Sausage Beans Roasted Vegetable Soup

What makes this sausage, beans and roasted vegetable soup so delicious?  Red bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic are roasted, then blended with a vegetable broth and seasoned with a herb bouquet garni--creating a beautifully rich yet subtle flavor-filled soup base.  Sweet Italian sausage and a Vidalia onion add a layer of sweetness and texture along with cannellini beans.

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Fresh Seafood Salad With Pineapple Vinaigrette

This wonderfully light seafood salad with shrimp, scallop and pineapple can be served as entree or a side salad.  The ingredients are charred on a grill pan, laid on a bed of arugula and then highlighted with a pineapple vinaigrette and blue cheese.  

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Roasted Chicken Breast Salad With Green Grapes

No exaggeration: This roasted chicken breast with green grapes fresh salad is deliciously healthy ingredients with cranberries, walnuts, feta cheese, a shallot onion, fresh baby spinach and a simple but lovely white balsamic vinaigrette.


Serve it in a lovely salad bowl and watch everyone dig in.



The salad starts with a chicken breast that is split; skin left on; breast bone left in; fresh rosemary sprigs tucked under the skin; and then roasted on sheet pan.



The roasted chicken is nicely cubed and the seedless green grapes are pulled off its stem.



Even the supporting "actor" ingredients are delicious enough to eat alone!


The Recipe
Serves 4-6

Ingredients for the Roasted Chicken Salad

  • 1 large raw chicken breast, split with skin left on and breast bone left in
  • 4 whole rosemary sprigs
  • 8 ounces of loose seedless green grapes
  • 3 ounces roughly chopped walnuts (2 Tablespoons set aside for garnish)
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, brick style then cut into small squares (optional substitution: crumbled feta cheese)
  • 3 ounces dried cranberries, preferably sugared
  • 1 shallot onion, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 6 ounces baby spinach, washed and patted dry
  • Salt to taste
  • Cracked white pepper (or black) to taste
  • 4-6 Tablespoons white balsamic vinaigrette, or to taste (see below for ingredients and preparation)

Preparation for chicken salad
Preheat oven 375 degrees

Wash chicken breast and pat dry.  Place two rosemary sprigs under the skin of each chicken breast.  Season both sides of the breast with salt and pepper.  Place breast with skin side up on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken meat next to the bone is no longer pink. You can check for doneness by turning the breast with the bone side up and gently slit the meat alongside the bone.

While the chicken breasts are roasting, prepare the remaining ingredients as noted in the ingredients list.  Add all ingredients, except the grapes, to a large bowl.

When the breasts are done, remove them from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Then remove the rosemary, cut away the skin and breast bones.  Cut chicken meat into cubes.  Add chicken breasts and grapes to the salad.  Pour in the white balsamic vinaigrette and gently toss salad.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

If you're not familiar with white balsamic vinegar here's a few things to note.  It's sweet, has a clean aftertaste and is versatile in application from salads to chicken to cheeses (particularly blue cheese) to even bison.  Price can range from a few dollars to as much as $1000.  Of course price is influenced by its aging process and resulting quality.

True white balsamic vinegar is produced by only two consortium in Italy, Modena and Reggio Emilia.  Cheaper varieties are made in surrounding areas by cannot carry the authentic processing method designation.  White balsamic vinegar is made using a process of reduction (long hours of heating) of pressed Trebbiano grapes and then aged in wooden barrels, similar to the process of making wine.  The aging process occurs from 3 years to as long as 25 years which of course distinguishes the quality and the taste.  To learn more about balsamic vinegar both the red and white, check out What's The Deal With: White Balsamic Vinegar? at The and Balsamic Vinegar on Wikipedia.

 White balsamic vinaigrette

White balsamic vinaigrette

What to look for.  White balsamic vinegar, what is most frequently found in U.S. grocery stores, is blended with white wine vinegar.  

I was able to find a reasonably priced bottle of white balsamic vinegar produced in Modena, Italy for Batistini Farms, carried at Whole Foods Store.  It has 12 grams of natural sugar per tablespoon, naturally occurring sulfites, and 5.4% acidity.  It had zero additives and artificial non-GMO and was gluten free.  

My other choice had less sugar, 4 grams per tablespoon (which I had preferred) but it had added sulfites. So just be sure to read the label to purchase which white balsamic fits your taste and health.

Vinaigrette Ingredients and preparation for this roasted chicken breasts and green grapes.  Yields 1 cup

  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Dash of salt (preferably sea or Kosher salt)
  • Dash (or more) cracked white pepper corn (can substitute with black pepper corn)
  • Dash of lemon juice (optional)
  • Add a little honey is also optional, particularly if the white balsamic vinegar has a high sugar count per tablespoon.


Add all ingredients to a wide-mouth jar and shake until thoroughly mixed.  Immediately pour 4-6 tablespoons onto salad and toss lightly.  Add more vinaigrette if you wish. 

Note:  When making vinaigrette, it's best to make no more than you need or enough that you will use within a week or a few days, especially if you include fresh ingredients such as garlic or shallots or onions, etc.  Store this left-over vinaigrette in the refrigerator.  To reduce the amount of vinaigrette called for in this recipe, whatever measurement you choose use a ratio of 3x oil to 1x white balsamic vinegar.


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White Chili With Salsa

This white chili recipe is spicy with a hot salsa, then mellowed a bit with Monterrey Jack cheese. Ground chicken and cannellini beans are the main ingredients, making this a delicious chili alternative to the classic ground beef and red beans.


The Recipe:
Serves 4

Ingredients for White Chili:

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup salsa (medium or hot)
  • 1 - 15 oz can of cannellini white beans, juice drained
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or 2 - 14 oz cans)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

See just how easy it is to make white chill. 

Preparation for white chilli:

In a heavy stock pot, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Stir in onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent.  Mix in ground chicken, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon.  When chicken is cooked (about 5-10 minutes), add cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper.  Stir in seasonings.  Then add salsa, cannellini beans and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil then turn heat down to simmer the chili for about 20 minutes.  Stir in Monterrey Jack cheese and turn off heat.

Garnish with sour cream and chopped spring onions.   



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Corn Chowder Bacon And Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Anytime of the year is a good time for a hearty corn chowder!  But it seems particularly tasty in the fall as we adjust to cool days and nights. This corn chowder is seasoned with crispy bacon, extra sharp cheddar cheese and then spiked with bits of sun-dried tomatoes.  

 Corn Chowder With Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Corn Chowder With Sun-Dried Tomatoes


A bowl of hearty corn chowder is then garnished with lots of delicious crispy chopped bacon.

The Recipe
Serves 6-8

Tool:  4-5 quart dutch oven, preferably cast iron


  • 7 slices of fried bacon, diced 
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 3 Tablespoons of flour
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, preferably Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper (or add fresh ground white pepper at serving)
  • 1 large white potato, diced (russet or Yukon gold, whichever is available)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped 2.5 ounces (73 grams)
  • 2 pounds frozen corn (453 grams each). If you use fresh corn, you'll need 10 ears.  You can also use a mixture of small white corn and yellow corn.  
  • 2 cups of half-and-half milk
  • 1 cup (83 grams) of white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Optional:  3/4 cups of white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded for additional garnish
  • Optional:  If you like a little heat, add cayenne pepper to taste.


In a 5 quart stock pot, fry bacon to a brown crisp.  Leaving about 1-2 tablespoons of the oil in the pot, remove bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel.  Add onions and cook to almost translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Push onions and garlic to one side of the pot.  

Melt butter to just a few bubbles.  Add flour and stir to create a roux.  Add salt and pepper.  Add chicken stock and bring back onions and garlic back into the mixture. Add potatoes, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add corn, sun-dried tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add half-and-half milk and cheese.  Cook for about 5 minutes until cheese melts. 

While chowder is cooking its last 5 minutes, chop the bacon.  Serve chowder in a soup bowl or soup cup.  Garnish with bacon.  For a more cheesier flavor,  garnish with the additional shredded cheese.

This corn chowder recipe serves 6-8 people, so there is plenty to share with friends and freeze to eat another day.

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 Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder


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Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwich

This chunky chicken salad is made for a sandwich.  But it doesn't have to stop there, the chicken salad can simply be eaten as just that--a salad on a bed of lettuce.  

 Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwich

Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwich

The Recipe
Yields 3 cups

Ingredients for a Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwich:

  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups of chicken cutlets or breast, roasted cut into 3/4" chunks
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed whole black peppers.  Salt to taste.
  • 1 fresh celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts, roasted and then broken or roughly chopped (See notes.)
  • 1/3 cu spring onions (about 3), diced or sliced depending upon the size of onions
  • 1/3 cup of dried cranberries (This is optional but HIGHLY recommended.)
  • 2/3 cup of light Miracle Whip (TM made by Kraft).  You can of course make your own creamy dressing
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Muenster cheese
  • Fresh Alfalfa sprouts, preferably radish sprouts
  • Pumpernickel bread (other bread options:  sour dough and wheat)


Mix raw chicken with olive oil, tarragon and black pepper.  Let sit for about an hour (Or you can even marinade it over night).  If you are using chicken breasts, cut them into strips to ensure all sides are covered with oil and seasonings.  Spread chicken on a baking pan under a broiler, cook for about 4 minutes.  Turn chicken over and cook for 3 minutes.  Allow the chicken to cool, then cut into chunks.  While waiting, roast the walnuts.

Take care not to cook to long or the chicken will be dry.  (Optional:  use a grill pan to cook chicken, cooking in the same length of time.)  You can get even more creative to try a different flavor, such as on-the-grill left over chicken or even whole roasted left over chicken.  Lightly but thoroughly mix all ingredients.  

Serve on pumpernickel, wheat bread or sour dough bread with a layer of dressing on both slices.  Layer sandwich with lettuce, chunky chicken salad, 1-2 slices of Munster cheese and top with alfalfa sprouts.


How to roast walnuts.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread whole walnuts on baking pan.  Place it on the middle rack. Roast 5-8 minutes or until walnuts turn a little darker and are very fragrant.  

Here's how I built this delicious sandwich:



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Nine Vegetables Summer Soup With Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

This summer soup is loaded with vegetables, nine to be exact, plus haricot and broken fettuccine.  An excellent chicken stock provides the seasoning, and a sun-dried tomato pesto makes every bite just pop right in your mouth.  Serves 10-12.



The Recipe

Ingredients for the nine vegetable soup:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium or 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 - 16 oz whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1-1/2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (The stock is the seasoning for this soup.  So be sure to use an excellent stock or make your own.)
  • 4 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 white potatoes, diced
  • 4 leeks (white parts only), thinly sliced
  • 2 large stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (10 oz) sliced green beans
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inches
  • 3/4 cup broken spaghetti or fettuccine (about 2-1/2 inches)
  • 1 cup dried navy beans, soaked and then cooked until tender and drained.

Ingredients for sun-dried tomato pesto

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or 2 tablespoons olive oil if you choose the option to add the hot soup liquid)
  • 1/4 cup hot soup liquid (Optional!  Note to reduce olive oil when using this method)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preparations for the soup:

Pour vegetable oil in a frying pan to a moderate heat.   Add onions, stir and cook for about one minute.  Add garlic, stir and cook for another minute.  Add tomatoes, cook and stir for about 8 minutes.

In a soup pot, bring stock to a boil.  Add carrots, potatoes, leeks, celery and the onion and tomato mixture.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Add green beans and fettuccine.  Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Then add zucchini and simmer until slightly tender (about 3-5 minutes). Take care not to overcook the zucchini or you will have mushy zucchini!

Preparation for the sun-dried tomato pesto (options also listed):  

In a food processor, add all ingredients, except the sun-dried tomatoes, and blend until smooth.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes.  Adding the sun-dried tomatoes at the end makes the pesto chunky with bits of the tomatoes.  If a totally smooth pesto is desired, add the sun-dried tomatoes at the step for blending.

For a quick pesto sauce, you can of course purchase from such places as Costco.  In which case, just add the sun-dried tomatoes.   



Penne Pasta And Prosciutto Salad

The pasta salad loaded with penne pasta, prosciutto ham, basil pesto and black olives is simple to make.  Delicious.  And summer fresh.  Serves four.


The Recipe


  • 2-1/2 cups penne pasta, cooked al dente
  • 3-1/2 oz prosciutto ham, diced
  • 1/2 cup roasted bell peppers, sliced*
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup (or more) shaved Parmesan


Cook the pasta following instructions on the box.  While pasta is cooking, dice the prosciutto. Slice the roasted bell peppers and black olives. Shave the Parmesan cheese.  After the pasta has cooked, rinsed and cooled a bit.  Lightly toss the ingredients, except the shaved Parmesan, in a large salad bowl.  Serve in salad bowls, topped with shaved Parmesan. 

Want to try a different flavor?  Substitute the roasted bell peppers with sun-dried tomatoes. 

*Notes.  You can purchase roasted bell peppers.  But why not have fun and just roast your own.  It's easy, whether under a broiler,  on a stove-top burner or on a grill.  Click on this image to watch a video from All Recipes and learn just how easy it is to roast peppers:   


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London Broil Roast Beef Salad And Horseradish Dressing

This London broil roast beef salad is wonderfully fresh, quick and easy to make--and so very delicious. Add hot buttered roles and a glass of wine to complete the feast.  The recipe is for one but can easily be increased for two or more.

London Broil in the U.S. versus Flank Steak:

I had purchased the roast slices from my local deli store.  Note that London broil, in the U.S., is a flank steak that has been cut into large pieces, tenderized by marinating, broiled or grilled, then thinly sliced across the grain.  The term is also used for a various thick cuts of meat including sirloin tip and top round. -from Food Lover's Companion, Third Edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

The Recipe:


  • Slice of London broil roast beef, cut about 1/4" thick. and then cut into strips 
  • Lettuce, your choice (I had used leafy green lettuce.)
  • Red onions, sliced
  • One Hard boiled egg

Adjust salad quantity for the number of people you'll be serving.

Horseradish Dressing

  • 1/3 cup Miracle whip or mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly grated horseradish (Add a litte more if you want more of a bite.)
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients.  Store in tight container, chill.  Yields 3/4 of a cup.     




Sandwich Idea: Smoked Beef Brisket And Caramelized Onions

This smoked beef brisket with caramelized onions is a perfect match for the hearty appetite.  Read below to find out my short cut for making this a quick and easy sandwich.

Yes, I took the easy way to make this sandwich.  And why not!

  • Bread.  From the bakery, purchase a 12" long fresh dough role.  Following instructions, for baking.  When bread is cool enough to handle, split it down the center and gently mashed the soft inside dough just enough to make room for the smoked brisket.  Add a little miracle whip or your favorite dressing to the bread.  Then cut the role into two 6" halves.
  • Smoked Beef Brisket.  From Costco or some other reliable food store, purchase a beef brisket already smoked and sliced.  Following instructions to heat the brisket.  If necessary, slice it again into julienne-like strips.  Pile the strips inside the role.  
  • Caramelized Onions.  Slice a large sweet onion, such as a Vidalia, into medium sized rings.  But do not separate the rings.  Saute the onions in butter until soft and brown.  As the onions become soft, the rings will separate when you turn them.  Pile the caramelized onions on top of the beef brisket slices. 

Optional:  Top the beef brisket slices with a slice of your favorite cheese.  Zap it in the broiler just enough to melt the cheese a little.  Then add the onions. 

*You can of course smoke your own beef brisket.  There are lots of instructions on the internet.  Or you can try this one from Kingsford charcoal (and no, I'm not affiliated with Kingsford),



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