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

Fresh Green and Yellow Salad

This is such a simple salad.  No need for an actual recipe.  Just rough peel the cucumbers, slice-chop everything into a bowl, sprinkle with a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and add the dressing of your choice.  A simple splash of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil is nice, but today, Buttermilk Ranch is what won out for me.  This adds such a nice fresh touch as a side to a big plate of spaghetti or some other comfort food casserole. . .Lin

Harvest Pea Soup

1# very lean ham chopped
1 lg. shallot - minced
5 cloves garlic - minced
1 med. onion - chopped 
2 lg. stalks celery - chopped
2 lg. carrots - chopped
4-6oz. brown and wild rice blend
3T butter and extra virgin olive oil
1c dry white wine, water or chicken stock

12oz. green split peas
2 med. ripe tomatoes - chopped
1 lg. potato - scrubbed and shredded
4-6c water

Saute' the ham, shallot, garlic, onion, celery, carrot and rices in butter and olive oil.  Stirring well.  When it begins to brown and stick add wine, water or chicken stock, 1/2c at a time, stir well and repeat the browning.  Add the peas, tomatoes, potato and water, simmer on med.-low an hour or more until the potatoes and the peas are very soft and soupy.  Serve with some Oatmeal Cornbread. . .Lin  NOTE: COOKING turned this into more of a Split Pea and Ham Casserole, so to make it soup, you'll need to add chicken stock. It's good as a casserole though
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3 Berry Breakfast

2c chopped frozen strawberries
2c frozen blueberries
2T raw sugar
2/3c organic dried cranberries

Combine everything in a saucepan and simmer on low until the water starts to come out of the berries.  Increase heat to a 'low bubble' and cook 5-10 minutes.  Use to top granola and about a cup of really good quality yogurt.  I've been battling intestinal issues and recovering from infection and abscess surgery the past week and my doctor stressed the healing effects of the good bacteria in this sort of yogurt.  Eating this sort of breakfast regularly can be helpful for maintaining overall health. . .Lin

Vegetable Beef Soup

Have I mentioned how therapeutic cooking is for me?  It's been a really rough week and creating a big pot of soup, simmering on the stove, just seems like the perfect solution.

1# very lean beef stew meat
1/2 large onion - chopped
1-2T butter
1/2T extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 very large carrots - chopped
2 stalks celery - chopped
another 1/2 onion - rough chopped
2 large potatoes scrubbed and chopped
1 can fire roasted tomatoes and juice
1 can water
Optional:  1 can drained, rinsed kidney beans
1 can water
1 pkg. Beefy Onion dry soup

Brown the first 5 ingredients together very well.  Add a little water from time to time then let it evaporate to intensify the browning process.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, on low at least an hour until it becomes soup! . . . Lin

Chicken Stroganoff

1-1/3# chicken breast meat
1 red onion - chopped
2 stalks celery - chopped
5oz. fresh mushrooms - sliced
sea salt, ground garlic, pepper
1-2T butter
white wine
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1c sour cream
cooked, rinsed and drained pasta

Saute' the seasoned chicken, onion, celery and mushrooms in butter and wine.  Cover and simmer about an hour.  After pasta is cooked and you're ready to serve, add soup and sour cream.  Check seasonings to see if a little chicken bullion might be needed.  Serve topped with some grated parmesan cheese - a side salad rounds out the dinner nicely. . .Lin

Greens and Shallot Scrambled Eggs

1T butter
1 lg. shallot
2 XL organic eggs
a big handful of greens
grated hard cheese
sea salt and fresh black pepper

In a non-stick pan, melt the butter and add chopped shallots.  Saute' a minute or two then crack in the eggs and stir.  Once they're almost done the way you like them, add chopped greens, and the grated cheese.  Cover, turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Slide onto a large plate and garnish with sliced-chopped tomatoes.  Season and serve. . .Lin

Carrot-Sour Cream Spaghetti

1/2# lean, ground angus beef
1 med. onion - chopped
2 carrots finely chopped
1-2T butter
1/2 jar of your favorite red sauce
1c sour cream
al dente' cooked spaghetti

Brown the ground beef with the onion and carrot in butter, stirring and breaking up the meat.  Add the red sauce and simmer 10-15 minutes.  Just before serving, stir in the sour cream and taste the sauce.  Add salt and pepper or any other spices you'd like, if needed.  Spoon over the cooked spaghetti.  This makes 3-4 servings. . .Lin

A Green Bean, Egg, Ham and Cheese Breakfast

I mis-guessed my breakfast craving today.  The quinoa sounded great, but after a few bites I covered it and put it in the 'fridge.  It just wasn't a nutty-fruity-quinoa kinda day - I'll have it tomorrow.  I realized this morning I was actually craving vegetables, eggs, ham and cheese.  Yum!!!

1/2 sm. onion - chopped
3/4-1c frozen or fresh green beans
1T  butter
1/2-3/4c chopped pre-cooked ham
1 jumbo egg
some grated cheese to top at the end

Saute' the onion with the green beans and butter, covered for about 5 minutes.  Add the ham and cook another few minutes.  Crack in the egg, cooking and stirring until almost set.  Put the cheese on top, then cover and turn off the heat.  Leave it for another few minutes until the cheese melts and serve. . .Lin

Quinoa - Not Just A Side Dish Anymore - It's What's For Breakfast!

For each serving:  Actually, after making this I realized, it's a lot!  More like 2 small servings.

1/4c slivered almonds
1/4c quinoa
2/3c water
a handful of craisins or raisins

So simple yet such a great breakfast!  Put the almonds in a pan over medium heat to toast.  When their color changes to a light brown, add the quinoa and shake.  Watch closely so the almonds don't burn.

Shake occasionally and listen for the quinoa to snap.  After several minutes, remove from heat and cool just a minute.  Add water and crasins, cover and simmer on low for several minutes until water evaporates.  Turn off heat and just let all the ingredients hang out together until the quinoa sprouts little tails.  It's ready!  Add a sprinkle of raw sugar, or a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and a pat of butter if you like.  Such a great way to start your day and it takes almost no time. . .Lin

Kalamata Tuna Salad

I'm having a girls dog-walk and lunch today with my daughter, granddaughter and a good friend of theirs.  These two foods pair well to make an easy, do-ahead lunch.

3/4-1c mayonnaise
2-4T balsamic vinegar
sea salt and ground garlic
black pepper
1 12oz. can tuna - drained
2/3 c chopped kalamata olives
1 sm.-med. onion - chopped
2 stalks celery - sliced thin
1c frozen peas
7oz. pasta - cooked al dente and drained
~ 3-4 oz. capers ~ optional 

Combine the first group of ingredients in a large bowl.  Taste it to see what adjustments are needed, then add everything else.  Toss and chill several hours.  Serve with chopped, seasoned tomatoes and cucumbers. . .Lin

A Favorite Tomatoes and Cucumber Salad

2 med. cucumbers - rough peeled and chopped
2 med. tomatoes - chopped
1 shallot - peeled and sliced
sea salt and ground garlic
black pepper
a big splash of balsamic vinegar
1/2c± extra virgin olive oil
sliced avocados

Combine everything but the avocado in a medium bowl.  Cover and chill a couple hours.  Just before serving, garnish with the sliced avocado. . .Lin

Zucchini and Friends

1 med. zucchini
1/2c slivered almonds
2 hearts of celery stalks
1T butter
1 lg. shallot
1/2 med. onion
1 med. tomato

My daughter brought over this zucchini from her garden.  The other vegetables jumped in on the fun.  Chop all the vegetables then saute' the first 4 ingredients on medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, stirring.  Add a little white wine or water.  Put the shallots, onion and tomatoes into the pot, cover and simmer another 10 minutes or so on lower heat.  Uncover, and finish cooking, stirring occasionally.  Season with sea salt, ground garlic and pepper.  You can also grate some cheese over the vegetables while still hot just before plating.  Makes one big main dish serving or 2-3 side servings. . .Lin

Cauliflower-Spinach-Tomato Pesto Eggs

Well, I bought a huge organic cauliflower. . .and I've been using it in a lot of different ways, including raw with a drizzle of ranch dressing and fresh ground pepper.  Today, for breakfast I was thinking eggs and vegetables, and once again, more pesto. . .When it comes to pesto, I'm always torn.  I've discovered that Aldi carries two pestos that I really love.  Their basil pesto is wonderful, but I find myself, more and more, using their bright, sunny-flavored sun-dried tomato pesto.

For one large - or two small servings - use:

1c cauliflower florets
1T butter and a little water
2 lg. free-range eggs
a big handful of baby spinach
2-3T sun-dried tomato pesto

Put the cauliflower in a non-stick pan with butter and water.  Cover and simmer about 8 minutes, or until the water evaporates,  Crack in the eggs and chopped spinach.  Stir and cook slowly over low heat until eggs are almost done.  Mix in the pesto, finish cooking and serve with some fresh raw vegetables or fruit. . .Lin

Tandoori Cauliflower Salad

5c± cauliflower florets
1c well chopped carrot
1c craisins
1c frozen peas

3/4c mayonnaise
3/4c plain Greek yogurt
2T Indian Tandoori powder
2T fruity white balsamic vinegar
2t organic honey
1" chunk of ginger root
1 lg. garlic clove
1t fresh ground black pepper
1t or more, salt

So often when creating a recipe, I'll think, 'oh, celery would be nice onion would be good' but I've run out of them.  So then it's either go to the store or find a creative way to combine what I have.  Today I did the latter.  I love making curries.  Hot, cold, all kinds of curries.  Tandoori is a slightly sweeter blend of spices than most curries, but you could substitute curry powder in this recipe.

In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, carrots, craisins and peas.  In a smaller bowl mix the very finely minced ginger and garlic with the rest of the ingredients for the dressing.  Taste to be sure the flavors are what you want.  Don't over-season though, since the spices will sort of burst after hydrating a while in the yogurt and mayonnaise.  If it needs to be thinner, add a little milk, water or a bit more vinegar or yogurt.  Pour over vegetables and mix well.  Chill several hours, stirring a couple times.

During this time the craisins will rehydrate, absorbing quite a bit of liquid.  You may need to add a little more at the end to keep the consistency the way you want it. . .Lin

Cauliflower-Pesto Eggs

Per Person:

3/4c cauliflower florets
1T butter
2 lg. organic eggs
2T basil pesto

Saute' the cauliflower florets in butter, in a covered pan, for 5 minutes or until the stems are tender.  Add eggs, stir until almost set.  Add the pesto and finish cooking for another minute or two.  Pairs nicely with tomatoes and avocados. . .Lin

Green Beans and Cod

frozen cod
chili-lime panko bread crumbs
frozen green beans

Oh, a perfect, very simple, dinner.

Thaw the cod, then coat in bread crumbs.  Fry fast, in bacon grease or butter.  Serve with steamed green beans and tarter sauce or whatever salad dressing you like.  Ranch is good.  Tonight I chose Classic Caesar dressing.  Ohhhh, this was wonderful! . . . Lin