Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

February 5, 2014 - Written by Diana

I told you I was going healthy for the Superbowl.  We brought this  – Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup.  We also brought some berries and greek yogurt with honey – plus vegan chocolate avocado cupcakes.  We did splurge though because my sister in law made some awesome queso with sausage that was great with chips and they also had some Buffalo Wild Wings.  It was a small gathering, but there was plenty of food and even though our favorite team disappointed, we had a good time (well most of us).

I bought my butternut squash last fall at the farmer’s market.  We put them into baskets and stored them on shelves in the unheated basement.  The food doesn’t freeze down there, but it does get rather nippy downstairs. Last year I tried storing them in a warmer spot, but some of my squash went bad.  This year, they are in perfect condition and not even drying out.  I’m thrilled that we put up a nice shelving unit to use for winter storage.

Anyway, I also have been trying to work with beans more, but dry beans not canned beans, and so that was the start of this soup. I roasted most of the vegetables in a glass pan in the oven until almost cooked.  I also baked the chicken breast rather than fry it up.  I wanted the broth to be clear when I served it and not muddied, which is why I did it this way.  And to give it a nice bright taste, I grated lemon peel and squeezed lemon juice into it.  This soup is one of my best tasting, I recommend it for family dinner, or a gathering of friends, or just the two of you.



Creamed Greens

November 19, 2012 - Written by Diana

This recipe is a great way to use up greens – any kind of greens for your Holiday dinner. My market bag not only has greens in the form of collards, kale, chard, spinach, but there was bok choy last week and we even have greens on root vegetables – beet, turnip and radish.  What to do with all of those greens.  Cream them up.  When we were little my grandmother made creamed spinach with the frozen spinach and mushroom soup.  This is my version – using all different types of steamed greens, and leeks.  As a plus I took the bok choy – the greens were steamed and the more sturdy white part was sauteed in the oil along with the leeks for extra flavor. My version uses a roux and also chevre instead of cream of mushroom soup.

My husband said he never had creamed greens or spinach, usually he had the canned spinach.  I never liked canned, and frozen is okay, but nothing is as good as fresh, even if you are cooking it up. However, if you are creaming your greens, you can use frozen – stay away from canned.  It’s just not nice at all.

It takes a lot of greens to make a casserole dish of creamy greens, so what ever you have, it’s not enough.  I used 1 bok choy, a big bunch of turnip leaves minus most of the stems, beet greens minus most of the stems, and a small bag of spinach greens for this one .   Last night we had this with steak and brussels sprouts. Steak and creamed greens were leftover, so I used them a second day for a leftover second meal.  Instead of steak, chicken would work just as well for Thanksgiving leftovers. My husband and son gobbled it up both days.

Day One:

Creamed Greens

Creamed Greens
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All different greens used in a creamy sauce as a side dish, for a holiday dish or to go along with any meal.
Recipe type: Side dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 8
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 whole leek
  • Greens - enough to fill a soup pot
  • 2 oz chevre
  • 2 cups milk
  • nutmeg
  • all spice
  • 2 tbs flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Pull stems off of the greens.
  2. For Bok Choy, Swiss Chard, Kale - those with thicker stems, aside to saute with the leeks.
  3. In a large pot, steam the greens.
  4. In a Frying pan add the oil and heat.
  5. Slice up the onions and stems to about 2 in in length.
  6. Add the onions and the stems to the hot oil and let caramelize.
  7. When the greens are steamed, drain let cool so that you can squeeze the liquid out without burning yourself.
  8. After the onions and the stems are soft and caramelized, add 2 tablespoons of butter and melt.
  9. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk.
  10. If it seems thin, add another tbs of flour slowly.
  11. Whisk in 2 ounces chevre.
  12. Add in slowly the two cups of milk.
  13. Grate nutmeg and all spice into the sauce.
  14. After squeezing the water out of the spinach, chop the spinach up to bite size portions.
  15. Stir the spinach into the pan with the sauce. If it seems too thick, add in some milk.
  16. Put the spinach and sauce into a casserole dish and place in oven at 350 for about ten minutes.

Sprinkling the top with parmesan cheese would be a great touch (but at 1000 mg of sodium per tsp out of our range).


Day Two:

The second night, I sliced up the steak into thin bite size portions – you could easily substitute turkey.  I used the leftover greens, but added more sauce  and put it all over some pasta, macaroni tonight, because it’s what I had.  Flat noodles would go well too.

Creamy Steak and Greens over Pasta

Leftover Creamy Steak and Greens Over Pasta
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Using the Creamed Greens from the dinner before, and leftover meat (we used steak, but chicken, pork or sausage would work), create a second meal over pasta.
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 4- 6
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 2 cups milk warmed
  • leftover greens
  • leftover meat
  1. In a saute pan, melt the butter, then add the flour and stir well. Add in the milk and warm.
  2. Slice the meat into 2 in by 1 inch by 1 in slices. Add the creamed greens and the meat. Warm through, let thicken and if it is too thick add milk until it is the right consistency to pour over pasta.
  3. Cook pasta according to directions, drain.
  4. Place pasta in a Serving dish, pour the creamy greens mixture over top and serve.

Sprinkle parmesan or toasted pine nuts over top right before serving.





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
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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.


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.

WW – Chard From My Ohio Winter Garden

January 21, 2010 - Written by Diana

What a nice surprise after a dreary, cloud covered day, chard from my garden that I used for our dinner.  Isn’t that the coolest – in the middle of winter?!  It’s just a little bit, but it was so delicious. ( PS ignore the wilty looking stems – I pulled that part out).



Chard From My Ohio Winter Garden

Turkey, Chard and Red Jasmine Rice

November 28, 2009 - Written by Diana

Turkey leftovers on Friday are always great.  You shouldn’t want to do a huge preparation, just a little relaxing cooking for the day after Thanksgiving meal. I have this lovely chard colored red, yellow and green growing in my garden.  No dyes involved in case like my kids you were wondering.  We planted this in the raised beds earlier this past summer, but since Chard loves cool weather it is thriving and growing enthusiastically.  Isn’t this just gorgeous?

Swiss Chard

I also had some Ruby Red Jasmine Rice to try out, which I thought would look awesome with  my chard.

Ruby Red Jasmine Rice

I pulled off the chard stems, chopped them and steamed them in the rice cooker along with the rice.  My rice cooker has a steam tray that sits up from the rice.

Steamed Chard Stems

In a pan on the stove, I put in a couple of tablespoons of oil and sautéed, onions and garlic.  When it just starting to soften, I put the chopped up chard leaves on top and covered. It looks like a lot of chard, but it cooks down like spinach.  You need a lot of leaves to make a nice amount on your plate.

Sauteeing chard

When the chard was cooked down and was almost ready, I added turkey that I pulled apart, and about a cup of turkey gel from the leftover drippings.

Sauteed Chard and Turkey Gorgeous. Throw in salt, pepper and some of your favorite spices.


I served the Turkey and Chard with turkey stock over the Red Jasmine Rice and Chard stems.

Sauteed Chard and Turkey over Jasmine Rice



I’m entering this in the 5 Star Makeover for Thanksgiving leftovers.