Monthly Archives: February 2013

Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

The perfect soup for a cold snowy winter’s day.

Ingredients: 8 to 12 servings

  • 2 Tb Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, diced
  • 1/2 cup red cabbage, chopped
  • 2 Tb fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tb fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 large Kale leaves torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill
  • 2 Tb salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 12 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth, I just prefer chicken
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups uncooked Ditalini Pasta

DSC_0804In a large stock pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and saute for about 5 minutes, just until tender. Stir in all the remaining ingredients except for the Pasta. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the pasta, cover and again simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the pasta is tender. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Tip: This soup is freezable. The pasta will absorb quite a bit of the broth so you may need to add more when reheating, but it holds up wonderfully.


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Fried Mozzarella Cheese Sandwiches

Fried MozzarellaCheese Sandwich

Fried Mozzarella
Cheese Sandwich

This is a FRIED sandwich not to be mistaken as a grilled sandwich. But oh how good it is! I was inspired watching “Lydia’s Italy” on PBS. She made her “Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches” but I thought it would taste awesome using my “Jalapeno Beer Bread” So here it is, give it try, it’s really yummy.

Ingredients:  makes 6 sandwiches

  • 12 slices of my Jalapeno Beer Bread, about 1/2-inch thick, an entire loaf
  • 1/4-inch thick Mozzarella Cheese slices, big enough to fill the bread but not hang over the sides.
  • vegetable oil, enough to measure 1 1/2-inch deep in a medium skillet.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup flour

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over med-high heat until hot, it’s got to be hot. Whisk together the eggs, salt and black pepper, then pour into a shallow dish. I use a pie pan. Add the flour into another shallow dish. Assemble the cheese slices between 2 pieces of bread then gently dredge through the flour. You want the bread lightly floured on all sides. Now quickly, but gently place in the egg mixture and coat all sides of the bread. You’ll need to work quickly so that the bread will not fall apart. Place the sandwich in the skillet and fry until golden brown all over. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Work in batches. You can keep the sandwiches warm by placing the baking sheet in a 200 degree warm oven.


Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Salads, Sandwiches, Spreads


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Jalapeno Beer Bread

Jalapeno Beer Bread

Jalapeno Beer Bread


  • 1 Jalapeno, veins and seeds removed
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tb plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 3 Tb salted butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 and generously butter a bread loaf pan.

Using a food processor, add the jalapeno, onion and garlic then pulse until they become finely minced and completely combined.

DSC_0811 (2)In a large bowl sift together the flour baking, powder and salt. Add the sugar, ground mustard and jalapeno mixture and stir together until mixed thoroughly. Stir in the beer and pour into your loaf pan. Pour the melted butter over the top of the batter. Bake for 1 hour until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out cleanly.

Suggestions: This bread has a great flavor and is awesome when used in my “Toad in the Hole”  recipe or in my “Fried Mozzarella Cheese Sandwich” recipe coming later this week.

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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Breads


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Hearty Whole Wheat Cornbread

Whole Wheat Corn Bread

Whole Wheat Corn Bread


  • 1 cup self-rising cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • approx 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 Tb vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350 and butter or grease a 12″ inch cast iron skillet or baking dish.

In a large bowl combine and mix all of the above ingredients. Pour into your cast iron skillet and bake for 25 minutes. When done place a couple pats of butter over the top, slice and serve. (I have to tell you I love eating this rustic and hearty cornbread with lots of honey. This bread goes great with my Ham and 15 Bean Soup)

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Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Breads


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Beer Simmered Brats



Simple yet oh so yummy…Mark loves his Brats. Good thing I finally realized I didn’t need to be fancy when preparing them…just simmer in some beer and he’s happy.

Ingredients: serves 2 – 3 people

  • 3 brats
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter
  • 1 can or bottle of beer

In a medium skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Add the brats and brown on each side. Once browned, add the beer, cover, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes until the brats are thoroughly cooked. Try serving these flavorful brats over my Scallop Potato Slices.

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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Pork



Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Now what could be more from your heart but homemade Valentine’s Sugar Cookies for your sweetheart. Well truth be told I have never made sugar cookies before and was nervous about finding an fail-proof recipe as I not a confident baker. So I decided to make them for Mark on Valentine’s Day, also for him to take along on his fly fishing trip and for the women at work. This recipe is easy and oh so good. Found it in a very old Betty Crocker’s cookbook.

Ingredients:  Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

Cream together the powdered sugar and butter, then mix in the egg and vanilla. Sift the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar together and stir into the creamy mixture. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 375 and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Working with a third of the dough at a time, roll out on a generously floured surface with a floured rolling-pin to about 1/4″ thickness. Use a lightly floured cookie cutter to cut out your cookies and place on your lined baking sheet. Bake 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 minutes, until lightly golden. Let rest about 4 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

Valentine's DaySugar Cookies

Valentine’s Day
Sugar Cookies

I frosted mine with a version of “Donna Sue’s Amish Frosting”.

Amish Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 4 Tb shortening
  • 4 Tb milk
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp lemon flavoring

In a medium bowl add all ingredients and mix well using a whisk. If desired add some food coloring. This frosting not only taste wonderful but it’s easy to work with also.


Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Cookies, Holidays


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Ham & 15 Bean Soup

15 Bean Soup

15 Bean Soup

Our winter has been mild this year, but I don’t need snow and the temperature to be in the teens for inspiration to make a nice crockpot full of Ham & 15 Bean Soup. Just a little rain can inspire me.

Ingredients: Makes about 16 servings.

  • 3 to 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 summer, yellow squash, sliced or chopped
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaping Tb chicken base (I use Das Dutchman Essenhaus)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 3 to 4 thick ham slices or ham steaks, cubed
  • 1 bag of 15 bean soup, put the seasoning packet aside
  • salt for seasoning

DSC_0792In a large crockpot combine all of the ingredients and pour in enough water to cover all of them well. Cook on high for 6 hours or more. Once the beans are very soft, season with salt if needed or add in the seasoning packet if you would like. I generally just throw the packet away.

This recipe makes a lot of soup, but it freezes great for future cold days.


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