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


Years ago, I lost 40# in 3 months by following the Atkin's Diet.  It worked well for me, and if I remember right, I felt good during that time, but I gained back the weight I had lost, within a year.  I had gone from 152# - an all-time high for me - down to 112# which was WAY too low!  It was a quick fix, not a sustainable life-style change.  The main principles of Atkin's are, low-to-no-carbs, lots of healthy vegetables, salads, meat, fats and water.  Gotta drink quite a bit of water to push the toxins through.

Recently, I feel I've sort of rediscovered bacon, which was a big part of my Atkin's experience.

I found a bag of fried, crumbled bacon in one of my grocery store adventures a while ago, but sadly, can't remember which store.  A 2# bag was right around $12.00.  I used it in several breakfast egg bakes, a potato salad and a potato-corn chowder.  Then a couple months ago, I found 2# of locally raised bacon for just over $6.00.  Well now. . .  A project!

Projects are always money-saving, right??  Well, sadly, in this case, I discovered that 2# of raw, smoked bacon, after cooking, water evaporation, fat draining, only yielded. . .are you ready for this? . . .8oz. of crispy-cooked bacon!!

So, for me to duplicate that $12.00 2# bacon bag. . .I would need 8# - $26.00 worth of raw bacon and I'd be left with a very smokey kitchen!!!  Time to talk to some grocery department managers and find those precooked packages of wonderful, crispy bacon again!!  However if you're up for it, somehow, make your own! . . . Lin  

Spaghetti Pie

1# ground turkey
1# ground beef or bison
1 lg. carrot - chopped
8 oz. mushrooms - sliced
¼-½ lg. purple onion - chopped

½c white wine or vodka
24oz. red pasta sauce
1t-1T salt and pepper

½c - 1c sour cream
4oz. parmesan cheese

Combine the first group together in a large frying pan, or saute' in batches, drain off any excess fat and liquid, then add the alcohol and red sauce.  In a 3-5 quart pot, cook 12 oz. of your favorite spaghetti type pasta, angel hair, linguini, or fettuccini.  Drain and rinse with cold water or just drain.  Rinsing will keep the pasta more separate and the sauce not adhering as well, but it seems to work better in this recipe.

Spray or butter a 9"x13" glass baking pan.  Layer with half the pasta and half the red sauce, then top with remaining pasta.  When the remaining meat and sauce mixture cools, stir in the sour cream and pour this over the top layer of pasta.  Sprinkle on parmesan cheese.  Bake an additional 15-20 minutes now, or refrigerate, heat and serve later.  This would also freeze well.

Mmmm, Comfort Food! . .Lin   

Tomato Cream Soup

2 ribs of celery
½ cipollini onion
1 med. carrot

a handful of peppery arugula
1 6oz. jar tomato pesto*
2 cans diced tomatoes
12oz. spaghetti sauce
24oz.± water

1c of dairy of some sort.  Heavy cream, or in this case, I used ½c each of half & half and sour cream.

Chop the first three (mirepoix) ingredients and saute' in a little water, butter or olive oil in a 3 quart pot.  After 5-10 minutes, stirring and letting it just steam, covered, add the chopped arugula.  Arrange it on top of the mirepoix so it doesn't touch the bottom or sides of the pot.  Add a little water if needed, then cover and let it steam again on low, another 5-10 minutes.  Add the next four ingredients, stir well, cover and simmer on low another 15-20 minutes.  *If your okay with the possibility of an 'icky' colored soup, you could use regular basil pesto for a Tomato-Basil Cream Soup.

At this point, you can omit the dairy if you want.  If you're using it, cool the soup until it's just warm.  Add 1c of what you've chosen and stir it in well.  Bring the pot back to a simmer to serve.

Top with crumbled croutons, tortilla strips, pumpkin seeds or whatever sounds good to you.

Ahhhh, soup!  MmmMmm Good??  No. . .  Homemade soup is MmmMmm Excellent!! . . . Lin

Romanesco and Turkey Breast


1 head of romanesco
2-4T butter
grated parmesan cheese
fresh ground black pepper
½t your favorite seasoning
Italian panko breadcrumbs

Combine romanesco, a little water, half the butter and seasonings in a 2 quart pot.  Cover, bring the water to a low boil.  Steam for 4 minutes after water comes to a boil.  Drain, add the rest of the butter, breadcrumbs, toss and serve.

Turkey Breast

Cut 12oz. turkey breast into smaller pieces, saute' them in butter and your favorite seasoning until done on both sides.  Serve with the romanesco.

Avocado Egg Spread

1-2 ripe avocados
2 hard boiled eggs
3-4T finely chopped onion
½-1 jumbo garlic clove - minced
enough mayonnaise to hold it together
½t your favorite seasoning blend
fresh ground black pepper

Chop and mash all the ingredients together.  Spread it on grainy, toasted bread, a sun-dried tomato rice cake or, as in my case, my favorite new discovery, a crispy, thin corn cake.  Oh these are so good!  I found them at our local Co-Op.  I'm not a big conventional breakfast-food person, so this was breakfast today. . .Lin

Turkey Black Bean-Corn Chili

½# organic ground turkey
1 very large purple shallot
2 very large garlic cloves
1 lg. Vidalia onion
1 lg. ribs of celery
1-2T olive oil
1T balsamic vinegar
1T chili lime seasoning
1T smoky chili powder
1T ground cumin

2 cans black beans
1 can chili beans
2 cans corn
28oz. diced tomatoes
1T sugar

Combine the first group of ingredients, heat and saute' breaking up the turkey.  Simmer on low for about 15 minutes, then turn up the heat until the meat sizzles and browns a little.  Stir to keep from sticking to the pot.  When browned the way you like, add drained-rinsed black beans, the whole can of chili beans-undrained, the drained corn and the whole-undrained can of tomatoes and sugar.  Simmer on low heat an additional 15-30 minutes. . .Lin

Crawfish Casserole

It's been a while since I've posted.  Since the last time, my first Great Grandchild was born, I developed shingles, and also had a really bad cold or the flu.  So, even though I was cooking, I wasn't posting.  Then, when I attempted to download some pictures of what I had cooked, they disappeared.  So those are gone. . .P.O.O.F. . .

This recipe looks like a remake of the previous one, using leftovers, but that isn't the case.  The two were created weeks apart since, recently, I wanted to make the crawfish bisque for my granddaughter and her guy.  I followed the previous recipe and then added the cooked pasta with a little more Alfredo sauce, parmesan cheese and Italian panko breadcrumbs, turning it into a casserole rather than a bisque.  Oh, it was good! . .Lin

Crawfish Mushroom Bisque

2 stalks celery
4 oz. mushrooms
4 lg. garlic cloves
1 med. purple shallot
6 skinny green onions
2T butter
½t black pepper
1-2t Old Bay Seasoning
1-2t good lemon pepper*

6oz. dry white wine
13.76oz. crushed tomatoes
1# crawfish tail meat

6oz. Alfredo sauce
6oz. sour cream
6oz. half & half

Finely chop all the vegetables in the first group.  I used my chopper for this.  Saute' them, in a heavy-bottomed, 3½ quart pot, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.  Season at the beginning or after this step.  (*A good lemon pepper is one that doesn't have salt first on the list of ingredients.  This one is excellent.  Black pepper, salt, vegetables and lemon peel.)

Add the second group of ingredients and simmer-saute' another 15 minutes.  Add the last group and turn heat very low.  Simmer on a very low bubble while stirring for another 5 minutes.  Serve with some crunched up croutons.  This turned out so well!  I've had many Lobster Bisques that weren't this good.  The crawfish was probably the best $5.00 I've ever spent on a cooking adventure. 😋 . . . Lin

Fiesta Salad

This salad tasted as good as it looked.  It's a combination of steamed and raw vegetables, with nuts and a little crumbled cheese.  I used feta, but bleu, grated parmesan  or gorgonzola would also be good.  My lettuce mix today was romaine, cabbage, cucumber and onion.  This made a huge salad for one person or side salads for two or three.

1 med. carrot
½ med. beet
a few cauliflower florets

A handful of your lettuce mix
½ med. yellow tomato
2 lg. radishes
chopped walnuts
some feta cheese
your favorite dressing
mine was Mango Chipotle

Cut-chop the first three vegetables into a medium glass bowl.  Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave at power level 7 for 2-3 minutes.  Drain any liquid.  Add the rest of the ingredients in the second group, toss and dig in!! . . . Lin

2018 Summer Gazpacho

The first time I ever had Gazpacho was in a Spanish restaurant, south of Madison, Wisconsin called La Paella, which has since closed.  We had ordered only wine and several different tapas, one of which being the Gazpacho.  The other gal I was dining with as well as our husbands, tried it, pushed it to center of the table and declared it to be "bad" gazpacho.  Well, naturally, I had to try it, and just loved it!  I finished every bit and practically licked the bowl!  Afterward, I asked to speak to the Chef who had made it.  He would not give me the recipe, but verified each ingredient I guessed, and finally set me straight on all those I hadn't mentioned, but wouldn't give me amounts.  I went home and was able to recreate the recipe almost perfectly!  Mmmmm-Gazpacho-Awesomeness!  Sadly, I either wrote it down and lost it, or never took the time to write it down.  A year later, toward the end of summer, I had ingredients, but no recipe.  I made something good, but not like my La Paella experience.  This continued to experiment and try my hand at this for several years.  Then. . . as fate would have it. . .I was in Madison, many years later, while working for our local police department, for a 3 day seminar.  After the final lecture, which ended way early, I decided to drive back to La Paella and get a big container of that great Gazpacho.  They sold me a HUGE plastic container of it. . .possibly a 1 gallon ice cream bucket, or even larger.  I couldn't WAIT to get home and have some.  Sadly, it was just awful.  WAY too much oil and salt and the flavor was way off.  I couldn't taste the carrot, and I've since determined the carrot is what really sets it apart from other Gazpachos.  Since then, I'm always on the path to create The Perfect Gazpacho!  It's an OCD Quest I'm afraid!  This is my 2018 Summer Harvest Version. . .

6 pickling cucumbers
2 med. garlic cloves
1 lg. purple shallot
½ lg. green pepper
⅓ stalk of celery
1 sm.-med. beet*
3 ripe tomatoes
2 big carrots

2t garlic salt
2t black pepper
½c Tuscan olive oil
3T white balsamic vinegar
tomato juice if needed to thin while blending

Ohh, so interesting!  This turned out well, but nothing like the La Paella version.  I like it, but it wouldn't be everyone's favorite, since the beet really dominated.

*The beet is optional, it's flavor is very aggressive, and without it, the color of the soup would be more green and orange.  I used my blender this time, and it's the consistency of baby food.  I didn't need any of the tomato juice.  If you use a food processor, it'll be chunkier.

Today I had it, as shown, with a squeeze of a sour cream sauce I made.  Sour cream with a little half and half to thin it, then seasoned with fresh ground black pepper, garlic salt, dill - then shake like crazy in a plastic squeeze bottle.  The kind used for catsup and mustard at hot dog stands.  Well. . .stay tuned and do a 'search' here for Gazpacho in a couple weeks, I have another idea for a simpler one, if I can find the right cucumbers! . . . Lin

Chili Jalapeno Cornbread - gluten-free

1c quick rolled oats
1c corn flour
2T raw sugar
1t baking soda
1t baking powder
1t ground cumin
1t smoky chili powder
3T ground chia-flax seeds

⅓c chopped nuts
⅔c half and half
1 can of corn - drained
⅓c coconut-sunflower oil
1T white balsamic vinegar
⅛-¼c finely chopped canned jalapeno

In a medium glass bowl, whisk to combine all the dry ingredients.  Add the next group, stir then pour into a 9"x9" square pan.  Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.  This is SO good with soup or chili. . .Lin

Grilled Chicken Salad

1# chicken tenderloins
2T coconut oil
garlic sea salt
black pepper

2 celery ribs and tops
½c chopped walnuts
½ sm. purple onion
¼c caper berries
sour cream

Grill the chicken in a skillet with the melted coconut oil.  Flip the chicken, season, flip again and season the other side.  Fry these about 10 minutes per side until cooked through.  Cool, chop the chicken into a glass bowl.  Add the pan brownings and the. finely chopped celery, walnuts and onion.  Add capers (not shown).  Mix, adding enough mayonnaise and sour cream to hold everything together.  Serve in a spinach tortilla as a wrap, or over crispy romaine leaves. . .Lin

Coconut Curry Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup

4 sm.-med. sweet potatoes
1 med. purple onion
⅔ med. red pepper
5 cloves of garlic
3 med. carrots

2T coconut oil
1t salt
1t pepper

1t AROY-D curry paste
1t pumpkin pie spice
1" piece fresh ginger

1c coconut milk

Scrub the sweet potatoes and remove any bad spots.  Cut these, the onion, pepper and carrots into 1" chunks.  Slice the garlic cloves.  Put all this in a medium size bowl.  Melt the coconut oil and pour over the vegetables.  Salt and pepper, toss, then put on a parchment paper lined jelly roll pan.  Bake at 400° for about 45 minutes, or longer until the vegetables are browned and soft.  Toss, move around, to re-coat everything with the oil and seasoning after about 20 minutes.

Put the vegetables into a heavy bottomed 3 quart pot.  Add a cup or two of water or vegetable broth, the finely chopped ginger, curry paste and spice.  Mash or blend with immersion blender, to the consistency you want.  Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.  Stir in the coconut milk and serve, garnished with a little sour cream, dill and some chopped nuts. . .Lin

Avocado Corn Salad. . .

1 ear of cooked corn
½ firm avocado - cubed
some thin-sliced purple onion
1 firm-ripe Roma Tomato - chopped

Cut the corn off the cob and toss with the rest of the ingredients.  Drizzle with a little of the Sweet Cilantro Lime salad dressing - from Walmart.  This makes a big salad for one, or two smaller salads. . .Lin

Tomato Beef Vegetable Soup

1# lean beef - cubed
1½ med. purple onion
2T Tuscan olive oil
1-2c water or wine
2c colorful peppers
1½# green beans
6oz. mushrooms
2t rosemary garlic seasoning
2t finely ground black pepper
2t Italian seasoning
2t dry thyme leaves
4c tomato juice
I only used half of the 2# of beef shown, freezing the other 1# for a future small pot of chili.  I also didn't use the beef soup base, substituting the other seasonings listed, but not shown.  This is the first big pot of vegetable soup I can remember making using neither potatoes or carrots!  I looked in the fridge and instead used what was getting 'tired'.  These ingredients all went together and turned out well.

Slice, or chop the vegetables as you like them, finely chopping half of one onion.  Put that finely chopped onion, the beef and oil in a 3 quart pot and sizzle until it begins to brown.  Add the water or wine, cover and simmer a half hour.  Next add vegetables, seasonings and tomato juice.  Cover and simmer another 30-45 minutes.  Check seasonings and adjust however needed, adding more water or tomato juice if necessary.  This would be great with crusty, buttered garlic bread. . .Lin

Butter Chicken With Vegetables

1# boneless chicken tenderloins
5 lg. cloves garlic - minced
½ green pepper - chopped
6oz. mushrooms - sliced
1 sm. onion - chopped
1-2T butter

1 15oz. jar Pataks Butter Chicken Simmer Sauce

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and saute' with the vegetables and butter, adding a little water or white wine to keep it from sticking.  Let this simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes.  Add the curry sauce and a little more wine or water.  Stir, cover and simmer another 20 minutes.  Serve over rice.  Mmmm! . . . Lin

Spicy Corn & Bean South-Of-The-Border Tossed Salad

With a little bit of vegetable prep work, this salad is easy to put together in just a matter of minutes.  Today, mine is made up of:  Mixed Greens - romaine, thin-sliced green cabbage, onion, sliced pickling cucumber, 3 Large Quartered Cherry Tomatoes, Half a firm Avocado, Fresh Cooked Corn - cut off the cob, Black Beans.  For dressing I used a little Buttermilk Ranch with a squirt of Sriracha Sauce.  To balance that, I added a splash of Walmart's Sweet Cilantro Lime dressing.  Oh, this was good!  It's still Summer!  Salad Days are here! . . Lin

Spicy Crawfish Gumbo

3 ribs of dark green celery
1 med. purple onion
1c white rice
½ yellow pepper
1 poblano pepper
1 lg. purple shallot
5 lg. cloves of garlic
a big handful of green beans
2T butter
¾-1 cup of white wine

1T Old Bay Seasoning
1T raw or turbinado sugar
1t-1T really good lemon pepper
1t-1T fresh ground garlic sea salt
1 28oz can of petite diced tomatoes
28oz. or a little more, water

3c frozen okra
1# Louisiana Crawfish

Saute' the first group of sliced or chopped ingredients in butter and white wine for about 15 minutes, stirring often.  Add seasonings, tomatoes, water and simmer another 30-60 minutes.

Add okra and crawfish and continue to simmer, or if your liquid is running out, you can also bake it in the oven for a half hour or more.  Depending on the amount of liquid desired, this is either a soup or a stew.

But ohhh, so good - either way! 😀 . . .Lin