Pumpkin, Chard and White Bean Soup

November 8, 2012 - Written by Diana

This soup is easy, semi fast and very seasonal.  I made this on vacation with a microwave, a bowl, and one pot on an electric burner.  The kitchen was a small not even efficiency size kitchen.  One microwave, a dorm fridge, a two burner cooktop and a small sink with a tiny counter made up the kitchen.  I have trouble with how small my small kitchen is and I could live with this little efficiency for the one week we were staying in Duck, North Carolina – but I think one week is the limit.

Pumpkin, Chard and White Bean Soup

While the recipe made four bowls of soup, my husband and I both ate two bowls each for dinner.  It was a vegetarian dish for us, you can add sausage to it, or chicken and it would go well.  Also, you could serve it as a soup course along with a sandwich.  While spelt berries were cooking in broth, the microwave was used to partially cook the pumpkin – after slicing in into pieces and cleaning out the seeds and pulp. Only one soup/stew pot was used along with one glass bowl for microwaving the pumpkin. You can easily use your oven to bake the pumpkin, or peel and cook in broth to soften it.  I used a quart of chicken broth that cost me nothing because I used leftover bones to make the broth last winter. The chard melts down quite a bit, so you throw the leaves in at the end, but the stems can be thrown in with the onion in the beginning for extra veggie goodness. I used canned beans – but if you want to really make it a project you can soak the beans twice, rinse it and then simmer it on the stove for hours until they are soft.

This makes up a great hearty soup with chewy spelt, white beans, seasonal pumpkin and chard.  Yummmmmmm!


Pumpkin, Chard and White Bean Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Hearty seasonal vegetarian soup with pumpkin, white beans and chard along with chewy spelt berries.
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Soup
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup spelt berries
  • 1 quart Broth (vegetarian or chicken)
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 small pumpkin
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • big handful of chard
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  1. In the bottom of a soup pot, heat oil and saute diced onion.
  2. Add 2 cups of broth and cook spelt berries until they are the right chewiness.
  3. While the berries are cooking, slice the pumpkin open, scoop out the seeds, place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until the pumpkin will come away from the skin.
  4. Remove skin and dice.
  5. Add to soup pot. Large dice the swiss chard leaves and throw into the soup pot.
  6. Rinse beans and add to the soup pot along with salt, pepper and allspice.
  7. Heat and serve in bowls.
If you wish to use the stems, dice and saute along with the onion. Instead of the microwave, you can peel the pumpkin, seed it and dice it. Then cook it in the soup pot in broth until soft.


Keep It Simple – Crockpot Beef Stew in Red Wine

May 19, 2011 - Written by Diana

As you know, I am a big fan of keeping it simple.  You can ruin a dinner by fussing too much.  My dad was a perfectionist and though his meals were technically perfect, sometimes there were other factors. Ask my mom how her friends loved dinner with my dad when his perfect meal didn’t show up until 9:00.  Ask how much we loved running out to the store at the last minute to pick up the perfect ingredient, that he couldn’t do without because the recipe called for it, and he didn’t do substitutions. Some of my favorite meals take just a few ingredients and a little bit of time.  Spending a couple of hours preparing an appetizer that disappears within a couple of seconds can be such a let down and who wants to come home to start a really in-depth dinner, when you just want to relax? This stew is super easy, fast and delicious.  I start meals like this before I go to work.  The first one home adds the carrots and cooks up some noodles.  Put it all together and dinner is done.


In a hot pan with two tbs olive oil, quickly saute the beef and onions.  Place into crock pot along with the rest of the ingredients. The wine and beef broth should cover the beef evenly.  Place the crock pot on medium.  When you come home from work, peel and slice carrots and add to the crock pot.  Cook up noodles.  Eat when the carrots are tender.  Serve the beef stew over noodles.  Yum.

Turkey Chili

February 5, 2011 - Written by Diana

Delaware North is the company that provides a lot of venues – such as sports, music, national parks, gaming venues etc with their concession fare.  I gave my older brother the sports fanatic my copy of Homeplate after I reviewed it and he liked it.  It was a book based on recipes at their different sports arenas and parks.  Chef James Major and Chef Jeramie Mitchell sent us two of their favorite Superbowl recipes to share including a healthier Turkey Chili recipe to fit in with our revised healthier Superbowl swaps we’re trying out this year.

BUFFALO, N.Y (Feb. 5, 2010) – Delaware North Companies Sportservice, which serves fans at more than 20 major pro sports venues, knows that food is the best part of any Super Bowl party. Just days before the big game, football fans can still huddle up with two of Sportservice’s regional executive chefs for great party recipes that you can whip up in a hurry to impress your guests.

Sportservice Regional Executive Chef James Major, top chef for the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, helps you score big with a healthy-but-hearty turkey chili. “Chili is a traditional food staple at a Super Bowl party, but it’s usually not the healthiest dish,” Major said. “Turkey chili is a great substitute.”

Meanwhile, for a different version of a pub classic, Regional Executive Chef Jeramie Mitchell, who oversees the great food at the St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium, provides the perfect football food: “pig skins.” No, not pork rinds, but classic potato skins topped with pork. “We all know that Super Bowl Sunday is not just about the football game – it’s about the food,” Mitchell said. “With these pig skins, the name says football and the taste will be a big hit.”

Both chefs had a busy 2009, especially in July when they led Sportservice’s efforts at the 2009 Major League Baseball® All-Star Game® in St. Louis. Mitchell oversaw Busch Stadium’s premium dining and concessions for three days of events and developed St. Louis-themed menus for the two biggest parties outside the stadium. Sportservice served 4,000 guests at each party, with Major playing a lead role in overseeing the massive event catering.

Chef James Major’s Turkey Chili

Serves: 4-to-6 people


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, oregano and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chile and sauce; cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the beer and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes into the skillet, along with their juices and the beans. (If using dried beans, add 3 extra cups of water). Bring to a boil and then simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

Chef Jeramie Mitchell’s Pig Skins

Directions :

  1. Make marinade for pork, using onion, garlic, white wine, apple cider vinegar, cracked black pepper, olive oil and salt. Whisk to incorporate ingredients. Pour over pork and rub into meat. Let pork marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Sear pork in hot pan for 4 minutes each side. Place in 9×13 baking dish. Pour leftover marinade over pork. Whisk together 1 cup of BBQ sauce and 2 cups of chicken stock, and pour over pork. Add more cracked pepper, salt, and 2 bay leaves (in liquid). Cover pan with aluminum foil. Place in 300-degree oven and cook for 3 hours or until meat is fork tender.
  3. Make potato skins. Wash potatoes. Split potatoes in half, lengthwise. Lightly rub with olive oil and salt. Bake in 350-degree oven until cooked. Remove and cool. Scoop out potato leaving about ¼ inch of potato with skin (make a “boat”). When pork is ready, fry skin in oil or shortening (350-degree oil) until lightly brown and crisp. If you choose or prefer not to fry, bake the skins instead of frying. They won’t get as crisp but, they’ll taste just as good.
  4. Remove pork from oven and rest for 20 minutes, uncovered. Remove pork from liquid (reserve liquid). Pull excess fat from pork and discard. Break apart meat with fork and place in bowl. Test seasoning and add a little salt if needed. Pour ½ cup of cooking liquid in pork and add ½ cup of BBQ sauce.
  5. Place about a tablespoon of the pork on top of the finished potato skins. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake in 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Garnish with diced chives and serve with sour cream.

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

October 20, 2010 - Written by Diana

It’s apple season and I have had such a craving for an Apple (Cinnamon Coffee) Crumb Cake.  It doesn’t help that I have all of these apples that my husband and I are planning on canning sitting around the house calling to me.  Psst, psst, you want it, you know you doooooo.  Well, I caved.  I hit the books looking for a simple cake that I could put together quickly for a nice evening snack.  This is one of the times it would be nice to have kids hanging around.  I’ve got apple cake and I’m eating it, and eating it.  This is my type of cake, not too sweet, a little bit of apple, moist and delicious.  Love it.  Warm is better, and if you have vanilla ice cream, dollop it on top.  I don’t have any, but I just keep snacking on it.  I found this recipe in my Best of Cooking Light Kitchen Secrets for Quick and Easy Meals from Sept 2008.  I guess this is the reason I keep magazines I like around for a while. 

Apple Cinnamon Cake 080 Serve warm or freeze this coffee-cake for up to 3 months




Preheat oven to 350.  To prepare cake, lightly spoon 1 1/2 flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Make a well in the center of mixture.  Combine milk, melted butter, vanilla, and egg, stirring with a whisk; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.  Fold in apple.  Pour into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. 

To prepare streusel, combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon; cut in chilled butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Sprinkle streusel over batter.  Bat at 350 for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Yield 12 servings.

Big Bowl of Whole Grainy Dinner Goodness

January 27, 2010 - Written by Diana

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by a store bought frozen lunch I had today.  It had beans, whole grain orzo, dried cranberries, spinach and a little bit of cheese.  I enjoyed it quite a bit and thought I would use it as inspiration to create my own big bowl of whole grainy goodness. Even though the barley and quinoa stuck to his braces, my son thought it was delicious.  My husband also liked it a lot too.  I know my daughter would have enjoyed it, and that she would have grabbed the leftovers thrown salad dressing over top and had it cold for lunch the next day.  One thing I would have changed would have been to add in more chard.  I dug through the snow to find what chard I could from the raised beds in the garden.  I found some small leaves, only about 7 or 8, but it was enough to give it a little color and flavor.  I just wish I had more.  It’s so cool to go dig through the snow for chard in the middle of winter, but your fingers get awfully cold and you have to be careful that they don’t stick to the door knob when you try to get back into the house.  Maybe gloves would be a good idea. No gloves needed to eat it though, just a fork.

Jan 27, 2010 074 Ingredients:


Cook the quinoa, bulgur, orzo and barley according to package directions using vegetable broth instead of water. I took turns with two different small pots on the stove.  In a separate medium size pot, pour in the rest of the vegetable broth.  Simmer the onions, and celery in a shallow amount of vegetable broth. When they start to become translucent, add in the rest of the broth, the cranberries and spiced apple, the beans and chopped up chard.  Heat up and add in the grains, and the herbs and spices.  If it seems too dry, add a little extra liquid (water) when heating. Serve in bowls and sprinkle the cubed cheese on top. 

Note: To make it vegan, leave out the cheese.

The dried fruit gives it a fruity flavor, with the smoky cheese to help balance it out.  The whole meal is delicious, and very quickly comes together.

Just in Time for Easter: Authentic Hungarian Kolbasz Recipe

April 9, 2009 - Written by Deb Ng


Last week Diana shared a story that brought back so many memories. It was about Easter with our Hungarian relatives, spefically, kolbasz. A hungarian sausage. I did a little hunting around and found a kolbasz recipe for those who are so ambitious they’ll rock the sausage makers.

This image is from Wikimedia Commons. I wish I found one that did justice to the kolbasz we enjoyed for Easter.

Enjoy – if you do make it, let us know what you think:

Authentic Hungarian Kolbasz


12 to 15 pound fresh pork
2 large onions
4 tablespoons of genuine Hungarian Paprika (no other will do for kolbasz!)
5 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon Cayenne pepper
6 Cloves Garlic
5 tablespoons salt


1. Crush garlic and boil in 2 cups of water. Set aside.

2. Grind meat and onions together into a large pan. Add in seasonings and garlic water. Mix well with hands.

3. Stuff into sausage casings and tie off ends.

Cook as desired – usually parboiled and then browned in a frying pan on top of the stove.

Tweet this post!

Wisconsin Cheese Comfort Food

February 6, 2009 - Written by Diana

More and more people are eating at home, family style. Not only is it less expensive, but eating dinner together can be a great way to connect with everyone.  I’m lucky if I can get my son to follow the directions on the blue box to make macaroni and cheese for dinner. However, these Chefs have ramped up our comfort Macaroni and Cheese and updated it putting their own spin on it while using homegrown (grown?) cheese from Wisconsin. I’d be just as happy if you used cheese from Ohio or other local cheeses, however, we thank the Wisconsin cheese people for their recipes.  For more recipes featuring Wisconsin cheeses, visit www.EatWisconsinCheese.com.

Miami Mac and Cheese MIAMI MACARONI & CHEESE

Number of Servings: 12

Cooking Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°F. On baking sheet, cook pancetta for 6-8 minutes or until just crispy. Drain grease and set aside.
Crush and crumble baguette (you may use a food processor), until semi-fine to make bread crumbs. In large sauté pan, melt Butter over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and toast (tossing), until golden brown. Set aside.
Cook pasta until al dente, cool and set aside in large mixing bowl.
In hot saucepot add Heavy Cream and bring to a boil. Simmer and reduce by 1/3. Slowly whisk in 1 1/4 cups of the Parmesan and pancetta. Continue reducing slightly until consistency is thick and creamy.
In large mixing bowl with pasta, add the Cream Mixture along with the Fontina Cheese. Toss quickly and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour Mixture into lightly buttered individual casserole baking dishes (5-6 ounce dishes). Top with breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan Cheese. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove and serve hot.
You may also use one large casserole dish for this recipe.



Parmesan Potatoes Au Gratin

February 3, 2009 - Written by Diana

Parmesan Potatoes Au Gratin I wanted to post this last night, but I was too busy watching the Superbowl (and taking nap – don’t tell anyone but I slept through some of it). My husband went to a brother’s home to watch the Steelers play.  I made some Parmesan Potatoes Au Gratin for him to bring and share with everyone( which was really only two other people).  My son had school today so we stayed home and monitored the game from home without all the ruckus.  This is a really good side dish, easy to make, and the garlic and parmesan is very fragrant.  I have a mandolin that I use to slice the potatoes to a medium thickness  and onions into really thin even slices. You can substitute Romano for Parmesan in this dish or do a mix of both. I know it was good because my husband brought home the dish – totally sparking clean.  Sharon & John – we know what you have in your fridge.


Spray casserole dish with cooking spray, or use oil or butter to coat the sides and bottom of the dish. Layer the Potatoes, onions & garlic slices, sprinkle the layers with cheese, salt and pepper . Add the cream and thyme into a saucepan and warm it.  Every couple of layers pour warm cream over the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake at 4:20 for about 40 minutes and then broil uncovered 5 minutes. 

Cabbage, Beef and Noodles

January 13, 2009 - Written by Diana

Cabbage, Beef and Noodles  This is one of our family’s favorite comfort foods.  I think cabbage is good for you, but I don’t want to do a whole lot of preparation, or wrapping, I just want to throw it in.  Here’s a meal I came up with that we enjoy and it’s quick and easy to make too. 



Saute ground beef with peppers and onions.  Drain off the grease.  In a large pan or wok, heat up the broth until boiling.  Add in the noodles and simmer until the noodles are almost cooked. 

While noodles are cooking, slice up cabbage into strips and heat up peas (I use the microwave).  If it seems like your noodles need a little more liquid, add it so that it doesn’t stick to the pan.  When the noodles are almost done, add in ground beef, cabbage and peas(or whatever). Let it bubble until the cabbage wilts, but is still firm. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Finish up by topping with shredded cheese. 

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

January 6, 2009 - Written by Diana

Pressure Cooker Sunday was a busy day. It was the last day of our winter break. My husband and I took the time off to spend it with the kids and each other, but this was our last day before work started up again. It was the day my daughter was leaving to go back to college, catching a ride with a friend.  We went to church, but we never do hit the early mass, it’s the nooner for us, so we can have a leisurely brunch together first.  Then food shopping and stock up for college girl since she was going back.  I bought a roast in the store, but forgot that I should start early with all of the commotion going on.  When I remembered, time was too short to go the slow simmer route, so I kicked it into high gear with the pressure cooker.  We never owned one growing up, and I never saw one in use until my mother in law did a pot roast for dinner one night years back.  If you don’t have a lot of time to cook a pot roast, the pressure cooker is the way to go.

There are several parts to the pressure cooker: the pot, the lid, the pressure regulator, the vent pipe, the cooking rack and the lock pin.  Before starting, always make sure the vent pipe is clear and not plugged.  If you are doing a roast, you may want to sear the meat in some hot oil first.  You can use the pan of the pressure cooker.  Then pick up the meat and place the rack under it.  Add some liquid – .  Make sure the pressure cooker is no more than 2/3 of the way full.  If you want to add onions and garlic, and spices do so.  I usually cook my potatoes and carrots in a separate pot in some beef broth, other wise, they will be mush.  You want to cook things together that will take about the same amount of time, and you won’t be able to open and close the lid, so cook the veggies separate.

Sear the meat in hot oil.  Pick up the meat and place the rack underneath.  Add water and the rest of the ingredients.  Close the lid on the pot correctly so that the handles line up. Place the pressure regulator on top.  Turn on the heat and cook 45 minutes.  As the meat cooks, the pressure regulator will rock back and forth and the lock pin will pop up to lock the handles in place.  Take the pot off the heat, and when the lock pin falls back down you can open the handles.  Never force the handles apart.

The meat will come out tender and fall apart and be delicious.

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cooking a pot roast in a pressure cooker is a way to prepare the roast in a much shorter amount of time.
Recipe type: Pot Roast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 3 lbs beef
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2½ cups water
  • salt and pepper
  • onion
  • garlic
  • spices (rosemary is especially good with a roast)
  1. Sear the meat in hot oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker.
  2. Pick up the meat and place the rack underneath.
  3. Add water and the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Close the lid on the pot correctly so that the handles line up.
  5. Place the pressure regulator on top.
  6. Turn on the heat and cook 45 minutes.
  7. As the meat cooks, the pressure regulator will rock back and forth and the lock pin will pop up to lock the handles in place.
  8. Take the pot off the heat, and when the lock pin falls back down you can open the handles. Never force the handles apart.
  9. The meat will come out tender and fall apart and be delicious.