Taco Soup

My mother gave me this recipe that a friend of hers had shared. I changed their recipe a little because I think the ranch dressing mix that they added made it too salty. Also, they said to drain all of the canned beans & vegetables, then add water – this seemed ridiculous to me, so I don’t do it.

Servings: 4-6

1 lb ground beef, cooked
15 oz can corn, undrained
2 – 15 oz cans pinto beans, undrained
15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 oz green chiles, chopped
1 pkg taco seasoning
Cheddar or Jack cheese, grated
sour cream or plain yogurt

  1. Dump all ingredients in a large saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until heated through.
  3. Serve topped with grated cheese and sour cream or yogurt.
  • I keep containers of precooked ground beef in my freezer. I use it still frozen – it will be ready by the time everything is heats.  If you don’t have this, you can cook the meat in the saucepan before adding everything else.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces. You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.

Goulash Soup

Adapted from The Ground Beef Cookbook by Joanne Waring Lindeman. I reduced the amount of meat and changed the seasoning.

Servings: 6

1 pound ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup potatoes*, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
½ cup celery, chopped
1 cup cabbage, shredded
2 – 15 oz cans diced tomatoes*, undrained
1 ½ cups water
1 cup rice*
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese*, grated

  1. Saute beef and onion in a hot large pot until browned. Drain fat.
  2. Add veggies and water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour, or until rice and veggies are tender.
  4. Serve topped with cheese.
  • The potatoes and rice are not cooked before adding them to the pot.
  • I prefer “petite diced” tomatoes which are cut into appx ½” pieces.  You could also use fresh or frozen tomatoes.
  • Parmesan cheese is also very good on this soup.








One-Pot Creamy Ranch Chicken

This is adapted from Rachael Ray’s One-Pot Creamy Ranch Chicken Succotash. I love the flavors, but I prefer it without the lima beans. I also omitted the tomatoes & dill.


1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
4 chicken breast halves, halved crosswise to make 8 pieces total
Freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 pound bacon, chopped
1 pound potatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 Fresno chile pepper, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1-2 tsp hot sauce (to taste)
warm crusty bread, for serving

  1. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the EVOO in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  3. Add the bacon to the pot and cook until crisp, then remove to a plate.
  4. Add the potatoes to the bacon drippings and lightly brown for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the corn, onions and chile pepper and brown 8 to 10 more minutes.
  6. Stir in the chicken stock. Return the chicken and bacon to the pot and simmer 10 minutes.
  7. Combine the cream cheese with the herbs and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pot and stir until well combined.
  8. Add the hot sauce.
  9. Serve with toasted English muffins or warm sourdough bread.
  • You can substitute 1 pound ground turkey for the chicken pieces. This is not quite as fancy a dish, but it is very tasty & economical.

Irish Seafood Chowder

After my daughter Alycia came back from a semester abroad at Cork University College in Cork, Ireland she wanted to recreate some of the wonderful food that she enjoyed there. She found this recipe on the website for Poachers Inn in Bandon, Cork. This is a wonderful, rich chowder with salmon, shrimp & crab.  I have added conversions from grams & liters to cups & ounces as well as instructions for a few of the steps that they assumed you would know how to do.

Servings: 4-6

150g (⅔ cup – about 2 ½ Tbsp each) carrots, fennel, celery & onion, diced
1 liter (≈ 1 quart) milk
500ml (≈ 2 cups) cream
1 Tablespoon fish bouillon powder or 2 shrimp bouillon cubes (see notes)
salt, to taste
Roux, to thicken (equal quantities of oil & flour mixed to a paste)
1 ½ lemons (zest & juice)
6 star anise (wrapped in cheesecloth for easy removal)
½ teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
250g (½ lb) salmon, cut into ½” pieces
150g ( lb) firm white fish (e.g. cod, haddock) , cut into ½” pieces
3 Tablespoons white wine
100g (¼ lb) crabmeat
100g (¼ lb) prawns (shrimp)
1 Tablespoon chives, chopped

  1. Heat skillet over low heat. Add enough oil to just cover bottom of the pan. Add carrot, fennel, celery & onion. Cover pan. Stir occasionally, cooking until veggies are translucent and soft, but have not started to brown – about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the salmon & white fish on an oven tray and place in a pre-heated 180 ℃ / 350 ℉ oven for 10 minutes. It should be slightly undercooked, since it will be cooked further after adding to the chowder.
  3. Place the cream, milk, bouillon, salt & garlic in a pot and place on full heat and whisk well.
  4. When the pot is just at boiling point (be careful here not to let it boil over as it can “split” the milk) add a tablespoon of roux and whisk it well for a couple of minutes and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the flour taste to cook out (add more roux at this point if you think it needs more thickening).
  5. Add lemon juice & zest, whisking as you add.
  6. Add salmon & white fish and stir well, then add star anise.
  7. Add white wine and cook for 10 minutes. If it is too thick, whisk in some hot water to thin it out.
  8. Add crab & prawns. Cook just until done.
  9. To finish, remove star anise and stir in cooked vegetables.
  10. Garnish with chives and serve with fresh homemade brown bread.



John’s Prize-Winning Green Chile Stew

John Cannon, one of my mother’s best friends, developed this recipe. He is a very inventive cook and always makes the most delicious food.

2 lb pork roast
6 cloves garlic
2 lbs potatoes, diced
1 lb onion, diced
2 16-oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
16 oz jar green chile, undrained
5 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp ground coriander
water or chicken broth

  1. Make six slits in pork roast and stuff with garlic cloves. Bake at 350 degrees until roast can be shredded. Combine shredded pork and remaining ingredients in a large stockpot, cover with water or chicken broth and cook until vegetables are done, approximately 30 minutes. Top with grated cheese and serve with warm flour tortilla.

Portuguese Fish Supper

adapted from Rachael Ray

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 pound Mexican chorizo, casing removed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large bundle kale
few gratings of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
8 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 thick pieces cod or haddock fillets (6-8 oz each)
Old Bay seasoning
Italian parsley, chopped

  1. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat in a high-sided skillet or Dutch oven.
  2. Add chorizo and render for a couple of minutes, then add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Strip kale leaves from stems. Slice stems into ¼” pieces (like celery). Chop leaves coarsely.
  5. Stir in the stock, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kale stems, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Add kale leaves and toss to wilt, then season with a few grates of nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Season the fish with Old Bay seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the fish to the sauce and cover. Cook until the fish is opaque and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. Ladle into shallow bowls garnished with parsley.
  9. Serve with crusty bread for mopping.
  • Rachael Ray uses Spanish chorizo, but I have not found it in my area, so I substitute Mexican chorizo. I believe the seasonings are the same, but Mexican chorizo is a raw sausage.
  • You can discard the kale stems if you prefer, but with a little extra cooking they taste great & I hate to waste them.
  • You can substitute Swiss chard or spinach for the kale. 
  • You can substitute any other seafood for the fish – shrimp, scallops, or ???

White Bean and Kale Soup

adapted from The Curvy Carrot

1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped (1-2 medium carrots)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
5-6 red potatoes, chopped (leave the skins on)
2 15-oz cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), or 5 cups fresh cooked beans
One large bunch kale
1/2 lb spicy Italian sausage, browned (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Strip kale leaves from stems. Slice stems into ¼” pieces (like celery). Chop leaves coarsely.
  2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil.
  3. Add the celery, carrots, onion and kale stems, and cook, until the onions are softened, about 4-5 minutes or so.
  4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or so.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water and the broth to a boil.
  6. Add the cooked vegetables and the potatoes to the boiling mixture.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  7. Add the beans, kale leaves, (and sausage if desired) and cook, stirring frequently, until completely heated through and the kale is wilted, about 10-15 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • I left out the cream listed in the original recipe.
  • I used chicken broth instead of the vegetable broth in the original recipe, because that was what I had on hand – if you want it to be vegetarian, go with the vegetable broth.
  • The first time I made this, I added 1/2 lb spicy Italian sausage & left out the potatoes (I didn’t have any). The second time I left out the sausage and I thought it was still excellent, but my husband prefers it with the meat.
  • You can discard the kale stems if you prefer, but with a little extra cooking they taste great & I hate to waste them.
  • You can substitute Swiss chard or spinach for the kale.
  • You can substitute white / great northern beans for the cannellini beans.

Split Pea Soup

from my daughter, Marissa Davis Hefner

2 cups dried split green peas, rinsed
2 cups chopped carrots (not necessary to peel them)
2 cups chopped celery (don’t forget the leaves)
1 head cauliflower, chopped

  1. Add all ingredients in a large pot, pour over enough water or broth to cover by 1″. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
  2. Cook until peas are tender, about an hour. As long as you cook on low with a lid, it is difficult to overcook this.
  3. When peas are tender, the soup will be a bit chunky – you can blend with an immersion blender or regular blender to a consistency of your liking.
  4. Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder – or any other seasoning you like.
  5. Serve with shredded cheese, sliced green onions, chopped ham or bacon… it’s very versatile.
  • You can substitute 16 oz frozen cauliflower.
  • You can also pour everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • I like to add a bay leaf, dried thyme (1+ tsp), and a pinch of cayenne while cooking – these are the seasonings used at Pea Soup Andersen’s.
  • I don’t usually salt & pepper while cooking – some folks don’t want salt & my daughter Alycia does not like pepper.  I like smoked salt & fresh-ground pepper on mine.
  • If the soup is too thick, add water or broth. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 small onion, chopped (~ 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 oz green chile, chopped
2 Tbsp oil
15 oz can diced tomatoes
10 oz can chicken, undrained
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder (not ground chile)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 corn tortillas
1 cup grated cheddar or jack cheese

  1. Saute onion & garlic in oil until soft.
  2. Add chicken, chile, tomatoes, broths, spices & Worcestershire. Simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Cut tortillas in quarters, then into 1/2″ strips.  Add 3/4 of strips to soup & simmer 10 minutes. Fry remaining strips until crisp.
  4. Serve topped with crisp tortilla strips & cheese.
  5. Makes 4 servings.
  • I use “Petite Diced” tomatoes that are about 1/2″ cubes – the regular canned “diced” tomatoes are what I would call coarsely chopped – about 3/4″ cubes.
  • You can substitute leftover chicken, shredded.
  • If you don’t have beef broth, you can substitute chicken broth, but the flavor will not be as rich.

Judy’s Northern Chili

recipe courtesy of Judy Trimarchi

2 lb ground beef
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp chili powder
2 – 28oz. cans whole stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 – 16oz. cans light red kidney beans
salt, to taste

  1. Put a tea kettle of water on to heat up.
  2. Brown ground beef until fairly brown, keeping pieces fairly large.
  3. Towards end of browning process, throw in onions. When onions are soft, add garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add chili powder. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Open tomatoes and drain juice into pot. If using whole tomatoes, use kitchen shears to cut into large, bite-sized chunks and drop into pot.
  6. Add beans.
  7. Add hot water until you have a thick or thin soup, whichever you like.
  8. Salt to taste.
  9. Bring to low boil.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  10. Serve with saltines or cornbread.
  • Keeps well in fridge or freezer.
  • Substitute canned or fresh diced tomatoes.
  • Substitute pinto or white beans.