Vanishing Vegetable Soup

I love soup, and I love cooking it. However, sometimes the recipes end up being rather blah, and I’m left staring down a pot of leftovers thinking “meh.” I don’t want to eat that, and it ends up in the garbage disposal, which hurts my soul. I hate throwing food away. But, true to my incomparably stubborn nature, I keep trying. And trying. Instead of following a recipe exactly as written, I have also begun taking a few liberties, using my imagination and whatever ingredients I have on hand that might work out. This vegetable soup recipe originally called for either beef or chicken, but I decided to use nothing but veggies. The result? By the end of the second day, there wasn’t a spoonful of leftovers in sight. My husband and I ate the entire pot, and the garbage...

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Fresh Green Veggies and Pasta

Nothing quite says spring has sprung like fresh green vegetables, even though this is a fast and fabulous recipe that you can enjoy all year long. It’s a great way to get more vegetables in your diet, and even though it has a cream and butter sauce, I like to think that the health benefits of the broccoli, asparagus, and snow peas levels the playing field. In my opinion the sauce isn’t nearly as rich and decadent as other cream based pasta sauces, but maybe I’m just kidding myself. Regardless, it is a very tasty recipe that feels light and healthy. You can boost the health benefits by serving it with a fresh green salad with an olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing. See? Guilt free pasta in a delicious cream sauce! Ingredients: 2 cups fresh broccoli florets 1 cup fresh...

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Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

I love chicken. It’s versatile, high in protein, easy to digest, and if you cook it right it can be low in fat as well. It can also be easy to prepare for a low maintenance meal, leaving extra time for the things you really love to do. Like going to the dojo and beating up bad guys in my case. But that’s just me. Which is why I love cooking with my crock pot. It’s just so darn easy, and it’s a great way to cook chicken. However, I prefer to use either a whole chicken or thighs and drumsticks rather than chicken breasts. I don’t like the texture of chicken breast cooked in the crock pot, but thighs and drumsticks turn out tender, juicy, and tasty. In this particular recipe, I use bone in chicken thighs and remove the skin before cooking. Here is a quick and easy,...

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Creamy Mushroom Soup

I never learned how to cook until I moved away from my hometown and my mother’s cooking to Denver to seek my fame and fortune. Since then I have become a pretty good cook if I do say so myself. However, it was a steep learning curve and there were a lot of unpalatable mistakes along the way. This mushroom soup was one of the first recipes I made that had any degree of success. Over the years, once my cooking skills improved, I changed the recipe a bit to make it even creamier, tastier, and more satisfying. In my humble opinion, it’s the best cream of mushroom soup I’ve ever had. And the health benefits of mushrooms are almost as amazing as the soup itself. Ingredients: 1 pound button mushrooms, chopped 1 Portobello mushroom, chopped 1 bunch scallions 3 cups chicken broth 2...

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Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Every year my garden treats us to a plethora of zucchini. As a matter of fact, we have so much zucchini that we have to give it away. Which means that by the end of the season, every time I walk out of my house with grocery bags full of garden zucchini, the sound of slamming shutters and blinds by my neighbors can be heard up and down the street. Yes, by October, even the neighbors are over it. But, I love zucchini bread, but I also like to cut calories when I can, as long as I can come up with a palatable solution. Many years ago I took a traditional recipe and completely revamped it. I recently was craving a chocolate fix and added cocoa powder to my recipe. After all, chocolate is full of surprising health benefits, and the result was delicious. I do love the taste of the rich dark chocolate,...

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Singing Green Bean Soup

Fall is the perfect time time to enjoy this tasty and tangy green bean soup.  My sisters and I grew up on this soup, and we loved it so much that my mom renamed it Singing Soup, based on the sounds of “mmmmm….mmmmm…mmmm” that filled the kitchen anytime this soup was on the menu. Whether it’s fresh green beans from your own garden, your local Farmer’s Market, or your supermarket, green beans have some surprising health benefits.  Paired with the humble and often overlooked potato (which also has a few surprising power-packed health benefits as well), this is one of my favorite recipes to enjoy this late summer-early fall specialty. True to form, I cut out the sour cream that was essential in my mom’s recipe and replaced it with low fat plain Greek...

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Cheryl’s Spontaneous Shrimp and Pasta Diablo

I came up with this recipe in the sixth month of the pandemic when I had nothing planned for dinner and couldn’t stand the thought of coming up with a grocery list, let alone going to the grocery store. I looked in the pantry, the freezer, and the refrigerator, and got a little inspiration. I figured if it bombed, we could always order a pizza. However, the result was so delicious that I even surprised myself, and this is now one of my go to recipes. Ingredients: 8 oz large shrimp 6 ounces linguine 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes ½ cup white wine ¼ TSP red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves crushed garlic Directions: Heat olive oil in large fry pan frying pan over medium heat. Add crushed garlic stirring constantly for two to three minutes. Add shrimp, cook for 3 minutes...

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Delish Fish Dish

I like fish, but I wouldn’t say that I love it. At least, not the way I love chocolate. But fish has so many wonderful health benefits, and when it’s cooked right (and well), it makes for a tasty and satisfying meal. This is a recipe I found many years ago, and I was shocked at how light and delicious it was. Besides, not only is fish full of amazing health benefits, the other ingredients can be regarded as superfoods. As an added perk, the recipe is simple and so easy to follow. What more could you possible want, except a small piece of chocolate for dessert? Ingredients: 1 cup sliced leeks 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tsp olive oil 1-1/2 pound orange roughy, cod, or other white fish 12-15 fresh basil leaves 2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced 1 small can black olives, sliced thin 1...

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Irish Soda Bread

Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, why not celebrate by baking a nice Irish soda bread? Many (and I do mean many) years ago when I was still working at a local hospital as a respiratory therapist, my colleagues and I loved to share all kinds of food and special dishes with each other. One of the therapists had an Irish background, and every St. Patrick’s Day she brought several loaves of fresh baked soda bread for us to enjoy. She was kind enough to share the recipe as well, and the first time I made it I was shocked at how fast and easy it was, especially since I remembered what my Eastern European grandmothers went through to make fresh home made baked bread. I much prefer the Irish way, although after doing some research, I discovered that soda bread actually...

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Mom’s Apple Pie

My mom learned how to make her famous crowd-pleasing apple pie from my grandmother. Our entire family loved it so much that every Thanksgiving my mom made both a pumpkin pie and an apple pie for us. What a woman! The first time I made her recipe, I was blown away by how time consuming it was, and I had to recruit help from my then college roommate to get it done. Of course, in those days I didn’t know how to cook. However, the results were well worth the effort, and I’m sure you’ll agree. This is one recipe that I did not change at all, because sometimes we just need to splurge a little. Besides, apples are healthy, and so very good for you, especially when they are baked in a pie. Crust: 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup shortening 5 to 7 tablespoons...

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