Soup for dinner

As I just wrote, fall is coming and comfort food is on the menu. This soup is one of our favorites and leftovers freeze well.

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
  • olive oil
  • 2 chopped yellow onions
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 quarts of chicken stock (I have homemade in the freezer and will use 1 container of store bought to stretch mine)
  • 1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seed and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch size)
  • sliced avocado
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese


  • chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breasts with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.  Roast for 45 minutes or until done.  Let cool.  Remove skin and bones and chop meat.  Set aside.

In a soup pot, heat 3 TBs of olive oil.  Add chopped onions, celery and carrots and cook for 10 – 12 minutes.  Add garlic and stir in with veggies.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cilantro (if desired).  Cut tortillas into strips and add.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add chicken and check seasonings – add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (if desired).

Fiery beef with cashews

This recipe is one that everyone enjoys. I like the fact that I can make the marinade the night before and then skewer the next night for Keith to grill (making it a good option for days when I commute to my office.) Keith and Samantha like the fact that it has a little heat. I like the fact that they both enjoy it!

Spicy beef

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 TB minced ginger
  • 1 stalk lemongrass chopped or 1 tsp dried lemongrass
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 flank steak, sliced diagonally across the grain into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 TB chopped cashews
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients except flank steak and then toss with flank steak slices.  Marinate overnight. Skewer the beef and grill a few minutes on each side (or broil) and serve over rice with some chopped scallions and a few chopped cashews. 

Quick dinner

Keith has a 7:00 event this evening so I knew we wanted dinner on the table by 6:15. Since he’ll be active, I thought he would like something on the light side. This salmon served with grilled asparagus was just the thing.


  • 6 oz salmon fillet per person, skin removed and brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 TB white wine vinegar
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 TB minced dill
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp capers

Combine vinegar, lemon juice and zest, dill, honey and salt and pepper in a blender.  Slowly add oil with the motor running so it emulsifies.  Add capers.  Preheat grill and cook for about 8 minutes total.  Remove from heat and top with sauce.  The asparagus was tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled for about 6 minutes.

Lobster and Corn Chowder

The Barefoot Contessa has a fantastic recipe for lobster and corn chowder. It’s particularly excellent this time of year when the lobster and the corn are especially sweet. We made it this evening and served it with a green salad and a roll.

Here is a link to the recipe:

And here is a picture:

Pork tortillas adobo

Last night got away from me and I never had a chance to blog the specifics of the grilled pesto shrimp. It is pretty straightforward, brush cleaned shrimp with pesto, skewer them and grill until done. We had it with cous cous.

Tonight’s dinner was a pork tortilla. Always gratifying when Samantha takes a bite and says “Yum!” The recipe I adapted didn’t make nearly enough rub – I increased it significantly. It also didn’t call for adding sour cream and pepperjack cheese but we thought they greatly improved the dish!

Pork tortillas adobo

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 4 TB brown sugar
  • 3 – 4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 TB cider vinegar
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • flour tortillas
  • sour cream (optional)
  • pepperjack cheese (optional)

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add oil and then onions, granulated sugar, water and 1/2 of the salt. Cook until softened and lightly browned about 20 minutes. Add tomato sauce and simmer about 5 minutes.

Combine brown sugar, chili powder, oregano, cider vinegar and another pinch of salt. Rub pork tenderloin with mixture and grill for 15 – 20 minutes until thermometer reads at least 140. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes. (While pork is resting, wrap tortillas in aluminum foil and heat in oven at 350 for about 10 minutes.) Slice pork into thin slices and add to tomato mixture.

Spoon pork mixture on one side of tortillas. Top with pepperjack cheese if desired. Fold over and top with sour cream if desired. (My spicy peeps added jalapenos.) Here it is before I folded it over.

Old favorite

My mom got this recipe from a bacon package when we were kids and we always liked it. We discovered a delicious applewood smoked ham from the deli at Graul’s. I”m not usually a big ham fan but this is so good. Fabulous on breakfast sandwiches. It got me reminiscing about this recipe.

Chicken with ham and cheese and bacon

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast per person
  • 1 slice deli ham per serving
  • 1 slice swiss cheese per serving
  • 2 slices bacon per serving
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.  Place chicken breasts between two slices of wax paper and pound with a meat pounder or rolling pin until flattened.  Place a slice of ham and a slice of swiss cheese on each flattened breast.  Roll each chicken breast around the ham and cheese.  Place two slices of bacon per serving on a cutting board and place a chicken breast on top.  Roll bacon around chicken and place each bacon wrapped chicken breast in a ceramic baking dish.  Bake about 1 hour, turning chicken halfway through.  About 5 minutes before serving, remove and pour off bacon fat.  Pour white wine over chicken and return to oven for 5 more minutes. 

Serve with steamed broccoli to lessen the guilt!

Easy dinner

After a 3 hour drive for a trip home that should have been 1 hour and 40 minutes, I did not want to come home and cook something complicated. (I also wanted to watch the end of the US Open golf tournament and see the Ravens game.) Keith volunteered to grill so I bought steaks and then cheated with a store-bought salad (Samantha’s favorite with Gorgonzola cheese, nuts and dried cranberries) and even Bob Evans mashed potatoes.

Sometimes you just have to compromise!

Honey salmon

I was looking for something different and stumbled upon a recipe for honey salmon in a cookbook that I had never used before, The Berghoff Family Cookbook. This is from a Chicago restaurant. Perhaps I was frightened by their recipe for crabcakes which includes red onion, red pepper, corn kernels and cream cheese. Those are not Maryland crab cakes!

The salmon however was easy and had a nice flavor. Not Keith’s “favorite” but he admitted that it was good. When I did the blog on Sunday I planned to serve it with broccoli but I had some spinach left from last night’s pizza so I sauteed some shallot in olive oil and added the spinach until wilted.

Honey salmon

  • 2 salmon fillets (6- 8 oz each)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  • 1/3 cup seafood stock
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TB honey
  • zest from 1/2 orange

Combine all sauce ingredients.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Heat 1 -2 TB olive in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add salmon, skin side down and sear for 30 seconds. Flip and sear other side for 30 seconds. Turn heat down to medium low, pour sauce over salmon and cover. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove salmon to plates and turn up heat so sauce thickens. Pour over fish.

Serve with vegetable of your choice – the spinach went well with it.

Quick dinner

I went into my office today (I go two days a week and enjoy the change of scenery.) I got home about 5:30 and had a virtual meeting from 6 – 7:30. I knew I needed something easy and fortunately, this spicy chicken pizza is one of Samantha’s favorites. I roasted the garlic last night and cooked the chicken when I got home. Keith assembled and cooked the pizza and reheated mine so it was ready as soon as my meeting ended.

Spicy Chicken Pizza

  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 small onions, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground chili powder
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 pizza crust
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • garlic to taste (either raw or roasted (wrap a whole head of garlic in aluminum foil and roast at 425 for about an hour)
  • shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • spinach

Preheat oven (with pizza stone) to 425.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add jalapeno and onion and saute 2 – 3 minutes until soft.  Add spices and stir to combine.  Add chicken and cook, stirring until chicken is cooked through.

Spread sauce on pizza crust.  Top with chicken, garlic, spinach and cheese.  Cook 8 – 10 minutes or until done.

Spicy steak salad

When I add a new cookbook to my collection, I hope for 3 – 5 inspirations. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. One of my very successful purchases was the Cooking Light Big Book of Salads. I have used it so many times that it is falling apart. That doesn’t stop me from turning to it for further ideas.

I gave it to Samantha on Sunday and asked her to choose a salad. She picked a spicy beef and rice noodle salad. She ended up being a little disappointed because the recipe calls for habanero pepper and I had to substitute jalapeno. The bright side is that you can add the peppers after the fact so I skipped the heat altogether and let Keith and Samantha divide the minced jalapeno.

Spicy beef and rice noodle salad

  • 4 oz rice-flour noodles
  • 12 oz flank steak, trimmed of fat
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking spray
  • shredded lettuce
  • sliced red onion (or scallion)
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or jabanero pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 1 TB fish sauce
  • fresh basil leaves

Cook needles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Chop.

Freeze steak for 5- 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and slice thinly across the grain. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray and cook steak until done (about 4 minutes).

Combine steak, noodles, lettuce, onion, cucumber and peppers. Whisk together lime juice, sugar and fish sauce and pour over salad. Top with basil. Serve.