awesome!  Maybe tomorrow I'll grill up some chicken breasts to go with the rest of this.  IF there's any left by then.

Wash the kale well to be sure all the sand is rinsed away.  Slice lengthwise, cutting away the center rib, then slice crosswise.  Scrub and chop the carrots.  Chop the cabbage and combine everything in a 3qt. pot.  Add a little water, then cover and simmer 20-30 minutes until tender.  Drain all the liquid into a freezer container and save to use as soup stock.  Add a little butter and coarse sea salt, toss and serve.  This is a really good vegetable mix and with some nuts added would be a great vegetarian main dish.

Potato-Corn Chowder

1/4#-1/2# bacon
3 large potatoes
4 carrots-scrubbed
1-1/2c chopped celery
1 large onion
3 cans of corn - drained*
or 3 cans creamed corn
2c chicken broth

Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry.  When well done, scoop out onto a piece of paper towel or a brown paper bag.  Chop the next 4 ingredients and add to the pan with the bacon drippings.  Stir and cook over medium heat until celery is translucent.

Add the corn and chicken broth.  Stir, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  At the very end, *add 2c half and half if using regular corn, or if you feel it needs more of a cream base.  Bring just back to a simmer, stir in the bacon pieces and serve.  I love this with cut up cubes of very sharp cheddar cheese and some good crispy croutons. . .Lin

Southwest Steak and Chicken Black Bean Soup

6-8oz. chicken breast
4-6oz. steak
1-1/2c chopped celery
1-1/2c chopped onion
2T minced garlic (in a jar)
2T seasoned olive oil
2 15oz. cans drained-rinsed black beans
1 10oz. can seasoned chopped tomatoes
1-2T beef soup base
15-24oz. water if needed

Saute' the first 6 ingredients in a 3qt. pot, for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  Add the remaining ingredients except the water.  Simmer on low, covered another 10 minutes.  Check flavors and consistency, adding seasonings and water if needed.  If you want to serve this as is - thicker, it can be spooned over biscuits, or with a little more water added - served in a bowl as soup.  Be Creative - Happy Cooking! . . . Lin

Sausage Egg and Cheese Bake - Gluten Free

12oz. breakfast sausages
1 med. onion - chopped
1 yellow pepper - chopped
6 jumbo eggs
2/3c half-and-half
3oz. sun-dried tomato pesto
1/3c corn flour
1/2t seasoned salt
1/2t ground black pepper
1/2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
8 squares of American cheese

Brown the sausages, then drain on paper towels.  Put the chopped onion and pepper in a buttered 9"x13" glass pan and add the sausage, cut into smaller pieces, when cooled enough to handle.  In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half and pesto.  Stir in all the dry ingredients, whisk again, then pour over the sausages and vegetables in the glass pan.

Put a layer of cheese over the top and bake at 350° for 25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and leave in the oven another 5-10 minutes.  This would be great for a special group breakfast or will keep well, covered, in the 'fridge for many days.  You can cut individual squares and heat those in the microwave, or cut and cool the whole pan, then freeze, individually, for busy-workdays or take-along breakfasts, at a later time. . .Lin   

Brussels Sprouts Beans and Potato Casserole

12oz. frozen baby Brussels sprouts
  6oz. frozen skinny green beans
- C - 1/2 red pepper
- H - 1 med. onion 
- O - 2 med. sweet potatoes
- P  - 1 lg. Idaho potato
Fresh ground salt and pepper
3-4T butter - cut into little squares

I had a big bowl of Beef Barley Soup for lunch and then, as dinner time rolled around, all I could think of was I wanted to make a BIG vegetable casserole!  Fortunately, I always have lots to pick from.  This went together in about 10 minutes using both frozen and fresh.  In a large baking dish, combine all the whole (and chopped) ingredients.  Bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes.  Keep an eye on it though, mine went from almost perfect to a little overdone in no time.

This can be served as a side or main dish.  If you want to add some Chili-Lime Cashews or Smoked Almonds, you'd have a great Vegan Main Dish.  Tonight I added some feta cheese crumbles and some chili sunflower seeds. . .Lin

Beef Barley Soup

1 med. onion
2T butter
2c chopped celery
2c chopped carrot
1 med. yellow onion
1/2c Cabernet 
3c leftover prime rib
2T roasted granulated garlic
1/2t ground black pepper
3/4c barley
3c leftover dipping juices

Left - Fat and Scraps — — Right - 3c Soup-Ready Beef

Cut up the leftover beef into 1/2" cubes, being careful to cut off all the fat.  Put the fat and scraps in a pot and covered with about 3-4c of water, adding 2t ground rosemary, a couple bay leaves and 1/2t pepper.  Simmer this covered, on low-medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Scoop out all the solids and discard.  Strain the liquid and put it in the freezer for a couple hours.

About an hour later, sauté the chopped onion, celery and carrot in butter.  When it's sizzling, add the wine, cover and let simmer 10 minutes, adding the beef, garlic, pepper and barley toward the end.  Turn off heat and let stand to soak up the flavors.  Skim the fat off the broth that was chilling in the freezer.  Strain this again and add to the pot.  Bring this to a nice simmer.

Cover and let cook for 40-60 minutes until the vegetables and barley are cooked.  Add more water and beef soup starter if needed to stretch this into a bigger pot of soup.  This would be really good with crusty garlic bread or cheese biscuits. . .Lin

2-Day Tomato-Cream Vegetable Chowder

4 ears of corn
2 lg. carrots 
2c chopped celery
1lg. purple onion
1 very lg. purple shallot
1/2 med. red pepper
2T butter
1/2t black pepper
1-2c water

8 sm.-med. potatoes
1/2c± flour (corn, rice or wheat)
6-8c water
3oz. Sofrito (tomato cooking base)
3oz. tomato pesto
1t fresh ground garlic sea salt
1t seasoning salt
1/2-1t Hungarian hot paprika
1T roasted granulated garlic
1-2c half & half

I tried something new this time.  I put soup ingredients out earlier this evening but was getting tired.  Since I bought the corn several days ago, I decided I had to at least start this.  So here's what I did.  Steam the corn and cut off the cobs.  Chop all the vegetables in the first group, then combine with the corn, butter, pepper and water in a 5qt. pot.  Bring this to a simmer for a couple minutes, stirring, then cover, let come to room temperature and refrigerate overnight.  (At this point, you can continue on if you don't want to do this as a 2-day process.)

The next day (or now) scrub the potatoes and cut into 1/2" cubes.  Add these to the pot of vegetables and stir to blend.  Heat to a medium simmer, adding another cup or two of water if needed.  Cover and reduce heat to a low-bubbling simmer for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour in, while stirring, to coat the vegetables and to keep lumps from forming.  When blended in, add more water, a little at a time.  Then add the Sofrito, pesto and seasonings so the flavor is just a little strong.  Continue to cook, over low heat, until the vegetables are done the way you like.  Using a potato masher, mash the vegetables, a little or a lot, then add half & half.  Stir, heat to a simmer and serve. . .Lin

Kale-Artichoke Spread — Kale-Artichoke Chicken Pasta

12 lg. leaves of dark curly kale
1 14oz. can quartered artichokes
5oz. fresh grated parmesan cheese
4oz. chopped pimentos
3/4c mayonnaise
1 ex.lg. purple shallot - minced
1/2c chopped kalamata olives
3T fresh lime juice
2T minced garlic (from a jar)
1/2t sea salt
1/2t black pepper
*2T Taco Bell mild sauce
*or 1/4t of cayenne pepper

To cook the fresh kale, cut out the rib, slice the leaves lengthwise a time or two, then cross-cut them into small pieces.  Cook, covered , in a little water, simmering for about 20 minutes.  These need to be well cooked.  Drain, then dry the kale with some crumpled paper towel, or between sheets of paper towel.  Add to the bowl containing the finely chopped artichokes and remaining ingredients, down to the Taco Bell sauce.  *Once all this is mixed, if mixture seems to liouidous, omit the sauce and use the cayenne pepper.  Serve this with bagel chips as a spread or dip.  Makes about 5 cups.

Kale-Artichoke Chicken Pasta
6-8 oz. dry med. size pasta--cooked al dente'. 
12oz. frozen grilled chicken strips
2-3c Kale-Artichoke Spread

This can also be combined with pre-cooked grilled chicken and pasta, then baked @ 350° for 20 minutes (covered for the first 10 minutes) for an interesting Mediterranean main dish.  It's was really good! . . .Lin