This homemade beef barley soup is a complete meal in a bowl! Add a toasted cheese sandwich for a decadent treat.


1 + 1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 + 1 tablespoon butter
1 LARGE onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
2 cups stew beef pieces
1/2 cup flour
6 cups beef broth
1 can petite diced tomatoes 14-15 oz, undrained
½ green pepper diced
⅔ cup pearl barley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 package beef gravy mix (optional)
2 tablespoons red wine (optional)
2 tablespoons FRESH parsley or 2 teaspoons dried
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Dredge meat pieces in flour.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon each of oil and butter in skillet.
  • Cook onions and garlic in oil over medium heat until softened. Set aside.
  • Add additional butter and oil.
  • Brown beef pieces until seared.
  • Add back in onions and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer covered about 40-50 minutes or until barley is cooked.

NOTE: Soup will thicken upon cooling, add extra broth (or water) to reach desired consistency when re-heating.


1 pound QUALITY ground beef
3 green onions, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
16 ounce can small white beans, rinsed and drained
28 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 head medium cabbage head, chopped
3-3 1/2 cups homemade bone broth (see note)
4 teaspoons beef base (bouillon or better than bouillon paste)

  • Brown ground beef until no longer pink. Drain off grease.
  • In a dutch oven combine all ingredients except the beef and beans.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil, reduce heat, stir in meat and beans.
  • Simmer 1 hour.

NOTE: For a truly Irish soup, substitute 12 ounces of Irish beer (Guinness) for 12 ounces of the chicken broth and omit the champagne vinegar.



1 LARGE egg
1/2 cup WHOLE milk
2 tablespoons minced dried onion
4 tablespoons chili powder, divided 2 + 2
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed FINE
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork sausage
2 cups shredded Velveeta
2 cans Progresso Tomato Basil soup
2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the egg, milk, minced onion, 2 tablespoons chili powder, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper until well blended.
  • Stir in crackers until evenly mixed.
  • Add beef, sausage and cheese, mixing gently, but thoroughly.
  • Shape mixture into 1 inch balls and place on greased baking sheet.
  • Bake 15-18 minutes until browned.


  • Combine soup, broth, brown sugar and remaining chili powder in a slow cooker until well blended.
  • Gently fold in meatballs.
  • Cook 2-3 hours covered on low until meatballs are cooked through and coated well in cheese sauce.
  • Serve with pasta of choice.


This is an old family recipe that was extremely common in the midwest amongst many a farmer’s wife back in the day. My great grans even made her own noodles and would drape them all over the dining room to dry. She also started with a chicken from the yard as well as veggies from her garden.This was a family favorite long before supermarkets.

I never thought to ask, just accepted that it was that way, but this dish was always served in our house over fluffy mashed potatoes with homemade butter, which is A LOT of carbs! But, I can’t think of serving it any other way! I admit I buy packaged noodles and butter, but the rest is all scratch made.

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
2 carrots, rustic chopped
2 stalks celery, rustic chopped
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, quartered
3-4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 + 1/4 cup FRESH chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 pound wide egg noodles
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 LARGE shallot, chopped
Fluffy mashed potatoes

  • Place chicken pieces, 2 rustic chopped carrots, 2 rustic chopped celery stalks, 1/4 cup parsley and onion pieces into 4 quarts of salted water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Strain through a colander and reserve broth.
  • Pick the chicken pieces, discarding the debris.
  • In the reserved broth add the sliced carrots and celery with the diced shallot and remaining parsley. Simmer covered for 30 minutes until veggies are tender.
  • Increase heat slightly and add noodles and chicken pieces, simmer 10 minutes until noodles are done.
  • Whisk the flour into 1/2 cup water until well blended. Add to simmering broth, stirring to combine and simmer 5-10 minutes until broth thickens.
  • Season to taste and serve over fluffy mashed potatoes.


Substitute chuck roast for chicken.


1/2 cup FINELY chopped green onion
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup beaten eggs (about 2 LARGE)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pound QUALITY ground beef

  • In a large bowl combine green onions, oats, eggs, red pepper, salt and pepper along with 2/3 of the lemon zest.
  • Add ground beef and mix well.
  • Form into 1 inch meatballs.
  • Lightly coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray or avocado oiland heat over medium high heat.
  • Brown meatballs on all sides, turning occasionally.

1/2 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup homemade chicken broth
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
Juice of 2 Meyer Lemons
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Combine the jam, chicken broth, liquid aminos and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Season to taste.
  • Bring to a simmer, cooking until slightly reduced and beginning to thicken.
  • Toss meatballs in glaze and serve over rice or pasta.


Is it a soup or is it a stew? The French call it a casserole. Whatever you call it, it is a hearty warm dish for a cool fall evening!


3 tablespoons butter or avocado oil
1 pound beef kielbasa, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound stew meat (or pork pieces, or chicken – it’s up to you)
1 small red onion, diced
2 medium carrots, small diced
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
2 cans petite diced tomatoes
2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cans navy beans, drained and rinsed

  • Melt butter in saute pan.
  • Add onions and carrots. Simmer 3-5 minutes.
  • Generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper and add garlic.
  • Add stew meat and kielbasa pieces, stirring well and simmering another 5 minutes or until meat is cooked through.
  • Add chicken broth, beans and tomatoes with juice. Simmer 10-15 minutes until heated through.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes or as a soupy stew.

NOTE: If you prefer a thicker stew like consistency, use a 3rd can of beans, but drain them well and run them through a food processor with a 1/4 cup of the broth making a paste. Add this paste along with the beans and tomatoes.


This is an easy, go to fall favorite at our house when the mornings AND the evenings have that cool crisp feel that out last the 2-3 hours of warmth in the midday afternoons.

3-4 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 2 inch cubes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
16 ounce package baby carrots
1 cup rough chopped Vidalia onion
2 stalks celery, minced
2 cans Campbell’s Golden Mushroom soup
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup Marsala wine
1 (1 ounce) package Lipton onion soup

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Spray a dutch oven with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Generously season the beef chunks with the FRESH ground sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
  • Place beef in dutch oven, cover with carrots and onions.
  • Whisk together the golden mushroom soup, Lipton soup mix and Marsala wine until well combined.
  • Pour over meat and veggies.
  • Bake completely undisturbed for 3 hours until meat is tender.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes.


This is another recipe from an old antique recipe box that became an instant keeper for our family. The flavorful meatballs and light delicate sauce make this a refreshing meal for any time of year.

Prep Time: 45 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Rest Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr 30 minutes Servings: 12

1 cup torn croissants
½ cup WHOLE milk
2 LARGE eggs
1 LARGE onion, FINELY grated
+/- 1 tablespoon FRESH grated ginger
+/- 1 tablespoon FRESH ground salt, to taste
1-2 teaspoons FRESH ground nutmeg, to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1 ½ teaspoons FRESH ground black pepper
3 pounds LEAN ground beef

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Grease a LARGE baking sheet. 

  • Combine bread pieces, milk, eggs, onion, ginger, salt, nutmeg, garlic, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Let stand 10 minutes until bread absorb all the milk.
  • Stir until just mixed and add ground beef mixing until well blended.
  • Shape mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place on the prepared pan. 

  • Bake 20-30 minutes in the preheated oven until browned.
  • Set meatballs aside to rest while you prepare the gravy.

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced onion
5 tablespoons WONDRA flour
4 cups HOMEMADE beef broth
½ cup sour cream
1 dash cayenne pepper
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sauté onion until tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Whisk in flour and cook 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.
  • SLOWLY add broth; cooking and stirring gravy 5-10 minutes until smooth and thickened. Blend in cream, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. 

  • Gently layer cooked meatballs into the gravy and SLOWLY simmer, heating through 5 minutes or so, but DO NOT BOIL.
  • Serve over wide egg noodles, mashed potatoes or rice.

NOTES: These meatballs freeze wonderfully!


DURING the depression in El Reno, a small Oklahoma town along the Mother Road aka Route 66 at Hwy 81 when hamburger meat was really expensive Ross Davis, an inventive diner owner found a way to ration the meat with the inclusion of flavorful and cheap onions that stretched the meat and built the flavor too, hence why it was called the depression burger.

The recipe has been passed down through the generations and are still made the same way today. Several other diners followed suit and a burger star was born. The burger became a national treasure and is the ugly kissing cousin to the prettier version of how burgers are served today with the grilled onions on top.

I’ve added cheese and changed the onions to shallots which give it a bit of an extra bite. By adding the cheese we have onions between the meat and cheese as well as on top of the cheese.  The key to the flavor in my opinion is to ALMOST burning the onions.

Adapted from Cook’s Country

3 shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4-8 slices cheddar cheese
Ketchup and Mustard
4 hamburger buns, toasted

  • Combine the onion slices and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl, tossing to combine.
  • Transfer the onions to a colander and let sit for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • Transfer the onions to a clean dish towel, gather the edges together and squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the onions. Be sure to do this over the sink since the onions will have quite a bit of liquid in them.
  • Divide the onions into 4 separate mounds on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Form the beef into 4 lightly packed balls.
  • Place the beef balls on top of the onion mounds and flatten the beef firmly using your palm so the onion adheres to the beef. The patties should measure 4 inches in diameter.
  • Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the butter with the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  • Using a large spatula, transfer the patties to the skillet, onion side down. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until the onions turn a deep golden brown and begin to crisp around the edges.
  • Flip the burgers, then increase the heat to high and cook until well browned on the second side, about 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 or 2 slices of cheese to each burger and allow to melt.
  • Add mayo, mustard and pickles to the top buns, then place each burger on a bottom buns.
  • Serve immediately.

Originally posted July 12, 2018 / Updated May 23, 2023



Avocado oil
2 slices dense sourdough bread
+/- 1/2 cup WHOLE milk
1 pound QUALITY ground beef
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup red wine
3 1/2 cups WHOLE peeled tomatoes, hand crushed by hand
1/4 cup oil packed, chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/3-1/2 cup FINELY chopped Vidalia onion
2 LARGE cloves garlic, minced

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Grease a 9×13 baking dish with oil.
  • Place the bread in a small bowl and pour enough milk to soak the bread. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes.
  • Add ground beef to medium bowl.
  • Squeeze out excess milk out of bread and crumble bread over ground beef.
  • Add egg, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Grease your hand with a bit of the oil , mix the meat mixture gently and then roll meat mixture into 10-12 meatballs, placing in greased baking dish.
  • Bake meatballs 10-15 minutes – just enough to crisp the outsides, but not entirely cook the insides.

1 tablespoon FRESH chopped parsley
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped basil
1/2 tablespoon FRESH chopped oregano
1 teaspoon FRESH chopped thyme
+/- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 pickled jalapeno slices (optional)
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • Combine the wine, crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, garlic, seasonings to taste and pickled jalapeño if using.
  • Pour sauce over meatballs.
  • Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes.
  • Remove foil and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Return to oven and bake 10 minutes more until cheese is melted and golden.
  • Serve over pasta and enjoy!


This is another one of the several of my “new to me” recipes are courtesy of my friend Diana’s mom and grandma’s recipe boxes. This recipe 45 years old and was from her aunt, Carol Booth in 1978. I made only slight alterations to bring it into the 21st century.

SWEET & SOUR MEATBALLS yields 12-18 meatballs
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
2/3 cup cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon Johnny’s seasoning salt
2/3 cup evaporated milk

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Gently combine all the ingredients together.
  • Roll into meatballs.
  • Brown meatballs (they will finish cooking through in oven) and transfer to baking dish.

13.5 ounce can pineapple tidbits
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 small green pepper, chopped (OPTIONAL)

  • Drain juice from pineapple pieces into saucepan.
  • Add liquid aminos and vinegar.
  • Whisk in cornstarch until smooth.
  • Fold in green pepper if using.
  • Cook slowly until thickened.
  • Pour over meatballs.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes until heated through.


1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup FINELY chopped onion
3/4 cup FINELY ground bread crumbs
1 tablespoon FINELY chopped FRESH parsley
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 LARGE egg, beaten
1/3 – 1/2 cup WHOLE milk
2-3 tablespoons avocado oil
24 ounces sauerkraut, undrained
1/3-1/2 cup homemade chicken bone broth

  • In a large bowl combine the ground beef, ground pork, onion, bread crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, egg and milk JUST until combined. DO NOT OVERWORK.
  • Shape into meatballs.
  • Heat oil in large skillet.
  • Brown each meatball on all sides, removing to drain fat.
  • Add sauerkraut to skillet and top with browned meatballs.
  • Pour bone broth around edges.
  • Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add more broth as necessary.
  • Top with parsley before serving.