Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili

March 9, 2014 19:17 by Suzy

JD has been "gettin healthy" in 2014 and so far the results are amazing...he's lost 20 pounds and his cholesterol dropped from over 200 to 134! We're basically going with a plant based, whole-foods diet. This recipe was a great find, and with our modifications, it's been a favorite for both of us.

The flavor in this chili is amazing...smoky and rich and with just the right amount of heat and bite. You won't even miss the meat!

Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili
adapted from

2 large onions, chopped
2 large bell peppers (red and yellow), chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
4-6 cups vegetable stock (preferably salt free)
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
a few dashes of Cholula sauce
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and dry-saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add diced bell peppers and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute.

Add beans, 4 cups broth, spices, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add more broth if chili seems too thick/dry for your tastes. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 1 hour.

Taste and add salt, pepper, and more Cholula or chili powder if necessary. Add corn and quinoa, stir and cover.

Simmer for another 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Beef Stew

April 17, 2011 14:54 by Suzy

I know spring is (supposedly) finally here, which means light, fresh, "spring-y" meals are on the way.  Unfortunately, spring has taken so long to arrive this year, I have doubted that we would ever see warm days and green trees ever again.  So when I search books and the internet for new recipes, I still find myself drawn to hearty, rich dishes that simmer all day on the stove or in the with braised meats and tender root vegetables.  Hence, this stew.  If you are actually experiencing spring wherever you are, feel free to save this recipe until the fall.  And suck.

"Spring-Will-Never-Get-Here" Beef Stew

2 pounds beef chuck (stew meat), cut into cubes
canola oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
salt and pepper
12 ounces white and/or cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and quartered
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups low sodium beef stock
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2" thick
2 stalks celery, sliced 1/2" thick
2 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced
cornstarch, as needed for thickening

Heat a few tablespoons canola oil in large, heavy pot.  In batches, brown beef until richly browned on all sides.  Remove beef to a plate as it browns.

Add onion and garlic to pot, season with salt and papper, and cook, stirring, until softened and starting to brown.  Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms have released their moisture and have started to brown.

Deglaze pan with red wine and scrape all of the yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cook until wine has reduced until nearly evaporated.

Add beef stock, tomato paste, bay leaf, rosemary, and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to a boil, return beef to pan (along with any juices) and reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer, covered, over low heat, for 1 hour.

Add carrots, celery and potatoes to pot.  Cover and continue to simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat and vegetables are tender.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  If too thin, dissolve some cornstarch in a small amount of water and add gradually until it reaches the desired thickness.

Serve with crusty bread and a glass of good wine.  Continue to wait for spring.  Let me know when it gets here. 

Beef Barley Soup

February 14, 2011 20:07 by Suzy

OK, I am officially sick of winter and ready for spring.  I know I am not alone on this, but this is notable because I generally love winter and prefer cold over hot.  This year, however, has been brutal.  Way too cold for way too long.  Snow, ice, wind.  Ugh.  I don't think I have ever longed for flowy skirts and sandals like I am now.

Since I can't make spring get here any sooner, I'll just keep making soup.  For poor JD's sake, I hope it warms up soon.  He doesn't really like soup, and that's all I've been in the mood to make lately.

Beef Barley Soup
adapted from Real Food Has Curves

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound sliced mushrooms
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup dry Madeira
1 1/2 pounds stew meat, cut into small pieces
1-2 pounds meaty beef ribs
3 cups beef broth
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup barley
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Worcestershire sauce

Heat butter in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add mushrooms, carrots, and celery.  Stir and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms release their moisture.

Add Madeira to the pot and cook, stirring, until the liquid has been reduced and thickens to a glaze.

Add stew meat, ribs, beef and chicken broths, and barley.  Bring to a simmer.  Add thyme, sage, salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 3 hours.  Remove the beef ribs and scrape/cut the meat from the bones and return the meat to the pot.

Season with a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Turkey Soup

December 11, 2010 16:40 by Suzy

This, other than turkey sandwiches, is the best way to use up your leftovers from Thanksgiving.  I love soup, and I was expecting something tasty, but after my first spoonful I was amazed at the rich flavor.  Nothing like homemade stock to amp up what would normally be ho-hum soup.  I didn't think that this would be blog-worthy, so sorry, no pictures except for the final product.  Trust me, it's good.

Now I realize that it's too late for most people to make this soup now...who knows what you did with your turkey carcass after Thanksgiving?  But if you were smart enough to save it, or if you plan to make turkey for Christmas, you're all set...

The great thing about soup is it's so easy to customize to your tastes, or whatever you have on hand.  Throw in whatever vegetables that you like, use noodles or diced potatoes instead of rice, add some chopped tomatoes at the end...whatever tickles your fancy, or, as my favorite blogger Ree puts it, whatever makes your skirt fly up.

Turkey Soup

turkey carcass
1 onion, quartered
1-2 carrots, roughly chopped
1-2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
fresh parsley and thyme sprigs
bay leaf
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt

Hack up the carcass into pieces so it will fit in the pot of your slow cooker.  Put bones in slow cooker and add cold water to cover by 1 inch.

Add the remaining stock ingredients, cover, and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Let cool slightly, then remove bones and vegetables from stock.  Strain stock through a fine sieve and discard the solids.

Allow stock to cool, then place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Scoop off and discard the solidified fat layer from the top of the stock.  Now you are ready to make soup!

turkey stock
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot,, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
1/2 cup uncooked rice (I used brown rice)
leftover cooked turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Bring stock to a boil in a large pot, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add celery, carrot, and onion and let simmer 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Add thyme, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.  Let simmer 10 more minutes.

Add rice; simmer 10 minutes.

Add turkey and continue to simmer until turkey is heated through and the rice is tender.  Add parsley and serve.

Chunky Minestrone Soup

November 7, 2010 16:44 by Suzy

Fall is officially here in the mid-Atlantic...perfect weather for making a big pot of soup.  Yummy and warm, filled with vegetables, this soup will likely be my lunch for the rest of the week.  Delicious, cheap and good for you...what more could you want?  Damn, I feel like someone's mom.

One common issue with pasta in soup is that it doesn't keep well; the pasta absorbes all of the broth and turns to mush.  This recipe has a great solution:  cook the pasta separately and combine with the soup just before serving.  Just cook as much pasta as you need for that meal and you're set!

Isn't it pretty?

Chunky Minestrone Soup
adapted from Delicious Dishings and The Pioneer Woman

2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
32 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1 28 ounce can tomatoes (or quart jar of homemade canned tomatoes)
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
ditalini pasta
1/2 pound fresh green beans
Parmesan cheese

Slice the zucchini and yellow squash into chunks; toss with olive oil on baking sheets.  Roast at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned.  Set aside.

In large pot, heat a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute the onion, carrots, and celery until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic, thyme, oregano and basil and saute for a minute or so.

Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, cannellini beans, red wine vinegar to the pot; bring to a boil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer 10 minutes.

Boil ditalini pasta 10 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and toss with olive oil to keep from sticking.  Set aside.

Cut green beans into 2" pieces.  Add to soup and simmer 10 minutes.  Add roasted vegetables to soup and simmer 10 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Spoon a portion of ditalini pasta into each bowl and top with soup.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese shavings and serve.

French Onion Soup

January 2, 2010 17:15 by Suzy

This is one of those times where I wish my photography skills were remotely close to my cooking skills. This photo does not give this soup justice. I am slurping at the bowl right now, almost spilling on my laptop in my haste to eat it. It's good, OK?

French Onion Soup
Adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper
1 cup red wine
3 heaping tablespoons flour
2 quarts beef broth (I made HOMEMADE stock using the bones from my Christmas, I feel so professional!)
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 pound grated Gruyere (I used Swiss)

Sauteed onions before

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onions are very soft and caramelized. Tyler said this should take 25 minutes, but it took closer to 45 minutes for me.

Sauteed onions, after

Red wine

Wine makes everything better, don't you think?

Add red wine

Add the wine, bring to a boil, and simmer until the wine has evaporated. This took about 10 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with the flour, mix, and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook 10 minutes.

Add the beef broth, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

Just before serving, line a baking sheet with foil and arrange baguette slices. Sprinkle with cheese and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Ladle soup in bowls and top with a few slices of the Gruyere bread.

French Onion Soup

Enjoy, and try not to make a pig of yourself. I was not successful.

Chicken Stew

December 20, 2009 13:10 by Suzy

Chicken Stew

Well, I had planned to post another cookie this week, but what I chose to make did not turn out web-worthy, visually.  Tasted great, but looked pretty bad.  Bad enough to be called fugly.  I will try it again sometime, but for now, here's a great recipe for a simple and yummy chicken stew.

I found this recipe when JD was trying the whole Atkins/South Beach thing, so I was looking for meals that were filling but without the usual carb-heavies (potatoes, pasta, etc.).  This is so good it is a regular meal for us now, years after the low-carb idea (thankfully) left our house. 

Chicken Stew

adapted from a recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis

2 TB olive oil
2 stalks celery, cut into bite sized pieces
1 carrot, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 small onion, chopped
salt and pepper
1 14-1/2 can diced tomatoes (I used a quart jar of home-canned tomatoes)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces (I didn't have fresh, so I substituted 1 tsp Italian seasoning and omitted the thyme)
1 TB tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 bone-in chicken breast halves
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained 

Saute onion, celery carrots

In a large saucepan or pot over medium heat, saute the onion, celery and carrot with the olive oil until the onion is translucent.  


Sauteed onion, celery carrots

Season with salt and pepper.  Add the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme.  Add the chicken breasts; press down to submerge in the liquid.

Add chicken to stew

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and turning the chicken over once, until the chicken breasts are nearly cooked through, about 25 minutes.  Remove the chicken breasts and set aside to cool.  Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the skin and bones from the chicken.  Using two forks, shred the chicken and return to the pot.  Simmer gently until the chicken is done.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Do you have any favorite soup or stew recipes?