1 ham bone with meat on it
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Frank’s red pepper hot sauce
1/4 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

  • Soak the beans in room temperature water overnight.
  • Cover ham bone with water. Sprinkle generously with cayenne pepper, salt, thyme sprigs and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours or ham falls off the bone.
  • Strain the stock and separate into 2 separate 8 cup portions. Freeze 1 portion for your next batch of soup.
  • Return the stock to your pan and add the vegetables.
  • Bring to a boil. Add beans and ham pieces. Lower to a simmer for 2 hours.
  • Sprinkle with a few drops of Frank’s red pepper sauce and some grated cheese.
  • Serve with Garlic Cheddar Biscuits.

2 cups biscuit baking mix
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 clove finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons butter

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  • In a large bowl, combine baking mix, 1 1/4 cups of the Cheddar cheese, minced garlic and garlic powder.
  • Stir in milk.
  • Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  • Brush biscuits with melted butter, and sprinkle with parsley, garlic salt and remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 5 more minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.


So what do you do with left over pot roast and a can of black-eyed peas? Why, you make chili of course!  I just happened to have all of my normal chili ingredients on hand also.  I prefer Williams Chili Seasoning packet, but I had a coupon for the Mrs. Dash so we gave it a try.  It was okay, but the Mrs. Dash won’t become my go to seasoning.
MANY people swear by starting their year out with black-eyed peas for luck.  I’m not a superstitious person, but hey it can’t hurt! As a kid I HATED black-eyed peas, but I recently found the Trappey’s brand and they are fantastic! Hubs and I ate them plain and polished off the whole can. In fact they were so good that I can’t wait to try their other beans in soups, field peas, navy, black-eyed peas with jalapenos, etc…

1 can Trappey’s Black-eyed peas with bacon
+/- 2 cups shredded left over pot roast
1 can original Rotel tomatoes
1 1/2 cups V8
1 small HUNT’S tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Frank’s red hot sauce
1 package Williams Chili Seasoning packet
salt and pepper, to taste
water to desired consistency*
cheese bread or corn muffins
sour cream and onions to garnish

  • Mix together everything except the bread and garnish in a stock pot.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer several hours until you can smell the chili calling you to the kitchen.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish.
  • Enjoy!

NOTE*: I use about 2 cups.  I like to start thin and simmer until thick (2-3 hours) to allow the flavors to blend together.


3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, frozen
2 cups homemade chicken broth, frozen
1 can cream of potato soup
1 jar dried beef, chopped
1 Williams chili mix package
1 can chopped green chilies
  • Place frozen chicken breasts on the bottom.
  • Pour green chilies over chicken pieces.
  • Top with cream of potato soup.
  • Top with frozen broth.
  • Sprinkle chili seasoning mix on top of chicken broth.
  • Top with beef pieces.
  • Slow cook on high for 2 hours. Reduce to low for 6 hours. Or cook on low 10 hours.
As the slow cooker heats up, the broth will melt absorbing the chili seasoning mix which will then be absorbed by the potato soup and by the end of the day you have a huge bowl of wonderful yummy goodness perfect for a crisp fall evening. Serve with cheddar cheese biscuits.



1 Honey Baked Ham Bone*
2 cups ham pieces
3 quarts water
1 small bag baby carrots, chopped
5 large stalk celery, leaves included, chopped
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cups split green peas
2 cups split yellow peas
1/4 cup barley
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper & white pepper mix
1 bottle beer – Mystery ingredient

  • In a large stock pot, bring ham bone* & water to a boil. Boil until the meat is falling off the bone, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours)
  • Remove the bone and let cool enough so you can cut the meat off the bone.
  • In the mean time add the carrots, celery, onion (4 cups total) and seasonings to the water and return to a slow boil for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • While the vegetables are boiling, rinse the peas and pick out any bad ones.
  • Cut the ham pieces off the bone. Refrigerate the ham pieces and discard the bone.
  • After the vegetables have cooked 45 minutes or until tender, add the peas and barley. Cook for another 1 1/2 hours.
  • Add the beer and ham pieces back in and cook another 1 1/2 hours.

NOTE:* I always save my honey baked ham bones after the meat is all cut off. I then freeze them and save them for future soups. I always get at least 2 cups of meat off when I boil the bone.

This makes a huge batch and I always freeze it in several batches (3-4) for future easy weeknight meals. In this case it will be a big batch when everyone is here at Christmas.

TODAY’S TRIVIA as heard by hubby on an old game show – Campbell’s soup used to fill the bottom of the bowl with marbles so the vegetables would be at the top giving the appearance of more vegetables in each bowl of soup. That trick was not done here – what you see is what you get.


1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
1 large stalk celery, diced
2 + 1/2 cups flour
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cups spinach leaves
Fresh ground black pepper and salt, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large stock pot, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions, carrots and celery, stirring until soft, about 6-7 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup flour, stirring to blend until flour is golden.
  • Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring until thick and creamy.
  • Reduce heat to low.
  • Stir in cream and milk until well blended.
  • Add in spinach and chicken pieces, cooking for 5 minutes more.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide mixture into 6-8 ramekins.
  • Arrange ramekins on baking sheet. (KEEP WARM)
  • I like to pour the contents out onto a plate for eating.

OPTIONAL: I sometimes add a can of Le Seur peas for color more than anything.


1 1/2 cups finely grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
1 cup whole buttermilk

  • In a large bowl sift together 2 cups flour, 1 cup of the cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  • Using a pastry blender cut in the cutter until mixture is crumbly.
  • Add buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. (Dough will be sticky and that’s okay)
  • Drop by HEAPING spoonfuls onto silicone lined baking sheet.
  • Bake until edges are beginning brown.
  • Place one biscuit on top of each ramekin and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper.
  • Add to oven for 5-6 minutes until cheese is melted and pot pies heated through.


Have you ever heard the funny story about cutting off the back of the ham? Zig Ziglar tells a story about a new bride who would always cut the end off the ham before baking it. Her husband asked why she did it and the wife responded that she did it because her mother always did it so that was the way it was supposed to be.

Well, her husband wasn’t happy with her “the way it’s supposed” to be answer and decided to ask his mother-in-law that same question. Her answer was the same making him more curious than ever.

The husband called his wife’s grandmother to see what her answer was. Grandma told him that she had a small oven and it was the only way the ham would fit inside.

This story always makes me laugh because grandma had an extremely legitimate reason for doing it, but daughter and granddaughter not so much. I personally like to push the boundaries and do not blindly follow without rhyme or reason, but I do stop and ask myself if there is a better way on many things.

Why  did I tell you this story? Because you’ll notice a pat of butter in the center of the soup bowl.  I did this out of habit because grams always did.  LOL I do believe it gives it a richer flavor as you eat though so will keep blindly following…

2 tablespoons butter
3 medium carrots with tops**, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 LARGE cloves garlic, minced
1- 26 ounce box POMI finely chopped tomatoes
50 ml bottle QUALITY bourbon (3 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth
Fresh ground Himalayan Pink and Black pepper, to taste

  • Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high heat.
  • Add carrots and onions, sautéing until soft.
  • Add garlic and carrot tops, continuing to saute’, but watching so garlic does NOT burn.
  • Stir in chicken broth, bourbon, brown sugar and tomatoes.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil, reduce heat, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, occasionally stirring.
  • Stir in half and half, heating through.
  • Garnish with parsley and Parmesan crisps.

NOTE: **You can substitute flat leaf Italian Parsley for the carrot tops.

1/2 cup grated QUALITY Parmesan

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Pour a heaping tablespoon of Parmesan onto a silicone mat** lined baking sheet and lightly pat down.
  • Repeat with the remaining cheese, spacing the spoonfuls about a 1/2 inch apart.
  • Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  • Cool.

NOTE: **You can use parchment paper, but I have better success with silicone.


This is a combination of several recipes.  I was never happy with any one of them on a stand alone basis, but loved how combining bits and pieces of each one made the perfect bisque.  So, just in time for cool fall evenings I give you my version of Brussels Bisque.

BRUSSELS BISQUE MY WAY Makes 8 servings.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
1-1/4 pounds (about 3 cups) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved**
1 large onion, chopped
1 bulb garlic, roasted, mashed and rough chopped
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Splash (to taste) Frank’s original hot sauce
6 slices bacon, dice and browned
Parmesan Cheese

  • In a large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, melt butter.
  • Add onions, carrots, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and half of your garlic; saute 3 minutes.
  • Stir in broth, wine and Worcestershire.
  • Add nutmeg, parsley and hot sauce.
  • Bring to boiling; simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat.
  • Pour soup through colander placed over large bowl or pan.
  • Set aside about 3/4 cup Brussels sprouts mixture.
  • Place remaining Brussels sprouts mixture in food processor or immersion blender; puree. ***
  • Return puree and broth mixture to Dutch oven.
  • Place flour in small bowl; gradually add half-and-half, stirring until smooth.
  • Add half-and-half mixture into broth mixture gradually, stirring until well blended.
  • Add mushroom mixture, reserved Brussels sprouts mixture and remaining garlic.
  • Bring to boil, stirring frequently; simmer 10 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour into bowls top with a dab of butter and lots of fresh grated pepper.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley, Parmesan and crisp bacon pieces.

NOTE:** Spinach or Broccoli can be substituted.
NOTE:*** Remember that hot foods will splatter easily, blend with caution!

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday




3 pounds chicken thighs
2 tablespoons GHEE
2 tablespoons avocado oil
3/4 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

  • Wash and dry chicken pieces.
  • Sift together 3/4 flour, salt and pepper.
  • In a large sauté pan or stock pot heat GHEE and oil.
  • Dredge chicken pies in flour and place skin side down in hot oil. Brown chicken skin side down until chicken starts to bleed before turning, about 15 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken pieces to plate.

2 shallots, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced thin
2 ribs celery, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup AP flour
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Barefoot white Moscato
3 tablespoons sugar
8 whole peppercorns
1/2 cup heavy cream (added in at the end)
2 teaspoons fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Add carrots to pan and stir for a couple minutes.
  • Add celery and shallots, stirring a couple more minutes.
  • Add garlic and 1/3 cup flour stirring constantly until flour is golden.
  • Gradually add chicken stock, constantly stirring until well blended.
  • Add wine, vinegar, sugar and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, covered and cook for 15 minutes.
  • While the stew is simmering shred chicken from the bone into bite size pieces and begin the dumplings. Be sure to shred crisp chicken skin into bite size pieces also.

1 1/3 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon LITEHOUSE basil
1 teaspoon LITEHOUSE chives
1 teaspoon LITEHOUSE red onions

  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In another bowl whisk together the butter and milk.
  • Add basil, chives and red onion to milk and let sit 5 minutes.
  • Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients JUST until combined.
  • Skim any fat from stew.
  • Gently stir in cream.
  • Add the chicken pieces and crispy skin back into the stew.
  • Drop dumplings on top of stew and simmer covered another 15 minutes or so until dumplings are plump and cooked through.
  • Sprinkle with parsley.
  • Serve immediately.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.




I found this recipe on FaceBook, but I have no idea who Bill is.  I can tell you two things; it will replace ALL other chili recipes and I will be making his chili for the rest of my life… with a minor exception – I HATE kidney beans and a true chili for us Texans has no beans so this works for me. Other than that it was minor changes like using a chili grind size of ground beef.

BILL’S BEST CHILI adapted from Cupcakes and Kale Chips

2 pounds chili ground beef
1 pound stew beef, cut into about one inch chunks
1/3 pound bacon, diced in small pieces
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon dried mustard (optional)
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4.5 ounce can chopped green chilies
28 ounces peeled Plum Tomatoes
12 ounces tomato paste
three (16 oz) cans kidney beans (optional)
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water
GARNISHES: Shredded cheese, sour cream, onions, etc…

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the meats, pepper, and onion, and cook until the meat is browned and the vegetables are tender.
  • Drain any collected grease and liquid.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  • Stir in the chili powder, dried mustard, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the chilies, tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, and about two cups of water, and simmer on low for at least 2 hours, or put into a crockpot on low for at least 4 hours. Add additional water, as needed to achieve desired consistency.
  • Serve with desired toppings.





This soup is a true fiesta of flavors.

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green yellow pepper, seeded and chopped small
10 ounce can red enchilada sauce
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
14 ounces rustic diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 small can green chiles, drained well
1 can white shoe peg corn kernels, drained well
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 green onions, chopped fine
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • Heat the avocado oil in a large saucepan, over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and bell pepper pieces and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
  • Add the enchilada sauce and cream cheese pieces, cooking until the cheese has completely melted.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, black beans, corn and stir to incorporate.
  • Add the chopped chicken breast and chicken broth, stirring and cooking for about 10 to 15 minutes just until the soup is heated through. DON’T boil this soup or the cream cheese will curdle.
  • Remove from heat and top with green onions and jack cheese before serving.
  • Garnish with your favorites.  I used cilantro and crisp bacon tonight.


CHICKEN CHILI in eager anticipation of FALL

A few years ago I made up this recipe when I was home without a car and the pantry was all but bare.

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, frozen
2 cups homemade chicken broth, frozen
1 can cream of potato soup
1 jar dried beef, chopped
1 Williams chili mix package
1 can chopped green chilies
  • Place frozen chicken breasts on the bottom.
  • Pour green chilies over chicken pieces.
  • Top with cream of potato soup.
  • Top with frozen broth.
  • Sprinkle chili seasoning mix on top of chicken broth.
  • Top with beef pieces.
  • Slow cook on high for 2 hours. Reduce to low for 6 hours. Or cook on low 10 hours.


At this time of year, I’m usually stocking up for winter in the wild and snowy north, but not this year. We’ll pretend though because I can’t seem to cook any differently and am longing for cool, crisp fall evenings for soups and stews.  I originally wrote this post years ago, but nothing has changed – I still do things exactly the same.

I start with LARGE bulk packs of meat.  I then break them down by size and meat right down to cutting certain recipes into bite sized pieces.  Then I wrap them in freezer paper because I really hate freezer burn!  And I package them into pre-labeled ziploc bags for the freezer.

I didn’t get a secondary picture, but I then wrap the center of each one with a strip of duct tape.  Yep, you read that right, duct tape.  Just a small strip.  Enough so when they’re stacked in the back of the freezer you can identify the meat.  I buy it in colors – red for beef, green for chicken and blue for pork.  It makes it soooooooo much easier when you’re searching in the freezer for the right meat.
Many times this prep includes rotisserie chickens.  My market at home has buy one, get one free on Tuesdays.  Can you figure out when I did my shopping? By the time I get home and put away the groceries, the rotisserie chickens are cool enough to pick off the bone.  The bowl below is the skin, congealed juices and bones I collected as I stripped 2 birds.
I think Martha (MM) and I met over some post about buying in bulk and we found a common ground – saving money!  Talk to your butcher.  Many times you can save even more than the advertised sale prices.  For example, recently my local market was running a sale on chuck roast.  None of the roasts were as large as I really needed for company so I asked the butcher if they had one the size I wanted and instead she offered up a manager’s daily sale (in the bulk section just a few feet away from the ones I was looking at) where I could buy twice as much for half as much saving me $8 over what I intended to spend and gave me enough for 3 meals.  I made ALL the chuck roast as Pot Roast & Veggies for company and then used the leftovers to make Ortega Chile Bake and Beef Chili.
I then use a large stock pot and cover the “debris” with water.  I set it to simmer on a low temp and let it go for an hour or so.  I don’t add any seasonings since I’ve normally bought mesquite broiled or lemon herb, but adjust according to your tastes.
Then I drain it into my large 8 cup measuring cup and allow it to cool.
I have several of these containers that I bought just for chicken stock in the freezer.  I haven’t bought chicken stock in over 10 years now.  It’s just so easy to make your own.  Even if I start with raw chicken and poach it for a recipe I add seasonings and by the time the chicken is done, there is several cups of broth ready for the freezer.

Today’s flavor was Mesquite broiled so it left us with a spicy red color also.

So what do you do to get ready for winter?  Have I motivated you to stock up?