Cauliflower and Roasted Vegetable Soup

When I roasted the vegetables I should have made more.  They were so good that I didn't have a lot leftover for soup, so I added some.

⅓ lg. head of cauliflower
½-¾c chopped green onion
part of a yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
1-2T coconut oil

4c water

1# leftover roasted vegetables

1T Thai curry seasoning
½t fresh ground black pepper
½ bunch cilantro-leaves and stems
2t Vegetable Better Than Bouillon
¾c coconut milk ~ or ¾c half and half
~ or ½c sour cream

Chop the first group of vegetables, then sauté until nicely browned.  Add 4 cups of water, roasted vegetables and simmer on low for 20 minutes.  Take off the heat and cool a little, then blend with an immersion blender.

Add coconut milk, half and half, or sour cream.  Blend again then check flavors.  Add pepper, and Better Than Bullion until you get the flavor you want.

Garnish with a little dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of roasted-salted pumpkin or sunflower seeds.  This is one of the best soups I've made in ages! . .Lin

Lemon-Florentine Chicken and Bean Soup

That one 'spatchcocked' chicken has produced so many recipes!  Even after this, there's a quarter of the chicken - a breast-wing section - frozen for a future recipe!

I made chicken-vegetable broth using a big bag of vegetable scraps, chicken skin and bones from this chicken.  You combine all this with 4-6 cups of fresh cold water, simmer it all for a couple hours.

Remove all the solids, then chill what's left.  The next day, scrape off the fat that's risen to the top of what's now a big pot of jelled chicken broth.  Heat this, then strain through several, progressively smaller meshed, strainers.  Refrigerate again until you're ready to use it.

¾c dry cow peas

2c chopped carrots
7 lg. garlic cloves
2c celery and tops
1 long sweet pepper
1 yellow onion
½c dry white wine
⅔ large lemon - juiced*
1-2T butter
½t good quality garlic salt
½t fresh ground black pepper
2T Better Than Bouillon

10oz. chopped cooked chicken
6oz. sliced-chopped raw spinach

This was going to be a chicken-wild rice soup.  Then I saw the cow peas! 😍 They're beautiful small beans, like tiny black-eyed peas.  I decided they would be a good choice for a 'grain-starch' addition to this soup today.  They scent the whole house so beautifully as they cook!  Sort them to be sure there are no tiny stones mixed in with the beans.  Rinse, then cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil then shut off.  Let stand a half hour, drain and start the procedure over.  Do this 2-3 times until the beans are just tender, then set them aside.

Chop, dice, mince or slice the next ingredient group, then saute' them all in the wine and butter in a 5 quart pot.  When the onion is translucent, add the beans, all the strained chicken stock, lemon juice and simmer on low for an hour.  *The whole lemon slices, shown, made it bitter, which I counteracted with a couple teaspoons of sugar.  It would be a better idea to juice the lemon, and throw away the peel.

Add the chicken, sliced spinach, and continue to simmer another 15 minutes.  It's ready!  "Soup's On - Come 'n Get It!!"  😋

Have you ever felt really bad, like when a cold or the flu is trying to take hold... Then you made something to eat or drink that felt as though it may have pulled you back from The Brink Of Death?  That's how I felt today, and this soup's doing it for me!  Happy Sunday everyone!  Stay Healthy!  Be Bold - Happy Cooking! . . . Lin

Chicken. . .

There are so many things we can do with chicken!  I always love having some leftover to create interesting things for lunch and dinner, and today, even breakfast!

Avocado Chicken Waldorf
1 chopped apple
3-4oz. chicken
1 green onion
½ avocado
a handful of:
~ cashews
~ raisins
⅛ lemon

Chop, slice or dice all the ingredients into a medium glass bowl.  Add a squeeze of lemon and a couple tablespoons or enough mayonnaise to hold everything together  Mix and serve over chopped romaine lettuce. . .Lin

Chicken Bowl
¼ lg. avocado
3-4oz. chicken
3 baby dill pickles
1 whole deviled egg
a handful of cashews
1-2T minced sweet onion
a little sriracha mayonnaise

There are rice bowls, vegetable bowls, noodle bowls, and now - here's a chicken bowl!  Mmmm - This was breakfast today!  Chop, slice or dice all the ingredients into a small-medium glass bowl.  Add a little of the mayo, mix and eat. . .Lin

Roasted Spatchcocked Chicken and Vegetables

Spatchcocked Chicken!
Who knew??  I usually always stuff and roast whole duck, chicken and turkey.  When I've tried cooking unstuffed, they go faster, but seem drier with less flavor.  I saw this done on a cooking show. . .zip-zip-zip and it was ready to roast.  I found a YouTube video just to be sure, and that demonstrator had similar results. . .with the zip-zipping.  So, I sharpened one of my trusty chef's knives, pulled out the closest thing I have to heavy duty kitchen shears and started.  

'Spatchcock A Chicken' they said, 'It's Easy' they said. . .Well, not so much, when you don't have a good pair of Industrial Strength Kitchen Shears.  That's going on my IKEA list.  I found myself apologizing to the chicken and so very happy I never felt a career call to any kind of surgery!  Using a knife and / or a good pair of kitchen shears, cut on both sides of the backbone with the chicken on a firm surface, breasts down.  Mine was 6½#.  Remove the backbone, attached meat and skin.  Save this to make chicken stock.

Sooo, it wasn't pretty, but I think I accomplished the goal, which was to flatten the chicken, stuff compound butter under the skin, drizzle with olive oil and roast.  It takes less time and supposedly has great flavor.  Compound butter is just a fancy way to say seasoned or flavored butter.  You could season yours with lemon pepper, Thai, Mexican or Italian seasonings, or whatever flavor profile you want to impart.  Today I kept it more conventional since I also used it on the vegetables.

Compound Butter
1 stick of butter
2T coconut oil
½t± red and black ground pepper
2 green onions - minced
a good sprinkle of garlic salt

Microwave, just enough to soften, mix and put about ⅔ of it between the skin and meat of the chicken.  Press to spread it out on your chicken on a jellyroll pan lined with parchment paper.

Roasted Vegetables
1 lg. red beet
2 med. carrots
3 sm. yellow onions
1 sm. med. zucchini*
3 lg. cauliflower florets
1 long skinny sweet red pepper

Cut the vegetables pretty much as shown to assure everything cooks evenly.  The beets and carrots cook the slowest.  Scrub them but don't peel.  Keep the beets separate after chopping.  Put them in a bowl and rinse well, until the water stays clear.  Then drain and dry.  Put the other sliced-chopped vegetables in their own bowl.

Melt the remaining compound butter in the microwave and drizzle in about ⅛-¼c good quality dark olive oil.  Stir then pour about a third of this over the beets and the rest over the other vegetables.  Mix to cover everything then put on a parchment paper lined jellyroll pan.  Put both pans into a 400° preheated oven.  Vegetables will be done in 45 minutes.  Stir them after about 20 minutes.  Chicken takes a little bit longer.  Poke and baste it until skin is crisp.  Probably a total of an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

Save all the chicken drippings, skin and any bones that easily pull out, in a pot in your 'fridge for a couple days to make really good chicken and vegetable broth.
Make more vegetables than you need - they taste so good!  *(I should have used more zucchini--it roasted so well!)  I'm sure I'll blend them into roasted vegetable soup in the next couple days, but I wish I had more!  Roast them separately from the chicken.  The vegetables on that pan basically cooked in chicken grease, which isn't a good thing, but after draining them on paper towels, they tasted okay.  Now that I've tackled Spatchcocked Chicken, I'll make this again.  It turned out really well.  Good flavor and it wasn't dry.

Be Bold - Be Creative - Happy Cooking! . . . Lin

Quick Savory Rosemary Cabbage

½ med. head of green cabbage
1½ lg. carrot - give the rest to your dog 🐶
3 cloves of garlic
1-2T solid coconut oil
½c water, coconut water or chicken broth
a sprinkle of Rosemary Seasoning *

½c roasted-salted pumpkin seeds

fresh grated parmesan cheese

Cut the cabbage into small cubes, mince the garlic and finely chop or shred the carrot, into a large non-stick pan.  Add the remaining ingredients in this group.  Heat and stir until the coconut oil dissolves.  When lightly simmering, cover and cook 5 minutes.  Uncover, stir in the pumpkin seeds and let liquid evaporate over low-medium heat for 5-10 minutes.  Serve with a sprinkle of fresh shredded parmesan cheese.

Cooked cabbage has long had a negative, ethnic connotation.  Largely for the lingering odor it leaves in your home - who wants that?

Before starting this, light a scented candle in your kitchen and realize you're doing your body a huge favor by eating this!  It's healthy and all the flavors come together SO well. . .Lin

Hearty Bean and Peanut Soup

Somehow, this soup just ticked all the boxes, as they say.  It isn't the prettiest thing you'll ever see in a bowl, but oh, the flavors!  Give it a try.

1 can garbanzo beans
¾c dry baby lima beans

½ purple cipollini onion
1 lg. purple shallot
2 med. carrots
1-1½c chopped celery
1t green curry seasoning
1t pumpkin pie spice
1t cumin
ground red and black pepper
2 cubes vegetable bouillon

½c crunchy peanut butter
1 can coconut milk

I was planning to use two cans of garbanzos, but only had one.  I did have quite a supply of dried beans, and debated between black-eyed peas and limas.  I brought the lima beans to a simmer in 3-4 cups of cold water, for 10 minutes, then drained, rinsed, changed the water and repeated.  Chop all the vegetables then saute' in 1-2T coconut oil.  Add the seasonings, bouillon, 2-4 cups of water.  Bring to a simmer, stir in the coconut milk and peanut butter.  When the peanut butter is melted and the soup once again simmers, it's ready!

Check flavors and make any necessary changes.  If you'd like, you could hit this with your immersion blender now to smooth it out.  Mmmm, this is an interesting one! . . .Lin

Chicken and Rice Pie

See previous recipe for ingredients:

2-3c leftover rice blend
1 jumbo egg

In a medium glass bowl, combine the rice and egg with a fork until well mixed.  Spread it into a greased 9" glass pie pan.  Bake at 375° until lightly browned.

½ head of cauliflower
8-10oz. frozen chopped broccoli
just a little bit of water

Chop the cauliflower and simmer with the broccoli and water for 7-10 minutes.  Add remaining leftover chicken.  Use as filling for the crust.  Bake at 375° until edges of the crust are nicely browned and the surface of the chicken is a little dry. . .Lin 

Special Christmas Chicken and Rice Pilaf

Special Christmas Chicken

24 chicken thighs

Skin the thighs, put them in a 6-8 quart pot, season with bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic salt.  Cover with water and simmer for 60-90 minutes until cooked - when a fork poked into the thickest part of the meat comes out easily.  Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the thighs to a large, folded brown paper bag lying on the counter to absorb liquid and grease.  Chill the cooking water to make skimming the fat easy the next day.  After fat is skimmed off, heat the remaining gel-liquid, strain several times, then chill to use later in recipes calling for chicken broth.  I did all this a couple days ago.  After I removed all the remaining fat and bones, I broke the meat up a little and put it into a 5 quart pot, then froze it.  You can make it ahead in this way, or do it in two consecutive days, refrigerating rather than freezing the meat.

2T butter
½ lg. sweet onion
1 lg. purple shallot
12-16oz. fresh mushrooms

½ bunch kale
⅔c roasted red peppers

Saute' the first group of aromatic ingredients, in a 3 quart pot, until the onion and shallot are translucent.  Cut the rib out of the kale then slice the leaves in thin ribbons.  Chop the red peppers into little cubes.  Add these to the pot.  As this cooks, put some of the chicken broth (below) into the pot to keep everything from sticking.  Cover and simmer on low heat 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large glass bowl, stir together all but the last ingredient, in group below.  When combined, pour into the pot with the aromatic ingredients.  Stir and heat.  If this is too thin, add the cornstarch 'slurry' to thicken it.  Bring to a simmer.  

⅔c sour cream
1c half and half
2 packages dry onion soup
1t ground Italian seasoning
1-2t good quality lemon pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
15oz. jar sun dried tomato Alfredo
½c capers - drained and rinsed well - optional
3c of the homemade jelled chicken broth
1-2T cornstarch dissolved in cold water*

Pour the sauce over the chicken in the 5 quart pot, combine carefully and refrigerate until just before serving.  To serve, put pot on low-medium heat, cover and stir occasionally once everything is bubbling, so it doesn't stick to the bottom.  This chicken and sauce mixture would be a perfect filling for chicken pot pies!  Just add some lightly cooked frozen peas and carrots and pour into a puff pastry shell, covered with another layer of puff pastry.  Mmmm!

Christmas Rice Pilaf
¼c butter
¾c pine nuts
½ lg. sweet onion
1½c chopped celery
4oz. chopped mushrooms
½ med. purple cipollini onion
3c mixed rice (wild, brown, red and barley)

4½c chicken broth and water

Stir and saute' the first group of chopped-sliced ingredients together in a big (5-8 quart) pot.  When the onion scent is filling your kitchen and the grain mix is starts to snap and brown, you can add the liquid.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-60 minutes, until all the grains are cooked.  Before all the liquid is absorbed, taste it to see if you need to add seasonings.  Other than what was in the chicken broth, I added about a tablespoon of Better Than Bullion-Vegetable flavor.  That was all that was needed.  Put this into a big glass casserole container.  If you make the rice ahead, stir and taste it before heating to make sure it's not too dry.  You may need to stir in more seasoned liquid.  I'll be serving the chicken and rice with Joann's Danish Cabbage for our Christmas Dinner this year. 💝~Merry Christmas Everyone~💝 . . . Lin

Cleansing Green Soup

½ bunch of kale
½ lg. green pepper
1 lg. purple shallot
1½c frozen peas - thawed
3c chopped fresh broccoli
2c chopped celery and tops
½ sm. head of green cabbage*
4c fresh cold water
1t good quality garlic salt
½t finely ground red and black pepper
1-3t curry powder or curry paste

I saw a variation of this soup demonstrated on a cooking program earlier today.  It contained green beans, garlic and zucchini, which I didn't have, in addition to several other healing green vegetables.

When I did a quick 'fridge scan I realized I had a lot of healthy green vegetables I could substitute, so I was on a mission!  *I discovered the cabbage as this all began to simmer, so it's not shown in the first photos.

Cut the rib from the center of each kale leaf, then slice into thin ribbons.  Chop all the remaining ingredients into a 6 quart pot.  Add water, (seasonings - if desired) and bring to a low-medium simmer.  Cover and cook about 18 minutes.  Blend with an immersion blender and serve.  If you're battling a winter cold, or have overindulge in heavy, sugary, rich holiday foods, or too much alcohol, this lightly-cooked healing soup could be a great way to counteract that.  Give it a try! . . . Lin

Liver Sausage Cracker Spread

6oz. liver sausage
6oz. cream cheese
1 lg. clove garlic
2T sour cream
½t garlic salt
½t dry dill

Grate the garlic into a small glass bowl with the other ingredients.  Mix with a fork, microwaving 15 seconds or so if needed, to soften.  Chill an hour or so before serving with crackers. . .Lin

Chunky Vegetable Chowder

5 ears fresh corn
12oz. ruby fingerling potatoes
2t Penzeys Southwest Seasoning
½-1t fresh ground Himalayan pink salt

Steam-cook the corn, strain and save the water for the soup. Cut kernels off the cob, into a medium glass bowl. Put the cobs back in the water. Simmer 5 minutes to pull out the natural starch. Scrub then cut the potatoes into small pieces. Add them to the bowl, toss with the corn and seasonings.

1-1½c chopped carrot
1-1½c chopped celery
1T sunflower-coconut oil

2 lg. garlic cloves - minced
1 med. sweet onion - chopped
1 med. variegated sweet pepper - chopped

1 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes
2c cooked black beans
1-2t sugar
*½-1c half and half - optional

Put the celery and carrot in a 4-5 quart pot with the oil. Sauté and stir on low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, add a little of the strained corn water if needed. Add the next three minced, chopped vegetables and a little more corn water. Simmer, covered another 10 minutes. Next add the corn, potatoes, rest of the corn water, tomatoes and sugar. Simmer on low another 20-30 minutes.

*Stir in the half and half just before serving. . .Lin

Craisin-Walnut Chicken Salad

1c craisins
1c frozen peas
1c diced celery
¼ lg. white onion
¾c chopped walnuts

12oz. cooked dark chicken meat

6oz. plain Greek yogurt
6oz. mayonnaise
2T lemon or lime juice
1T Penzeys dried chives
½t Penzeys Red and Black spice - (ground red and black pepper)
2t Penzeys Trinidad - lemon peel-salt-garlic-cloves-ginger
- water -

Combine the first group in a medium glass bowl.  Rough chop the chicken and add to the bowl.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice and spices, adding water a little at a time as needed, until the dressing goes from 'gloppy' to pourable.  My perfect dinner tonight, this salad with a glass of Beet Lemonade.  Fill a small pitcher with ¼ beet juice and ¾ lemonade! . . . Lin  

Lamb and Vegetable Curry

1# well trimmed lamb
1T coconut oil

2 big carrots - chopped
1-1½c chopped celery
1 lg. white onion
2 lg. garlic cloves - sliced
1 sm.-med. piece of ginger
1T coconut oil

1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
¼c chunky peanut butter
1 lg. sweet potato
1T curry powder*
1T sugar

8oz. coconut milk

Saute' the lamb until nicely browned.  Water and coconut oil should be absorbed-evaporated at this point.  In a 3 quart pot, saute' the next group of ingredients until their scents are released.  Add a little water, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.  Put the next group of ingredients in the pot, add the meat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.  Check for flavor and poke the carrots to see if they're done the way you like.  Pour the coconut milk in, stir and bring back to a low bubble.  Serve now, or chill and serve later to bring out all the flavors.  Mmmm Curry!!

*Indian curry is a deep love, and an endless fascination for me.  In times past, and possibly carried through to the present, families in India created their own blend of spices, pleasing to their family.  It became their very own signature blend.  The recipes were passed down from generation to generation and often guarded, with exact ingredients and their proportions a secret!

I first dabbled in curry after the wonderful discovery of cans of AROY-D Curry in an Asian market.  They make red, yellow and green curry sauce to be simmered, combined with meat and vegetables.  The red is heavenly!  I can no longer find this online and I'm not close to any ethnic markets where it's usually sold.  I do have the AROY-D brand of curry paste, sold in tubs.  I have the red, green and yellow-massaman.  There are also wonderful little glass jars of Thai curry paste, found in the Asian section of the ethnic aisle.  Start cautiously with these, the pastes tend to be very spicy.  I also have many containers of curry powders I've found in the ethnic aisles of grocery and specialty spice stores.  The one I used here is one of my favorites.  It's mild-medium and has wonderful flavors.  I just counted - I currently have 17 different curry products, pastes and powders, in my kitchen!

Curry! 🥘 Try it!  Be Bold - Be Creative. . .Happy Cooking! . . . Lin

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

1¾# skinned-boned chicken thighs
½c 5-rice blend, rinsed and dried
1 med.-lg. yellow onion
4 lg. cloves garlic
½t fresh ground pepper
½-1t Sicilian blend spice*
1-2T sunflower-coconut oil
1-2T white balsamic vinegar

2c water
1c chopped celery

1½c chopped carrot
2T chicken soup base

4-6c water
Rest of the
onion and garlic-chopped
4-6 oz. slice-chopped spinach

Trim all the fat off the thighs, cutting them into small pieces, into a heavy-bottomed 5 qt. pot.  Add the rinsed-dried rice.  Finely chop ¼ of the onion and 1 garlic clove and add that to the pot.  Season, (*use your favorite: Italian Seasoning, Lemon Pepper, etc.) then drizzle with the oil and vinegar.  Mix all this with a wooden spoon over med.-high heat.  When it begins to sizzle, cover and turn off the heat.  Let it marinate, for 30-45 minutes, stirring a couple times.

Add the next group of ingredients.  Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook 30 minutes.  Put the final group of ingredients in the pot, stir, then simmer another 30-45 minutes.  

The soup is ready when the celery, carrots and rice are cooked the way you want them.  Check the flavors.  Add more seasonings or soup base if needed. . .Lin

Italian Minnesota "Hot Dish"

2 sm.-med. zucchini 
¼ lg. purple shallot - chopped
½t fresh ground black pepper
½c roasted-salted pumpkin seed kernels
½t garlic sea salt
1-2 T butter

2 lg. garlic cloves - chopped
¾ lg. purple shallot - chunked
1 14.5oz. can diced tomatoes

1½c dry pasta

Saute' the first group of ingredients over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, to brown the zucchini a bit.  Cook until the vegetables get somewhat translucent.  Add the next group, cover and simmer for 15 minutes on low-medium heat.  Check and stir occasionally.  Meanwhile cook the pasta until it's almost al dente.  Drain, then quickly transfer the pasta to the vegetable pan and fold together.  Add a ladle or two of the pasta water to the vegetable mix, stir gently.  Bring the pan back to a quick boil, stirring the whole time.  Pour into a casserole container and proudly take this Italian Minnesota Hot Dish to your next Pot Luck Dinner...Lin

Lamb and Barley Soup (a.k.a. Scotch Broth)

¾# well trimmed lamb
⅓ big purple shallot - minced
½t fresh ground black pepper
½t rosemary seasoning *
1-2T butter

1c chopped celery
1c chopped carrot
½c long-cooking pearl barley - rinsed
1-2T vegetable Better Than Bullion
fresh cold water

2 giant garlic cloves - chopped
rest of the shallot - sliced

If I were ever told I could only make one type of soup for the rest of my life - this would be the one!  After trimming the fat, cut the lamb into small pieces and combine with the remaining ingredients in a 3 quart pot.  Heat on medium-high heat until the water in the meat evaporates, and the lamb begins to brown.  Add a little water, stir and repeat the browning and deglazing several times to build flavor.  Add the next group of ingredients with about 3 cups of water.  Cover and simmer for half an hour, then add the garlic and shallot, adding more water if needed.  Re-cover and simmer another half hour.

You can serve this as soon as the vegetables and barley are cooked, but I'd recommend chilling then reheating it several hours or a day later.  The flavors build nicely by doing this, making it a great, hearty soup to cook the day before.  The barley provides enough good carbs, but if you are a bread person, some warm, buttered potato rolls would go great with a big steamy bowl of this.😊. . . Lin

Colorful Chicken Chili

1# chicken breast meat
½ giant 6oz. purple shallot
1-2T sunflower-coconut oil
1c chopped carrot
1c chopped celery
1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
2 giant cloves of garlic
the rest of the shallot
½ lg. green pepper
1T± tomato paste
1-2t sugar
1t fresh ground garlic salt
1t fresh ground black pepper
1-2t ground cumin
1t chili powder

1 15oz. can corn
1 15oz. can garbanzo beans*
1 15oz. can chili beans
*As this was being assembled, I changed my mind about the black beans and switched to garbanzos.

Cut the chicken into strips then crosswise into bite-size cubes.  Saute' in a 5 quart pot with the shallot and oil, for 5-10 minutes.  Stir in the chopped carrot, celery and tomatoes - with the juice.  Cover and simmer on a low-medium bubble for 10 minutes.  Add the remaining chopped ingredients and spices in the first group.  Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, another 15 minutes.

Drain corn and garbanzos into a colander, then rinse well.  Put the colander on some wadded-up paper towels to drain.  After the 15 minutes of cooking, add the corn, garbanzos and the whole can of chili beans - not drained or rinsed.  Sprinkle on the chopped parsley and bring the pot to a very low bubble.  Cover and simmer again for 10 minutes to be sure everything's heated through.  This will taste good now, but even better the next day.  Serve with sour cream and cheese cubes.  Cornbread, oyster crackers, croutons, or just as it is if you're cutting back on carbs.

Yup, here it is. . .Football and Chili Season once again! 😋 Time to break out The Big Soup Pots!
Be Bold - Be Adventurous! - Happy Cooking Everyone! . . . Lin