A Healthy -ish Vegetable soup!

A Healthy -ish Vegetable soup!

I’ve succumbed to the covid “15” in the past year. As in, I’ve gained back 15 of 30 lbs I had lost the slow way. I knew I had gained a few, but was a little surprised that it was actually 15 when I went to the doctor not long ago. I just got off the track that had allowed me to lose weight the “no keto” way.

Anyway, I have several other posts about soup I made. I’ve been making a batch almost every week on Sunday night. It’s Monday tonight of course. If only that had been more of a solid plan, & that I didn’t eat too much other food besides that. Oh well.

This soup recipe had no definite measurements. I started late tonight, after finally catching up on some cleaning and organizing!

Very Vegetable Healthy -ish Soup

1/2 red cabbage & 1 small green cabbage, chopped & oven roasted in foil plus sliced sweet onions.

1 bunch of celery, chopped, & then into the food processor.

Add some sliced sweet onion to the celery with the last bit (I have a small food processor!)

Add a small to medium peeled fresh ginger to the celery & onion in food processor. Sauteed in butter for a bit while I diced up:

1 lb carrots & 2 yukon gold potatoes – finely diced

Let the celery, sweet onion, ginger mix sauteed in the butter, start to add add a bit of chicken broth as needed. Then add carrots & potatoes.

After 15-20 minutes of simmering, it roughly matched my cabbage being ready.

The red & green cabbage + onion slices was cooked at 425 for about 25 minutes. Wide foil lined an edged baking sheet, & then wrapped the edges & extra sides of foil around the top to close.

Yummy soup cooking
Video of homemade vegetable soup cooking.

Add remaining of quart of chicken broth.

Sprinkle in pink himalayan salt, black pepper, white pepper, plus some turmeric.

Add about 1 qt of additional water to soup mix using empty broth container

Vegetable soup: red & green cabbage, carrots, celery, gold potato, sweet onion all sauteed in butter, then added in chicken broth.

Simmer everything for at least 25 minutes. By the way: “healthy-ish” is for butter sauteed veggies! Serve & enjoy!

I will also be making a chicken sausage, kale, & quinoa dish tomorrow possibly. I ran out of time. I’m up past my bedtime.

A lazy holiday mocha coffee at home, plus holiday candy making today!

A lazy holiday mocha coffee at home, plus holiday candy making today!

Normally, I don’t use those flavored coffee creamers anymore. I use either half & half, or heavy cream, sometimes on rotation. But, I was tired & wandering through a grocery store last night around 8pm (something you shouldn’t do without a sure plan of what you want to make, or you might spend more than you thought), I decided on flavored creamer. Since it was a bit late on Christmas Eve eve, the shelves were a little picked over.

I have a much more thorough blog on how I make Christmas candy I posted a couple years ago. I revised it today, so it’s published date is now today.

What I ended up with last night: 2 bags of round pretzel balls, a big jar of peanuts, & 1 bag each of dark chocolate, white chocolate & butterscotch chips (+ I already had 1 dark chocolate plus vanilla candy melt bars), some vanilla I needed, & a couple other random groceries. Well, $50 later, I stopped on my way home to get a burger at a local place. Apparently, I was shopping both tired and hungry?

Here is my lazy holiday mocha recipe. it does not guarantee to rival a coffee house, but it’ll do the trick if you want something a little bit more than a regular old coffee, and don’t want to spend $$ on Starbucks or a local coffee joint.

Super easy holiday mocha at home. Not guaranteed to rival starbucks. Chocolate syrup will work as well, maybe better, but that isn’t in my cupboard.
Easy holiday mocha at home
Candy making ingredients (minus the butter). If you’re wondering, the pot on the table is a live potted Italian Cypress tree, & I decorated it as a Christmas tree 🎄. I repurposed that iron table frame found at a thrift store, using ceramic floor tiles at Home Depot.

Another link to my revamped 2018 blog on how I actually make candy!😎

Making Chocolate Candy ~ Holiday Sweets

Making Chocolate Candy ~ Holiday Sweets

**Originally posted December 22, 2018**
Melting chocolate for candy, to some it’s daunting, a disaster even. Let me tell you, I’ve had some bad experiences trying to melt chocolate for chocolate covered pretzels, etc using different methods. Some say it’s easiest to microwave chocolate to melt it. Heck, I picked up some Almond Bark at Target to try this year, and even the back of the package shows the microwave method first.

Luckily, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was growing up. My grandma showed me how to make a double boiler for melting chocolate. In fact, I’ve had more failure s at melting chocolate attempting to microwave & melt chocolate. If you want, you can go out and buy a quality stainless-steel double boiler, but it’s not necessary.

You can easily use the method my grandmother taught me. She simply used 2 kettles stacked together, 1 had hot water on the bottom, and the top kettle had the chocolate to melt. The 2 kettles should be pretty similar in size. Make sure the top kettle will sit on the rim of the bottom kettle without any issues.

As long as you keep a close eye on both kettles, there shouldn’t be any issues. After bringing the water to a boil, keep it to a medium to low heat. Make sure the water pan is large enough to leave some room between the boiling water, and the top kettle. If the chocolate starts to cook more than melt, remove it for a minute, then put it back.   

Chocolate covered pretzels

By further breaking up the chunks of vanilla almond bark, it started to melt almost immediately, and it was completely melted in 2 minutes. Don’t forget to stir!

I have had a few chocolate melting messy failures, mostly if I let the chocolate kettle sit for too long. The most important keys are to keep stirring the chocolate, to keep a fairly low, but consistent heat, and to keep the chocolate on top of the kettle with water as much as possible. 

I prefer to drop a few pretzels in the pan of chocolate, swirl them around, flip them over, etc. I used small metal tongs to pull the pretzels out, but you can also use a fork. I’ve used a fork plenty of times, but you may drop the pretzels before you get them out of the pan.

This also works well if you want to make chocolate peanut clusters. You stir in a handful of nuts, use a spoon to scoop and then carefully lay them on parchment paper or on wax paper.

My grandmother was a very thrifty person – she bought almost everything she owned second hand – but she invested in some of the most expensive cookware out there. They have a triple bottom. They are called “Lifetime cookware”. The company appears to still be around.
My grandmother bought hers from a door to door salesman, back in the 1950s or 1960s. Unfortunately, I had to fight my mother for them after she passed away. I only got 2 of the smaller kettles.

My grandmother’s “Lifetime Cookware” kettle, likely originally purchased in the 1950s.

After telling my aunt how much I wanted my own quality set of stainless-steel cookware, instead of a hodgepodge of cookware, she surprised me with a set of stainless-steel cookware for Christmas. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here, I made white chocolate/vanilla almond bark pretzels. I decided to top a few of them with mini Christmas M&M’s. I also topped some with butterscotch chips. Be sure to do this immediately, before the chocolate starts to set.  I was down to just a little bit of the white chocolate vanilla almond bark, so I stirred in half a package of butterscotch chips until they melted with it.

You can set some out on a little platter for your holiday party.

You could also put them in a cute little tin for a tasty homemade gift. They even sell cute tins, boxes, & holiday bags to use for your homemade gifts at the Dollar Tree.

Last year, I made these dark chocolate covered pretzels. Then, I put a couple marshmallows on top, & drizzled melted chocolate on top of the marshmallows. These were pretty addicting.

Last year, I also attempted chocolate rum balls for the first time (along with oatmeal cookies!)

To make the rum balls, I made brownies. Then, crumbled the brownies up, & soaked the crumbles in spiced rum for maybe 20 minutes.  After making brownie balls, & chilling them in the freezer 30-45 minutes, I dipped them in melted chocolate. Finally, I rolled those into crushed-up pretzel bits.

Perhaps all of this simply sounds like too much work?  Believe me, it is a lot of work, not necessarily hard, it’s just time consuming.  Although it is also rewarding when you’re done.  I only do this once a year. 

Coconut Chicken & Vegetable soup + a Pineapple Cake!

Coconut Chicken & Vegetable soup + a Pineapple Cake!

This may be my shortest post yet.

This soup turned out yummy, as usual!

Coconut chicken & vegetable soup

As I’ve mentioned in a few other blogs, my preference is to doctor boxed Duncan Hines cake. This is one I did pretty quickly tonight. I made a similar cake a year or two ago that I brought to work. That cake, I put a lot more effort into than this one tonight, so there won’t be pictures of this one. Plus, I haven’t actually got the filling & topping on it yet as I write this.

Pineapple cake!

Who says you can’t eat a summery pineapple cake in winter, along with a coconut vegetable & chicken soup? 🙂

Because I’m sure you’re wondering, those fun churros in the headline picture were a little Christmas gift from my manager to us employees at work on Friday!

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna & the world’s slowest cook

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna & the world’s slowest cook

It’s official, I think I might be the world’s slowest cook. Things just take me forever to make, especially when there are a lot of “layered” steps, like to a lasagna. I think I just move kinda slow or something. Anyway. I hardly ever make lasagna, but I decided I wanted to make it for this week’s meal prep.

I modified this recipe I found for homemade Alfredo sauce as follows:

2 c. heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese
6 cloves of garlic
1 cup butter
Black pepper & white pepper
Pink himalayan salt
Sauteed diced sweet onion with 2 red bell peppers in butter
1 c. fresh grated Asiago cheese (originally Parmesan)
2 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts (close to 2 lbs)

Plus 1x 24 oz cottage cheese (4% milk fat).

I put a small amount of finely chopped garlic & sweet onion in the bottom of a pan. After the cream cheese, butter, and heavy cream melted & simmered whisk together. Then, add in grated Asiago cheese & whisk again. Next, stir in sauteed red bell pepper & sweet onion

Next, 2 large pre-cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts went into a food processor, then mixed it all into the alfredo sauce. Stir well. Keep on low, & stir occasionally before lasagna is assembled. I didn’t add the last bit of heavy cream until the end, before I assembled the lasagna.

Layered lasagna with the chicken onion, & bell pepper alfredo sauce, 2 layers of cottage cheese, more sauce, etc. Put some fresh grated asiago cheese on top.

Once again, my “making food look pretty” skills are not very good, and it definitely didn’t come out of pan very pretty either…

Oh well, it tastes really good!

Chicken alfredo lasagna
Chicken alfredo lasagna

A corona-Thanksgiving menu

A corona-Thanksgiving menu

Let me start by saying I love leftovers. As you’ve seen from previous posts, I meal prep for the week anyway, so I’m used to eating leftovers on purpose. If you’re having a smaller Thanksgiving you may be wondering what to make? It seems the smaller turkeys are a bit harder to find this year.

Which is why, I’ve decided that I’m making meatloaf – 1/2 ground turkey & 1/2 ground pork.

I’ve already made 1 of 2 desserts. at the last minute, some neighbors invited me to grab a plate from them tomorrow. So, I decided I’m making them one of my “formerly famous at work parties” cakes! But first, my pumpkin cream pie!

This is a Pumpkin Cream pie

Heavy cream whipped (about 1 cup?)

1 & 1/2 pkg cream cheese softened

2 c. Pumpkin puree

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp ginger

2/3 c. Granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tsp for whipped cream

1/3 c. Sour cream

1/4 c. Powdered sugar (for the whipped cream)

1 graham cracker crust. I did store bought, or you can make a crust.

Mix the spices & sugar. Add pumpkin puree, vanilla, & sour cream. I used my kitchenaid hand mixer’s whisk (for this & whipped cream). I found that stainless steel bowls work well for making whipped cream and a little trick I read somewhere is to pre-freeze a stainless bowl and your whisk a few minutes ahead of time.

Make heavy cream into whipped cream. Add powdered sugar & add’l vanilla extract. Whisk until blended & peaks into whipped cream.

Divide soft cream cheese, & mix in with wooden spoon a bit first. Then start to blend with electric whisk until smooth. Add in whipped cream & continue to whisk until well blended & smooth.

Pour pumpkin cream filling into graham cracker crust. Refrigerate at least 6 hours. You can add more whipped cream on top if you like, but there’s plenty in this filling.

The other recipes are not my own, I made them for the first time last year and I absolutely love them. I am doing a twist the potato recipe from last year though.

Pommes Aligot – French style whipped mashed potatoes. Normally you use Yukon Gold potatoes, and I did last year. I’m doing half yukon gold & half white sweet potatoes this year. I also skipped the gruyere cheese this year, since it’s a little pricey. I’m using Jarlsberg cheese instead, & I may top it off with some grated Kerrygold Dubliner aged cheddar before baking it.

Corn Souffle – this recipe I found from following world famous French Chef Jacques Pepin on instagram for short cooking videos of him at home almost daily. Also on Facebook. (He also airs on PBS Create TV depending on programming). Additionally, he has the Jacques Pepin Foundation. Where he’s announced a celebrity video cookbook series! — Anyway! I was not disappointed by this recipe! When made it first last year, I added sweet onions in the food processor.

Also making sauteed green beans with caramelized onions.

Finally! My second dessert that is going to the neighbors. Yellow banana cake. A yellow cake with added banana + 1 tsp vanilla & banana extract — mixed with 3/4 c. vanilla coconut milk, instead of water. Also used 1/3 c. melted coconut oil. Dunkin Hines Butter Golden mix – I usually sub coconut oil for butter here. This was baked in 2 9-in round pans. Tomorrow, it will get my mixture of half whipped cream & half cream cheese, with vanilla and powdered sugar ,that makes a lovely filling and frosting.

I anticipate having additional pictures added tomorrow sometime, after the rest is cooked!

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Brownies

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Brownies

I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving food. Especially Thanksgiving desserts. Although this is not a traditional Thanksgiving dessert, it came up high on my list.

I also decided that I needed to make it today

1 pkg Duncan Hines dark chocolate brownie mix

1 egg

1/2 c. Muscle Milk chocolate protein shake

1 & 1/2 tbsp heavy cream or 2 tbsp half & half

1 banana

Mix together in blender:

Chocolate protein shake, 1 banana, a bit of cream, & may want to add a bit of water. Should equal about a 3/4 cup altogether. Skip the otherwise called for oil & water.

Bake according to directions & allow to cool (if you can wait!)

Peanut butter cream frosting:

1 softened pkg of cream cheese

1/3 to 1/2 c. Sour cream

4 tbsp “PB2” powdered peanut butter (you can put a bit more perhaps?)

2 tbsp honey

2 tsp vanilla extract

I used my electric whisk to whip this all together.

Once brownies are cooled, spread peanut butter cream frosting over them.

As per usual, my presentation isn’t that good. But they taste yummy.

Brownie with peanut butter cream frosting
Peanut butter cream cheese brownies
Peanut butter brownies
Loaded Baked Potato Soup – meal prep Sunday

Loaded Baked Potato Soup – meal prep Sunday

It’s that time of year again where I’m more inclined to make soup! Last Sunday, I made a sweet potato soup with ginger, garlic, & lots of diced celery.

This week, it is kind of like a loaded baked potato soup: 5 lbs of russet potatoes, bacon, beef broth, sweet onions, & pinto beans. I need a new potato masher, so I instead used my electric hand mixer with beef broth to whip up the potatoes in the pot.

Ingredients are per MyFitnessPal this time. I’m tracking other nutritional content more so than calories these days.  I left off 1/4 – 1/2 tsp white pepper, & 1 tsp kirkland signature 21 spice blend. I had about 1 full cup of remaining food processed sweet onions + garlic (some used in last night’s enchiladas). I may also add some Kerrygold aged cheddar into each of my meal prepped plastic food containers.

Loaded baked potato soup!
Loaded baked potato soup

I will be making another egg breakfast scramble, and prepping some salads as well.

Happy meal prep Sunday!

I made my own non-authentic enchilada sauce today…

I made my own non-authentic enchilada sauce today…

I’ve tried modifying canned enchilada sauce, and I don’t like the taste much. I’ve read recipes for enchilada sauce, and I think they’re all way too spicy for my “acid-reflux having, Wisconsin born & raised by ulcer having parent” – self.  I love tomatoes, and even too much tomato bothers me sometimes. Yet, I still enjoy food like enchiladas, and most everything else that bothers a GERD stomach. Anyway.  Onto the enchiladas and totally non-authentic enchilada sauce I made.

Enchilada sauce:

6 oz tomato paste + 10-12 oz water

1/2 c. Beef broth

1 & 1/2 tsp Penzey’s Pico Fruita seasoning

1 tsp Penzey’s taco seasoning

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

1 & 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt (approximately)

1 tsp San Antonio chili powder

1 tsp cumin

2 slices of sweet onion

1/4 c. Honey

1 lb 90% lean ground turkey

1 lg sweet onion in food processor with 5 cloves of garlic (**saving most of this for soup tomorrow**).   Add 3 + tbsp onion & garlic puree to ground turkey.

Sprinkle taco seasoning, black pepper, & pink himalayan salt & stir into ground turkey.

After ground turkey cooks, put into food processor for a bit.

Ground turkey
& homemade enchilada sauce my way
Layered enchiladas

As I mentioned in a previous enchilada blog,  I like to layer enchiladas like lasagna. It’s so much simpler, and it tastes just the same.

This time I use sliced medium cheddar for my enchiladas. Alternating corn tortillas, enchilada sauce, ground turkey, & sliced cheddar.

Layered enchiladas
Layered ground turkey enchiladas
out of the oven

I still need to work on my food presentation skills LOL. You can kind of see my dogs in the background on the balcony here.

I also made a pina colada using: canned pineapple, So Delicious coconut milk, & spiced rum.

A full meal prep: breakfast, lunch, dinner, + snacks

A full meal prep: breakfast, lunch, dinner, + snacks

I’ve mostly been in the habit of doing meal prep for my work lunch, and often a make ahead breakfast scramble. Today, I’ve gone full meal prep mode, thanks to upcoming work training for the next couple of weeks. This is also a reflection of me gaining back about 12 lbs or so, from the previous 33 lbs I’d lost as of July 2019.

What I’m prepping for this week:

A healthy lunch meal of chicken, broccoli, & butternut squash, also including a prepped salad.

I’m ready for meal prepped salads this week. Gotta love Costco. All of this was $18! Dressing cups from the Dollar Tree. 1 lb of organic baby spinach, 2.5 lbs organic celery, a 24 oz mediterranean salad kit, & 2 lbs campari tomatoes.

What I intended to be chili, but accidentally put my riced cauliflower into the onion & celery that was cooking, is now more of a “hearty bean soup”. Oops. That’s for dinner after work.

Hearty Bean Soup:

8 stalks of celery, finely diced

1 medium sweet onion

1 x 16 oz pkg of riced cauliflower

Sauteed the above in coconut oil, added pink himalayan salt & black pepper.

32 oz beef broth (+ 2 cups of water later)

1/4 c. Cento double concentrated tomato paste.

1 & 1/8 tsp cumin

1 tsp San Antonio chili powder

1 & 1/8 tsp kirkland signature 21 spice seasoning blend

2 cans of black beans drained & rinsed.

Simmer on medium for 30 min. Reduce heat & simmer on low for another 45 minutes.

Hearty bean soup

I’ve found the trick to prepping salads ahead, and keeping greens from getting soggy. I put tomato and cucumber type wet veggies in a separate little baggie (or another small container) & put that inside the salad container. Dressing cups also work well. I bought a new set of food storage containers, but they don’t contain enough of the same size. Hence, the 3 different sized salad containers. I made the salads while my soup was simmering.

Spread about evenly between 5 salads was this:

1/2 of a 1 lb tub of baby spinach – chopped

Mediterranean salad mix – – left out 2 vinaigrette packets & croutons (but saved for meatloaf)

8 celery stalks finely diced

8 campari tomatoes – cut in 1/2 & then into 1/4’s.

Balsamic vinegar – about 1 & 1/2 tbsp into each dressing cup.

Next, is something I’ve written a few blogs on a year or 2 ago. My make ahead breakfast scramble. Sometimes, I’ll make it with a layer of ground sausage on the bottom of eggs

But today, my bigger Cuisinart round pan (I think a 3 qt sautee pan) needs to be washed yet. Plus, I have chicken sausage links to use up in the freezer.

9 eggs (4 are XL size, 5 M/L eggs – both are locally raised chicken eggs)

1 tsp heavy cream

Pink himalayan salt

1 tsp taco seasoning (approximately)

Shredded aged white cheddar (kerrygold dubliner cheese)

Grated Romano cheese

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes (for just eggs, no sausage or vegetables)

In addition to the salads, my lunch for work will be baked chicken with broccoli & butternut squash.

7 boneless skinless chicken breast (smaller tenders) & a light amount of coconut oil on the bottom of a non-stick 9 x 13 pan.

Pink himalayan salt & kirkland signature 21 spice seasoning mix

A bit of soy sauce

2 x 1 lb pkgs of diced butternut squash

1 x 1 lb pkg of broccoli florets

Spread butternut squash & broccoli on top of salted & seasoned chicken.

Cover with foil

Bake at 375° about 45 minutes – – & I’m skipping pictures of the final chicken, broccoli & squash – use your imaginations 😎

~ Snacks ~

In addition to a small snack sized bag of raw almonds, will be these bars that I couldn’t resist – also from Costco.

A perfect combination of chocolatey, salty, & sweet.

Chocolatey protein bars

Loaded garlic bread with vegetable marinara

Loaded garlic bread with vegetable marinara

I haven’t made this in a while, but I got some day old artisan hearth baked roasted garlic bread. Now it’s been in my fridge for a few days, I’m obligated to make loaded garlic bread.

I started by making the marinara sauce with some extra vegetables. I used up some spinach and chard and diced zucchini that I had frozen previously. I made sure to drain liquid off it once it thawed.

1/4 c. Cento double concentrated tomato paste.

Leftover spinach & chard leaves & diced zucchini & yellow squash – put into food processor. Drain liquid again.

Olive oil

15 oz can tomato sauce

Pink himalayan salt & black pepper

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp kirkland signature 21 spice seasoning blend

Fresh basil

Start with olive oil, add food processor mix of spinach, chard, & zucchini squash. Add tomato paste & stir in as it cooks.

Add salt, pepper, onion powder, 21 spice seasoning blend, & basil leaves to mixture. Stir well.

Tomato paste with vegetables & seasonings

Add tomato sauce, a bit more salt & a sprinkle of seasoning blend. Stir as it cooks.

I like to hollow out some of the bread a little bit if I’m doing loaded garlic bread.

Melted garlic butter

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter with 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Brush garlic butter over hollowed out rustic Italian bread. Spoon sauce mixture into hollowed out part. Add grated aged white cheddar (kerrygold dubliner cheese).

Spoon remaining sauce and add more shredded aged white cheddar. Preheat oven to 425°.

Loaded garlic bread

Topped with cherry tomatoes from my balcony garden. One of the perks of living in Texas!😎 Fall tomatoes are still fruiting at the end of October!

Balcony garden cherry tomatoes & basil

Baked at 425° for about 15 minutes.

Baked, & then topped with grated romano cheese.

Delizioso 😎

Loaded garlic bread
Nothing fancy Saturday dinner

Nothing fancy Saturday dinner

Corn tortillas

Ground beef cooked with a chipotle salsa

Aged white cheddar (Kerrygold)

Diced tomatoes and lettuce

Sliced avocado with pink Himalayan salt

I used my electric skillet to fry the corn tortillas with cooked ground beef. Topped with lettuce, tomato, white cheddar, and avocado. I meant to add sour cream I specifically bought… but I forgot it. Oops. My next one will get sour cream.

A Pina Colada made using some frozen “Philly ice” which is similar to an Italian ice, and spiced rum.

Saturday dinner.

Egg roll in a bowl & always hungry lately.

Egg roll in a bowl & always hungry lately.

I’m getting back into the habit of making most of my food for the week ahead of time, aka meal prep.  This evening, I made both “egg roll in a bowl” and a creamy spinach soup. I’m also contemplating a mix of brownies with some added PB2 powdered almond butter. I feel like I’m always hungry lately.  I’ve stumbled upon popcorn topped with melted butter and/or coconut oil, a bit of honey, plus cinnamon sprinkled on top of that.  I kept wanting to eat more of it. Then I discovered brushing coconut oil and honey mixture on toast, also topped with cinnamon. Then at Costco, I picked up some chocolate dipped Nature Valley protein bars.  Needless to say, despite most of what I cook being “healthy-ish”, I’ve stumbled into an “eating too much” phase.

For the creamy spinach soup, I’m not including a final picture, as it’s tasty, but the consistency doesn’t lend it to be very photogenic. I’m physically going back into work this week, and the soup is for after I get home to eat.

The “egg roll in a bowl” is for my work lunch, although I’ve had some tonight. It’s quite delicious.

I’ve used MyFitnessPal to create my recipe. My number of servings, especially for my soups, is usually an estimate. The egg roll in a bowl has 5 boneless chicken tenderloins (where MFP shows it as 576 grams).

I diced & sauteed 3 carrots, 1 large yellow beet, 1 rutabaga in one pan. I cooked 1 smaller chopped head of green cabbage with salt in another pan. I used diced green onions, pink himalayan salt & black pepper, and fresh ginger & garlic with the chicken. All sauteed in coconut oil.

Egg roll in a bowl – quite delicious

Perhaps next time, I’ll use my air fryer that I finally got from storage and actually make egg rolls. That was my original idea. I decided to do this instead.

Creamy spinach soup recipe
Creamy spinach soup recipe continued

Pasta something….

Pasta something….

Even as I was about to start cooking, I wasn’t quite sure what exactly I wanted to make. I knew it was going to involve zucchini, pasta, and garlic & onions sauteed in a mix of butter and olive oil. I also bought fresh mozzarella cheese the other day, and I’ve got some pecorino romano cheese left. I thought about either of these two recipes I found: Lidia Bastianich’s Pasta alla Chitarra all’Amatriciana or this Taste of Home’s Caramelized Onion & Garlic Pasta.

In the end, I still made something a little different than both of those. I need to get back into the habit of meal prep for a week of work, now that I’ll be physically going to work soon. This reflects me making a week’s worth of food. Someone asked me how I don’t get tired of eating the same meal. Nope, not really. Occasionally by Friday I’m tired of my meal prep. But, it so happens that I typically really enjoy my own cooking.

Locally grown zucchini

I decided to make a separate zucchini dish. I sliced most of this large zucchini to top with the fresh mozzarella cheese, and then oven roast with some salt and pepper. I saved part of the zucchini, and I diced it to put in my pasta sauce.

My pasta sauce was pretty similar to the Bolognese I attempted recently. Except I used ground turkey this time.

Bolognese sauce recipe:

1 large sweet onion sliced

6 cloves of garlic diced.

2 celery stalks finely diced

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 tbsp of butter

6 oz tomato paste

8 oz tomato sauce

14.5 oz diced tomatoes

Pink himalayan salt

Black pepper

1 tsp kirkland signature 21 spice no-salt seasoning mix

1 & 1/2 c. diced zucchini

3 oz dry red wine

Sliced onions

Sautee onions, garlic, and celery in both olive oil and butter. Add ground turkey. Add 6 oz tomato paste & 1 can diced tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, & 21 spice no salt seasoning mix. Stir as meat is cooking. Add 8 oz tomato sauce. Stir while meat continues to cook. Add diced zucchini and 6 leaves of Basil last

1 package pasta of your choice. I used whole wheat rotini. Start cooking pasta.

Preheat oven to 425 for zucchini with mozzarella.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to use up all of my fresh mozzarella for these. So, some only have a half a slice of fresh mozzarella sprinkled with pink salt and black pepper. I picked up some new (but inexpensive) non-stick plans at the grocery store, so I’m testing them out with this.

Zucchini and fresh mozzarella

Bake at 425 for about 9 minutes. While baking, I grated some pecorino romano cheese. Flipped to broil for about 2 minutes.

Pasta with Bolognese, and zucchini with fresh mozzarella
Can’t forget a little wine.
No bake strawberry cheesecake, chicken coconut curry

No bake strawberry cheesecake, chicken coconut curry

Dinner tonight was for a guest visiting from out of town. I started with the no bake strawberry cheesecake last night. I also modified this recipe here.

My modified strawberry cheesecake recipe:

2 packages of cream cheese

1 & 1/4 c. whipped heavy cream

1/2 c. Powdered sugar + A couple tbsp extra

8 tbsp of sour cream

1/2 tsp maple extract (I was out of vanilla)

3 cups of strawberries purreed & thickened.

1 tsp lemon juice

Add in powdered sugar & maple extract while whipping the heavy cream, I use a whisk attachment on my kitchenaid hand mixer. I’m not one who has, or has ever used the stand mixer. Luckily, I don’t know what I’m missing there. Start to mix in sour cream and softened cream cheese. I added the lemon juice last. Once blended together, add about 1 cup of purreed strawberry.

Refrigerate 8 hours if possible. After that, add a layer of strawberry puree on top, then a few more strawberries on top.

Chicken Coconut Curry

My version of chicken coconut curry, a bit milder, because I’m a wuss for hot spice. I made extra sauce because my guest likes spicier food than I can handle. I premade several of this spice mix into Ziploc bags ahead of time. Since I’m using brown rice, I usually start with setting my rice to cook first

1 & 1/2 TSP curry powder

2 TSP cumin

1 TSP cayenne pepper

2 TSP turmeric

Black pepper & pink himalayan salt

1 lb finely diced carrots – save 1/2 cup for sauce.

1 & 1/3 cup chopped sweet onion (save 1/2 cup for sauce)

1 & 1/3 cup finely diced gold potato.

Sautee 1/2 c. of onions & carrots in coconut oil. Add 2 tbsp of grated or finely diced ginger, & 2 garlic cloves.

Add 1 can of coconut milk (full fat, no lite coconut milk)

Bring to a low boil, add about 1 tbsp of cornstarch

After well mixed & getting thicker, add 3 tbsp of heavy cream & 2-3 tbsp of honey.

While curry sauce is cooking, add remaining diced carrots, onions, & potato to a pan with coconut oil. Let sautee for a bit, before adding chicken breast tenders. Add salt & pepper to chicken. Add a bit of ginger & garlic.

Keep stirring curry sauce.

Coconut curry sauce

Rice should be about cooked by now. After chicken is cooked, remove from that pan, and place in curry sauce pan. Spoon brown rice into the former chicken pan, with remaining cooked carrots, onions, & potatoes. Sprinkle pink himalayan salt. Stir rice into sauteed vegetables.

Cooked brown rice, with sauteed carrots, onions, & potatoes.
Coconut curry chicken
Coconut curry chicken with brown rice, diced carrots, onions, & potatoes.
No bake strawberry cheesecake

Of course, dessert is my no bake strawberry cheesecake.

Split Pea Soup with Veggies

Split Pea Soup with Veggies

When the temperatures drop from 100° to 57° & then to 49° in 2 days, another batch of soup was in order. Although by the time I had my few missing vegetables today, 64° was a little less chilly. Here is my split pea soup with sauteed vegetables & 4 strips of bacon added. I also swapped out celery in favor of bok choy.

1/2 large yellow onion (1 & 1/4 c. diced onions)

1 bunch golden beets diced

3 lg carrots diced

1 bunch of bok choy diced

4 strips of bacon

Sautee onions, carrots, & golden beets in coconut oil in one pan.

Add pink Himalayan salt.

Bacon & bok choy in 1 pan, onions, carrots, & golden beets in another pan.

Sautee bok choy with 4 strips of bacon in another pan. Add in 4 diced garlic cloves.

Rinse & cook 1 & 1/2 c. green split peas to directions.

1 qt chicken stock

2 tsp Kirkland Signature No-salt 21 spice blend

After the onions, carrots, & beets were sauteed, & while the peas finished cooking, I added 1 quart of chicken broth to the veggies. Add 2 tsp Kirkland No-salt seasoning mix. Simmer.

Once the peas were fully cooked, I blended them with my hand mixer. Then, I added the sauteed vegetables in broth, and bacon. Simmer for 15 minutes.

I left the water in when blending the cooked peas, so it’s a little thinner than last time I made pea soup.

Still very delicious!!

Split pea soup with veggies and bacon.
Apple-Onion Savory-Sweet Corn-Cakes

Apple-Onion Savory-Sweet Corn-Cakes

Yes, I’m still on a pancake making kick.  Here’s the latest pancake variation I’ve made today.

I had forgotten about some stone-ground blue cornmeal in my refrigerator, so that’s how the idea came about.  I decided to do a cross between corn cakes with apples,  and the Asian inspired green onion pancake.  One trick I learned from a cornbread recipe, when using stone-ground cornmeal, is to soak it in milk for a little bit.

Apple-Onion Corn pancakes. Makes 12 medium pancakes.

Because my new electric skillet is so hot, I needed to adjust to 325° from 350° previously, in order to make them cook through without burning. Still about 2 minutes on each side of the pancakes.

Apple-Onion corn pancakes !!

Top these with some honey!

Yummy savory & sweet corn pancakes!
Balsamic Potato Salad,  Quinoa Salad, Corn, & Chicken

Balsamic Potato Salad,  Quinoa Salad, Corn, & Chicken

I first made this balsamic potato salad back in April, early on in this Corona-Apocalypse 2020.  I mixed balsamic vinegar with honey, salt & pepper, & sauteed onions. I wasn’t going to buy balsamic on my recent visit, but it was $3 off, so only $9 for 1 liter. It even has the “made in Italy” certifications.

Balsamic vinegar, honey, pink Himalayan salt & cracked black pepper.
5lb bag of baby potatoes, also from Costco 😄😂
The red bell pepper is for the quinoa salad, sauteed in with diced onions. Later, I tossed in green onions & balsamic vinegar to give them a light sautee.
You’d think this was an advertisement for Costco, but I’m just a regular member. Kirkland Balsamic, honey, & pink salt + pepper 

Once the potatoes were cooked, I took 1/2 C. of balsamic & 1/2 C. of honey, & microwaved 25 seconds to thin out the honey. Sprinkle pink Himalayan salt & cracked black pepper into mix, then whisk it. Poured that mix onto the cooked potatoes. I found that dumping the potatoes between the bowl and kettle, was easier than stirring it. Made a 2nd smaller mixture of honey & balsamic & poured more onto potatoes. The last thing I added was sauteed onions. I put it in the fridge, & moved on to the quinoa salad.

As for the quinoa salad, after cooking, add sauteed red bell pepper, green onions, pink salt, & 1/3 C. balsamic vinegar. Stir & add fresh grated Romano. I put it in the freezer to cool faster, before adding tomatoes & cucumbers. Then both potato salad & quinoa salad went into the freezer for a faster cool down. I was getting hungry at this point, and still had corn on the cob to make. I highly recommend trying steak seasoning on your corn, specifically Penzey’s Mitchell Street Steak seasoning is great on corn.

Potato Salad:

5 lbs baby potatoes

1 yellow onion sliced & sauteed.

1 C. of Balsamic vinegar (may add more beforeeating)

About 2/3 to 3/4 C. Honey, warmed to thin it.

Pink Himalayan salt

Cracked black pepper

Quinoa Salad:

1 & 1/4 C. Quinoa, dry & cooked to directions

1 red bell pepper

2 cucumbers

Campari tomatoes (about 6)

Green onions

Balsamic vinegar

1 in 1/4 cup dry quinoa. One red bell pepper

As I mentioned, I put both salads in the freezer to cool faster. Now, I’m ready for corn on the cob.

Also, I’m cheating with a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Otherwise, everything else is homemade. Close enough. I also have fresh, locally grown watermelon.

Perhaps you can enjoy one or both of these salads with your Labor Day weekend meal! 😃😎