Category Archives: Winter

Broccoli Cheese Soup

20150216_112858The weather around here has been cold and windy recently. It can chill you down to the bone!  In these conditions, not much can satisfy like a hot steaming soup to warm up body and soul.

Though this broccoli cheese soup is made completely from scratch, using only real foods -it comes together very quickly, uses simple ingredients, and contains tender carrots and broccoli with a luxurious, thick and creamy, cheesy broth.

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Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Chowder

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Where soups are concerned, I think this one is my very favorite!

My sister-in-law, Christa, first introduced me to her version of this soup many years ago, which is very similar to the way I now make it.

Hearty and comforting, this soup is creamy and cheesy, a little bit thick- like a chowder- and filled with tender chunks of chicken and vegetables like carrots, celery, potatoes, corn, and onions.

P1050641I love it all over again…every time!

Not only does it taste great on a chilly evening for dinner, it also warms up to make wonderful leftovers that taste just as good for lunch the next day.
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Homemade Chili

P1050218I love chili! Don’t you? It’s a cold weather classic- perfect for fall parties, chilly nights, football games, or even as yummy leftovers for lunch! (Hubby and I both thought it tasted even better the next day!)

This is a hearty, traditional and family-friendly chili made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, beans, herbs, spices, and ground beef- and not super spicy. (This is one of those recipes I like to use some of my preserved tomatoes from the summer’s garden!)

Growing up, Mom always served chili over rice with cheese on top that melted into the chili to make something delicious! So, that’s how I do it too!

If you like, think ahead and prepare the beans in the slow cooker earlier on in the day. (instead of buying them canned) and bake a dish of Baked Brown Rice while the chili is cooking!

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Baked Apples

P1030722I adore the smell of apples baking!! Whether it’s apple pie, apple butter, applesauce, or these Baked Apples cooking away-It makes the house smell so cozy and inviting and just… “homey”.

This recipe is my favorite way to prepare Baked Apples. And there are sooo many ways you could enjoy this dish…I usually prepare them as a side dish to go along with dinner. It offers something sweet and tart, and pairs well with many meals- to name a few, pork roast or chops, baked chicken, cube steak, or if you are doing a breakfast, it is perfect along with eggs. But, this recipe would also taste delicious if it was served warm on top of vanilla ice cream, or enjoy on top of your morning oatmeal or serve with biscuits and sop up all the good sauce with the biscuit. Oh, yum!

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Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Bake

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One of the comforting smells in our kitchen during the fall and winter months  is Sweet Potatoes!

This is a wonderful sweet potato side dish that is easy to prepare and delicious to eat! While the inside is velvety-smooth, the topping is sweet and crisp.

The ingredients are few in number and very simple, and the amounts of sugar and butter are less than in a traditional sweet potato casserole! I like to allow the natural sweetness of the potato to speak for itself in the filling- only adding some milk for fluffiness, and butter and salt for a contrast to the sweetness. Then, the topping is simply brown sugar- nothing else- but, boy is it good! It creates a caramelized crusty top to bite into.  Yum..Yum..Yum!!

3 large sweet potatoes

3 T. milk

3 T. butter

1/4 tsp kosher salt

2/3 c. brown sugar

Run water over the sweet potatoes and rub to clean.

Wrap each in foil

Place in oven, heated to 375. Bake for 1 hour

After the hour, check sweet potatoes for tenderness. If tender, Unwrap, and allow to cool slightly- just a couple minutes.

Cut the potatoes in half (length-wise). Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place in a mixing bowl.

Add to your mixing bowl, 3 T. milk, 3 T. butter cut into small chunks, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt.

Mix until smooth and fluffy. (If needed, add a little more milk- 1 Tbs. at a time, to reach a smooth texture)

Spoon into a greased 8in baking dish- or similar sized dish.

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Now, all you have to do is sprinkle on 2/3 cup of brown sugar.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until top is slightly bubbly.

Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving, so the brown sugar topping is nice and crispy.

Serves 4-5

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