In keeping with the desire of the average, traditional Catholic to keep the days of fast and abstinence; I will post a few of my favorite meatless meals. Many of these soups and casseroles are quite easily converted from “meat to meatless.”

Enjoy…and feel free to offer comments and suggestions for improvement. Also, if you have a favorite of your own, feel free to submit it and I will happily credit the source!


Lenten Menu Plan – 2011

Important Dates:

All Fridays of Lent: are days of abstinence.

March 9th, 2011 – Ash Wednesday: is a day of fast and abstinence.

April 22, 2009 – Good Friday: is also a day of fast and abstinence.

Easter Duty: is the obligation to receive Holy Communion between the First Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday.

Fast and abstinence rules:

Fasting binds all Catholics over 18 and under 59 years of age. On days of fast, one full meal is allowed. Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken in accordance to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and fruit juices, are allowed.

Abstinence binds all over the age of 14. On days of abstinence no meat is allowed. When in doubt concerning fast and abstinence, a parish priest or confessor should be consulted.

Our menu:

As many of you know, our family is planning to eat a lot of soup throughout our Lenten journey. Sundays will remain true “feast” days, but during the rest of the week, we’ll be eating soup at our main meal…and occasionally salad and fresh fruit, to round things out. I plan to begin our days with Fasting Bread (see recipe below)…this will serve as my morning breakfast, though I’m sure the children will use it as a supplement to theirs! It is my sincere hope that this lighter, easier menu will not only free me from the time constraints of large meal preparation, but will also be a healthier and more economical approach…thus embracing the true spirit of Lent. So…here’s our first week of soups. We may see repeats, throughout the season, depending upon how popular a particular soup is, but otherwise, I’m trying to implement many new recipes, holding to simplicity and affordability. Here’s the week’s menu, beginning with Ash Wednesday, ending the Wednesday following:

Ash Wednesday

Seuppa Ou Piat

Salad and Sliced Strawberries


Albondigas Soup

Tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheese


My Big Fat Greek Lentil Soup

Homemade bread and salad



French bread

Spiced Peaches

Sunday: FEAST!!!

Roast Chicken de Provence

Garlic and Rosemary Potatoes

Steamed Broccoli with Lemon Butter

Fruit and/or Salad


Mexican Pork and Sweet Potato Stew

Tortilla strips and salsa


Chicken Corn Chowder



Chili Con Carne with Cornbread Dumplings

Soup with Bread (will probably substitute the Fontina for a more affordable cheese…mozzarella…the children will prefer this!)

Seuppa ou Piat

serves: 6 servings

This might seem like an unusual dish, a pasticciata (a layered casserole) of bread and cheese that’s baked, cut into portions, and served in a bowl of hot broth. Yet the tastes and eating pleasure of seuppa ou piat will be completely familiar and welcome to anyone who loves the gratinéed crouton of French onion soup or enjoys a crispy grilled-cheese sandwich with a bowl of rich chicken broth alongside. This is a good dish for company, because you can have both the broth and the pasticiatta hot and ready to be put together when your guests come. (Chicken stock is my preference, but a savory vegetable stock or a meaty beef broth is just as good.)

8 cups tasty chicken broth, (or clear beef or vegetable stock)
kosher salt, to taste
1 tablespoon butter, softened for the baking dish
½ pound Fontina cheese
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated, plus more for passing
18 slices Italian bread, cut 1/2 inch thick, left out to dry overnight


Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, and heat to 400 degrees. Heat the broth almost to a simmer-season with salt to taste-and keep it hot. Butter the sides and bottom of a 3 quart baking dish. Shred the fontina through the larger holes of a hand grater and toss the shreds with the grana (grated hard cheese).

Arrange half of the bread slices in one layer in the baking dish. Ladle out 1 cup of broth, and drizzle it on the bread slices, slightly moistening them all. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the bread in an even layer.

Cover the cheese with the remaining bread slices, filling the entire surface of the dish. Moisten these slices with another cup or so of stock; top the bread with all the remaining cheese, scattered evenly.

Tent the pasticciata with a sheet of heavy aluminum foil, arching it so it doesn’t touch the cheese topping, and pressing it against the sides of the baking dish. Set the dish in the oven, and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking for 10 minutes or more, until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Take the dish from the oven, and let it cool and set for 5 minutes or so.

To serve: Cut out large squares of pasticciata and, with a spatula, transfer them to warm shallow soup or pasta bowls. Ladle a cup of hot broth over each portion and serve immediately, passing more grated cheese at the table.

*Country Italian bread is best for this pasticciata. The width of the bread can vary since it is layered snuggly in the baking dish then cut in squares when served.

Albondigas Soup

Ground beef and sausage meatballs are simmered in a tomato and chile beef broth base. Rice and corn add starch for a hearty meal in a dish. Serve soup topped with crushed tortilla chips and shredded Mexican cheese blend. The traditional version does not include corn, so you may omit it. The meatballs may be made up to 4 hours in advance and refrigerated. You may substitute ground chicken and/or turkey, if you wish.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

* Meatballs:
* 1 pound chuck ground beef
* 1/2 pound pork sausage (spicy is nice)
* 1/2 cup cornmeal
* 1/4 cup cream (or milk)
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup minced sweet onion
* 1 large clove garlic, pressed
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste

* Soup:
* 2 quarts beef or chicken broth (or a combination)
* 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
* 1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped mild green chiles, with liquid
* 1 cup diced sweet onion
* 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon liquid hot pepper sauce, or more to taste
* 1/3 cup long-grain white rice
* 1 cup frozen corn kernels
* 1/4 chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves
* Salt and pepper to taste
* For Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs, crushed tortilla chips, shredded Mexican cheese blend

Combine ground beef, pork sausage, cornmeal, cream, egg, onion, garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, and pepper with a large fork. Do not overmix. Form into small meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. Set aside. (The meatballs may be made up to 4 hours in advance and refrigerated.)

Place beef or chicken stock, tomatoes, green chiles, onion, oregano, cumin, and hot pepper sauce in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add rice, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Carefully add meatballs to the broth and simmer an additional 10 to 15 minutes until meatballs are cooked through. Add corn and cook until heated through. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Stir in chopped cilantro leaves just before serving.

Garnish each bowl with crushed tortilla chips, a sprinkling of Mexican cheese blend, and a sprig of fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

Yield: about 8 to 10 servings

Bouillabaisse – simplified


* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
* 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
* 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
* 1 large pinch saffron, soaked in 2 tablespoons orange juice for 10 minutes (optional) (will omit…can’t afford saffron!)
* 1 strip orange zest
* 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, in juice
* 6 cups seafood stock (sold at most fish markets) or clam juice
* Some or all of the following seafood (ask your fish seller for enough to serve 4 to 6 people): halibut, cod, tilapia, or snapper (in large chunks); shell-on large shrimp or lump crabmeat; clams or mussels
* 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped

1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and fennel and saut until just brown, 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Add the saffron (if using), orange zest, tomatoes, and stock or clam juice.

3. Bring to a boil and cook until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

4. Reduce heat to medium and add the fish (but not shellfish). Cook for about 2 minutes.

5. Add any clams, mussels, and shrimp. Simmer until the shells just begin to open, about 4 minutes more.

6. Add any crabmeat.

7. Cook until all shells have opened, the shrimp is pink and curled, and the fish flakes easily, about 2 minutes.

8. Serve from the pot, sprinkled with the parsley and topped with crusty bread and a dollop of rouille.

Mexican Pork and Sweet Potato Stew

Traditional Mexican flavors get a Southwestern twist in this scrumptious pork tenderloin and sweet potato stew that’s seasoned to perfection with garlic, cumin, cinnamon and cilantro.

* Active Time: 10 minutes
* Total Time: 30 minutes

Recipe Ingredients

o 1 olive oil
o 1 1⁄4 lbs pork tenderloin, cut bite-size
o 1 1⁄2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 poblano chile peppers, seeded and sliced
o 1 cup chopped onion
o 1 chopped garlic
o 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin
o 1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon
o 1 can (14 oz) reduced-
o sodium chicken broth
o 1⁄2 cup water
o 1 cup frozen corn kernels
o 1 1⁄2 cups salsa (we used Old El Paso Fresh Mexican Style Smooth Chipotle)
o Garnish: chopped cilantro, tortilla strips

Recipe Preparation

1. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a deep nonstick skillet. pork; cook over medium-high heat 7 minutes or until browned. Transfer pork to a plate.

2. Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in skillet. Add potatoes, peppers and onion. Cover; cook 5 minutes, stirring, until peppers and onion soften slightly.

3. Stir in garlic, cumin and cinnamon; cook a few seconds until fragrant. Add broth and water; bring to a boil. corn; cover and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables soften.

4. Stir in salsa and pork; heat through. Sprinkle servings with cilantro and tortilla strips if desired.

My Big Fat Greek Lentil Soup

Back to lentils, this time Greek-style. These smooth, delicate flavors will tickle your tonsils with pleasure. This could well be what Aristotle Onassis used to enjoy on his yacht!

2 cups of small, brown lentil, rinsed
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 large carrot, peeled, halved and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
3 bay leaves
3/4 cup of pommodoro sauce (passata)…I’ll be using tomato paste with a splash of red wine…
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
8 cups of water
3 cloves of garlic, smashed + 5 cloves of garlic, minced for the end
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
salt to taste

1) Into a large pressure cooker, add your lentils, olive oil, onions, carrot, pepper, tomatoes, paprika, bay leaves, smashed garlic and water.
2) Close the lid; bring to a whistling boil on high heat.
3) As soon as your pressure cooker is whistling, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 45 minutes.
4) Take off the heat, release the pressure from your pressure cooker and safely open the lid.
5) Add your 5 cloves of minced garlic, your oregano and adjust seasoning with salt or Vegeta seasoning.
6) Serve with good bread, black olives and pickled sweet peppers. Yield of six servings.

Chicken Corn Chowder

You can have this chicken corn chowder on the table in less than 30 minutes! (I’ll be doubling this one to serve my crew!)

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1/4 cup chopped onion
* 1/4 cup chopped celery
* 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
* 2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves)
* 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 3 ears)
* 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn


Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and jalapeño; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 5 minutes).

Chili Con Carne with Cornbread Dumplings

2 lbs. beef round steak
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 med. onion, chopped
1 sm. green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed OR 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
2 (16 oz.) cans whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 (15 oz.) can hominy, drained
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies, drained
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans beef broth
1/3 c. pepper jelly
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper, crushed


1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
1 egg white, beaten
2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. cooking oil

In a small mixing bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine egg white, milk and oil. Add to flour mixture, stir with a fork just until combined. Trim meat and cut into small thin strips, 1 1/2 x 1/8 inches. Heat oil in 5 quart saucepot or Dutch oven. Add meat and brown evenly. Add onion, green pepper and garlic. Saute 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drop dumplings onto boiling stew. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat 30 minutes. Do not lift cover as dumplings cook.

Fasting Bread (makes three loaves)

Recipe and text source:

3 1/2 cups Stone Ground Wheat
2 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1Tbs. Sugar
3 Tbs. Active dry yeast (two packages)
2 cups Luke warm water
1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup
1/2 cup Virgin Olive oil
1 tsp. Holy water (How could you not add this for a fasting bread?)
1 cup Oats – soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 2 minutes
1 cup Pecan pieces – broken and skillet toasted 2 min (or Walnuts)
1 cup Dried Montmorency cherries or Golden raisins soaked 5 min in 1/4 cup hot water

1. Combine first three dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
2. Clear a small area in the center of the dry blend.
3. Add sugar, dry yeast, and the 2 cups of warm water. Let stand for 3 minutes until yeast proofs and forms bubbles. Combine with flour mixture and liquid. This will be thick but more liquid comes later.
4. Add maple syrup, olive oil and holy water. Stir mixture until well blended.
5. Add walnuts and raisins with their liquid.
6. Add soaked oats to the flour mixture.
7. Blend everything together in one bowl.
8. Turn out onto a floured board and knead by hand for 10-12 minutes adding more flour as needed to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead the dough by flattening somewhat and fold-in from the outside towards the center. Press down hard on the center. Rotate the bowl and repeat the process until smooth and elastic and forma “ball”
9. Return the “ball” to the mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, cover and let rise 1 hour.
10. Remove to a floured board and kneed several more times as above. Cut into three equal pieces.
11. Place each piece into a loaf pan coated on all sides with olive oil. Drizzle loaf again with olive oil, cover and let rise for another hour. Olive oil produces a tasty crust.
12. Slash loaf tops and bake in the middle of a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until brown on top and bottom. Loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
13. Remove bread from pans and cool on a rack.

QUALITY INGREDIENTS AND THEIR SYMBOLIC REFERENCES: This marvelous bread combines pure, wholesome ingredients with symbolic references found in Sacred Scripture.

Stone Ground Wheat and Oats: Symbol of the pain of being crushed by the wheels of God’s Justice – which “grind slowly but exceedingly fine.” “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.” Jn 12: 24
White Flour – a reminder of the manna given by God to the Hebrews during their forty years in the desert as Moses led them to the promised land. Manna foreshadowed the Holy Eucharist, also the called “Bread from Heaven”. Exodus 16:35 Jn 6:41
Yeast – unifying many parts into one; a symbol of the the kingdom of heaven and of the Church. Mt 13:33
Salt – Christ said to his Apostles: “You are the salt of the earth.” Mt 5:13
Water – Giving life to all things; a symbol of baptism; cleansing. Lenten penances aid the washing away our sins. “He who drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst.” Jn 4: 14
Olive Oil – Acclaimed throughout history as a source of strength, olive oil was used by the athletes of ancient Greece to prepare for them for the contests. Mixed with wine it was found useful in healing the wounds of those injured on the battlefields of medieval Europe. Olive oil is used by the Church in the Holy Oils applied in sacramental anointing.
Pure Maple Syrup – Collected in pure form flowing from a tree; symbolic of the cross and of the sweetness of the Blood of Christ which flowed freely from the tree of his cross, the tree of life; shed so that “sins may be forgiven.” A symbol of God’s love by making this sweet nutrient a gift to be discovered.
Holy Water – A sacramental used in blessings and bringing new life in Baptism. Holy water carries a blessing just by its use and when introduced with the sign of the cross how could this not be a must an key ingredient of fasting bread for lent?
Walnuts and Pecans and Cherries – These pleasant gifts found in abundance from prolific trees are reminders of Christ’s command to go forth and “produce good fruit;” They are reminders of our own call to perform works of charity, prayer, fasting and almsgiving; the fruit of good works to be undertaken during Lent. Jn 15:16
Raisins – Made from pure grapes, raisins are the fruit of the vine; a reminder of the miracle of water changed into wine at the wedding feast in Cana; of the wine changed into the Blood of Christ at the Last Supper and at the Consecration during Mass. These serve as reminders of that mystery where wine is described as the “fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our Spiritual Drink.”

Recipe and text source:

I’ll post next week’s menu on Tuesday!  God bless you on your Lenten journey…

Pizza? Veggie Pizza?! Low-fat, positively delicious and easily assembled:

Kimberly’s Veggie Pita Pizza

Looking for an excellent alternative to high fat pizza? Try this recipe…chock full of veggies and cheese, it’s sure to please! Leave out the ham or add other fresh veggies of your choice.
10 Minutes to Prepare and Cook


1 large whole wheat pita, (sliced into two round crusts)
1/2 cup Newman’s Own Sockarooni Sauce (or sauce of your choice
1/3 cup fat free mozzarella
2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup zucchini, thinly sliced
2 thin onion slices, separated into rings
1/3 cup mushrooms (canned or fresh)
2 tbsp. black olives, sliced
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes

Set your oven to broil.
On a cookie sheet, place the two pita rounds (you will divide the ingredients between the two rounds) and spoon 1/4 cup of sauce on each. Top with zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, onions, mushrooms . Add shredded cheese and sprinkle parmesan on top. Place under broiler. Allow cheese to completely melt and slightly brown. Slice, serve with fresh fruit and enjoy!

Number of Servings: 2

Nutritional Info

* Servings Per Recipe: 2
* Amount Per Serving
* Calories: 228.8

* Total Fat: 4.5 g
* Cholesterol: 10.6 mg
* Sodium: 1,208.6 mg
* Total Carbs: 32.9 g
* Dietary Fiber: 5.2 g
* Protein: 16.7 g


Yummy Zucchini Parmesan

2 large zucchini, sliced in 1/4 inch thick rounds
3 tbsp. margarine (light, if you want to reduce the fat content!)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Melt margarine, put in large bowl or gallon ziplock bag. Add zucchini, toss or shake. Lay zucchini on a cookie sheet, sprinkling Parmesan cheese liberally over each piece. Bake at 350, until zucchini is moderately softened and cheese lightly browns. Serve as a side dish or delicious snack.


**Here are a couple more recent SparkPeople submissions:

Walk In The Garden Pasta Parmagiana

A delicious veggie-laden pasta dish sure to please!
35 Minutes to Prepare and Cook


1 eggplant, cubed
1 summer squash, sliced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
8 large baby carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
5 tbsp. Blue Bonnet Light Margarine
3 tbsp. parmesan cheese
14 oz Healthy Harvest Rotini, cooked and drained
Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning (to taste)

Boil and drain pasta according to package directions and set aside.
In a very large skillet, melt margarine and saute all of the vegetables until slightly softened. Add Greek Seasoning during cooking, to taste. Add cooked pasta and parmesan cheese. Lightly toss. Serve with your favorite fresh fruit!
Number of Servings: 6

Nutritional Info

* Servings Per Recipe: 6
* Amount Per Serving
* Calories: 317.1

* Total Fat: 6.6 g
* Cholesterol: 2.0 mg
* Sodium: 140.1 mg
* Total Carbs: 61.2 g
* Dietary Fiber: 11.2 g
* Protein: 10.3 g


Looking for a low-fat lunch solution? Try this one!

Fit and Fabulous Seafood Salad


1 – 7oz. pkg. of Crab & Shrimp Classic
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped scallions
3 tbsp. Kraft Light Mayonnaise
Old Bay Seasoning (to taste)
In a medium bowl, combined chopped vegetables, seafood and mayonnaise. Sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning and stir. Chill and served in lettuce stuffed pita pockets. Enjoy!

Number of Servings: 3

Nutritional Info

* Servings Per Recipe: 3
* Amount Per Serving
* Calories: 125.3

* Total Fat: 5.0 g
* Cholesterol: 21.9 mg
* Sodium: 522.9 mg
* Total Carbs: 13.2 g
* Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
* Protein: 6.4 g


**Here’s a new addition: Greco-Romano Shrimp and Pasta (3/7/2008)

This is a recent submission of mine to the SparkPeople recipe database:


Shrimp – 1 lb, cooked
Onions – 2 cup, sliced
Garlic – 4 tsp minced
Scallions- 4 tbsp. chopped
Broccoli – 2 cup, chopped
Whole Wheat Spaghetti-4 cups, broken and cooked
Blue Bonnet Light Margarine – 6 tbsp.
Parmesan Cheese – 4 tbsp, grated
Cavender’s greek seasoning to taste

Nutritional Info

Fat: 11.3g
Carbohydrates: 46.0g
Protein: 35.5g

Cook and drain pasta, set aside.

In a large skillet, place margarine, onions, scallions, broccoli and garlic. Sprinkle greek seasoning. Saute until onions are translucent. Quickly add shrimp, cooking until heated through. Add drained pasta to the skillet. Stir, add additional greek seasoning as desired. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and lightly toss. Serve with fruit or salad.

Number of Servings: 4 (you can double or triple, if necessary by adjusting ingredient quantities!)

You’ve heard about it, I’m sure…time to give it a try! Here’s a video of the “No Knead Bread” recipe from the man himself, Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery, New York. As a veteran bread baker, it has completely rocked my world…I’m hooked!

Here’s a link for the recipe.


A new Lenten family favorite:

Shrimp with Penne Pasta and Vegetables

1 eggplant – cubed
1 yellow squash cubed
1 zucchini – sliced or cubed
1 yellow pepper – chopped
1 red pepper – chopped
1 orange pepper – chopped
4 roma tomatoes – chopped
1 medium onion – diced
4 cloves garlic – minced
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
6 – 8 T. olive oil
1 lb penne pasta – cooked and drained
1 lb peeled, deveined pre-cooked shrimp
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic until clear. Add vegetables. Saute until vegetables are cooked through. Add shrimp and seasonings. Cook until liquid reduces by half. Add to penne pasta. Serve with your favorite Italian bread and salad.

Servings: 8 – 10 large servings


Kimberly’s Loaded Potato Soup

1 stick of butter or margarine
3 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. thyme
3/4 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
4 chicken bouillon cubes
7 cups water
10 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 qt. half and half or milk (I prefer the h&h)
1/2 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup cold water (for thickening)


crumbled bacon (leave out for days of abstinence)
chopped green onions
chopped chives
sour cream
shredded cheese

Or serve as the Soup of Suffering ;-D

In a large stock pot, melt butter and sauté carrots, onions, celery and garlic until translucent. Quickly add the water and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes, thyme, parsley, and pepper. Cook until tender. Add half and half/milk (as much as you prefer…I use it all.) Using a potato masher, mash with 5 or 6 quick strokes. Bring soup to a boil and slowly begin adding cornstarch mixture until soup is desired consistency. Ladle into bowls, add your favorite toppings and serve with your finest loaf of home-made bread.

Bon Appetit!


Tuna Pasta Salad

1 – 16 oz. bag of tri-color pasta
2 stalks green onion
½ tsp. dill weed
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 – 6 oz. cans albacore tuna
1 cup frozen sweet peas
Cracked black pepper and salt to taste

Add ins:

grated carrot
cherry tomatoes
whatever suits you!

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Place pasta in large salad bowl. Chop green onion. Add green onion, tuna and sweet peas to pasta. Combine mayonnaise and dill weed. Combine mayonnaise and pasta mixtures. Chill and serve.


*This is not an original recipe. This lovely Ratatouille was discovered on Simply Recipes…simply outstanding! Here it is:

Dad’s Ratatouille Recipe

Dad originally got this recipe from Dean & DeLuca, and over time it has become a family classic. Only he has the patience to make it. The recipe is little involved, but the results are fantastic. Luxuriously rich, smooth, and flavorful, this ratatouille is practically the best way I know of preparing vegetables that people can’t get enough to eat.

Preparation time: 1 hour and a half, minimum.

1 lb of yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb zucchini, chopped
1 lb yellow squash, chopped
Bell peppers, seeds removed, chopped into 1/2 inch square pieces:
–1 lb green bell peppers
–1/2 lb red bell peppers
–1/2 lb yellow bell peppers
1 lb eggplant, 1/2 inch cubes
1 lb fresh ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to taste
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
3/4 cup vegetable stock (or thin tomato juice)
fresh ground pepper to taste

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2 Using a large oven-proof pan over medium high heat, saute onions in olive oil until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and reduce heat to low.

3 While the onions and garlic are cooking over low heat, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a another frying pan over high heat. As soon as oil starts to smoke, quickly add enough zucchini cubes all at once to cover the bottom of the pan. Keep on cooking over high heat, stirring, until zucchini is lightly browned on all sides. Remove zucchini cubes, and add them to pan with the onions.

4 Repeat process until all of the zucchini cubes have been cooked. Do the same with the yellow squash. Make sure to add a little olive oil between each new batch. Continue with the bell peppers, then the eggplant cubes, adding the browned vegetables to the onion pan as soon as they are cooked.

5 When all the vegetables (except the tomatoes) are browned and in the pan with the onions, increase the heat to high and stir, making sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add salt to taste, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary, the vegetable stock, and stir well. Place in oven for one hour.

6 Boil water in a saucepan on stove. Remove stems from tomatoes, and crisscross the bottoms with a knife. Plunge into boiling water for a minute or two, until skin starts to fall away. Rinse in cold water and remove skin. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise, remove seeds, chop coarsely, set aside.

7 After the vegetables have been in the oven for an hour, remove from oven, drain vegetables in a colander set over a bowl. Clean browned bits (if any) off bottom of pan with a paper towel. Return any liquid to the pan and reduce to a thick glaze over medium high heat. Keep on adding juices to the pan as they run out of the vegetables into the bowl.

8 When all the juices have been reduced, return vegetables to the heavy pan. At this point the ratatouille should be moist and shiny, with very little liquid. Turn heat off. Add the chopped tomatoes and cover. If serving as a warm side dish, let the ratatouille stand for 10 minutes, just enough to “cook” the tomatoes. The ratatouille can be served at room temperature or refrigerated and reheated the next day.

9 When ready to serve, remove the bay leaf, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Dean & Deluca.


*This lovely recipe is an absolute original twist on a traditional Tuscan peasant soup. My family loves this one…though my husband has, with his wry sense of humor, dubbed it “Catch-all Soup.” Anything goes, with ribollita…whatever is hanging out in your vegetable crisper!


4 cans cannellini beans (you may soak your own if so desired, but this is quicker!)
¼ cup olive oil or 1 stick of butter or margarine (olive oil is preferred)
4 ribs of celery, including their tops – chopped
5 -6 lg. carrots – chopped
1 lg. onion – chopped
8 cloves of garlic – minced
2 heaping T. fresh basil, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. oregano, dried
3 T. fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
3 roma tomatoes chopped (or petite diced tomatoes in the can)
¼ cup parmesan cheese
12 – 15 cups chicken stock (equivalent vegetable stock or chicken bouillon with water may be used – amount depends upon how “soupy” you want your soup)
1 cup roughly torn spinach (you may omit – a lovely addition in the spring when spinach is fresh)
*2 cups of chopped ham, sausage or roast pork (only on those “non-fast” days!)
2 cups bread crumbs, Italian or plain (you may substitute stale, crumbled Italian bread or seasoned stuffing mix)

In the bottom of a large stock pot, sauté celery, onions, carrots and garlic in oil or butter, until onion is translucent. Add stock. Bring to a boil. Add beans, basil, oregano, parsley, tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Simmer, covered, for at least an hour. Uncover and gently mash (using a potato masher) with five or six quick strokes. Add torn spinach and bread crumbs. Allow to simmer for at least another 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite crusty Italian bread and just a small drizzle of good olive oil. Enjoy!