Category Archives: Cooking

Potato, Corn, and Carrot Chowder

7-8 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

4 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rings or chunks

1 large, or 2 small shallots, sliced thin 

1 T butter

3 C milk, broth, or a mixture of both

1 c milk, mixed with 1/3 C flour to form a slurry

4-5 C corn (we like the flash frozen sliver queen sweet corn)

2 C extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste – for us, this is usually 3-4 T salt and about 2 T pepper

Extra milk, as needed, to thin the chowder

1.  Place the cubed potatoes and carrots in a large Dutch oven, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer 8-10 minutes until potatoes are tender

2.  While potatoes and carrots are cooking, sauté the shallot in the butter in a small pan

3.  Once potatoes are cooked, drain.  Reserve about 1 C cooked potatoes, return the balance to the Dutch oven. Lightly mash the set aside potatoes and put them in the pot as well.

4.  Add the 3 C liquid, and a hearty amount of salt and pepper, return to a simmer and cook 2-3 minutes.

5.  Add the flour and milk mixture and allow to thicken. Add more milk at this point if needed.

6.  Add the corn and the cheese, stir occasionally until cheese is melted.

7.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Can be topped with cooked bacon and slides green onions, if desired. We usually do not add those things and it’s great for us.



1 Comment

Filed under Cooking, For Love of Veggies, Recipes

January Menu Plan


Chai Latte

Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothies (a daily indulgence!)

Gingerbread Waffles

Orange Sticky Cake (going for mom of the year award!)

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits (recipe to follow)


Butternut Squash, Kale, and (Soy) Sausage Minestrone

Enchiladas with Avocado Cream sauce (adaptation from this recipe)

Quiche with mixed green salad

Spaghetti Pie with mixed green salad

Mushroom Lasagna with mixed green salad

Chicken Pot Pie with mixed green salad

Tomato Basil Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches

Curried Lentil Soup with Chickpea Puree

Pan fried chicken, Cheddar Scallion Polenta Croquettes, and mixed green salad

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Black bean tostadas

Black Bean Burgers served with homemade coleslaw

Pinto Beans and Rice served with cornbread and maybe coleslaw

Turkey Meatballs with grape jelly and chili sauce served with egg noodles and green beans

Beer Cheese Soup (sans sausage)

Toscano Soup (essentially this soup with soy sausage added) with Italian Cheese Bread

Tortellini, Peppers, and Spinach

Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto

Homemade pizza and salad (a Friday night staple, so this knocks out 4 meals)

Breakfast for Dinner (at least 3 times a month)

What’s cooking in your home this month?  Are you trying to eat healthier in the New Year?  We sure are and we’d love to share our journey with you!


Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, For Love of Veggies, Frugality, menu plan

Chicken, Corn & Black Bean Enchiladas

I made supper for 50 at our church last week again.  I thoroughly enjoy cooking and have found several recipes that are really just as easy for 50 as they are for 3.  This enchilada recipe is one of those.  I start several days in advance.  Here’s a timeline and recipe for you.  This is how I make them to save time and money.  You can easily substitute readier to eat foods for anything below (canned beans, rotisserie chicken, canned sauce, etc.)  Enjoy!

*I mentioned I made this meal for 50 people.  Total cost for this dish was less than $50.  I purchased the chicken, corn, tomatoes, chilis, and tortillas.  I had all the spices, cheeses, and several bags of dry beans in the pantry.

  •  1 lb dry black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 3-4 lb fryer chicken, thawed, giblets removed
  • 1 C frozen corn kernels (Silver Queen or another sweet variety)
  • 2 small cans diced tomatoes with green chilis (usually 10-12 oz per can) OR 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes and 2 4 oz cans green chillis
  • 1/2 C grated pepper jack cheese (buy the block and grate it yourself – so much better!)
  • 8-10 medium sized wheat tortillas
  • 2 C Chili Gravy, recipe follows
  • 2 C colby jack and/or pepper jack cheese, depending upon how spicy you want it

It all starts with this chili gravy.  You can make this a few days in advance and refrigerate.

Recipe from Amber’s Delectable Delights / Sugared Whisk

Makes 2 cups

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1-1/2 tsp powdered garlic

2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano (Mexican oregano is preferred)

2 T chile powder (either homemade or a dark brand such as Gebhardt’s or Whole Foods)

1 pinch ground cayenne pepper

1 pinch red pepper flakes

2 cups chicken broth (or water)


1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it makes a light brown roux.

3. Add all the dry ingredients and continue to cook for 1 minute, constantly stirring and blending ingredients.

4. Add chicken broth or water, mixing and stirring until the sauce thickens.

5. Turn heat to low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes. If desired, add water to adjust the thickness.



Prepare the beans 2 days in advance.

Soak them overnight and then put them in a slow cooker for 8-10 hours on low with:

  • 2T chili powder
  • 1T cumin
  • 1T black pepper
  • 1T salt
  • 1t onion powder
  • 1t garlic powder
  • Add enough water to cover beans by 1 inch, cook on low 8-10 hours


Prepare the chick the day prior to serving.

Make sure it is fully thawed and cleaned.  Make a rub of:

  • 1T chili powder
  • 1/2T cumin
  • 1/2T black pepper
  • 1/2T salt
  • Coat the chicken with the rub and place in a slow cooker
  • Cook on low 4-5 hours
  • Cool, skin, and pick clean making sure to get both light and dark meat.

The Day Of Serving:

  1. Combine beans, corn, tomatoes, chilis, chicken, 1/2 c chili gravy, and 1/2 c pepper jack cheese in a large bowl
  2. Place about 1/2 cup filling into the center of a tortilla and roll
  3. Place tortilla seam side down in a 9*13 casserole dish
  4. Repeat with remaining tortillas to fill the dish
  5. Pour remaining chili gravy evenly over tortillas, taking care to cover the edges
  6. Sprinkle the 2 cups of cheese over top
  7. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and gravy is bubbling.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Frugality, Recipes

Chicken Pot Pie

DH and I have cut way back on our meat consumption.  This week we baked 4 chicken breasts on Sunday.  Normally they would have been gone instantly, but I had 2 lonely chicken boobs in the fridge yesterday morning … and since yesterday was Wednesday, they needed to be used – stat!  It was also cold and rainy here in NC, so a chicken pot pie sounded like the best thing in the world to this gal.  I played around for a while online looking for recipes, but in the end I combined, improvised, and came out with something that we thought was yummy.


  • 2 standard size pie crusts, the ones from the refrigerated section – roll out, not pre-formed like the frozen ones
  • 1 C finely chopped onion
  • 1 C cooked chicken, chopped fine
  • 1 C carrots, chopped fine
  • 2 C potatoes, chopped fine
  • 1 C frozen corn
  • 1/2 C frozen peas
  • 3 C water
  • 2 T chicken base (can use equivalent chicken stock for water and base)
  • 2 C milk
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1.5 t salt
  • 1/2 C (one full stick) butter
  • 1/2 C flour
  1. This requires a small sauce pan plus a large dutch oven.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In the small sauce pan, put in the carrots and potatoes along with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil and simmer 8-10 minutes until just tender enough for a fork, drain.
  3. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium high heat
  4. Add the onion and saute about 5 minutes, until translucent and soft
  5. Add the flour, thyme, pepper, garlic powder, and salt – reduce heat to medium; saute 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  6. Add the liquids, slowly, stirring constantly to break up and lumps; turn heat back up to mid-high
  7. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes then add in all the veggies and chicken.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Remove from heat.
  9. Roll one pie crust into the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish and par-bake according to package instructions.
  10. Pour chicken and veggie mixture into par-baked pie crust.
  11. Roll out the 2nd crust to cover the top.  Pinch, fold over, smoosh the edges together to prevent major overflow.  Cut several slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  12. Bake, on a cookie sheet, 40-45 minutes until crust has browned and inside is bubbling hot.



Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Tortellini, Spinach, and Peppers

I was reading through the Autumn issue of All You Magazine and came across a recipe for tortellini, spinach, and tomatoes.  I made  few tweaks based upon what I had on hand and we were thrilled with the results!  I added more red pepper flake for spice and used bell peppers rather than tomatoes.

  • 1 lb (2 C) cheese tortellini (fresh, dried, or frozen), cooked according to package directions
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into large chunks (I used one red and one yellow)
  • 1 C chopped mushrooms (I used portobello caps, but any mushrooms would be fine)
  • 4 C loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 1 C water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken base
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or 2 teaspoons jarred chopped garlic
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large, flat bottom saute pan and then add garlic, saute 2-3 minutes
  2. Add the peppers and saute 5 minutes.  Don’t be afraid if they get a bit charred – that makes them even more tasty.  Burned = bad; charred = flavor.
  3. Add the mushrooms and spices (red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper), cook 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach, toss to coat with oil and spices.
  5. Put a lid on the pan for about 4 minutes to wilt spinach.
  6. Uncover, add water and chicken base, stir to combine.
  7. Put cooked pasta into pan with sauce, toss to combine.
  8. Serve with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking, For Love of Veggies, Recipes

October Menu Plan

October is probably my favorite month of the year.  The weather here in the South is finally turining toward Autumn, little man’s birthday is this month, college football is in full swing, and it just feels right to braise, roast, and slow cook.  We are continuing on with more vegetarian meals and have started to feel a lot better.  We all have more energy and are sleeping far better.  DH will get a cholesterol recheck in a few months, so that will be the true measure.  The month ahead will be a busy one as soccer continues and we all adjust to little man starting kindergarten.  I am looking for frugal, comforting meals and I think I have found some.  Many are new, some are variations of fall favorites.  I will try to be more consistent about posting the recipes and reviews. 

Here’s a fun photo of little man that marked the start of our fall season – apple picking with great friends!

Climbing high for his apples!

Dinners: (* denotes a slow cooker meal)

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, For Love of Veggies, menu plan

White Bean and Kale Soup

I had the wonderful opportunity yesterday to visit a friend and her new twin boys.  Ohhh … sweet little babies!  Her boys are two weeks old and weigh in at 5 and 6 lb, respectively.  Our own sweet son weighed almost 10 pounds at birth, so I have little experience with smaller babies.  So sweet and snuggly.  This visit called for something hearty, freezer-friendly, tasty … and vegetarian.  She was thrilled with the results.  My DH took the small portion for lunch and also gave it a thumbs up.  This will be a regular menu item as the Autumn and Winter draw closer.

White Bean and Kale Soup

1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced fine
2 t pre-minced garlic
2 C chopped carrots
1 lb dried Northen white beans, soaked overnight
1 bunch kale, torn into pieces with ribs removed
6 C water
copious amounts of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning blend
about 1/2 t crushed red pepper
2T Maggi seasoning (a very intense soy-style sauce) regular soy could be subbed, maybe Worcestershire

1. Saute onions, garlic, and carrots in olive oil about 5minutes until onion is translucent and just beginning to brown
2. Add kale and toss with cooked veggies
3. Add water, beans, and seasonings
4. Cook in a slow cooker 6-8 hours on low
5. Taste and adjust seasonings. It really does need quite a bit of salt – the beans just soak it up.

Best served with crusty bread, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a great glass of wine


Filed under Cooking, For Love of Veggies, Recipes