Spaghetti and Italian Meatballs!!!

This is an area of TOTAL unfamiliarity to me!  I bought a pound of mild Italian sausage from my local grocery store for a meat sauce to go with a very old Spaghetti Squash taking up residence on my counter.  Well. . .alas. . .said Spaghetti Squash had bit the dust without my knowing. . . 😔  Since I had already thawed the sausage, I decided to venture forth and make meatballs!!  Italian Meatballs. . .A Big Adventure for this Scandinavian Chef!

1# mild Italian sausage
⅓ lg. sweet onion - chopped 
1 extra large garlic clove - grated
2T ground chia-flax seed
2T tomato paste from a tube
1 egg
½c rolled oats
⅓c half and half

Mix this all together, form the meatballs and bake at 375° for 45 minutes.  Cook the pasta of your choice to al dente' stage and drain.  I had a little Vodka Pasta Sauce and combined that with half a jar of Paul Newman's Sockarooni sauce and a big splash of white wine.  Saute' the meatballs in this for a few minutes, combine with the pasta, top with cheese and serve! . . . Lin

Perfect Chicken Rice Soup

20oz. chicken thighs trimmed of fat
2T coconut oil
2 big celery ribs
5-6 garlic cloves
3 scrubbed carrots
⅓ red sweet pepper
¾c white long grain rice

⅓c white wine or Vodka
2T Penzey's Shallot Pepper
1-2T Better Than Bullion - Chicken
½ bunch of curly parsley
celery tops
4-5c water

Trim all the fat off the chicken, then saute' in the coconut oil with the chopped vegetables and rice.  After the vegetables become a little translucent, add the wine or Vodka.  Stir and saute' a while longer then add the remaining ingredients in this group.  Simmer, covered another 45 minutes until the rice and vegetables are cooked.  Cover and shut off the heat.

Ladle into big bowls and feel this chasing away any lingering viruses! . . . Lin

"Pretty Please". . . Rice Pudding

½c long grain white rice
½c golden raisins
3T raw Turbinado sugar
¾c water
½t nutmeg
1+t pumpkin pie spice

Simmer this group of ingredients together, slowly until the liquid is absorbed.

6-8oz heavy cream
1 egg
1t pure vanilla

2T raw Turbinado sugar

Beat the cream, egg and vanilla together until thick.  Stir into the slightly cooled rice mixture.  Pour into a 1½ quart casserole.  Bake at 375° for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle. . .

. . ."With Sugar On Top!" 😃 The sugar will melt and caramelize.  Makes 4 servings . . . Lin

Sweet and Spicy Corn and Bean Chowder

4 ears of corn
Cook the corn, cut it off the cobs (don't forget to chew on the cobs - what's left behind is the best part!) Save the corn water for soup broth.

1 can drained, rinsed black or navy beans
Or - ⅔c dry beans soaked and cooked

2T butter
2 carrots
2 ribs of celery
1 med. sweet onion
⅓ red or orange pepper
¼ sm. head of purple cabbage
½c dry white wine

1T Penzey's Southwest Seasoning
1-2T powdered chicken bullion
2t powdered cumin
½t black pepper
4c corn water
1c chopped parsley

corn and beans
⅓-½c flour
6-8oz. half and half or cream

Saute' the chopped vegetables in the butter.  Add the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced.  Sprinkle on the seasonings and add the water and parsley.  Simmer for 45 minutes.  Stir in the corn and beans and flour, to thicken the broth, then return to a simmer.  Just before serving add the cream. . .Lin 

Spinach Artichoke ETC. Dip

2 10oz. pkgs. frozen spinach
12oz artichoke hearts - drained
2-4oz. capers - drained
15oz. can hearts of palm - drained
⅓c chopped roasted red peppers
6oz. can water chestnuts - drained and chopped
5-8oz grated asiago cheese
½c± chipotle mayonnaise 

Thaw, drain and pat the spinach dry with paper towels.  In a medium bowl, combine the chopped artichokes, slice-chopped hearts of palm, with all the remaining ingredients.  Keep some of the cheese to sprinkle on top.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Arizona Pot Roast and Vegetables

2.75# beef pot roast
salt, pepper other seasonings
2T olive oil
¼ lg. purple onion
3 lg. mushrooms
½c dry white wine or burgundy 
1 can cream of mushroom (variety) soup
2 pkg. dry onion (variety) soup

Cut all the fat off the outer edges of the roast.  Wash and dry well and season.  Heat oil in a big pan.  Add the roast, season then flip over when the oil begins to sizzle.  Season the other side.

Sizzle until well browned, flip it over, continue to sear until brown on both side and edges.  Add the chopped onion, mushrooms and wine.  Add 2-3 cups of water, cover and simmer.  Cover the meat with the canned soup and sprinkle on the dry onion soup.  Cover and simmer on low heat 1½ - 2½ hours.

lots of little potatoes
12 oz. mushrooms
¾ lg. purple onion
3 lg. scrubbed carrots
½ lg. red pepper

Sprinkle on about ¼c of flour, stirring well.  Continue to simmer until the gravy thickens.  Add more water if needed.  Rough chop the vegetables and add to the pot.  Cover and simmer another hour until vegetables are the way you want them.  Leftovers can just be reheated, or this can all be turned into a beautiful pot of soup.  I love soup.  ALL year long, even when it's 100° outside . . . Lin

Pork and Vegetable Curry

20oz. boneless pork
⅓ med. purple onion - chopped
fresh ground garlic sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
2T coconut oil
⅓c dry white wine

3 med. carrots
3 green onions
4 sm.-med. red potatoes
⅔ med. purple onion
½ celery heart
1c water
1c golden raisins
2T tomato paste
1-2T curry paste - or -
1-2T curry powder

1-2c coconut cream

Put the first group of ingredients in a heavy-bottomed 3 quart pot.  Heat it all, only until the coconut oil melts.  Stir to coat everything then cover it and remove from the heat.  Let that stand for an hour or two.  Meanwhile, chop the vegetables then add that group of ingredients and bring to a simmer in the 3 quart pot with the meat.  Cover and leave on medium heat for an hour or until the vegetables are the way you like them.  Stir in the coconut cream and serve, as is or over rice.

Plan for leftovers!  This tastes even better after chilling and reheating. . .Lin

Nutty-Cruciferous Vegetable Cheese Casserole

6-8 garlic cloves
½c sunflower kernels
⅓c butter cut in 'pats'

½ med. head cauliflower - sliced-cubed
2 med. carrots - scrubbed-chopped
1 med. green cabbage - 1" cubes
1 med. purple onion - chopped
1½c chopped celery and tops
1 poblano pepper - sliced
6-8 green onions - sliced
1T Rosemary Seasoning
1t-1T Lemon Pepper

1¾c vegetable-beef bone broth *
3T flour
1T sugar
¼c half & half
4 slices American cheese
½-¾ grated Italian Kasseri cheese

In a saucepan, combine the garlic, sunflower kernels and a little of the butter.  Heat and stir until the butter melts and begins to sizzle.  Remove from the heat.  Put the next group of vegetables into a small-medium black roasting pan.  Pour the butter, garlic, sunflower kernels over them.  Season and top with the rest of the butter pats.  Bake, covered in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, to create the cheese sauce, combine the broth and flour in a 2qt. saucepan and whisk well.

Add remaining ingredients, whisking to keep the mixture smooth.  Bring to a low 'bubble.'

Pour over the vegetables and stir with a wooden spoon to combine the vegetable water in the bottom of the pan with the sauce, until everything is well coated.  Cover and return to a 300° oven for 20 minutes.  Uncover and cook at 400° - with or without Italian flavored panko breadcrumbs - for an additional 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. . .Lin

Clean-Out-The-'Fridge Chicken Stew

2-3# chicken legs - skinned
5 carrots
2 med. red potatoes
8 garlic cloves
2T oil or butter
1½c leftover (frozen) gravy from
~ Easter chicken and beef

Simmer the chicken, covered, for an hour or hour and a half, until a fork stuck in the meat comes out easily.  Remove the chicken, refrigerate and chill the cooking water overnight.  Scrape off the fat layer, heat the broth and strain it into a 3 quart pot.

Chop the carrots, potatoes and garlic.  Saute and stir, in butter or oil, 10 minutes or so.  Add 2 cups of water, the leftover gravy, and the chicken.  Simmer, covered 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  

Onion-Bacon-Provolone-Stuffed Beef Burgers

1½# ground chuck
1c finely chopped onion
2T tomato paste (in a tube)
4 lg. cloves garlic - minced
1c provolone cheese cubes
½c organic flax-chia blend
½c quick rolled oats
1c bacon crumbles
2 jumbo eggs
1t fresh ground black pepper
2t fresh ground garlic sea salt

Combine all the ingredients, mixing well with a wooden spoon and your hands, in a medium size bowl.  On a long sheet of waxed paper, divide the giant meatball into 8 equal 6 oz. parts and shape into patties.  I fried one and froze the rest.

Heat a little water and an equal part of butter or oil.  When it's sizzling or steaming, add the burger.  Cook, covered, for 3-4 minutes.  Flip and add broccoli florets, re-cover, and cook another 3-4 minutes. . .Lin

Leftover Easter Meat and Vegetable Curry

2# cooked chicken and beef
½ lg. purple onion
3c chopped celery
2T avocado oil
⅓c dried fried garlic
1-2T fresh ground garlic sea salt
1-2T good quality curry powder
1c water
1T sugar

8 oz. coconut milk

Cut the meat into small cubes and slice the vegetables into a 3 quart pot.  Add the oil, stir and simmer.  Cover and let it simmer-saute 5 minutes or so, checking on it and stirring to keep it from burning.  Add the remaining ingredients in the first group.  Simmer covered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.  It will be thick.  Once the coconut milk is added, that will thin it out.  Simmer until the celery is tender.  Stir in the coconut milk and serve.  This turned out so flavorful and wonderful! . . . Lin

Leftover Easter Vegetable Soup

leftover vegetables from Easter dinner
1 med.-lg. scrubbed *red beet
3 frozen tomatoes - peeled
2t Himalayan pink salt
2t ground rosemary
½t cayenne pepper

Put the leftover vegetables in a 3 qt. pot.  Add beets that have been cut into tiny cubes, chopped tomatoes along with 16oz. of water.  Bring this to a light simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes.  When the vegetables are tender, use an immersion blender to smooth it out.  This soup is very red due to the beets.  If you'd rather, *you could use a golden or a pink beet.  This soup has good herb and vegetable flavor. . .Lin

Easter Dinner ~ Vegetables, Chicken and Beef

6 Roma tomatoes
1½# Brussels sprouts
1 lg. purple onion
1 Anaheim pepper
1-2# baby red potatoes
1½# multi-colored carrots

3-4T good quality cooking oil
2-3T white balsamic vinegar

2T The Gourmet Collection ~ Lemon Pepper Spice Blend

Scrub all the vegetables, cut into similar size pieces so they all get done at the same time.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar, sprinkle with the seasoning, toss and let marinate for a couple hours.  Bake covered for a half hour at 375°.  Uncover, toss vegetables and bake another half hour.

3# beef roast
6 boneless-skinless chicken thighs
1lg. bulb of garlic with large cloves
2 pkgs. onion or beefy onion soup 
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ soup can of white wine
½ soup can of water

Cut ALL the fat off the beef and chicken.  Cut the beef roast into 3 pieces to cook evenly, or leave as 1 so the center is less done.  Put all the meat into a medium roasting pan, with garlic cloves on top.  Combine the soups, wine and water then pour over all the meat.  Bake an hour, along with the vegetables.


My Duluth Family is coming over later for our Easter dinner.  We'll have this with the Potato-Pea Soup I made the other day.  I found some mini French bread rolls to go with the soup when I bought a Lemon Cream Meringue pie for our dessert, at our local Co-Op.  I'll also open a jar of the Kimchi I made a couple weeks ago.  Mmmm, odd assortment, but I think it'll work 😋 Hope all of you have/had a Happy Easter! . . . Lin

Vegan Potato-Pea Soup

2 sm. onions
6 cloves of garlic
2 med. carrots
4 stalks of celery
3 med. potatoes
2T Italian flavored olive oil

1c split peas
6c water 
½t ground red pepper
½t ground black pepper
¼c fried shallots *
1-2T Italian seasonings
3T vegetable soup base

1 15oz. can white cannellini beans - optional

Finely chop or cube all the scrubbed vegetables into a 5 quart pot.  Add the olive oil and stir to coat everything.  Saute for 10-15 minutes, stirring all the while.  Add the next group of ingredients.  * I found the fried shallots at an International Market.

Bring this to a boil, then turn the heat to low-medium.  Simmer, covered for 45 minutes.  Check the vegetables to see if they're done the way you like.  If not, cook a little longer.  Add the drained-rinsed beans if you're using them.  I changed my mind about the beans.  Instead I used a can of golden hominy.  At this point, you can either serve as is, or blend with an immersion blender for a smother soup. . .Lin

Savory Bacon and Cheese Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower
3-4T butter
seasoned salt
red and black pepper

Put the cauliflower in an ovenproof casserole with about ½c water.  Butter and season as shown.  Cover then bake or microwave until it's just partially tender.

¼c cooked-crumbled bacon
¼c gorgonzola or bleu cheese
Italian breadcrumbs - optional

Chop the cauliflower up a bit, sprinkle with the bacon, crumbled cheese (breadcrumbs?) and heat again to finish the cooking and melt the cheese.  Today this was my late breakfast and it was wonderful! . . . Lin

Cream of Tomato Soup

1 sm. yellow onion
5 lg. cloves of garlic
¼c crumbled bacon
1T Tuscan flavored olive oil

1 28oz. can tomatoes
½ can 14oz. water
2c Beef & Vegetable Bone Broth *
2t Himalayan pink salt
2t Italian seasonings
2t horseradish

1c half & half

In a 3 quart pot, saute the first group of ingredients 5 minutes or until the flavors scent your kitchen.  Add the tomatoes, water, broth and seasonings.  I used 2t Mediterranean and Black Olive grey salt in place of pink salt and Italian seasonings. Simmer another 5-10 minutes.  Blend with an immersion blender then stir in the half & half.

Perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich.  This was an excellent soup idea. . .Lin

Beef Bone Broth

The other day I saw a couple ENORMOUS beef bones marked Dog Bones.  I though, hmmm, nice.  Penny and Oliver will love these.  Hunks of meat, gristle and tendons still attached, lots of marrow. . .Then unpacking them at home, I realized, these were not for my 40# pups!!  Maybe not even for a 150# 'pup!'

So, regardless of the label, I decided when life hands me Monster Beef Bones. . .I Make Bone Broth!  

I've made bone broths a couple times before and this turned out quite different from those.  Previously, using turkey and chicken bones, once the boiling had ceased, and the pot had been refrigerated overnight, in all instances, I was easily able to scrape off a significant fat layer, but with the poultry bone broth, the 'broth' underneath was nicely gelled!  I've heard it's important for good, healthy bone broth, to be thick and gelatinous, rather than stay liquid when chilled.  The beef did not do this, which was a surprise considering the quality of the bones and the amount of marrow each contained.  I need to read about bone broths though, maybe that's something inherent in poultry but not red meat bones that contributes to the gelling.

These photos are actually from day 2.  I wasn't planning to blog this, so didn't take pictures of the original ingredients, but I started with:

2 honkin' beef bones
2 big carrots
half a head of green cabbage
3 stalks of celery and tops
2-3t black peppercorns
3 big bay leaves
2 onions
6-8 cloves of garlic
½c Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar

I scrubbed and rough chopped all the vegetables.  I didn't leave onion peels or root ends on, since my thought was I may use my immersion blender at the end of the cooking and chilling process, which is what I did.  The blending broke up the peppercorns a bit, but they're still pretty rough and very spicy.

Back to day 1.  I put everything in my 6 quart pot and covered with water to within a couple inches of the top.  I simmered this covered, for many hours, but 4-8 would be good.  Then popped the whole pot into the 'fridge.  On day 2, I removed the bones, cut away the meat and chopped that with some of the vegetables for a special treat for my dogs.  I scraped off all the fat, which wasn't difficult since the whole pot was covered in a ¼-⅓" layer of hard buttery-looking fat.

I discarded the fat and bones, warmed everything for about 10 minutes, then hit it with my immersion blender.  This resulted in a very nice, thick vegetable-beef bone broth.  Almost a half-gallon of it!  This can be frozen in smaller containers for soups or stews.

I'm thinking I may combine about a quart of this with some crushed tomatoes, half & half and more garlic for a nice beefy cream of tomato soup.  Sooo, stay tuned!

Be Creative — Make Your Kitchen Time Fun! . . . Lin

A Simple Kimchi

1 med.-lg. green cabbage
⅓-½ med. purple cabbage
6 lg. green onions
3 med. carrots
⅓c Himalayan pink salt

Thinly slice the cabbage, onions and carrots into a large bowl.  Salt everything and massage it into the vegetables.  Let stand for 2 hours.  Add 10 cups of water and massage again to be sure all the vegetables are well coated and covered with the salted water.  Keep vegetables submerged with a heavy glass plate.  Put in a cool spot on your countertop or 'fridge for 24 hours.

1½T finely ground red pepper
1½" cube of peeled ginger
6-8 large cloves garlic
¼c bottled fish sauce
2t sugar

Drain the vegetables in a large colander and rinse well.  Let drain while mixing the sauce ingredients.  Finely chop the garlic and ginger then combine vegetables and sauce, mixing well with your hands in the large bowl that was washed and dried.  Fill vented kimchi jars with the mixture and refrigerate.  This is best after being chilled a week or so.  It's fermented, so it will keep a long time in the refrigerator. . .Lin