Saturday, December 19, 2020

Hamburger Soup

UPDATE:  I posted this recipe a few years ago but have made a few changes for the better so I'm reposting.

My Dad is known to make the best soup.  I wish I could get his recipes but he doesn't use any, he just adds a little this and a little that and it always turns out so good.  I, on the other hand, need a recipe.  I also need to measure everything, otherwise, recipes just don't turn out for me.  It's not my Dads soup but it's delicious.  It's packed full of veggies and it's flavorful.  

It takes a while to prep everything but once the meat and onions are browned it all goes into the pot to cook for 45-60 minutes.

2 lbs. ground beef (chuck)
1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
1 cup sliced carrots (2 medium)
1 cup sliced zucchini (1 small)
1 cup chopped cabbage 
1 cup diced Yukon Gold potatoes, diced  (or new red potatoes)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder 
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. rubbed sage
1 1/2 tsp. Penzey's Old World Seasoning (*see note)

1 15-oz. can petite diced tomatoes (DON'T drain)
6 cups beef broth (**Have extra broth on hand to thin out soup if needed) 
1/4 cup pearl barley
bay leaf

In a large stockpot, brown the ground chuck and onion, stirring frequently to break it up, cook until browned. Drain well. Add the veggies and spices (except diced tomatoes) and sauté about 5 minutes to incorporate spices.  Then add diced tomatoes, broth, barley and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour or until the vegetables have softened.
*I usually don't like to make or share a recipe unless all the ingredients are easy to get at any grocery store. But, this recipe is adapted from Penzey Spice by cook Gloria Krysiak and it calls for Penzey's Old World Seasoning.  I do think this spice is worth using as it adds a lot of flavor.  Just look at all the spices in  OLD WORLD Seasoning - paprika, salt, sugar, celery, garlic, onion, black pepper, parsley, dill seed, caraway, turmeric, dill weed, bay leaf, marjoram, thyme, savory, basil and rosemary.  There are a lot of Penzey stores nation wide and online so it's not too hard to pick up a small jar!
**The leftovers might need some extra broth as it gets soaked up by the barley.

Serves: 10
Soup can be easily halved if you only need 5 servings.


Monday, November 16, 2020

French Onion Soup Burgers

I love french onion soup so I knew I had to try this burger.  It did not disappoint,  with onion soup mix in the burger, caramelized onions on top, covered with melted swiss and served on an onion bun, this burger tastes like french onion soup.  So good!  This recipe comes from the blog Frugal Hausfrau.

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • a pinch of thyme
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 4 to 8 slices of Swiss cheese
  • 4 onion hamburger buns 


1.  Mix ground beef with onion soup mix; set aside.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add butter.  When melted and hot, add the onions, pinch of thyme, and 1/4 cup of water.  Cover with a lid and allow to simmer/steam for three or four minutes until onions are tender and the water is nearly evaporated. Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring often until onions are soft and beautifully browned, add a tablespoon of the brandy, after a minute remove the pan from heat; set aside.

Shape burgers. Cook on the stovetop in a medium-hot skillet or on the grill over medium-high heat, until burgers are done to your liking.  Add a spoonful of caramelized onions and a slice or two of cheese to the top of each burger.  Cover with a lid for a minute or two to get the cheese to melt.

In the meantime,  under broiler or grill toast buns.  Assemble burgers and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from the blog Frugal Hausfrau


Friday, June 5, 2020

Individual Dutch Baby Pancakes with lemon curd and blueberries

These Dutch Baby Pancakes are as cute as they are delicious!

Prep time

5 mins

Cook time

25 mins


Serves: 4 - Lodge 5 inch cast iron pans


  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (split between 4 pans)
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting
  • maple syrup (optional)

Filling: (split between 4 pans)

  • ¼ cup homemade lemon curd (or store-bought)
  • ½ pint blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
  2. Add eggs, flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon zest together into a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Place butter in each skillet and place in the oven until butter has melted (just a few minutes). Pour 1/4 of the batter into each pan, return them to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pancakes are puffed and golden. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake five minutes longer.
  4. Remove pancakes from oven, serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, a spoonful or two of lemon curd and blueberries.
Recipe adapted from Nerds with Knives 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Cast Iron Skillet Lemon Roasted Chicken - Ina Garten Recipe

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!  Tender, juicy, crispy with a lemon onion garlic herb wine sauce.  This is an Ina Garten's recipe so I knew it would be good.  I just didn't know how good!  Where has this chicken been all my life!  The first thing about this recipe that you need to know is you spatchcock a whole chicken.  Spatchcock:  a culinary preparation in which the backbone of a whole chicken (or turkey) is removed so it can be cooked flat.  I've never spatchcocked a whole chicken so I had to look it up in a video ** here.   Who knew it was so easy.  I didn't, but I do now and I will be spatchcocking whole chickens for now on!  Okay, enough with the spatchcock, let's talk bout this recipe.  The chicken turns out juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside.  The fresh lemons, after they roast and get caramelized, meld with the onion, garlic and wine to make the most flavorful sauce. You can even eat the rind and all.   I'm going to make it again next week because it was that good, so easy and I have some fresh herbs to use up.  I have a feeling I'll be making this often!
Check out Ina Garten's video on this recipe here.


2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt (I used a little less)
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lemon, halved and sliced, seeds removed (1/4 inch thick)
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 (4 lbs) whole chicken, backbone removed and Spatchcocked *see note below or **video above)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc - Kim Crawford)
2 wedges of lemon, squeeze on top when done (I didn't squeeze on top, it was lemony enough for me)


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the thyme, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper in a mini food processor and process until ground.  Mix with olive oil and set aside.

Layer the lemon slices in a 12 inch cast iron skillet, then onions and garlic.  Place the chicken, skin side down, on top of the onion and brush with about half the oil herb mixture.  Turn the chicken skin side up, pat it dry with paper towels (this helps it get crisp), and brush it all over with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes.  Pour the wine into the pan (around the chicken, not on top) and roast for another 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle it with the lemon juice, cover the skillet tightly with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Cut the chicken into quarters and serve hot with the pan juices, cooked lemon and onions.

*note - Using kitchen scissors, cut down either side of chicken’s backbone. Turn over and place chicken breast side up, then press down on breastbone to flatten.

Strawberry Preserves (small batch)

When I started making yogurt in my instant pot awhile back, I've never stopped.  When one batch is gone I make another.  It's not a sweet yogurt and for me, it needs a little sweetness.  I started out with a drizzle of honey, fresh fruit, and my homemade granola.  It's delish that way but I needed some variety.   Swirling a dollop of homemade fruit preserves is just what this yogurt needed!  It's a perfect consistency to swirl in and adds the perfect sweetness.  So far I've made a batch of strawberry and blueberry.  It's also delicious on toast!

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 cups strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered if large (or blueberries)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • Instructions:
  1. In a saucepan heat strawberries on medium heat for 5-8 minutes to release their liquid (easier to stir in sugar).
  2. Turn heat down to low, add sugar and stir until dissolved.  Add lemon zest and juice.
  3. Increase heat to medium and bring mixture to a slow boil.
  4. Stir frequently mashing the strawberries as you stir, continuing to a slow boil until jam is thickened about 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer jam to tightly lidded jars (leave a little room on top for expansion when freezing) and let cool to room temperature.
  6. When cool store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks (or freeze for 3 months)
  • Makes about 2 cups 

*Additional tip:  If you have a thermometer when the jam reaches 215 F, it’s ready.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020


Right now this is my source for Some Good News with John Krasinski.  I had to share in hope that this will put a smile on your face!  If you'd like to see the first episode chick here.