Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

Just a reminder about my giveaway. I’ll draw the winner next week. Details here.

I’ve had an annoying chest cold this past week and the incessant coughing is driving me crazy. I haven’t been sleeping all through the night because the cough doesn’t want me to be horizontal. This morning I woke up at 2:45 am, coughed for 45 minutes and finally got up and went downstairs. I know I was bothering John, but I kept hoping I’d fall back asleep. No such luck.

So last weekend, I made a pot of that wonderful white chicken chili. I did it in the crock pot this time, it’s easily adaptable. We ate on it for a couple of nights and the rest has gone in the freezer.

Here’s the recipe I’m going to make next. This was published in our newspaper last fall and I had to run all over town to find a store that still had some frozen tortellinis left. Obviously, it looked as good to everyone else as it did to me. The recipe states that you can freeze this, and I did, but I’ll warn you that the tortellinis don’t hold up. It’ll still taste good but they turn to mush.

Tortellini Soup

1 lb…………sweet Italian bulk sausage
1 cup………chopped onion
2 cloves…..garlic, chopped
5 cups……..beef broth
1/2 cup……water
1/2 cup……dry red wine
2 cups…….whole tomatoes, chopped, with liquid
1 cup………sliced carrots
1/2 tsp…….basil
1/2 tsp…….oregano
1……………8-ounce can tomato sauce
1-1/2 cups..sliced zucchini
3 tbsp……..chopped fresh parsley
1……………medium green pepper, chopped
1……………19-ounce bag frozen tortellini

Cook the sausage; drain off fat. Cook the onion until soft. Use the same pan.

In a slow cooker or large heavy pot, combine sausage, onion, garlic, broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, tomato sauce, zucchini, parsley and green pepper, and slow cook 6-8 hours on low, until carrots are soft.

Add the bag of frozen tortellini. When they are cooked–about 50 minutes, or when they’re plump but still hold their curl–the soup is ready. Sprinkle pecorino Romano cheese on top, and serve with a hard-crusted bread.

This can be made ahead and frozen with the tortellini or separately and the tortellini added later.

Serves 8. Credit Marilyn Stroh for this recipe.



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And to celebrate, I’m having my first-ever giveaway. For the next two weeks, if you leave a comment on this page and also link to it in your blog, you’ll be entered for a random drawing to win 3 patterns by Karie Patch Designs. I’ve come to know Karen DuMont through our Electric Quilt classes at Quilting Adventures and she comes up with the cutest designs. Even if you don’t win this time, I hope you’ll check out Karen’s patterns and buy some.

So you’d think I’d have a really great post prepared for this auspicious occasion, but to be honest, it snuck up on me. I was thinking I started this in November of last year and was shocked, shocked, when I took the time to look it up to find that I only had a few days.

So I have no new quilt projects to share, no new photography, but I do have some favorite fall recipes that I dug out. I love to make soups and stews this time of year (why is it that every recipe makes so much? Since it’s only John and I, we either eat it all week until we’re sick of it, or I freeze it and we forget about it. That just happened this week, when I pulled a container of soup out of the freezer that I made in September of last year. Yikes! Well, either it was going to be freezer burnt and inedible or halfway decent. Amazingly, it was good!).

White Chicken Chili

1……..2-pound cooked rotisserie chicken
1…….. tablespoon olive oil
2…….. medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
4…….. cloves garlic, minced
8…….. ounces canned green chillies, chopped
1-1/2…. teaspoons EACH: cumin, oregano
1/4…… teaspoon EACH: ground cloves, crushed red pepper flakes
2…….. 15-ounce cans white northern beans, drained
6…….. cups chicken broth
3…….. cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
salsa, halved grape tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream (optional serving suggestions)

Remove meat from chicken and shred.
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano, cloves and crushed red pepper, and saute 2 minutes. Add beans and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer a few minutes. Add chicken and 2 cups cheese and stir until cheese melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with salsa, remaining cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream if desired.  Makes 6-8 servings.

This is extra yummy and the freezing tip that I believe saved the more-than-a-year-old soup is to fill your container (don’t forget to leave a little head room) and top it with plastic wrap. Push down on the wrap so that it is in complete contact with the surface of the soup. This prevents ice crystals from forming. I’ve tried different kinds of containers for freezing and I’m really liking the Ziploc Twist-n-Loc. They come in different sizes and I freeze a combination of 1 cup (for single servings) and 2-or-more cups if we’re both going to eat it.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, I’ll be posting more throughout the two-week birthday celebration period.


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Beer Stew

This is another church cookbook recipe, submitted by Marty MacMillan. There is a typo in it, thank goodness she is still around to correct it, it had me confused. I think the name is a little misleading, it’s not a stew in the classic sense because there aren’t any vegetables in it. But let’s not mince words, it’s good!

1-1/2 to 2 lbs stew beef

1 pkg onion soup mix

1 12-oz bottle of beer

4 or 5 strips of bacon

1 cup water

1 tsp ground thyme

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

noodles or rice

Preheat oven to 300F. Fry bacon, remove, drain and chop into bits, but retain drippings in pan. Coat the meat with flour and fry in the drippings. Place in 2 quart casserole, sprinkle with bacon bits. Discard excess fat if there is any. In same pan, bring water to boil. Add onion soup mix and half the beer. Drink the other half. Pour over meat. Add thyme. Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. Add vinegar before serving. Serve over white rice or noodles.


One mistake I made, I think, was using too much flour. It thickened up the drippings so much that I had to add some that I had stored in the fridge. That’s why I didn’t have any drippings to discard. And maybe using more beer would have helped with that thickness thing. I served it over noodles the first night but used rice with leftovers and liked it better.



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I promised my daughter I’d give her this recipe. It comes from our church cookbook, submitted by the late Charlene Fritz so I can’t ask her any questions about it. My guess is that she named it herself, she said that it was served by a voice teacher in Chicago for her students and it was apparently better than the lessons themselves.

Read everything thoroughly first:

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 8-oz package Pepperidge Farm stuffing (see note 1 below)

2 cans cream of mushroom soup (note 2)

4 or 5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and either cut into pieces (as per the recipe) or shredded (as John would have preferred)

1 14.5-oz can French-style green beans, drained

4 tbsp butter or margarine, melted

1/2 cup hot water

1 cup milk

1 “large” can sliced mushrooms, drained (note 3)

1 “large” can sliced water chestnuts, drained (note 4)

Preheat oven to 400F. In 9×13 buttered/sprayed baking dish, place 1-1/2 cups stuffing, then top with beans, almonds, chicken, chestnuts and mushrooms. Blend soup and milk and pour over top. Top with remaining stuffing which has been mixed well with butter and hot water (note 5). Bake for 20 minutes (note 6) or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve immediately or can be made in advance and frozen.


1) I bought a 16-oz package of stuffing because that’s all they had. I ended up using it all. Buy two 8-oz packages to be safe.

2) I bought Healthy Request soup and thought the dish was a little blah, I had to add salt. Probably better to use regular soup.

3) Don’t you just hate it when recipes don’t give you specific sizes for cans and things? Can sizes do change over time and I don’t know how old this recipe is. I bought two 7-oz cans of mushrooms and used both.

4) I bought two 8-oz cans but only used one of them. That was enough chestnuts for me.

5) An 8-oz bag of stuffing is only 2 cups and you’ve already used 1-1/2 of them for the bottom layer. I put a 1/2 cup of stuffing in the water/butter mixture and it was VERY watery. So I just kept adding stuffing until most of the liquid was absorbed. It also made a more complete topping.

5) Charlene’s recipe says to cook for 40 minutes, but thank goodness I checked it at 20, it was done. Your mileage may vary.

John says he’d have this again, so that says something about this recipe. Please give me your comments if you try it so that we can compare notes.


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