Posts Tagged ‘Soups and Stews’

I said I was going to make it and I did but not tonight (Sunday).  I made it last night because we weren’t all that hungry for a big meal as we had taken a trip to the local turkey farm to check out what we might want to order for Thanksgiving.  The Hincks Turkey Farm, established in 1938 has a quaint little outlet shop/restaurant in Mannasquan, NJ.  We treated ourselves to turkey sandwiches.  I had the Russian Turkey and Peter had the Flaming Turkey.  Mine, you can probably guess the ingredients but his?  His had hot cherry peppers in it!  This late lunch took place close to 3:00 so as dinner time approached, we weren’t very hungry.  

Chicken Pot Pie Soup Mix

Chicken Pot Pie Soup Mix

I switched menus and made this hearty soup.  The problem with posting about it is that I didn’t make if from scratch so I don’t have a recipe to blog about.   When we were at the Orchard a few weeks ago, I spotted the soup mixes and remembered that I had made one last year and it was beyond “souper”.  The brand is Cherchies, and they make several different kinds of hearty soup mixes.  I think I paid $6.99 for the package;  You add cooked chicken to it and dumplings if you want to really make a meal of it.  And we did! I trimmed all of the meat off of the roast chicken  we had on Friday night and used it in the soup (love getting two meals out of something)  and I made dumplings with Bisquick.  What a delightful meal!  

I also purchased their Mushroom Chowder Mix so as soon as we have another nippy evening, I might make that one. 

I like to think of myself  as a good cook and love posting recipes of dishes I’ve made so I hope I haven’t disillusioned my followers tonight.

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“All my life’s a circle…” Sunday morning I got up and went right to work in the kitchen.  This was my day to make some soups.  As soon as the sun is low in the sky, the leaves are tinged with gold and red and there is a chill in the air once the sun goes down, I start thinking about cooking and more cooking.  

My neighbor in New York left a big butternut squash at my door last week so I brought it with me to the cottage and decided to make Roasted Butternut and Chicken Soup.  I knew I was going to want to post this recipe because it is good, heart healthy and hearty too.  The more I thought about it, the more I began to remember making this last year and probably posting it.  Sure enough, last October 5th I made the soup (on a Sunday!) and posted the recipe to my blog.  

Here’s the link with the recipe – I hope you’ll check it out. I can’t believe it was a year almost to the day that I made this soup and here I am again.  I left a container with my friend, Alice, who gave me the squash.  I’m looking forward to her comments. 

ENJOY!  The recipe link is below the photo.

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...

Butternut Squash photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup and…


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I had looked up this recipe and thought what a nice meal this would be and I asked our friend Michael to join us.  He opted for Sunday morning breakfast out instead but I decided to make the dish anyway.  It looked quite simple and I’m not saying it was at all difficult because it wasn’t and you will see for yourself, however, it took more time than I thought and we ate about 9:00 last night.   That’s not a problem for us New Yorkers who are used to eating later than most.  I hope you will make this dish;  Just give yourself the time it takes to cook!

Chicken Hunter-Style  a/k/a Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Hunter-Style
a/k/a Chicken Cacciatore


3 # split chicken breasts, drums and thighs

Searing flour (it’s like Wondra)

2 TBS vegetable oil

8 oz white mushrooms sliced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 pkg of mirepoix (7oz) – (mirepoix is diced celery, onion and carrot)

1 1/2 cups of kitchen-cut Roma tomatoes with basil (You could probably use any cut up or diced tomatoes with basil)

2 tsp Herbes de Provence

2 cups dry red wine

1 carton chicken broth (32 oz)

Salt and Pepper

1TBS fresh tarragon chopped ( I used dried)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees:  Halve chicken breasts; dust with pan-searing flour.  Heat  oil in large braising pan on MED. Add chicken, brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a clean platter.  Discard all but one TBS of pan drippings.

Add mushrooms; cook 2-3 min.  Add garlic and mirepoix; cook 2-3 min, stirring.  Add tomatoes and herbes; cook 3 min.  Add wine, cook 7-10 minutes till liquid is reduced by a one-third.  Add stock; season with salt and pepper.  Return chicken to pan; heat till simmer.

Cover; place on center rack in oven.  Braise one hour.  Carefully remove lid; cook 20 minutes uncovered, till meat is fork tender and sauce is thickened.

Transfer chicken to clean serving platter.  Stir tarragon into the sauce and pour over chicken.

Recipe from Wegman’s MENU magazine Fall 2013

WHAT I LEARNED!   I followed directions and times carefully, however, the sauce did not thicken.  Perhaps if left in the oven for longer than 20 minutes uncovered, it would have.  We had too much sauce and it was not thick.  I think I would use less chicken broth next time and see what happened.  Once I realized how much sauce I had I made some rice to go with the meal and that was a great idea.  Spooning that delicious sauce over the rice was yummy.  I also sauteed some broccoli florets in garlic and olive oil as a  side dish.

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Gosh, I don’t know what to celebrate first!
I guess I could wear a sombrero to the races or eat quesadillas while placing a bet. Or wear a fabulous floral creation like the ones in one of my previous http://wp.me/pNyWj-2SH, which featured Kentucky Derby hats by Dee, to a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
As it turns out, I’m opting to cook a Cinco de Mayo meal tonight and invited some friends over.

The menu for tonight is Mexican beer ( they all opted out for Magaritas) with chips and salsa and quesadillas.
I’m serving Arroz con pollo et frijoles, steamed asparagus and dessert from a Mexican bakery.

Well I started this post Saturday afternoon, then in the midst of prepping, I had to stop and watch the Derby.  I love watching that race!  I didn’t have any favorites and apparently the favorite to win, Urban Rags, didn’t even place.  It was so exciting to see “I’ll Have Another” come from behind.  There really is something thrilling about horse racing.

So onto the meal….

I had never made Arroz con Pollo so I researched a few recipes online and came up with three that I liked or at least part of each so I did what any good cook does, I combined them and created my own.  AND I will be the first to admit, that I don’t often do that.  If you read this blog regularly then you know that I find a recipe I like, make it and if I post it, I always credit the source.

Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby, saffron, Viga rice, chicken dinner, one-pot meal, arroz con pollo, black beans,

Arroz con Pollo*

* This is NOT a photo of my dish. Note there are no black beans! But it is similar and gives you an idea of what it should look like when done.

Arroz con Pollo con Frijoles Negros

2 1/2 -3 lb. chicken; I used skinless boneless thighs

1/2 cup flour for dredging

Salt, ground pepper, paprika and chili powder (optional)

2 cups long grain rice (I used a package of Viga yellow rice)**

1 medium onion chopped

3 -4 garlic cloves minced

1 green bell pepper chopped ( I used an orange pepper)

1 14.5 oz can diced  or stewed tomatoes.  I used a can of Del Monte petite cut tomatoes with jalapeno – was not too  hot.

4 cups chicken broth* The Viga rice called for 4 cups water – substitute broth

black olives (handful – I used what was leftover from making quesadillas

1 cup frozen peas (optional) ( I had a half pkg in the freezer)

** Follow directions for whatever rice you are using and substitute broth for the water.

Heat 3 TBS olive oil in large skillet ( I used a braising pan). Rinse chicken, pat dry and dredge through flour.  Season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika  and chili powder. Brown the chicken about 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove and set aside.

Add the onions, pepper and garlic to the pan, scraping up brown bits. Cook about 5 minutes till onion and pepper are softened.

Add the rice and cook till rice becomes slightly opaque and browns. Stir a bit, then let it brown  and then stir some more.  If you use the Viga rice, you won’t see it turn opaque, just lightly browned. Lower heat if rice begins to stick to pan.  Add the broth and bring to boil.  Lower to simmer, cover pot, cook for about 10 minutes.

Layer the chicken on top of the rice mixture, pour tomatoes over the chicken, add the black beans.  Cover pot and cook till chicken and rice are done.  About 15 minutes before done, toss in olives and peas.

Recipe by Lori-adapted from Simplyrecipes.com, allrecipes.com, weheartfood.com

One of the best parts of this dish for me was that I made it slightly ahead of time and just before serving , I heated it up.  It’s not so often that I actually sit with my dinner guests for drinks and hors d’ouevres  and Saturday night I did!

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This was truly a Tasty Tidbit Tuesday!  I made Split Pea soup for dinner tonight.  It was delicious and so simple. 

3 TBS olive oil

1 cup dry peas

1 medium onion – diced small

1-2 garlic cloves minced

2-3 carrots chopped into small pieces

1 large celery stalk cut into small pieces

6 cups of vegetable or low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup small pasta like orzo

Kosher salt

Parmigiano cheese

Heat the oil in large saucepan over MEDIUM heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots and celery.  Cook till onions begin to soften. 

Add broth, cover pot and simmer for about 40 minutes.

Bring soup to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook over MEDIUM HIGH heat till the orzo is al dente.

Season with salt to taste. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Recipe from Pasta Verde cookbook

Creamy and Tasty Pea Soup

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Isabel Allende

Image via Wikipedia

Well Christmas dinner came and went and everything was delicious and we are still eating leftovers.  So there’s no more count-down to Christmas dinner, instead I have an interesting  recipe to share with you today.

Last night I had a pretty big argument with my husband and don’t worry we are all made up – at least on the surface for sure.  Perhaps the underlying issue is something we can’t work out completely.  So in that vein, I offer you the famed recipe for Reconciliation Soup.


1/2 cup portabellla mushrooms (1/4 cup if dried)

1/2 cup porcini mushrooms (1/4 cup if dried)

1 cup of brown mushrooms

1 clove of garlic, minced

3 TBS olive oil

2 cups of beef, chicken or vegetable stock

1/4 cup Port wine

1 TBS truffled olive oil

Salt + Pepper

2 TBS sour cream

Saute garlic and mushrooms in oil, stirring vigorously for about 5 minutes

Add the stock, truffle oil and Port wine

Season with salt and pepper

Cook over low heat with the cover on until the mushrooms are soft

Process in the blender, soup should be thick

Serve in warm bowls, garnish with sour cream

Recipe made famous by Isabel Allende – who adds the following instructions:

If you can’t find fresh mushrooms and must use dried ones, soak them in 1/2 c. of good red wine until they spring up happily; in the meantime, while they’re soaking, I calmly drink the remainder of the wine.  Then I mince the garlic clove for the pure pleasure of smelling my fingers, because I could just as easily use it whole, and then saute it with all the mushrooms in the olive oil, stirring vigorously for a few minutes — I’ve never counted, but let’s say five.  I add the stock, the port, and the truffled olive oil — not quite all of it.  I leave a couple of drops to dab behind my ears; let’s not forget, it’s aphorodisiac.  I season with salt and pepper, and cook over low heat with the lid on until the mushrooms are soft and the house smells like heaven.  The last step:  process it in the blender; this is the least poetic part of the preparation, but it’s unavoidable.  The soup should end up with a slightly thick texture, like mud, and with a perfume that makes you salivate and awakens other secretions of body and soul.  I put on my best dress, paint my fingernails red, and serve the soup, in warmed bowls, garnished with a dollop of sour cream.

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I had such a good time cooking on Sunday; while my Pasta Fagiole was simmering away in my crock pot, I made another soup in a stock pot.  If you are a working woman, you know why I’m cooking on Sunday to serve during the week and to freeze for that oh my God, I have nothing to make for dinner night.   This very soup is for tonight – I just have to heat it up when we get home from the movies.  I just can’t start cooking at 8:30pm, because if I do, I’ll be up till 1am on the computer.

Roasted Chicken anButternut Squash Soup

4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 1/2 lbs), peeled, seeded, diced medium

1 small yellow onion diced medium

2 tbsp olive oil

coarse salt and ground pepper

ground cumin and ground coriander


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet, toss together the chicken, butternut squash, the onion and the oil. Season with coarse salt and pepper.  Arrange in a single layer and roast till squash and chicken are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool. Transfer squash and onions to a medium pot and add 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth or water and 1/4 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  With potato masher or back of wooden spoon, mash some vegetables till mixture is thick and  chunky.  Discard the skin and bones from chicken; cut meat into small pieces and add to soup.  Stir in 1-2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice, season to taste. Serve topped with fresh cilantro if desired.

recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food

Although this soup is full of fiber, Vitamin C and Beta-carotene, my husband doesn’t think he has had a meal unless there is a green vegetable!  On Saturday night I prepared some pan-steamed broccoletti using a method and recipe that Gus, my favorite Wegman’s chef had made and we sampled that day.  So tonight with a bag of baby spinach in the fridge, I’m going to prepare the spinach the same way.  It’s so simple and the most  aspect to this is: I hate anchovies!, so needless to say when Gus said you put an anchovy in the oil, I started to make faces and squeamish sounds.  He assured me I would not taste the anchovy and gave me a sample – He was right, of course.  Here’s the method which is good way to prepare your vegetables. 

Pan-Steamed Vegetable Technique

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 tsp chopped garlic,

1 or 2 anchovy fillets (or 1 1/2 tsp capers or 1 1/2 tsp olive tapenade)

1 1/2 lbs. vegetable

1/2 cup water

salt and cracked pepper to taste.

Heat the olive oil, garlic and anchovy on MEDIUM-LOW.  Cook stirring 2-3 minutes till anchovy dissolves.  Raise heat to HIGH. Add water, vegetables and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer; cover.  Cook stirring occasionally 8-12 minutes or until water is evaporated.  Season to taste, finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, grated cheese and red pepper flakes if desired.

What I learned: Gus suggested if you are using anchovy fillets, you should probably skip the salt (I did).  I also used 4 fillets (I still can’t believe it although I made my husband take them out of the jar) and still no anchovy taste however, I used two bunches of the broccoletti.  The vegetables suggested by Wegman’s are thick and fibrous; cauliflower, broccoletti, romanesco, broccoli, green beans – they’re not leafy like my spinach so I’m not going to use that amount of water, I think the spinach would drown.

 Recipe from Wegman’s MENU magazine




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Bay leaves

Image via Wikipedia

Just like when Spring is about to arrive, I get the urge to plant, to clean up the yard and the house and to watch every day for bright green shoots coming up – my Daffodils and Forsythia are the first to bring the much needed color in the yard….I might be digressing…well in the early stages of Autumn, I get the urge to cook and to cook hearty stews and soups and to do so in my crock pot.  So when I saw the recipe for Vegetarian Pasta and Fagiole soup in the Wegman’s Menu magazine and I had recently made the Slow Cooked Beef Minestrone, I JUST ASSUMED this soup was made in a crock pot too, NOT!

Unfortunately I didn’t discover this misapprehension until after I had soaked a pound of Northern Beans overnight, not until after I had rinsed the beans and put them in the crock pot with the required 10 cups of water. Mmmm what to do?  I could have poured it all into a stock pot as the recipe stated but I needed to be out of the house for a couple of hours!  I decided to leave the beans in the crock pot, turned it on high and left.  I was pretty sure this recipe would adapt but I wasn’t positive, c’est la guerre.

1 pkg dried Northern Beans, sorted and rinsed

10 cups of water

3 Bay Leaves ( I used 5)

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium onions 1/2 inch dice (3 cups)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 carrots, peeled 1/2 inch dice

1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes or 4 plum tomatoes

1 carton (32 fl oz) + 2 cups of vegetable stock ( I used chicken broth because that’s what I had in the house)

1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper

2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground black pepper

2 pkgs (6 oz each) of baby spinach

1 1/2 cups Ditallini pasta cooked per directions

Place beans in large stock pot, cover with water and allow an extra 2 ” of water. Cover, tilt to vent and soak 8 hours or overnight.

Drain beans, discard soaking water. Add beans and 10 cups of water to medium stock pot. Heat on HIGH  for 10 minutes until boiling and skim off foam.  Add bay leaves and rosemary, reduce heat to MEDIUM. Cover, tilted to vent steam.  Cook 1 hour; do not stir.

Heat olive oil in large stockpot on MEDIUM. Add onions, garlic and carrots. Stir occasionally and cook until vegetables are tender.

Add diced tomatoes, stock, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, set aside off heat.

Check the beans for tenderness; if not completely tender, cover completely and cook as long as needed.  Discard bay leaves.

Add the beans and liquid to the stock pot with veggie/tomato mixture. Stir and bring to a boil. reduce heat to MEDIUM-LOW. Cover, tilted to vent steam. Cook 30 minutes; stir occasionally.

Add spinach 10 minutes before serving. Adjust seasonings

To serve, put a portion of pasta into individual bowls and then ladle hot soup over the pasta.

Recipe from Wegman’s MENU magazine

What I learned:

You can make this in the crock pot but the beans took literally all day to cook, but I had the time.

Cooking the pasta separately is a great way not to have it blow up in size and get mushy.

We loved the dish, actually served it along with some left over Broccoletti which I had made the night before.  And I will have to write about that recipe which I saw in the same magazine but would have never made had it not been for Gus, a chef at Wegman’s who often demonstrates the making of a dish and gives out samples.

My only complaint was that for what I thought would be a simple Sunday supper, I used 3 pots.

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a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot

Image via Wikipedia

It’s Tasty Tidbits Tuesday and the crock pot is OUT – Summer must be over!

I have to say this is REALLY a delicious meal and economical as well.  I believe you can make this for less than $3.00 per serving.

1 pkg (about 1  1/2 lbs) chuck roast,  cut into 1″ cubes

Flour to dust beef cubes

2 TBSP Olive Oil

1 pkg of soup vegetables (16 oz) cut up

Salt and Pepper

1 carton (can) of beef stock (32 oz)

1 can (14.5 oz) of Italian style diced tomatoes

1 pkg or jar (24 oz) of seasoned tomato sauce

1/2 cup of Ditalini pasta

1 can (15.5 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 pkg (6oz) baby spinach

Dust beef with flour. Heat oil on Medium-High in large skillet or braising pan till oil fairly smokes.  Add beef and brown till all sides are paper bag brown.

Transfer beef to slow cooker, don’t discard pan drippings; Season with salt and pepper.  Cook stirring, 3 minutes. Add to slow cooker.

Add stock, tomatoes and sauce to slow cooker.  Cover, cook 4 1/2 – 6 hours on HIGH.

or 8-10 hours on LOW.

Add pasta and beans 30 minutes before end of cooking on HIGH, or 45 minutes if you are cooking on LOW.

Add spinach to slow cooker; Stir to blend well.  Allow spinach to lightly wilt about 2 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Wegman’s MENU magazine

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