Monthly Archives: October 2016

Soup is On! Cheeseburger Soup

Soup is on and I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it – sorry you’ll be humming that for the rest of the day…hehehe

Earlier this month we were invited to a soup party. This is our second time attending; last year I brought lobster bisque; only because my husband was bragging about it to the host. Unfortunately I am sworn to secrecy with the bisque recipe. I received it from an ex-employee from a now closed restaurant that we used to frequent.

This year I decided to bring my gnocchi soup; which is delicious and always a hit; I shared the recipe for that soup last year gnocchi soup July 2015. There was one soup at the party that is made and brought every year because of how popular it is. It is a cheeseburger soup. This is the only place I have seen and tasted this soup. It is delicious and I should have asked for the recipe but I didn’t. I decided to try making it from recipes I saw online. This one might not be exactly like the one from the party but I still like it and wanted to share it with you here.


I didn’t wait for my homemade chicken stock to thaw from the freezer

I just finished making my second cheeseburger soup in the last 3 weeks. I think I like this one a little better than my last. It asked for cubed potatoes and I think I made the cubes too large last time, so I made them super small this time. I even contemplated shredding them but couldn’t bring myself to do it.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion diced
¾ cup shredded carrot
¾ chopped celery
1 tsp dried parsley
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups potatoes, cubed
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
4 TBS butter
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, brown the ground beef and onions
Add broth, celery, carrots, parsley and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes
Making the roux

In a small saucepan melt the butter and flour, boil for a minute or so. Add the milk stirring until smooth, simmer for 2-3 minutes until it thickens.
Gradually add the roux to the soup stirring constantly,
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Stir in the cheese until melted and then serve. Make sure that you don’t boil the soup once the cheese is added.

Thyme and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

I saw someone roasting a whole head of cauliflower on TV that looked SO good I wanted to try it. The other day I had a head of cauliflower in the fridge so I started looking for some ways to have this for dinner alongside a couple of Ribeye steaks I was making. Well lets just say baking a whole head of cauliflower takes far too long for my weeknight meal; especially since I was starting around 6:30ish. Unless I boiled it first it was going to be well over an hour in the oven. Since I had roasted cauliflower on brain I sliced it into large chunks added some sliced onion and a little garlic and some thyme roasted them in the oven for about 40 minutes.

It also worked out quite nicely that the oven was well pre-heated for finishing off my steaks in the oven once seared in my cast iron skillet. Dinner was awesome and we had the leftovers for lunch the next day score!!!

If you have never roasted a vegetable; I can’t stress enough how it will change your life; OK no it’s not that revolutionary but it may make some youngsters; even some adults change their minds over eating their veggies. It makes carrots, beets, butternut squash and onions sweeter. It gives asparagus and broccoli a slightly charred taste. Potatoes have a wonderful crunch and it’s the only way I like brussel sprouts. A little olive oil, salt and pepper and you’re good to go; add an herb and you won’t be disappointed.

1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
1 medium onion sliced
1 tsp dried thyme or 4 fresh sprigs
3-4 gloves of garlic kept whole
2-3 Tbs olive oil
Kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Toss the first four ingredients either on the sheet pan or if you prefer in a bowl. once on the sheet pan sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30-40 minutes. sprinkle with cheese toss and roast for another 10-15 minutes longer. 

Super Easy No-Bake Energy Bites

Before you stop reading you need to know that these; when at room temperature; are JUST like eating raw cookie dough. And since they don’t have any eggs in them it’s quite delicious without any risk so it’s a win for the kids and a win for the adults. Plus they remind me of the chocolate no-bake cookies that have numerous names; poodles, no-bakes and poop cookies; which is the name I grew up with.

I came across this recipe online looking for a somewhat “healthy” snack for the fam. It was easy, quick and I finally got to use the ground flax seed I bought to put in a smoothie or two. By the way, I still haven’t made a smoothie with it but I found a really cool recipe I would like to share with you that does use it.

I did find one problem with these, I had to double the recipe because they went too quickly. I have only ever stored them in the freezer. It also helps a little with keeping them around a little longer, out of sight out of mind. My daughter loves to put a few in a baggie and put them on her dash while on her way to work so the become raw dough consistency; my guys like them straight out of the freezer – nothing wrong with options.

Single recipe – easily doubled
1 cup oats
½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup ground flax seed
½ cup peanut butter – crunchy would be cool – I don’t have it on hand
⅓ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine everything in bowl; form into balls; mine are about the size of a large marble. The dough is sticky so you can use nonstick spray; it’s not perfect but it helps. Arrange them on a cookie sheet and freeze till set an hour works out perfect.



recipe adapted from – Heidi Heaton


Chicken Tortilla Soup

The last couple of weekends have been busier than even my normal busy schedule. I had a bachelorette party in Rhode Island and a wedding for a childhood girlfriend in Connecticut. Both weekends were so much fun and I am very happy for the bride and groom!

My usual grocery shopping day is Sunday; I know; not the best day of the week to spend time at a grocery store; sometimes it’s downright painful. I decided since I was out; well actually on my way home and going right by my “normal” grocery store I thought it would be smarter to stop and get what we needed for the week. Then having to run out again; especially since it’s 20+ minutes away from my home. I do try to have some sort of plan for meals and make my list off of what I need to make them happen. With the change in the weather it has been a great time for cooking all day. It not only heats up the house a little and helps with lunches during the week, it warms the soul and makes me smile.
Soup & pudding 015

So I was coming back from RI and I had all kinds of ideas of what we; I mean me; should make for the week. I had been craving chicken tortilla soup, Mexican pork stew, and a roasted chicken. I guess I must have been super hungry on that ride home huh!
Since I didn’t want to run out again I sat in the grocery store parking lot; googled my blog for the soup and stew recipes and made out my shopping list it was so cool!

Chicken Tortilla Soup – originally posted Sept 14, 2014 but worth repeating

2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion diced
2 Tbs minced garlic
2-4 Jalapeno’s (depending on how spicy you want it) seeded and finely diced
6 cups chicken broth (homemade if you have it)
1 28 oz. can San Marzano peeled tomatoes–while pouring out the tomatoes squeeze them into the pot to help break them up.
1-2 cans black beans – rinsed and drained
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 limes juiced
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Cilantro leaves
1 flour tortilla grilled and cut into strips or use tortilla chips crumbled
1 avocado, pitted, sliced – optional
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Dollop of sour cream

In a large saucepan heat the oil till warm, add the onions until they softened; about 3 minutes. Add garlic and jalapenos cook for another minute. Add broth, tomatoes and beans and bring to a boil.
Lower heat to a simmer and add the chicken breast. Cook the chicken for about 20-25 minutes. Once chicken is cooked remove from the pot.
When cool enough to handle; shred it and set aside. Add lime juice and the cilantro to the pot.
In a bowl add a mound of chicken. Ladle soup over chicken and with tortilla strips, avocado slices, cheese and sour cream.

Oven Fried Chicken – must try

Both of my freezers are just ridiculously full; it could have something to do with zucchini bread but there is just no more room; so it’s time to do one of my; OK probably not my favorite; but I don’t mind cooking with what’s on hand versus doing a full grocery shopping every week. It not only saves me a boatload of money; It makes me be a little more creative and also helps use up things before they go bad. It does take me about a month or so to get both freezers a little less crowded or at least enough that I can tell what the heck is in there.


Here in marks another quandary; I do try to make an effort to mark the containers but sometimes I’m like oh I will know exactly what that is, I’m sure I’ll remember the color of the cover for the marinara sauce is 3 months or even 3 weeks later and I am just so wrong but I still do it; I have issues. The other day I saw a tub of a red sauce I opened it, smelled it and I am not sure what kind of marinara it is or what it was for or from. I do know that I will take it out of the freezer put it in the fridge and in a couple of days I will be making something with it. I mean why would I have saved it if I didn’t have a plan. Yeah pretty thin huh; I think so too.



I took out some chicken thighs and saw a recipe for fried chicken so of course I wanted fried chicken. But I wasn’t up to getting out the oil heating it up and start frying it was getting late it was a weeknight and I just didn’t want to clean up that much of a mess. If you have never tried oven fried chicken, it is a thing and it is pretty damn good. Also if you have never tried Franks Hot Sauce you need to pick up a bottle and put it in your fridge. I use it all the time, it’s not too hot and adds a little heat right when/where you need it.

Oven Fried Chicken

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2 large eggs
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS honey
1 TBS hot sauce – Franks
Kosher salt and Freshly cracked black pepper
2 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
2 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
8 chicken thighs

2 pie plates or shallow dish – 1 for the liquid the other for the dry ingredients
In 1 whisk eggs, mustard, honey, hot sauce and salt and pepper
In the other add the panko, paprika, cayenne, garlic and salt and pepper whisk to combine

img_4542Dredge the chicken in the wet ingredients and then into the dry ingredients pressing the breadcrumbs as needed.

img_4539img_4543Place chicken on a wire rack over a sheet tray. You can line the tray with tinfoil to help with cleanup and spray the wire rack with nonstick spray. Make sure the chicken are not touching and lightly spray with the nonstick spray, they do make an olive oil one that is quite nice. It helps brown and crisp up the chicken in the oven.
In the upper rack of the oven and bake for about 45 minutes until chicken is about 140 degrees; browned and crispy. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.


Foil packet of summer squash salt pepper & a tbs of butter Yum!


Oven roasted sweet potato fries with olive oil rosemary salt and pepper Delish!!!


Recipe adapted from the Neelys