A perfect creamy soup utilizing one of the seasoning's best offerings, this creamy soup is especially good on those not-quite-warm-yet Spring days.  I served this with the spoon bread recipe that follows. 
Source: Everyday Food
  • 6 medium leeks (about 2 1/4 pounds), whites only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, cleaned
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) of reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 baking potato (8 oz), peeled and diced
  • coarse salt
  • 1/4 c heavy cream (I used half n half)
  • 1/2 c snipped fresh chives

1. In a large saucepan, combine the leeks, broth, potato, 2 cups of water, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, transferring it to a clean bowl as you work.  Stir the cream into the pureed soup, and season with salt.  Garnish with the chives and serve immediately.  
Growing up, this was one of my favorite foods.  I love this particular recipe because it includes fresh veggies, which I double.  I use the biggest pot I own when I make this so I can cram in as many dumplings as possible. :-)
Source: Rachel Ray Mag

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced or thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1/3 palm full
  • 2 tablespoons flour, a handful
  • 1 quart chicken broth or stock, canned or paper container, preferred brand Kitchen Basics
  • 1 small box biscuit mix(preferred brand Jiffy Mix)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen green peas

Dice tenders into bite size pieces and set aside. Wash hands.

Place a large pot on stove over medium high heat. Add oil, butter, vegetables and bay leaf and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season mixture with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Add flour to the pan and cook 2 minutes. Stir broth or stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken to the broth and stir.

Place biscuit mix in a bowl. Combine with 1/2 cup warm water and parsley. Drop tablespoonfuls of prepared mix into the pot, spacing dumplings evenly. Cover pot tightly and reduce heat to medium low. Steam dumplings 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cover and stir chicken and dumplings to thicken sauce a bit. Stir peas into the pan, remove chicken and dumplings from heat and serve in shallow bowls.

This may have just turned into the butternut squash blog.  But what's not to like?  This recipe is simple and delicious.  I made this yesterday and my house still smells amazing.
Source: Real Simple

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1  onion, chopped
  • 1  14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1  small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (4 cups)
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2  15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1  bunch spinach, thick stems removed (4 cups)

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the squash, thyme, 5 cups water, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. After the soup has simmered, stir in the beans and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted and the beans are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
Easy and nutritious! I usually sneak in a little extra pasta :-)
Source: Rachael Ray Mag
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta or thick-cut prosciutto, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 pound zucchini, cut into strips lengthwise (discarding the seedy centers), then cut into small pieces
  • 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 32 ounce container  (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 15 ounce can  cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can  tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 pound whole wheat penne or other short-cut pasta
  • A handful basil, torn into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 thick slices italian bread
  • About 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • Finely chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. In a soup pot, heat the EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta or prosciutto, if using, and cook until browned, a couple of minutes. Add the zucchini, celery, carrot, onion, bay leaf and 2 cloves garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. reheat the broiler and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Stir the chicken stock, beans and tomatoes into the soup and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Stir in the basil and lower the heat to low.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add in the remaining 1 clove garlic and swirl for a minute or so; remove from the heat.
  4. Broil the bread on both sides until lightly toasted. Brush the bread with the garlic butter and sprinkle with the cheese and parsley. Broil to melt the cheese. Serve the soup in shallow bowls, each topped with a crouton.
Not one of my favorites, but I'll post it anyway.  I found the bisque to be somewhat bland and there was something about pureeing shrimp in my blender which was ultimately unappealing.  Plus, let's add that I got in too big of a hurry and tried to blend too much at once - and ended up with what Matt calls "shrimp mush" basically all over my kitchen.  They can't all be winners.
Source: Rachel Ray
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 pound medium shell-on raw shrimp
  • Salt
  • 4 large sprigs thyme
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • Cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp, EVOO over high heat. Add the shrimp, season with salt and cook, stirring, until pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. peel the shrimp and transfer to a clean bowl. Return the shells to the pot. Add 8 cups water and 3 sprigs thyme, bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 2- minutes. Strain the broth into a large glass measuring cup, pressing on the shells to extract any juices; discard the shells.
  2. Add the onion, celery and remaining 1 tbsp. EVOO to the pot; season with salt and a pinch of cayenne. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste then the wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Add the shrimp, broth and rice. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat, skimming occasionally, until the rice is cooked, about 1 hour.
  3. Remove 6 of the shrimp and slice in half lengthwise; reserve. In a blender, puree the soup with the remaining shrimp in batches; return to the pot. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Season with more salt and cayenne. Ladle the bisque into bowls; garnish with the reserve shrimp and the remaining thyme.
Simple. Quick. Perfect for Monday! Serve this with a big portion of whole wheat bread.
Source: Rachel Ray Mag
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large red potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Peel the broccoli stems and chop the stems and florets into bite-size pieces. In a large pot, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the broccoli and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and potato and cook, stirring, until tender and browned, about 15 minutes. Stir into the pot along with the milk; warm through and season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with 1/4 cup cheese.
An easy way to the start the week!

Tomato Soup
Source: Everyday Food
  • 2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 small garlic clove, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes, torn
  • 2 tablespoon heavy cream                      
In a small pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook until onions are soft, 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender with cream; puree until smooth. (Use caution when blending hot liquids: Remove cap from lid and cover opening with a dish towel.) Season to taste.

Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Source: My own

1 loaf of artisan bread, sliced into 8 slices - (I found a loaf of freshly baked organic rosemary olive oil bread at my grocery store)
1 ball of fresh mozzerella, thinly sliced 
4 slices of American or cheddar cheese 
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat a grill or griddle to medium high.  Brush the outside slices of the sandwiches with olive oil.  Place the cheese in between slices and grill for 5-7 minutes until golden and cheese is melted. 
This one is all Matt's.  I worked late so he made the whole thing and it was delicious! We'll definitely be making it again.
Source: FoodNetwork.com
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 jalapenos, finely diced (we left this out because we don't like a lot of spice)
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes 
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (this seemed like too much chicken!)
  • 2 limes, juiced, plus wedges for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 (8-inch) flour tortilla, grilled, cut into thin strips
  • 1 avocado, pitted, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey cheese
DirectionsIn a large saucepan heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Once the onions have softened add the garlic and jalepenos and cook for another minute. Pour the chicken broth, tomatoes and beans into the pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil lower heat to simmer and add your chicken breasts. Cook the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes. Once chicken is cooked remove from pot. When cool enough to handle shred it and set it aside. Add lime juice and fresh cilantro to the pot. In a serving bowl add a mound of shredded chicken. Ladle soup over chicken and top with a lime wedge, grilled tortilla strips, avocado slices and cheese.
Snowday!  (Maybe...hopefully...) Here's some comfort food in preparation for the weather!  The soup mix is from Bob's Red Mill.  I love this brand; it is my go-to for whole grains.  This mix is delicious and easy to make, but takes at least 3 hours to simmer on the stove after soaking the beans all night in water.  Have it with a big serving of this wholesome spoonbread! 
Texas Spoonbread
Source: Allrecipes.com
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (I suggest increasing this to at least 3 tablespoons) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I would increase this to 1 tablespoon) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs, separated
  1. In a saucepan, scald the milk, heat to 180 degrees F; stir in cornmeal. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in butter, sugar, salt and baking powder. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks. Gradually stir a small amounts of the hot mixture into yolks; return all to pan and mix well. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into hot mixture until well blended. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until well puffed. Use a spoon to serve.
Curry Carrot Soup
Source: Everyday Food
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat butter in a Dutch oven or large (4- to 5-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, curry powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add broth, carrots, and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. In a blender, puree soup in batches until smooth; transfer to a clean saucepan. Add more water to thin to desired consistency. Reheat, if necessary. Stir in lemon juice. Serve garnished with cilantro, if desired.

***Hot liquids will expand when blended, so be careful not to fill the jar of the blender more than halfway. To prevent the liquid from spattering, allow the heat to escape: Remove the cap from hole in lid, and cover lid with a dish towel when blending.  I still got hit with a little hot soup!  
BBQ Turkey Meatballs
Source: Everyday with Rachel Ray (with changes)

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup of skim milk
  • 1 1/4 cup of torn bread
  • 1 1/2 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 cup of chipotle flavored barbecue sauce (or if this is too spicy for you, you could use 1/2 cup of chipotle sauce and 1/2 plain bbq) 
  • Crumbled cotija or queso fresco cheese (optional but delicious!)
1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook the garlic and onion for 5 minutes. 
2. Beat egg and milk together.  Add bread and let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir in onion, salt, and pepper.
3. Mix together and form into 20 balls.
4. Cook meatballs in extra oil on skillet for 7 minutes or broil for 10 minutes (flipping after 5) until cooked through.
5. Toss with sauce and top with cheese.