Category Archives: thyme

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Port Wine

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This recipe comes from a friend of mine from England. She used to frequent a restaurant close to her home quite often and told me over and over again how wonderful this soup was. How she would actually dream about it! She wanted to make it at home but had no idea where to start. I finally told her to just ask the chef for the recipe. She doubted that he would do it but went a ahead and tried. To her huge surprise he was more than happy to help her out! I have unfortunately lost contact with her now, but this recipe will always be special to me because she shared it with me. 

I don’t know why I had to but this soup was just calling to me, begging me to make it, and who am I to tell food no right? I love love love cream of mushroom soup. I grew up eating the good ol’ Campbell’s version and it became one of my favorite comfort foods. Once I had my surgery the canned version was no longer an option to me because of the high fat content, it made me sick. I was very sad for a while, until I remembered I had this recipe!! 
This is of course a much more “adult” version of cream of mushroom soup. Cooking the mushrooms down in the port wine give this soup such a deep, rich, earthy flavor. Mmmm I am craving it again just thinking about it! Thank goodness I have some leftover in the fridge because I know what I am having for lunch!! 
Thanks Karen my love, for sharing this soup with me and many wonderful memories!!

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Port Wine
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cups (about 1/2 pound) cremini mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped, 2 cups sliced and 2 cups finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (plus some for garnish if wanted)
1/4 cup flour
1 cup tawny port wine
2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken stock (save 1/2 cup to thin soup at the end if needed)
1 cup half and half
2 cups heavy cream
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a large sauce pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the mushrooms and thyme and cook till the mushrooms have released most of their water, about 5 minutes.
Add the port wine and continue to simmer until the liquid is almost gone, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour   until it is all incorporated into the reduced wine. Slowly whisk in the 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the half and half, heavy cream, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4
ENJOY!!!

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Gumbo with Chicken Sausage, and Shrimp

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By now you know about my obsession errr love for soup. You also know that my dear boyfriend does not share this love with me. In fact it has gotten to the point that I don’t even mention I am making soup until the last minute. That way he can’t try to figure out something else to make for dinner! This little dilemma has led me to try to compromise a bit here and there. There either needs to be meat in the soup or I need to make something else on the side. 
Once I let this idea sink in (and stopped pouting because I wanted things to just go my way), I realized this wasn’t such a bad idea. I have been asked for more sandwich recipes, and soup and sandwiches is a nice casual dinner or lunch idea right? I mean I love going out and getting the soup and sandwich combos. So I started writing ideas and looking online and through my books/magazines for even more. Gumbo just popped into my head as a great place to start. I have been wanting to make it for one, and there is a ton of meat in it. I mean how could he argue with a meal that has chicken, sausage, and shrimp in it? Right, he can’t!

I found a recipe in Saveur (I love them) for a basic Gumbo, but I knew there were things I wanted to add. Mine might not be a “traditional” Gumbo, but it packed full of flavors with that little zing that we both love. I added shrimp and jalapeno, as well as some Franks Red Hot to boost the flavors. I already had andouille sausage and chicken thighs in the freezer so it was on!!

When Kevin came home from work the first thing he said when he walked through the door was “What smells so good?” YES….chalk one up for me!! Wow do I sound like a little kid or what? Oh well, I don’t care, I like winning hehehe!

Sorry for the awful pictures, this was taken right when we first moved and there were boxes everywhere and no place but the dimly lit kitchen to take the pic. 
Gumbo with Chicken Sausage, and Shrimp
adapted from a recipe in Saveur Magazine
½ cup canola oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled and cleaned

2 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. andouille sausage, cut into ½” pieces
4 slices bacon, cut into ½” pieces
1 cup flour
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tsp. cayenne
1 28-ounce whole peeled tomatoes in juice, drained and crushed by hand
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
10 oz. bag of frozen sliced okra
4 cups chicken stock + more stock if needed to thin soup (can use water)
Several dashes of hot sauce to taste (I used Franks Red Hot)
Cooked white rice, for serving



Heat ¼ cup oil in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, season chicken with salt and pepper, and add chicken to pot; cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add sausage and bacon, and cook, stirring, until their fat renders and bacon is browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to plate with chicken. 


Add remaining oil, and reduce heat to medium-low, stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until this mixture is reddish caramel, about 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, and pepper, jalapeno, and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add thyme, cayenne, tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaf, and cook for 3 minutes. Return chicken, sausage, and bacon to pot along with okra and stock, and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, okra is tender, and gumbo is thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove and shred meat, and stir meat back into gumbo. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce, and add shrimp. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the shrimp is pink through. Serve with white rice on the side. 

Serves 4 to 6

ENJOY!!!

Chicken, Spinach, and Noodle Casserole

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Last night was a great night. Spur of the moment my kiddos (my son and his girlfriend) decided to pop by. It was happy for one because we needed his help moving my china hutch. But mostly because ever since we all got our own places I miss the crap out of them! It is funny, we all knew that we needed to move on and get places of our own. But dang it is so had to be away from them, at least for me.
It is funny, I spent a lot of the day on Monday unpacking boxes and putting things away in my dining room. We are having about 15 people here for Thanksgiving so I figured it might be a good idea to finally unpack the boxes that have been sitting there for a couple of months. Once I had the boxes unpacked and all of my china and crystal on my dining room table I started to look around at the room and decided I wanted to change how it was arranged. 
Now it was no surprise to my son, or would it be to anyone that has known me for a long time, but Kevin was kind of hit out of the blue with it. I move furniture all of the time. I have to get a “feel” for the room, and until it feels right I am constantly rearranging. He tried arguing with me about the need to move the hutch, but he eventually backed down. My son could have saved him the time, you will never convince me it doesn’t need to be moved if I think it does!

But due to my dining room table be covered with dishes and such, and the days getting so short that it is pitch dark by 5:30 PM here. I am having a heck of a time getting any pictures of my food. Kevin even went to Home Depot last night to pick up some under the counter lights just to help me in the kitchen. As you can see by the pictures, the lights help for cooking, but not so much for picture taking. Oh well, I will figure something out.
Now on to the dish. I found this recipe on the internet quite some time ago. I loved it because I love spinach and chicken and, well who doesn’t love a good casserole? They can be great comfort food and remind me of growing up because my Mom was the casserole Queen. But in those days it was the canned condensed soups that were used as the base. This one didn’t use the soup, but it called for whole milk and sour cream and tons of butter. I knew I could make is so much healthier!
The kids and Kevin loved it. I of course am always harder on myself than anyone else. I loved it but felt it didn’t have that “Wow” factor. Kevin pointed out to me that every dish doesn’t have to blow you off your seat, and my son said that he loved it because it was warm and creamy, it was just plain comfort food. We all agreed that if you like a bit of zing you could add some crushed red pepper to it. But it was a great meal for a cold Washington night. We sat in the living room, with the fireplace going, and enjoyed some nice comfort food together. That can never be wrong!!
Chicken, Spinach, and Noodle Casserole
Adapted from a recipe found on Real Simple
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 ounces egg noodles (I used No Yolk noodles)
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken (I used the whole rotisserie chicken)
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Butter flavored cooking spray

Heat oven to 400° F. 

In a large pot boil water for noodles, salt the water before adding the noodles and cook the noodles according to the package directions; drain and return them to the pot.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes (do not let the mixture darken). Add the white wine and whisk for a minute to cook off the alcohol, then slowly add the chicken stock, whisking as you go. 

Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the yogurt and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the sauce, chicken, and spinach to the noodles and toss to combine. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch or some other 3-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and spray the top with butter spray to dampen the crumbs.

Bake until the bread crumbs are golden and the filling is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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ENJOY!!!

Shared at The Lady 8 Home

Roasted Ranch Potatoes

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Do you sometimes get stumped about what to make for a side dish? I know I sure do. I always defer to potatoes or rice when that happens. But potatoes and rice can get pretty boring right? Sometimes I come up with ideas right off the top of my head, other times I head to my good old standby Pintrest!! I have a TON of things pinned so there is plenty of things to choose from. This was one of the times my creative juices were just not flowing. I fired up the computer, popped on to Pintrest, and found this dish that I had saved as one I wanted to work on.
When I say “work on” I mean I find dishes that sounds awesome to me but I want to lighten them up maybe, or use some different ingredients. This was one I wanted to lighten up. I was a bit nervous about taking out all of the “good stuff”. I thought maybe it would lose the flavor. But boy was I wrong! There is the familiar zip of Ranch dressing but a lighter version. YAY!!! A winner!

I know these aren’t the best pictures. I am trying to figure out my photo situation with it getting dark so early now. But at least you can see all the crispy and creamy goodness!!

Roasted Ranch Potatoes
Adapted from a recipe on My Gourmet Connection

  • 1-1/2 lbs baby yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives,chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a shallow baking pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking pan and roast until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F.

While the potatoes roast, whisk the buttermilk, yogurt, vinegar, thyme, and chives together in a bowl.

Spray an ovenproof casserole with nonstick spray. Add the roasted potatoes to the bowl with the buttermilk mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to the casserole, return to the oven and bake until bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.

ENJOY!!

Redneck Eggs Benedict

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When I came up with the idea for this dish, I knew from the start I wanted to call it Redneck Eggs Benedict. Why? Well because it just brought me back to my time living in the South, although I was concerned that the word “redneck” might offend some people. However, after speaking with many of my followers on Facebook and Twitter, and reflecting on my own experiences with the use of the word. I decided to go for it. I know in my mind, and the minds of the wonderful people I met in the South, redneck is not an insult, it is a way of life really. Rednecks work hard to provide for their families, they celebrate life, and put on no airs. They are who they are, plain and simple, take it or leave it. I respect that! I enjoyed my time in the South and honestly, life was much easier when you lived by those ideals. 
I love Eggs Benedict  It is probably one of my favorite breakfast foods right up there with frittatas, quiche, and a big plate of grits with cheese, bacon, and that yummy egg yolk from and over easy egg mixed in mmmmmm. I have had the “Seattle” version of Eggs Benedict with a salmon cake in place of the muffin, and I made salmon patties the other night, so my mind started mixing the two together. Salmon patties/cakes scream Southern to me, but I knew that I couldn’t use them in an Eggs Benedict because that is just classic to the Pacific Northwest. So where do I go? My little mind started thinking and thinking of the things that would really bring back my Southern experience. 

I decided to take the things I love about the South and then Eggs Benedict and BAM smoosh them together! 
OK list it off Bobbi…
If I can’t use salmon cakes then we will do potato cakes, yes yum. 
Sausage or bacon? Well the traditional is Canadian bacon so lets use some nice thick cut smoky bacon, OK this is getting good. 
Poached egg of course, nothing can beat a perfectly poached egg! 
What to top it with? I though of gravy at first. but I adore Hollandaise sauce. Hhhmmm how do I make Hollandaise fit in with my vision of this dish? Ahhhh I have it……hot sauce!!!! 
Most of the people I knew during my time in the South loved Tabasco on their eggs. It was something I had to learn and wasn’t a real fan of at first. Now I adore hot sauce or salsa on my eggs. In fact you would be hard pressed to find an egg on my plate without some heat to go with it now. So it just seemed a perfect idea to make a Hot Sauce Hallandaise, ya? With that my Redneck Eggs Benedict was born!!

Redneck Eggs Benedict 
For the Potato Cake:
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup flour (add more if needed to bind cakes)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, copped
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 green onions, greens only only chopped for garnish
For the Hot Hollandaise Sauce:
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks), cubed
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more
Kosher salt and black pepper
Hot sauce (I used Franks Red Hot) to taste, I used 1 tablespoon
8 slices bacon
8 poached eggs (step by step instructions from Smitten Kitchen)
Paprika for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Rinse shredded potatoes in cold water and squeeze water out. Pat dry with paper towels. Place potatoes in a large bowl and add the onion, flour, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix well. 
Spray a large skillet with non stick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Form patties with the potato mixture and carefully place them in the heated skillet. Press down with spatula to make sure the patty is firm. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the patty is golden brown. Carefully turn the potato cake with a wide spatula and continue to cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the cakes and place them on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.
Cook bacon in the same skillet just shy of crisp. Place in oven with potato cakes to keep warm.
Poach eggs, place on paper towel while you prepare the Hollandaise.
Fill blender with hot water, set aside. Melt butter over medium heat until foaming, remove from heat. Drain blender and dry very well. Put egg yolks and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in blender, cover and blend to combine. Working quickly remove insert, and with blender running, add the butter in a thin stream of droplets, discarding milk solids in the bottom of the pan. Blend until a creamy sauce forms. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and hot sauce to taste. Serve immediately.
To put the dish together, lay two potato cakes on a plate. Rip the bacon slices in half and place the halves criss crossed on potato cake (1slice of bacon per cake). Top bacon with a poached eggs, and pour Hollandaise sauce over the top. Garnish with chopped green onions and a sprinkle of paprika.
ENJOY!!!

Chicken Parmesan BLTs

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Hello to you fabulous foodies! Have you missed me? I sure have missed you!! I can’t believe this move has kept me away for 2 weeks! I can tell you that moving blows and I will never move again if I have anything to do with it. If we have to move, we will hire someone to do it next time instead of thinking we are 20 years younger and our backs, among other parts, were up to the task. My chiropractor asked me if I had been in a car crash!!! 

I am still trying to find places for all of my kitchen stuff, as this kitchen is waaaay smaller than my other one. It is proving to be quite difficult but I will prevail! I refuse to have my butt kicked by pantry items and pots and pans!! I am also having to learn how to cook on an electric stove, something I am not happy about I can tell you. Luckily Kevin had an electric stove before we met so he is helping me figure it out, but as soon as we can you can bet we will be installing a gas stove!!

Since I am organizing, and learning, I have not been able to cook any meals for the blog in my new home. I cooked our first real dinner in the new place last night. A simple pork loin with rosemary and garlic, mashed potatoes, and sauteed asparagus. After eating on the go for the last few weeks it was so nice to sit down to a nice quiet meal, just the two of us.

This sandwich was one of the last things I made in the old house. I am a bit obsessed with BLTs right now. I have been trying to turn everything into a BLT. Some are good, others not so much, but this was amazing, but a warning, is not a meal for those that don’t like mess. This is a great messy in your face sandwich. We loved it! I guess you could of course use a knife and fork if you want, but we didn’t and laughed at each other through yumms and mmms about how good it was. We have a few sammies on our list of ones to make again, and this is on it for sure! I hope you give it a try.

What is your favorite sandwich?

Chicken Parmesan BLTs
adapted from a recipe by Rachael Ray

  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes (squish them in a bowl with your hands to break them up a bit)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Fresno chili pepper, thinly sliced with seeds (can sub 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt (to taste)

  • For the Chicken Parmesan Cutlets:
  • 1 chicken breasts, halved across, 2 cutlets total
  • Flour, for dredging, in shallow dish
  • 1 large eggs, beaten in shallow dish
  • cup Panko breadcrumbs or homemade coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt 
  • Coarse ground pepper
  • Olive oil for frying

  • For the BLT Topping:
  • 4 slicesthick-cut bacon
  • 1/2 cup light or fat free ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fat fee evaporated milk (can sub half-n-half)
  • A drizzle of Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt 
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced to desired thickness
  • Lettuce, torn
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 2 crusty style hoagie rolls, toasted 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To prepare the sauce heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chilies, cook until fragrant and garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes. Season with salt and simmer over low heat partially covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pound chicken cutlets to about 1/8 inch. Season them with salt and pepper. Set up three dishes, one with the flour, one with the eggs and another with the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Coat chicken in flour, shaking off any excess then dip them in the egg and then in breadcrumb mixture. Fry in shallow oil over medium to medium- high heat until deeply golden. Keep cutlets warm in the oven on a rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet.

Combine the ricotta cheese in a bowl with thyme, lemon zest, olive oil, evaporated milk, and salt and pepper.

Remove the chicken from the oven and place rack at center of oven then switch on broiler. Toast the rolls and remove. Arrange chicken on roll bottoms in this order: cutlet, sauce, 2 slices mozzarella cheese. Broil until mozzarella is bubbly. Top with bacon, lettuce, tomato. Generously apply ricotta mixture to roll tops and set into place. Have lots of napkins!

ENJOY!!

2 servings

Turkey Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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My son’s girlfriend brought over these huge zucchinis from her Mom and Dad’s garden. I love zucchini but these bad boys were big! I thought about frying them in slices and making some kind of spicy dipping sauce but I just hated to take those big beauties and fry them. Then I thought about the stuffed peppers I made and thought that the stuffing would work so well using the zucchini in place of the peppers. I mean the stuffing already has gated zucchini in it so I knew the flavors would be awesome. Plus it was taking a nice fresh veggie and keeping it on the healthy side. My stuffing uses turkey sausage and low fat cheese. 
When I ran the idea by the rest of my housemates everyone thought it sounded like a winner so that was enough for me, the decision was made. Then with Kevin’s father having to be placed in a nursing home, and us wanting to be there at mealtimes as much as possible so we can make sure he is eating, The ingredients just sat in my refrigerator. To be honest when I pulled them out last night was afraid that they wouldn’t be usable anymore and I would be making a trip to the store. But I wouldn’t be able to replace those big beautiful zucchinis. I crossed my fingers and pulled them out of the fridge. Yesssss they were fine, just like I first got them, thank you Lord!!! 

They came out better than I ever could have expected, they really did! I wish now I had made more. I just cooked the two large (extra large) zucchinis halved. So I had leftover stuffing. The original recipe was enough stuffing for 6 bell peppers so if you have 6 zucchinis it would be perfect. I also subbed yellow squash for the zucchini in my original recipe because I was already stuffing zucchini I wanted something else in the mix. 
Like I said, these came out so much better than I could have ever imagined. Kevin loves my stuffed peppers and he said he may just like these even more. Wow now I am in competition with myself! I love it!!
Turkey Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
6  large zucchinis
1 (28-ounce) can of Italian tomatoes
2 medium yellow squash, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup low fat mozzarella for the topping
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock, plus and extra cup for baking.
1 1/2 orzo (rice shaped pasta)
1 pound turkey sweet Italian sausage ( I used Jennie-O)
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Pour the tomatoes in a large bowl and break apart using your fingers or potato masher. Add the squash, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

Bring the 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook to package instructions. Use a fine mesh sieve to transfer the orzo to the large bowl with the vegetables, reserving the chicken stock. Stir to combine the orzo and veggies and pour the chicken stock into a 3 quart baking dish.

Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside of each zucchini, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh in each one. If zucchinis will not stand up use a knife to shave off a bit of the bottom to make it even. Set zucchinis into baking dish with all of the chicken stock. 

Mix 1 cup Pecorino Romano with the 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves. Set asaide.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, crumble and brown the turkey sausage until it is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and minced garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the orzo mixture and cook for about a minute to warm. Remove from the heat and spoon the mixture into the zucchinis. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle each zucchini boat with the cheese parsley mix. Return to oven and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and allow the zucchinis to cool about 5 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!!

Bobbi on a Budget – Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

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I know I haven’t posted a budget meal in a while but it has been a bit difficult for me to make meals for 4 when I never know how many I am going to have here. At any given time it could be 2 or 6 with no warning *sigh* the joys of kids right? This was a meal that I knew could be made and if it wasn’t all eaten I could freeze the rest. Yes, I love soup!!

I actually chose to make this because I was thinking about my Dad. I miss his little comments “What experiment are we having tonight” “I love being a guinea pig” “Can we please have something besides chicken I am going to sprout feathers and cluck” My Dad was a crack up! One of the things I knew I could make any time and he would be happy about it was split pea soup. He LOVED it. I haven’t made it since he passed away last year so this one was for my Daddy.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham
  • 8 to 10 parsley stems
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 pound green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds ham, cubed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Tie the parsley stems and thyme together with kitchen string and place in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the split peas, leek, celery, carrots, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; stir to combine. Add 4 cups chicken stock and 3 cups water. Cover and cook on low until the split peas are tender 6 hours. Add the cubed ham and cook on low an additional 2 hours.
Discard the herb bundle. Vigorously stir the soup to break up the peas and make the soup smoother. Thin with water, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with the thawed peas. Serve with bread, if desired.

Food Star Friday – Chicken Noodle Soup

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Hello and welcome to another edition of Food Star Friday here at Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen. I know, it is about time right? I can’t remember when the last FSF was. I really hate it when life gets in the way of my cooking and blogging! I would much rather be here with you all instead of deal with all of these pesky issues I have had to deal with!!

Yesterday I was bouncing around the grocery store picking up all of the items I needed for this meal. I was just so excited to be doing another FSF I couldn’t contain myself!!! Unfortunately the other shoppers and store employees did not share my enthusiasm. I was dancing in the produce isles and singing little tunes to myself. I was waiting for someone to say “straight jacket on isle 5” but hey, that is who I am. I admit I am a bit ummmm quirky. It is all part of my charm (at least it sounds good when I say that right?). Oops, I was supposed to talk about the recipe right? Ok I will get back to business.

This is a Tyler Florence recipe from the episode Ultimate Rainy Day Menu. Every single thing he made looked so scrumptious and with it raining here (of course it was raining I live in Washington!) I thought yesssss what a fabulous idea for Food Star Friday! I loved that it had the twist of cheese tortellini for the noodles and meatballs instead of chunks of chicken.

This recipe was fairly easy to put together. I usually follow the recipes on Food Star Friday word for word because it is about reporting my feelings on a Food Star’s recipe. I have to admit that I subbed a cup of white wine for one of the cups of chicken stock. I just add white wine to all of my chicken soups so I couldn’t help myself. Other than that I stuck strictly to the recipe.

Now, how did we feel about this soup? It was met with mixed reviews. Everyone loved the broth and thought the cheese tortellini was a nice twist. As for the meatballs….hmmmmmm. OK 1 vote was 100% loved them, another was about 80%. Kevin and I? Two thumbs down. We did not like them at all. As I was making them I was thinking in my head “this is not going to work” but I watched Tyler make them the very same way on the show so……I did it his way.

I will tell you why I feel they didn’t work and how I will do them different the next time (Yes there will be a next time because the rest of it was terrific). The recipe called for you to add 6 links of chicken/apple sausage to a food processor with the other ingredients for the meatballs. I just kept thinking “this is going to make the meatballs mealy and grainy” and my dear friends, I was right. Awful texture and they just fell apart. The next time I will just get the Jenny-O turkey sausage that is ground in a package, and mix my meatballs the regular way, adding a little bit of bread crumbs to help bind them. I would also bake them at 350 F for about 40 to 45 minutes VS frying them. Just my preference to save on fat. Also, keep the wine in there. Everyone LOVED the broth.

So in conclusion, I love Tyler Florence and this recipe is a jumping of point for me. But I will do it my way next time.

Chicken Noodle Soup

For the soup:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 parsley stems, plus 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for 
    • garnish
    • 4 black peppercorns
    • Kosher salt
    • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish

    For the meatballs:

    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • Olive oil
    • 6 links organic chicken-apple sausage meat
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 handful fresh parsley leaves
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    • 2 pounds frozen cheese tortellini, store bought
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    For the soup:
    Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, half the garlic, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme and gently saute until fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, add parsley stems, black peppercorns and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer while you work on meatballs and tortellini.
    For the meatballs:
    Caramelize the diced onion in a saute pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, egg, onion, thyme, parsley, remaining garlic, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they all come together. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil until just smoking. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop meatballs onto skillet. Cook, turning, until golden brown.
    Drop tortellini straight from freezer into soup. Cook until they float. Once meatballs are browned, add to pot of chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Give soup a final seasoning and serve in shallow bowls with a small shower of Parmesan, olive oil, and parsley.

Pasta e Fagioli

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Hello and happy Friday everyone! I know it has been quite a while since I posted. I have been under the weather for the last week and didn’t do any cooking, so I was so happy to finally cook!! I have been wanting to make this soup for so long but for some reason I just never got around to it. But since I have been under the weather soup sounded soooo good!!

Trust me I was so glad I made that decision. This soup is so good and is going to become one of my favorite comfort foods now. If you like soup and/or Italian flavors you have got to make this. I put crushed red pepper flakes in mine and it just gives it a little heat, but if you don’t like that you can omit them and it would be just as good.

Make sure to have some nice crusty bread to sop up all of that tasty broth, and have your appetite with you too!!

Pasta e Fagioli

  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped
  • 2 (4 to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
  • 1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini
  • 1 generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • Grated Parmigiano or Romano, for the table
  • Crusty bread, for mopping
Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, beans, tomato sauce, water, and stock to pot and raise heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks. Remove herb stems and bay leaf from soup, add the parsley, and place pot on table on a trivet. Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese. Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.