Irish Bacon and Cabbage Soup

This is what I like to make on St. Patrick’s Day.  It is so satisfying and easy to make.  I always serve it with some homemade Irish Soda Bread and a Killians beer, but since I was traveling yesterday I didn’t get a chance to make it.  It doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy one of my favorite soups.  The next day works too!

Hope you enjoy and Happy Cooking,





1/2 pound Irish bacon, diced

2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 large onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

3 cup chicken stock

salt and black pepper to taste

2 cups thinly sliced dark green savoy cabbage leaves



Place bacon in a large, deep stockpot or saucepan.  Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown.  Drain off any excess fat.

Stir in potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, and chicken stock to cover.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in cabbage and allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes longer before serving.

Serves: 6



Southwestern Red Bean Vegetable Soup

  What do you get when you combined a wonderful blends of fresh vegetables and herbs with a little kick from some seasonings  and hearty red beans?
A fantastic dinner! This soup is perfect for Meatless Monday or a Friday Lenten meal.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                         





3 large green bell peppers

3 celery ribs, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

4 (16 ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, semi-drained

4 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce


In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the peppers, celery, onions and beans. Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves before serving.

Pierogi Lasagna

This is a recipe I found in a cookbook my mother-in-law and my father-in-law brought back from a trip to Nova Scotia. The title is One Potato, Two Potato. Every one of the 200+ recipes are made with potatoes and this one is by far my favorite!

It is easy to make, works well for a vegetarian main dish and you can serve it with so many sides. I like it with applesauce, kielbasa, or a nice tossed salad.

If you are pressed for time you can use instant mashed potatoes.                         

Hope you enjoy and happy cooking,





1 lb lasagna noodles

4 lbs red or white potatoes

1/4 c sour cream (optional)

1/2 c milk

2 c shredded cheddar cheese

1 c butter (2 sticks)

2 onion, sliced in rings


Cook the noodles as directed on box. Chop potatoes into cubes, place in pot of cold water (enough to cover), and allow to come to a boil. Continue boil until potatoes are soft enough to yield to a fork stab. Drain, mash, blend with a mixer. Toss in the optional sour cream and milk, mix some more. Add salt to taste. Stir in cheddar.

Melt all the butter over medium-high heat, then sautee onions until the rings are transparent.

Preheat oven to 375. Grease the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with some of the onion-butter. Lay 3 noodles on the bottom of the dish, then spread the potatoes, a dollop at a time, along the length of each noodle. Once done, smooth the potatoes, then spread about a quarter of the onions on top, and drizzle a small amount of butter as well. Repeat this twice (or more if your dish can accommodate), then top with 3 noodles and the remainder of the onions and butter.

Pop in the oven for 20 to 30  minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes before cutting and serving.


Jesse James (1847-1882), outlaw and desperado of the old American West, refused to rob a bank in McKinney, Texas because that is where his favorite chili parlor was located.  

It is said that Will Rogers judge a town by the quality of its chili. He sampled chili in hundreds of towns, especially in Texas and Oklahoma and kept a box score. He concluded that the finest chili (in his judgment was from a small cafe in Coleman, Texas. 

Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson had “chili pangs” for President Lyndon Johnson’s, 36th President of the United States, “Pedernales River Chili” and had cards printed with the LBJ chili recipe. “It has been almost as popular as the government pamphlet on the care and feeding of children.” 

We have a love affair chili. You can’t pick up a recipe book without a couple of chili recipes in it. I acquired my recipe in 1990. It’s a traditional chili recipe with tomatoes, beans, beef, onions and peppers.

Hope you enjoy and Happy Cooking~                                          



2 pounds ground beef

1 TBSP. shortening

1 1/2 cup onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup green peppers, diced

2 large can tomato sauce

2-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

4 TBSP. chili powder

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

2 TBSP. Worcestershire sauce

2 cans red kidney beans, drained


Brown ground beef in shortening. Add garlic, onions, and green peppers. Cook until onions are transparent. Drain off fat. Add tomato sauce,  diced tomatoes, chili powder, salt, sugar, Worcestershire sauce. Mix well. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Italian Vegetable Pie

This week I chose a dinner which I love to make. This is a go-to recipe that comes out perfect and satisfying every time. I also love how versatile it is. You can substitute the vegetables to whatever is your liking.  Also, if you want, you can substitute ground beef, ground sausage, a combination of both, or ground turkey for the tofu. When I make it with meat, I use 1/2 pound ground beef and a 1/2 pound of ground hot Italian sausage. Brown and drain before adding to the vegetables.  Also, a nice add-in is a couple of handfuls of washed and chopped fresh spinach. Stir in after simmering and before assembling. Round out your dinner with a nice tossed salad and fresh bread.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking~


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 (12.3-ounce) package firm tofu, drained and crumbled * 
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (25.5-ounce) jar fat-free marinara sauce
6 cooked lasagna noodles, cut in half crosswise
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* Substitution for tofu: 1 pound ground beef, 1 pound ground Italian sausage, 1 pound ground turkey, browned and drained


Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, chopped onion, mushrooms, tofu, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomato paste, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, and marinara sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes.

Arrange the noodles spoke like in the bottom of an 8-inch round baking dish or 9 inch deep dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Spread 3 cups tomato mixture over noodles. Fold ends of noodles over tomato mixture, and top with the remaining tomato mixture and cheeses. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Ever want to have bowl of  rich cream of mushroom soup, but all you have time to make is the canned variety?  This is a great recipe when you are short are time, but trust me it won’t be short on flavor. You will never go to the store and pick up a can of soup again when you put this recipe in your repertoire!   Serve this with a simple salad and you have a wonderful satisfying meal on a wonderful Fall day!

PS This is great for Meatless Monday!

Enjoy and Happy cooking~



 1 pound fresh mushrooms

 1/4 cup margarine

 1 small onion, chopped fine 

 3 cloves garlic, chopped

 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 4 cups vegetable broth

 1 cup  cream (I use half and half)

 salt and pepper to taste

 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves

 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


Thinly slice the mushroom cap. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and cook the onion, garlic and chopped thyme, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the garlic is golden. Add the mushrooms and salt and white pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mushrooms  soften. Add flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

 Remove from the heat and add the stock, stirring continuously. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 Whisk the cream into the soup, then reheat gently, stirring. Do not allow the soup to boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with the chopped chives and thyme.

Slow Cooker Beef and Tortellini Soup

Nothing says Autumn more than a bowl of  this fabulous soup my friend Debbie shared with me.  She is such a wonderful person and I feel privileged to know her. She is “old school” and believes no matter how busy your day, you should have a home cooked meal.  And if the family can all eat together;  Better yet!   This recipe is a great reason to “SLOW” down at the end of your busy day and reward yourself with a very satisfying dinner. I love to serve this with a big salad,  fresh-baked bread and some apple cake for dessert!

FYI…I have made this for my meat-free families and it’s just as good as a vegetarian soup. I added some white beans (cannellini) for the fiber. YUMMY!

Happy Fall!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking~


1# beef stew meat                                                                                  
1 Tablespoon steak seasoning
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 teaspoons sugar
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
32 oz. beef broth
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
2 cups frozen cheese filled tortellini  or gnocchi
1 can green beans, drained

In a large skillet, brown stew meat in a little oil for 3-5 minutes add steak seasoning to meat while browning.
Place meat in slowcooker. Add onion, carrots, garlic, sugar, tomatoes, and beef broth in order listed.
Cover; cook on low setting for 8 hours.
Stir in basil, frozen tortellini and green beans. Increase heat to high.
Cover;cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

Note: I have also used gnocchi and just a good!!

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

This is a delicious and tangy cold pasta salad with grilled vegetables that is so satisfying it’s perfect for Meatless Monday! I serve mine with warm cornbread muffins, and green grapes.  This is a great way to beat the heat and have a great, satisfying dinner. What a great way to end very busy day. Add a glass of your favorite wine or iced cold beer!

PS…for the meat-eaters, just add 1 pound of  your favorite grilled meat or seafood.  I love this with grilled shrimp, chicken or steak thinly sliced.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking,


1 pound penne pasta, cooked and rinsed in cold water
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves washed, dried, and thinly sliced
2 TBSP. lemon juice
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 large onion, thickly sliced in rounds
2 medium zucchini, peeled,thickly sliced in rounds
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper thickly sliced and cut into chunks
1 cup of grape tomatoes
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


Combine mayonnaise, basil, lemon juice and red pepper flake in a large bowl. Add cooked pasta and toss.
Heat grill on high heat. Place onions and zucchini on grill. Turn heat down to medium. Grill for 2 minutes and turn. Add the rest of the vegetables except tomatoes. Cook until vegetables are tender. About 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cook for 2-4 minutes. Remove vegetables from grill and add to pasta.  Add Italian dressing to pasta and vegetables.  Toss mixture and mix well.  Add lemon rest and parmesan cheese. Stir and serve. Can be served warm or cold.
Serves: 6

Italian Sausage with Mussels and Pasta

Whenever I vacation to the East Coast, I eat as much seafood as I can.  It just seem like the right dinner to have when I am so close to the ocean.  Last week, I had the pleasure of spending a time in Belmar, NJ with my best friend Kerry and her children John and Claire,  parents Buz and Maureen,  cousin Cathy and Uncle Dan Sullivan(who made me an honorary Irishwoman and was the highlight of my stay)!  Their family heritage is so rich, and I loved hearing Dan tell wonderful stories of the past,  sharing coffee with Cathy every morning,  playing on the beach with the kids and meeting and loving all of Kerry’s friends. We had so many laughs.   One thing I enjoyed with every meal was fresh mussels.  So I dug out this recipe to make here in good old Plymouth and continue my love affair with seafood.

What I love about this recipe, there are no real set ingredients. You can adjust the vegetables to your liking and the flavors of the sausage. If you don’t like mussels, you can use clams.  The possibilities are endless.  I use homemade Italian hot sausage from my local market.  They have wonderful favors and they are made fresh everyday. They also have a wonderful seafood department.  When you are buying mussels have the seafood specialists rinse them.  Sometimes they open up and rinsing them closes them and that’s what you want.  Any that stay open, toss them.  When you bring them home, refrigerate until you are ready to cook.  They should have a salty ocean air smell.

Now to share my Irish heritage:  “May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night”.

Enjoy and Happy Cooking,                                                                                     




1# Italian sausage, grilled and sliced or cases removed and crumbled
1 bag of mussels
1 28 can of diced tomatoes with juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 bell peppers, any color and diced
red pepper flakes
parmesan cheese, freshly grated
olive oil

1# angel hair pasta, cooked el dente
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup olive oil
fresh basil, chopped
parmesan cheese, freshly grated
black pepper, to taste


Coat a large deep skillet with olive oil and heat to medium. Add peppers, onions, and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes. Add can of tomatoes with juice, Stir. Cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and stir. Add mussels and stir. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Keep lid on the whole 5 minutes without peeking! Stir and cover. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Mussels should be opened . Any that don’t open, discard. Stir in Italian sausage and parmesan cheese. Serve on top of pasta.

Heat oil over medium heat and add garlic. Watch closely and stir. When garlic get to a golden color, add to cooked pasta. Toss and add pepper, parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Slow-Cooked Southwestern Beef from Hinessightblog

 Today I wanted to share with everyone a blog I read often. 

On the Hines-Sight blog,  you’ll find simple, true Southern tales. Leigh will share the daily joys, chaos, and sometimes “pull your hair out” experiences of having small children in one’s forties.  The occasional pitfalls of living on one professional salary, her life experiences, her luxury hotel obsession, and a whole lot of This and That!   She says “Grab a cup of tea or glass of wine, sit back, and travel around the country with her as she takes a peak of some of the world’s best hotels”.  She loves to talk about travel, and if that trip involves a luxury hotel then she’s in heaven.   Her name is Leigh Powell Hines, and she started the Hines-Sight Blog right after her 42nd birthday to help melt a little bit of stress in her life.  She is a former TV Journalist/Communications Executive who made a major career change when she became a first-time and full-time stay-at-home mom at the age of 37.   She also writes weekly for the Raleigh News and Observer’s parenting site called  TriangleMom2Mom.   Her posts are featured on Wednesdays.

 You will find this recipe on her blog, but I loved it so much from the moment I read it and knew I needed to share it!  I really enjoyed just putting everything in the crock pot and letting it do ALL the work for me.  I devoured my sandwiches using the tortillas, but I am sure it is equally as good on a nice crusty roll.  Perfect for those busy summer nights when you have a lot to do before you can sit down to the dinner table.

As always Enjoy and Happy cooking,                                                    

Slow-Cooked Southwestern Beef

From “A Second Helping, Please!” Post
From: “A Dash of Down East–a second helping” by The Junior Guild of Rocky Mount, NC

1 3 to 4 pound chuck roast
Salt and pepper to taste
4  14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chiles  (As I type this for you, I realized I only used two cans because sometimes I misread the recipe before going to the grocery store, but my version  with two cans was very tasty)
2 yellow onions, chopped (I only used half an onion, and also some Onion Onion from Tastefully simple)

Place roast in large crock pot and cover with remaining ingredients.  Cook for at least 6 hours (the longer the better), or until meat has shredded and all the liquid has absorbed into the beef.

Serve in Tortillas with lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, chopped onion (optional), and sour cream or toppings of your choice.

If you are a non-beef eater, I think the recipe would also work great with chicken breasts.
Hines-Sight Blog was granted permission to share this recipe from this cookbook