Category Archives: Soups and Stews

Goulash with Spaetzle

Goulash with Spatzel

Goulash with

German food is rare where I’m from in California. But here in our little town located in the Southwest corner of Indiana, it’s the norm. After eating at one of the best German restaurants for Valentines Day which is located in Jasper, Indiana, I decided to try my hand at making goulash. I read the description on the Schnitzelbank’s menu and I figured I could do this dish justice. Here’s my stab at Goulash served over Spaetzle, which I brought home from them.

Ingredients:    serves 4

  • 1 pound beef stew meat
  • 3 TB bacon grease
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • half a cabbage, sliced
  • DSC_01402 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 TB flour
  • 3 cups red wine, (use wine you would drink, not cooking wine)
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf

Preheat you oven to 450.

DSC_0141 (2)Heat the bacon grease in a heavy bottom dutch oven over medium-high heat on your stove. I’m using my enameled cast iron dutch oven. Dry the pieces of stew meat between paper towels. Really squish the blood out of them. You want them as dry to the touch as possible so they will brown nicely. Add them to the pot of hot bacon grease and brown slightly on all sides. You may need to work in small batches, beware,the browning happens rather quickly. Once the beef is browned remove and set aside. Add the carrots, onion and cabbage into the hot pot and cook until they wilt and start to brown. Remove these and set aside. Remove the pot from the heat, add the browned beef back to the pot and season with salt and pepper, tossing well. Sprinkle the meat with flour and toss until the pieces are covered.

Bake in your 450 degree oven with no cover for 5 minutes, toss and bake for another 3 minutes. Remove and lower the oven heat to 325. Whisk in the wine, whisking will deglaze the pot. Stir in the thyme and tomato paste, add the bay leaf. Stir in the vegetables and add enough broth to cover the meat and vegetables. Bring to a simmer on the stove then cover and place in the oven to simmer slowly for about 2 1/2 hours. The dish is fully cooked when the meat is fork tender and believe me it will be delightfully fork tender.

Using a sieve, over a medium skillet, strain the liquid from the meat & vegetable mixture. Place the mixture back into the dutch oven and cover to keep warm. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat, rapidly simmering and whisking the liquid until it thickens to your liking. Pour this thickened gravy over the mixture and toss well. Your goulash is now ready to serve.

Suggestions: I served ours over spaetzle, but it would also be good over sliced boiled potatoes or egg noodles.

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Posted by on March 9, 2014 in Beef, Casseroles, Soups and Stews


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Ham & Vegetable Porridge

Ham & Vegetable Porridge

Ham & Vegetable Porridge

As with a lot of our country we are experiencing an unusually cold winter. Unfortunately it’s been filled with lots of ice. So on those days that you just can’t get out of the house, let alone out of the driveway to get to the store, making porridge is a good way to bring up the mood in the house. For this porridge I used up vegetables that were on the edge of going bad and some leftover ham that I had in the freezer.


  • 1 bag of Cajun 15 Bean Soup Mix
  • 2 Fennels, white part only, sliced
  • 12 Brussels Sprouts, quartered
  • 16 Baby Carrots, cubed
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • half a yellow onion, diced
  • half a bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 5 handfuls of kale, chopped
  • 3 cups or more of ham chunks
  • 2 quarts chicken broth

First of all rinse the beans the night before you’re going to make the porridge pick any debris from them. Then soak the beans over night in a large bowl covered by water. The next day drain and rinse and add with the other ingredients to the cooking pot.

In a heavy bottom large pot combine all of the ingredients, stir in the Cajun spice packet. Heat over medium heat until it starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer slightly covered for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. The porridge needs to maintain a simmer and the moisture needs a place to escape. Stir a few times during the cooking process. The porridge is finished when the bean are extremely tender and fall apart when pressure is put on them. Generally my porridge is thicker than a stew.


Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Beans, Rice, Pork, Soups and Stews, Vegetables


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Ham, Split Pea and Veggie Soup

Ham, Split Pea & Veggies Soup

Ham, Split Pea & Veggie Soup

So I’m trying to prepare and eat a bit more healthier this year. Trying is the key word. I love to cook and I love the way homegrown, homemade food taste. Since moving to Southwest Indiana from Southern California 9 years ago I have increased my waistline greatly and I would like to say it’s because of all the wonderful fried food here. But the reality is it’s a blend of them along with my increasing inactivity. The joys of leading a slower pace life and enjoying heavier foods is catching up with me. So I’m vowing to make a greater effort to decrease my flour and sugar intake, increase my veggies and fruits and get out of the kitchen and into the garden a little bit more. So here’s a stab at cleaning out my leftovers and veggie crisper drawer. I have to admit this soup turned out awesome but it would have been better if I had paired it with a nice cornbread…..maybe next time.


  • 2 large stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups dry green split peas
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB salted butter
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Lawry’s Season Salt
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 3 to 4 cups ham chunks, leftovers
  • 1/4 of a green cabbage, sliced
  • 2 handfuls each of Kale and Spinach, shredded
  • flaked Parmesan cheese, optional for garnishing

In a stock pot over medium high heat melt the butter into the oil. Add the celery, onion, carrots, leek and split peas, saute until the onions are softened. Add the garlic, pepper and season salt, stir well. Pour in the chicken broth, add the ham chunks and cabbage slices, stir until mixed well. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook on a low boil or high simmer for 30 minutes, until the split peas are soft and tender. Stir in the kale and spinach and continue to cook for 15 more minutes. Serve with a garnish of flaked Parmesan cheese.


Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Left-Over Delights, Pork, Soups and Stews


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Butternut Squash & Chipotle Chicken Stew (Leftover Delight)

Butternut Squash & Chipotle Chicken Stew

Butternut Squash &
Chipotle Chicken Stew

I have to admit we enjoyed the Butternut Squash Soup so much that I froze the leftover for future meals. Mark asked me to try adding leftover Turkey to the soup. Well, I loved his idea but why not bump up the flavors a bit by adding leftover shredded Chipotle Chicken? And that’s exactly what I did and discovered a wonderfully flavored stew. Just lovely and oh so belly warming during these cold days.


  • leftover Butternut Squash Soup
  • at least 2 cups, leftover, shredded, Chipotle Chicken

Now, I don’t know how much easier this could get…..oh yes I do. Combine both ingredients in pot and re-heat over medium-low. When heated thoroughly try serving this wonderful leftover combination with some nice hot Blue-Cheese Popovers. (All recipes can be found here on my blog, just search Butternut Squash Soup, Shredded Chipotle Chicken in a Crockpot and Blue-Cheese Popovers.)


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Butternut Squash Soup

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I was inspired by my Daughter-in-Law who spent her first Thanksgiving with me this year. I asked her what she would like to have at the dinner table for the holiday. Two dishes came to her mind. The first was corn pudding, which she made for us and it was so delicious there was very little left. The 2nd dish was a butternut squash soup. Well, I have never made this type of soup before so I asked around and a co-worker generously shared an old Women’s Guild recipe with me. I generally serve a special homemade soup the next day and invite my guest back for lunch. So I decided I would make this soup for that day. Plans changed, as they do in a lot of families. Some guest needed to go back to their homes the next day, others had already made plans.  Fortunately my Son and Daughter-in-law were my exclusive guest for the entire weekend. Sadly they too had other plans for us. We visited, we shopped, we went sight-seeing and ate our meals while out and about. Don’t get me wrong it was a fabulous time spent with the two of them, but I never made the soup. That is until this weekend. We had a major snow storm blow through our area and I was hunkered down in the house. What better time than now to make this soup. I doctored up the recipe that was given to me, I don’t know what compels me to do that, but I did.  It was well worth the work. Mark and I loved it thoroughly. Here’s my stab at Butternut Squash Soup.

Ingredients:   yields 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • 2 TB salted butter
  • 2 medium leeks, white parts only, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2″-inch pieces
  • 1 3/4 sweet corn kernels, drained if using canned, thawed if using frozen
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 3 to 4 TB heavy cream
  • ground black pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, heat the oil and butter together over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion and garlic, saute them until the onions become soft. Add the chicken broth, squash, corn, salt, nutmeg and cumin. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the squash is very soft.

Using a food processor or blender, strain off the vegetables and puree them until they are smooth. You may have to work in batches and possible use some of the broth to achieve a smooth consistency. Return the pureed vegetables back to the pot of broth. Over medium heat, stir in the cream and heat thoroughly for serving.

Suggestions: The original recipe suggested garnishing with chopped chives and molasses. I wasn’t sure about the whole molasses thing, maybe I’ll try that with the left overs. Now we would like to try garnishing with some shredded sharp cheddar. Or, how about adding some shredded turkey or chicken to the soup once the cream is added?


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Beef Stew

Beef Stew

Beef Stew

Yesterday we were in the midst of a big storm. Rain, wind and some tornadoes….couldn’t be a better day to make a batch of comforting Beef Stew. Boy does this stuff make the house smell wonderful. I’m now calling this my Tornado Beef Stew.


  • 1 pound beef stewing meat (or you can cut any beef boneless chuck or round roast into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 TB bacon grease (or you can use vegetable oil, but the bacon grease adds so much wonderful flavoring)
  • DSC_16852 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 TB Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup bourbon sauce (see my recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 2 large potatoes, cut in large cubes
  • 2 carrots, cut into about 1-inch pieces
  • DSC_16862 stalks celery, cut into about 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 TB flour

Dry the meat pieces very well by smashing them between paper towels. In a bowl combine the 1/2 c flour, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and black pepper. Dredge the beef pieces in this mixture until well coated. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat, then add the bacon grease to melt. Place the beef into the hot grease and cook until they are browned on all sides. Once the meat is completely brown add the chicken broth, Worcestershire Sauce, bourbon sauce, salt and white pepper. Using a whisk, scrap the bottom of the pot to deglaze it and release all that wonderful flavoring. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and continue to simmer for about 2 1/2 hours, until the beef is tender.

When the beef is tender add the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Raise the heat to medium and bring back to a boil, lower the heat once again to low, cover and simmer another hour or so until the vegetables are tender.

Mix the cold water and the 2 TB flour. I shake these 2 ingredients together in a jar. Bring the stew back to a boil, gradually stir this flour mixture in the stew. Stir constantly until you have reached the thickness you desire. Lower the heat until ready to serve.

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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Beef, Casseroles, Soups and Stews


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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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