Tag Archives: onion

Cold Weather Vegetable Beef Soup

Disclaimer: I have already posted a recipe for Vegetable Beef Soup, but because I made it differently this time around, and because I want to be more active with my blog, today I am bring back this especially-good-in-winter soup. The photo of the ingredients in the pics above is correct, but for the recipe in today’s bubbling soup pot, I added more vegetables (corn and lima beans). In my opinion, a good soup recipe is one that is versatile and allows the freedom to add or subtract ingredients according to what the cook has on hand, so here is the recipe, revised, below.

One thing that doesn’t change is that I always make this soup after I have cooked a beef roast and have meat left over. I knew I would be cooking up this particular pot of soup after hosting our annual “Class of ’67 and Friends” party at my house this month. I buy a roast large enough to feed the dozen of us around the table (the roast featured in French Dip Sandwiches on party night) and one I know is also sufficient for a large pot of Vegetable Beef Soup. You can’t go wrong that way as several meals result from one six pound roast. What could be easier?

Today is a perfect day to enjoy this soup here in our corner of southern Missouri. It is sunny and bright outside, but, oh-so-cold. Check your freezer for any leftover roast (or get to the store if you must), and bubble up this delicious rich soup, filled with the vegetables of your choice, and laden with chunks of your leftover roast. Use the saved broth in which the roast cooked if you have it for even more savory spoonfuls; your taste buds will thank you! The featured pic is of today’s recipe variation. Warm Soup, Warm Heart!

Vegetable Beef Soup


1 T. vegetable oil
3/4 lb. boneless beef sirloin steak or beef top round steak, cut 1/2” cubes
3 cups V8 100% Vegetable Juice
1-3/4 cups beef broth
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup potato, cut into cubes
1/2 cup carrot
1/2 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup celery, sliced thick
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup canned or frozen lima beans
Shredded cabbage, to taste

Directions Heat the oil in a 4-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until it is well-browned, stirring often. Pour off any fat. Stir the vegetable juice, broth, Italian seasonings, pepper, potato, carrot, onion, celery, corn and lima beans into the saucepot and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables and meat are tender. If you want a thinner broth, add water as soup cooks. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Kielbasa & White Bean Cassoulet

BLOG cassoulet










A cold winter’s day is the perfect time for hauling out your slow cooker and readying ingredients for this thick creamy cassoulet. The recipe, from Simple Living’s January 2016 issue, is one that turned out a total winner last week. If you have a slow cooker, put it to use; set-it-and-forget-It, then thoroughly enjoy!

The prep for this recipe is 20 minutes, tops. Chop the onion and mince the clove garlic, slice the kielbasa and you are ready to go. With a cooking time of 5-7 hours, there is plenty of time for preparing the baguette croutons needed when you are ready to serve. This recipe is so easy that I decided to give it a try one minute and had the cassoulet in the crock pot, heating up, then simmering, 20 minutes later. Nothing could have been easier.  I did use both dried thyme and parsley flakes and not the fresh called for in the recipe and both were perfectly fine substitutions.

The smoky kielbasa is a perfect complement for the creamy white beans and the diced tomatoes add their own tart flavor to the mix. I found the buttered and toasted baguette pieces a worthy, and tasty, contrast to the dish. Whether you want to add another vegetable on the side, or just treat this dish as a complete meal in itself, you will be feeling very accomplished and very satisfied if you give this one a try.

Slow-Cooker Kielbasa & White Bean Cassoulet


1-1/2 cups dried white beans
1 lb. kielbasa, cut into 1” pieces
3 cups chicken broth
1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 t. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
8-1/2” slices of baguette, buttered & toasted, cubed
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions Combine beans, kielbasa, broth, tomatoes, onion, garlic, thyme, and ½ t. salt in a 4-to-6 qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook until the beans are creamy, on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 5 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Serve individual bowls of the cassoulet topped with baguette cubes and parsley.

Cabbage Patch Stew

The first hint of cooler weather in the air today was the impetus for trying this recipe for Cabbage Patch Stew.  I found the recipe in Thelma Carlile’s “Mealtimes and Memories” cookbook and adjusted it slightly (I wanted more than 1 cup of cabbage in the pot!).  The temperature dropped even more by suppertime yet I was completely happy enjoying this queen-of-comfort-food dish along with a tray of cornbread muffins.  If you are a fan of cabbage, stewed tomatoes, and mashed potatoes (and who isn’t?) then this is a recipe you will find yourself reaching for repeatedly as temperatures drop.

I did use more than the original amount of cabbage called for and added more stewed tomatoes than listed.  I adjusted the amount of water to allow for the extra vegetables and added a beef bouillon cube for a richer flavor to the broth.  Do prepare your vegetables before you begin browning the ground beef and allow the cabbage, onions, and celery to simmer slowly until softened.  Taste the broth as you go and season accordingly.

Prepare mashed potatoes for topping individual bowls of the stew. I used a packaged mashed potato mix as it made exactly the 2 cups I wanted. The potatoes add contrasting texture and thicken the broth slightly. A side of cornbread muffins is all I needed to complete this simple, yet satisfying meal. This light stew will have you feeling warm and cozy in no time,  reminding you that autumn is on her way.

Cabbage Patch Stew


1 lb. ground chuck, browned
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup celery, sliced thinly
1-(16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained
1-(16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, drained and snipped smaller
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
2 cups prepared mashed potatoes

Directions: In a pan sprayed with cooking spray, brown the meat over medium heat. Add onions, cabbage, and celery; cook until soft. Add water to cover (approximately 3 cups); simmer with lid on, 15 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, and seasonings and cook 15-20 minutes more. Serve in bowls topped with spoonfuls of mashed potatoes.  Lightly add pepper to the potatoes and serve warm.

Shrimp & Grits

This is one of my new favorites!  I tried this dish while on a “teacher trip” this summer; determined to re-create the dish, the first time I prepared it was at the Sharpes’ house in Florida in July.  Folks, if you are a shrimp lover, this dish rocks!

I will admit that this is a bit labor intensive so prepare it when you have plenty of time OR when you have someone to help you do the prep work.  Susie, prep help supreme, cut all the veggies for this and peeled the shrimp (YAY!).  When the prep work finishes, the cooking time is less than 30 minutes.

DO find and use the Andouille sausage when preparing the shrimp mixture as this spicy sausage from Louisiana’s Cajun cooking style provides the perfect punch to the dish. If you cannot find Andouille, use a highly seasoned bratwurst instead. Do also use the red pepper flakes for even more “hot”.  Not to worry, the creamy grits are a just-right complement for the spice of the shrimp and sausage mixture. All you possibly need to complete the meal is a leafy green salad or even a loaf of crusty French bread.

Get your shrimp and grits groove on today! You will not regret one minute of the kitchen time. This recipe easily serves 10-12 people. Four of us enjoyed two servings each in Florida with the bowl pictured above for the next day. Make a new pot of grits if having leftovers!  This is oh, so wonderful!

Shrimp & Grits

For the Grits

4 cups water
* 2 T. butter
* 6 small cloves garlic, minced (added from the shrimp pan)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 t. salt
1 cup uncooked grits (instant is fine)
2 cups Cheddar, shredded from the block

Directions: Keep the water warm on the stove in a pot with a heavy bottom so you can cook the grits quickly when the shrimp finishes cooking. When ready to serve, bring to a boil and add the cream. Stir in grits a little at a time; add the butter and sautéed garlic. Cook, 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Add the cheese. Turn off the heat and allow to thicken. Add cream if too thick.

For the Shrimp

1 T. Wesson oil
1 cup Andouille sausage, sliced thin
2 #’s medium fresh shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and tails snipped
2 more T. Wesson oil
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1/4 cup celery, sliced thin
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped and seeded (or stewed tomatoes, 1 #10 can)
3 t. Cajun seasoning
1-1/2 cup chicken broth
1 T. butter
Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper to taste
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
Green onion, sliced, for garnish

Directions: Sauté 2 T. butter & 6 garlic cloves. Set aside for grits. Add oil to skillet and sauté sausage. Remove and set aside. Add 1/2 the shrimp and cook until pink. Remove to paper-towels and add the rest of the shrimp and cook til pink. Wipe skillet and add 1 T. oil and 1 T. butter. Stir in the 1 T. flour and cook 3-4 minutes until you have a dark roux. Cook 3-4 minutes on low. Add onion, green pepper, and celery and cook 3 minutes on med-high heat. Add the tomatoes and the Cajun season and cook 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer all in skillet 10 minutes.

Shell Macaroni Tuna & Pea Salad

The last of our ‘salad bar night’ recipes from the Sharpe’s house this month, this dish, as listed in both our James Family cookbook and my own “Missouri to Maui” collection, comes from a first-cousin of mama’s.  Maude states in the recipe that she “carries this in” to many family and church functions and it is always a hit; I think you will find it most satisfying also if you give it a try!

You must use the best quality albacore tuna you can lay hands on and find the smallest and most tender canned peas available.  I cut the celery in this dish in very thin slices and mince the onion well.  The many textures of this salad are so enticing and you don’t want to have everything in it cut the same size; get creative with your chopping for the prettiest presentation!

Two things make this salad a winner: the taste of ample chopped onion is one so don’t skimp on the onion, and the evaporated milk which is the ‘secret ingredient’ in the dressing.  The dressing is thin but it thickens nicely when you chill the salad well before serving.  Simple macaroni, fresh veggies, and canned tuna in a salad: who knew!?!?  Maude did, and now we do too!  It’s a definite keeper, y’all!

Shell Macaroni Tuna & Pea Salad


For the salad:

1-(8-oz.) pkg. small seashell macaroni
1-(12oz) can albacore tuna drained and flaked
1 small can English peas, drained
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1/2 large onion, chopped fine

For the dressing:

1 small can evaporated milk
1/2 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
1/2 T. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Celery seed, to taste, option

Directions Cook macaroni until done. Drain and set in fridge to chill. Mix evaporated milk, mayonnaise, salt and pepper in medium bowl, whisking well to blend. Combine macaroni, tuna, celery, and onion in large bowl, toss to distribute ingredients; add dressing, peas and the celery seed if using and blend thoroughly. Serve well chilled.