Recycled Soup

Soup made out of leftover soup. Seriously, I am never going to get rid of this stuff. I had a big bowl of brothy soup just sitting in the fridge. I didn't want to waste it, so. . .

The first soup was an okay little number from Martha. It was nothing to write home about, but it was a good base for my Pièce de résistance.

I added swiss chard, and rancho gordo beans.  Rancho gordo beans will make any soup shine.  It simmered in the crockpot all day and was ready to sip when I returned home.

Are you looking for a good soup to make? Head on over to Elly says Opa. She makes a delicious Ribollita soup. I just discovered her blog and I am infatuated.

Homesick Texan has a recipe for  baking powder biscuits  that I just love. They are perfect with soup. Yum, Biscuits!

BHG offers great tips on how to safely freeze leftover soup.

Are you a leftover person? What leftovers are in your freezer?  I always have good intentions, but often let things linger in the freezer until they are past the point of freezer-burnt no return. . .             Wah. . .      Wahhhh....

Bean Soup, Bean soup, the more you eat the more you toot.

That was definitely the case after we dined on this tasty delight of North Woods Bean Soup. Joshua and I played a symphony of GAStronomy after dinner tonight, pardon the pun. We were tootin' machines. Ha. Ha. Ha.

The original recipe called for canned chicken broth and beans. Pmfff. With a little pre-planning, homemade broth and beans are right around the corner.

A great recipe for crockpot chicken broth can be found on  A Year of Slowcooking. I usually put the ingredients together in the crockpot before I go to bed. Then I wake up to the wafting aroma of  savory, rich broth.

Bean central has a good rule of thumb on how to prepare your dried beans. Remember, don't add acidic foods like tomatoes or lemons to your beans before they are soft;  you will end up chipping a tooth on the stony, rock hard beans.

Have you ever perused Rancho Gordo Beans?  Seriously, these heirloom beans are fantastic.

Looking for something to go with your bean soup?  Bless Us O Lord blog has delicious and moist cornbread. Just as the name describes, it IS moist and delicious. Yum.

We gobbled up two bowls of soup. . . and  there was enough for leftovers too.

My dad may not be a part of my physical life right now, but I still can't help but think of him often. I still remember is love for cooking. It wasn't just a necessity. He really enjoyed the stove.

When Keri and I would visit, he let me eat mushrooms sautéed in butter for breakfast. Only mushrooms, piled high on my plate. He also liked to grill: London broil with Potatoes O'brain: potatoes, onions, and bell peppers slices thin, put in a foil pack seasoned with salt and pepper, and dolloped with butter. I don't know if he invented Potatoes O'brian, but it was probably the best thing since sliced bread.

Then there was my dad's Chicken Tetrazinni. The ingredients are a blur. Did he used canned soups for the sauce? Mixed veggies out of the bag? Hmmm.... I just know that it was so good and comforty.

When I was tried to concoct something with my leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, I thought of Turkey Tetrazinni. (The tupperwares of frozen turkey were invading our freezer.) It was just as creamy and delicious as I remember.

A homage to my dad:

Turkey Tetrazinni

adapted from Giada De Laurentis


· 5 tablespoons butter

· 1 cup of leftover turkey or chicken, shredded

· 1 teaspoons salt

· .5 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

· 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced

· 1 large onion, finely chopped

· 5 cloves garlic, minced

· 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

· 1/2 cup dry white wine

· 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

· 2 cups whole milk, room temperature

· 1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature

· 1 cup chicken broth

· 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

· 12 ounces linguine

· 1 cup of mixed frozen vegetables

· 1 cup grated Parmesan

· 1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon in a deep large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely shred the turkey/chicken into bite-size pieces and put into a large bow. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.

Melt 2 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add the linguine, sauce, mixed vegetables, to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended.

Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes.

I'm fabulous.

It really has been awhile, hasn't it? Suddenly, I realized that I seriously missed blogging. And, I'm back and better than ever.

(Photo courtesy of

To be:

Resolutions are so passé. Don't you think?

I make them every year, but clearly don't stick to them. For some reason this year, I still want to make some changes.

I am in love with life. I really think that 2010 is going to be my year. I can feel it inside my core.


In no particular order of importance, I present my to-do list for 2010 and beyond:

1. With Joshua's upcoming admission to graduate school (pretty please, God.), we would really like to rent or purchase a very small homestead with chickens and a garden.

2. Knitting. I love knitting. I love the feel of a soft, colorful yarn, but I can only knit scarves. I would really like to branch out and tackle socks, shawls, hats, gloves, and maybe a sweater.

3. Sewing. I dream of sewing my entire fitted, chic wardrobe. I can just picture myself in a knee length skirt and matching top. Since Santa already bought me a sewing machine, I am one step closer to making that dream come true.

4. Health. I have been struggling with several minor health issues, but I would really like to focus on exercising, and eating healthy. I really enjoy walking, and yoga and plan to incorporate both into my daily schedule. Namaste.

5. Joshua. I cannot even express how I feel about this man. He is the great love of my life. I really want to spend more quality time with Joshua. We really need to get out there and experience life as a couple. I see many delicious dates, long hikes, and weekend trips in our future.

6. Volunteering. I have developed a passion for dog rescue. (I probably won't ever purchase a dog again.) I would really like to spend time volunteering at a shelter this year.

7. Optimism. By nature, I have a negative attitude and I often let things "get" to me. No longer. I am not going to sweat the small stuff! Postive Jen, here I come.

8. God. I love the Lord. He has shown me so much over the last year. I would really like to continue my spiritual growth and find a loving church to call home.

9. Food. I would really like to make most of our meals at home. I am a fantastic cook and would really like to explore Italian and Spanish cuisine this year.

10. Family. I have a fun niece, L-Bean and and a faraway niece and nephew. Obviously, I want to spoil L-bean. I love her so much and she is at a great age for fun. I would also like to get to know my faraway niece and nephew. They are such good kids and I know they are going through a difficult time right now. I resolve to plan more family dinners this year. Food and Family, is there anything better?

Grace in the Small Things:

1. Trader Joes. . . and their ability to have everything I need for my shopping list.

2. Understanding husbands.

3. Green smoothies.

4. Saving Dinner Podcasts.

5. Catching up on Beverly Hills 90210. The real one.

6. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches.

7. Snoring pugs.


Grace in the Small Things:

1. The French Chef series.

2. Neil Foley's Gastrocast.

3. Almost finished essays.

4. Sad Pugs.

5. Neck rubs for Joshua.

Grace in the Small Things:

1. Husband's pep-talks make me feel so much better.

2. Unkempt beds are wonderful places for naps.

3. Homemade mashed potatoes are perfectly made with a potato ricer.

4. Almost finished essays. . .

5. Growly bunnies!

A nice sort of cookbook.

When I first spotted Eating Well's Comfort Food Made Healthy, by Jessie Price, I wasn't even sure if I was going to order it. However, I can never pass up a good deal, so the cookbook ended up on one of my many bookshelves. This cookbook is the nice sort of cookbook. It's nice to have. I wouldn't say it is spectacular. However, it does a really good job of meal-make- overs.

Are you craving New England clam chowder? Comfort Food Made Healthy swaps most of the cream for low-fat milk and VOILA! Healthy Chowda. Ready for Fried Chicken? With non-fat buttermilk, this cookbook will show you how to whip up a batch of the oven-fried variety.


If you have been following my blog, I have made three recipes from Eating Well's Comfort Food Made Healthy. The fresh corn chowder was deliciously made with frozen (not fresh) corn. The too-peanut-buttery ginger noodles turned out gross. Twice. The stuffed shells were very comforting and left me with a full belly.

TWO out of THREE isn't so bad. I would say.

On the plus-side:

*This book boasts at least 175 Healthy recipes

*There are over 70 color photos of glossy recipes.

*Recipes are divided up into chapters: Breakfast, Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Meat, Chicken and Turkey, Fish and Seafood, Vegetarian, Sides and Sauces, and Desserts.

*The layout of the recipes is pretty standard and easy to follow.

*Most recipes are comfort food-done-right: Creamy Mushrooms soup, Meatloaf, Mac and Cheese, Peach Raspberry pie etc. Only, with less fat and calories.

On the contrary:

*Some of the recipes are questionably healthy. The Cream of Mushrooms & Barley Soup is 343 calories and 10 grams of fat for one bowl. That still seems a bit high for ONE bowl of soup!

*You can get most of these recipes at EatingWell's website. For FREE.

I've been hesitant to even write a review of this cookbook because I don't really have a lot to say about it. It's decent. It seems to have good, solid recipes. It doesn't have the WOW! factor, but if you are a fan of Eating Well or just like to collect cookbooks (ME!) this cookbook may be a nice addition to your cookbook collection. Otherwise, just stick to Eating Well's Website.

Look what Santa brought me:


The lease on my other car was up, so Joshua bought me a new blue Nissan while I was at work one day. I must say, I love it! Who knew that buying me a blue car could have such an affect on me?

Goals Moles. . .

I have been pretty hesitant to post my annual goals post, but I suppose that I must. It's tradition, after all.

1. First and foremost, I am going to practice being a praying wife. I have a wonderful husband who supports me and all of my idiosyncrasies. I shall do the same to him.

2. I want to eat as many veggies as possible this year. I LOVE VEGGIES!

3. I have started a new chapter in my schooling. I am going to Columbia College to complete a bachelor's degree in America Studies. I pray that I do well! I know I will. It feels so great to have a direction for once.

4. I am going to keep my car clean. I SWEAR!

5. I am going to curve my cookbook buying. Umm, Maybe. At least, I am going to try not to be so materialistic about books. **Bites nails** Maybe.

6. I would really like to develop a yoga practice for once.

7. And a walking routine. I love to walk and listen to my favorite podcasts.

8. I want to do devotionals most nights with my Joshua. I think that can be accomplished.

9. Farmers markets! Yes, I need to take the initiative to go to farmer's markets on the weekends.

10. Accomplish some head way on the cookbook challenge.

11. Post blogs often and comment feverishly on other blogs. (Comments are awesome, don't you think?)

12. Reach out to my family this year.

13. Our home simply needs to reach some level of organization this year.

14. I want to try a new restaurant with Joshua every month.

15. Hug my Puggies! and rodents.

Yummy Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells.


My final test recipe from Eating Well's Comfort Food Made Healthy, by Jessie Price, was a success. Delicious, really. (I really need to come up with some new adjectives to describe food.) It was like eating lasagna in a shell with fresh spinach and creamy ricotta. The shells were very satisfying and savory, the ultimate comfort food. They even warmed well for a tasty lunch the next day.

Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells

Makes 6 servings


24 jumbo pasta shells (8 ounces)
1 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 pounds fresh spinach, trimmed and washed, or two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
⅔ cup plain dry breadcrumbs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
3 cups prepared marinara sauce, preferably low-sodium

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook shells in a large pot of boiling water, stirring often, until just tender, about 15 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. If using fresh spinach, add it in batches and toss with tongs until wilted. Drain in a colander, pressing out excess moisture with the back of a spoon. Let cool. If using thawed frozen, add it to the onions and toss to mix well. Set aside.
3. Combine ricotta, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan and nutmeg in a bowl; mix well. Add the reserved spinach and season with salt and pepper. Stir in egg white.
4. Stuff each of the reserved shells with a generous 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture. Spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange the stuffed shells in a single layer. Top with the remaining 2 cups of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake until the top is golden and the shells are heated through, about 30 minutes. (If the top browns too quickly, tent loosely with foil.) Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Bon Appetit.

Too-Peanut-Buttery Ginger Noodles

My second recipe from Eating Well's Comfort Food Made Healthy, by Jessie Price didn't come out well at all. I usually try to use what I have on hand. Since I had rice vermicelli noodles, I decided to make use of them for the Peanut-Ginger noodles. This sounds good, in theory. As I stirred the creamy peanut putter into the rice noodles, the dish became a big pile of mush.

I knew this was my mistake so I decided to try the recipe again. Second times a charm, right?


Well, I used a fettuccine this time, not the whole wheat variety. This time the consistency was on par, but the flavors didn't quite meld together. It tasted like a big sticky ball of peanut butter. Blak! That's all I can say.

So, this recipe wasn't successful, but I'm not willing to give up on Comfort Food Made Healthy just yet. I'm not even willing to post the recipe. I don't think that I shall subject you to that. However, if you would like to prove me wrong, posts most of their recipes online. I would love to hear how it turned out.

Merry Christmas!


I captured our very small tree. Most of the ornaments are homemade, and all of them represent the things we are thankful for.

May you have a Merry Christmas. I have to work today, but yesterday I had a very nice evening with my family and Joshua. We are blessed.
There is nothing like a breakfast of buckeyes on Christmas eve. My personal baker-man, Joshua, made his infamous buckeyes last night and I couldn't help indulging this morning as I captured his masterpiece with my camera.

Buckeyes at Christmas are a mainstay in this household. Christmas and buckeyes go hand-in-hand. Especially since my better half is from the Buckeye state and a loving fan of a football team by the same name. In fact, I think he wore an Ohio state sweatshirt everyday during the playoffs.


This year, however, he deviated from the original parafin wax recipe in favor of using Crisco instead. It lends for a less waxy taste. I can honestly say that I am pleased with the results. These buckeyes are to fantastic! They are melt in your mouth delicious.


Some notes before the recipe:
*Use JIF peanut butter. Only JIF. Otherwise, the balls will be very soft.
*Also, Take your time. Go slow. This recipe cannot be rushed.

1 3/4 cups of JIF peanut butter
1 Stick of Softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb Confectioner's sugar
1 tbs of vegetable shortening
1 12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Mix peanut butter, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Then add confectioners' sugar until combined. Do not over mix. Do not cream the dough. The buckeye dough should be firm, not too fluffy.

2. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment or waxed paper lined dinner plate.
Place each dinner plate with balls in refrigerator as you are finished rolling them.

3. Melt shortening and chocolate chips in a double boiler over low heat.

4. Once the chocolate mixture is melted, take the first plate that you rolled out of the fridge. Using a toothpick, dip each ball into chocolate mixture. Only cover 3/4 of the ball with chocolate to create the signature buckeye look. Place each finished buckeye back on plate. Once a plate is full of buckeyes, place back in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.

5. Continue step 4 until all of the balls are covered in chocolate.

6. Enjoy!

Cookie Night

I've been busy baking cookies.


There will be some full bellies in the Burn's household this week.


And, I baked three cookbook recipes for my challenge. Stay tuned.