Category Archives: Soups & Sandwiches

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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Fresh Summer Chicken Salad

P1050885Last night I made chicken for dinner and since my Tim was out of town, we had more left over than usual.  So, when I began the search through the refrigerator today wondering what to whip up for lunch, Chicken Salad just sounded really good. I hadn’t had any in a long time!

Now, I know people are picky about their chicken salad. It seems like there is the camp that likes all the mix-ins- like grapes and celery, and nuts. And then there is the camp that adamantly hates that and likes it more plain. Well- I am one of those in the mix-ins camp. But, sadly I didn’t have any of that good stuff on hand to mix in!

So, I created this chicken salad with a fresh summer-flavored twist, using ingredients you are likely to have in your vegetable or herb garden this time of year, or that are in season for you to buy- and yum, yum, yum! I will make this again!

Instead of the traditional grapes, I used strawberries. Instead of celery, I’ve used cucumbers, plus fresh summer herbs and avocado. Perhaps the combination sounds a little weird to you, but it really hit the spot, and it was a great way to use up leftover chicken. It gave me a non-boring lunch for a change, too!

I ate mine right out of the bowl, but it would also taste great served over lettuce or on some good homemade bread! Give it a try!

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Multi- Grain Sandwich Buns

P1050592If you would like to bump up the taste of your sandwiches or burgers- make homemade buns! Not only will you love the taste, you can also know that you are going to end up with a much more natural and healthier product than something similar that you might buy at the grocery store.

Just take a look at the ingredients found in this brand of Hamburger Buns!  (Wheat Flour, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup Or Sugar, Yeast, Soybean Oil. Contains 2% Or Less Of: Wheat Gluten, Salt, Barley Malt, Datem, Mono- And Diglycerides, Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Propionate (To Retain Freshness), Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Soy Flour, Vinegar, Sorbic Acid, Ethoxylated Mono- And Diglycerides, Enzymes, Whey, Yeast Nutrients (Ammonium Chloride, Ammonium Sulfate), Ferrous Sulfate (Iron), “B” Vitamins [Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid)],Wheat Starch, Soy Lecithin, Azodicarbonamide, Calcium Dioxide. If Topped, Also Contains Sesame Seeds Or Cornmeal. Contains: Wheat, Milk And Soy.) 

That is a LOT of add-ins! And for all that, I don’t even think most store- bought buns or sandwich breads even taste that good!

Well, this recipe is very easy and the buns are delicious.

These are very similar to another recipe for Homemade Sandwich Buns that I have posted. However I wanted to add in some other grains to make a healthier bread- and I love the way it has turned out. I make these often- whether it is for your typical PB&J or grilled cheese sandwich or a juicy burger or pulled pork sandwich…or even toasted with some butter and honey for breakfast! These buns also store very well. Keep tightly covered and they will remain tasty for several days.

The directions for this recipe are the way that I do it using my bread machine for making the dough. Obviously, you can adjust the directions if you are making the dough with a mixer or by hand.

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Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Chowder


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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Sausage Rice and Bean Soup

P1030031It snowed here on Sunday- almost 6 inches. That’s quite a big snow for us around here…and in the middle of March! Ack!

Monday was still slushy and cold, and nothing seems to fit better on days like that, then a good soup to warm thing up! So, last night we enjoyed this soup that is hearty, healthy, and tasty!

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Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Sweet Mustard Sauce

P1020193I adore these sandwiches. Definitely in my Top 3! Ham and Cheese is a classic, but this sandwich brings it up a notch.

A buttery, sweet mustard sauce is drizzled all over the inside and on top (my favorite part!)- the more the better, in my opinion! Also included is ham from the deli, and two types of cheese. Once again, I use Homemade Sandwich Buns, which I recently mentioned in another post. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference this makes! I made these sandwiches for years, with store-bought buns, and though I still really enjoyed them, I couldn’t believe how much better they tasted when made with a good homemade sandwich bun. Once assembled, all of this is baked until it is hot, saucy, and gooey with cheese!

Serve these with a salad or a baked potato or sweet potato, and you have a quick, easy, delicious meal! Makes 8 (NOTE: Make the buns a little smaller- and make these more like a “slider” for parties!)

  • 8 Sandwich Buns (I recommend Homemade Sandwich Buns)
  • 1/2- 3/4lb. fresh deli ham, very thinly sliced.
  • 8 slices colby-jack cheese
  • 1 1 /2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 (generous) Tbs. prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 Tbs. finely minced onion
  • 1 (generous) Tbs. sugar


Assemble the sandwiches: colby-jack cheese on the bottom, then the ham, then the mozzarella cheese.

Next, mix together the melted butter, mustard, onion, and sugar. Drizzle this over the open sandwiches.


Replace bun tops. Drizzle the rest of the sauce over the tops of the buns.

Bake @ 375 for 10 minutes- until all the cheese is melted.


Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Sandwiches with Mushrooms and Swiss


This is such a good sandwich!  You have juicy shredded beef, sweet and buttery mushrooms and gooey Swiss cheese- all on top of a delicious bun. What’s not to like?



  • 3-4lb. sirloin tip roast
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4- 1/2 pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 1/2 – 3. c. water
  • Buns (I suggest Homemade Sandwich Buns)

For the mushrooms:

  • 1 package sliced, white mushrooms
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 cup liquid from the roast after it has cooked.

Place the roast in a crock pot. Rub with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, italian seasoning. Place diced garlic on top of the roast and sprinkle the onions on and around the roast. Pour the water in around the roast.


Cover and cook on low for about 5-6 hours.

When your roast is done cooking, carefully remove it from the crock pot and place in a large bowl. Using two knives, pull the beef apart and shred it up.

Measure out 1 cup of the juices from the crock pot and set aside.

Return the shredded beef to the crock pot with the remaining liquid so that it soaks up that moisture.

Now, we are going to work on the mushrooms that will top the beef on the sandwich.

Pour the reserved liquid into a saute pan and add 1/4 cup butter. Give the mushrooms a rough chop and add to the saute pan with the liquid and butter. Turn to medium- medium/high heat and allow to boil.


Continue to cook it until the liquid has thickened and cooked down and the mushrooms have darkened.

Now it’s time to assemble the sandwich. On a baking sheet, place the bottoms of the buns. Use tongs to lift some of the beef out of the crock pot. Allow some of the excess juices to drip off, and then place on the bun. Top this with some mushrooms. And top that with a slice of Swiss Cheese.

Place under the broiler in the oven just until the cheese melts.


Replace the bun top and serve!

Homemade Sandwich Buns

P1020106This is a wonderful, wonderful recipe. I usually make these about once a week!

I have never loved any of the hamburger or sandwich buns I buy at the store. I think they are dry and not a lot of flavor. I kept finding myself disappointed. There had to be a better option!

Then, I found this recipe, and sandwiches and burgers have never been the same at our house!

I have found that a good, homemade bun makes all the difference in a sandwich! The bun goes from being simply something that holds the body of the sandwich, to competing as the star of the show.

We actually love having some buns left over, too, because they are excellent toasted for breakfast or for lunch or whatever. And, of course, an added benefit is that these buns won’t contain those chemicals and preservatives that the store-bought buns do. I use them all the time. We all love them!

Now, though I have made a few small changes in ingredients and some slight changes in the method, I do want to give credit where credit is due. I originally found this recipe from King Arthur Flour. So, if you would like to see their explanation, I have provided the link, above.

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbs. butter- cut into slices
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 heaping Tbs. instant yeast

I always make the dough in my bread machine, but if you like to use a mixer, that is fine, too. But, these instructions will be as I do it using the bread machine.


Add your ingredients. I always do wet ingredients first, then the dry, then the yeast.

So- water, butter, egg, salt, sugar, flours, yeast

Start the dough cycle. (which mixes the dough and allows it to rise)

When that cycle is completed, remove dough and pat onto a lightly floured cutting board.


Using a sharp knife, cut 8 pieces. Shape these into buns by gently folding the corners under or making a sort of ball.

Place on a greased baking sheet.


Gently press down on each bun to flatten slightly.

Allow to rise for about 20 more minutes.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Watch to be sure the bottoms don’t get too done.

Remove from oven to wire rack.

Melt 2 Tbs. butter and brush on the tops of the buns.

Allow to cool.


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