Smoked Gouda Cheese and Broccoli Soup

Cheese and Broccoli Soup has been a family favorite for years. So when I had extra Gouda instead of Cheddar I tried this-  quick to make, and even quicker if you use bagged broccoli florets from the grocery store. Steaming the broccoli while you make the soup and adding the broccoli near the end of cooking shortens cooking time and leaves the broccoli tender but not mushy.

Smoked Gouda Cheese and Broccoli Soup

1/4 cup butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1/4 cup flour

2 cups milk

2 cups chicken broth

3 cups shredded Smoked Gouda cheese

2 cups steamed broccoli florets

salt and pepper to taste

nutmeg for sprinkling on top

Saute onion pieces in butter until they begin to caramelize. Stir in 1/4 cup flour, cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add milk and chicken stock and bring to simmer. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add broccoli and simmer until blended. Serve hot with a sprinkle of nutmeg.


Wilted Lettuce

Recently I saw this recipe and my mind ran back home to our kitchen on Sunset Avenue in Jacksonville, Texas. Mother loved wilted lettuce. So did my grandmother. Of course, then it was always made with iceberg lettuce. Any garden greens were cooked with bacon until they were limp. When I was growing up I liked neither of these although I love to use fresh greens of all types now. Mother didn’t use a recipe, but this one is exactly like she made it, often having wilted lettuce for lunch.  I made this, using Romaine Lettuce and less sugar. The vinaigrette made with hot bacon fat makes your mouth water when the vinegar, salt, and sugar sizzle into the skillet, then pour it over onions and greens. Good food and good memories! The photograph is of course, not my parents. But it dates the recipe perfectly.

Apple Rosemary Chicken with Maple Butter Sauce

One pan dinners are on my favorite list. In this recipe, my favorite iron skillet is pan, container and story star!  I roasted the chicken breasts and added the fresh apple slices near the end so they were slightly caramelized but crispy tender. I went to one of the rosemary bushes by our gate and cut 2 sprigs – one for scattering on the chicken and apples plus one for you!

What makes this small iron skillet a story star you ask?  The pan is nearly 60 years old and Joe brought it with him when we got married in 1963. He tells the first stories about it. When he was in the Army 1960-1962, he enjoyed using it to pan for gold with a friend near Fort Baker!  Since then, it has been used countless times for cooking for our family. This is the pan in which I make his favorite eggs, cornbread, and the family favorite, Dutch Baby!

Apple Rosemary Chicken with Maple Butter Sauce                 Serves 2

2 Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts

1 Tablespoon Olive oil

1 Tablespoon butter

2 large apples, peeled and sliced (This time I used Honeycrisp)

Salt and pepper


Fresh rosemary, 2 sprigs

Maple Butter Sauce

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

Blend butter and syrup and heat but do not bring to simmer.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Heat butter and olive oil in small iron skillet, add seasoned chicken breasts, and brown slightly on both sides. Strip rosemary leaves from stem and finely chop. Scatter rosemary over chicken breasts before placing in preheated oven. After 15 minutes, add freshly sliced apples around the edge of the pan. Spoon Maple Butter Sauce over chicken and apples and bake until the apples begin to brown on the edges.  Baste with sauce from the pan at least one time while the browning finishes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.






Cherry Salsa

Dark sweet cherries are one of the most loved of stone fruits. They are packed with nutrition. Applauded for everything from a low glycemic index, fighting inflammation and cancer cells to helping you sleep, a cup of cherries is less than 100 calories and has 3 grams of fiber. Also, these little beauties contain many B-vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B6. But the reason most of us love them and are glad when they are seasonally low priced is their delicious flavor. Simply eating them out of hand is our favorite way to eat them. But if you have a cherry pitter and are willing to spend a bit of time pitting them, this recipe is a sure keeper. I have been ordering groceries delivered since my fall in April and accidentally ordered an extra bag. Since I make mango salsa, strawberry salsa, even melon salsa, I decided to try cherries! The result was a batch of Cherry Salsa to serve with roasted pork tenderloin. Ideas for seasoning from the blog Art From My Table by Chellie Smitz.

Cherry Salsa

 2 heaping cups sweet cherries pitted

1/2 cup rough chopped fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno , minced

1/2 cup sliced green onions or 1/2 cup chopped red onion

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

sea salt to taste (optional)

Stir ingredients together in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve as a topping for grilled meat or chicken.







Cold Asparagus

In my earlier post, I told of our Gourmet Dinner evenings with our neighbors when we lived in Thousand Oaks, California. The sides I prepared to go with the dinner at our house were chosen for their simplicity and ease of preparation. The recipe for Cold Asparagus is so easy it is hard to call it a recipe, but  it is a delicious addition to almost any entree. .

Good Seasons Lemon and Herbs dry salad seasoning mix. (For 2 bunches of asparagus, you will use only 1/2 of the salad seasoning packet.

Lay asparagus spears flat in pan of boiling water to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, lift asparagus out to drain. Cover immediately with ice cubes for 30 minutes to stop cooking process. Remoe any remaining ice, drain, and pat dry. Transfer to serving platter. Sprinkle lightly with 1/2 package Good Seasons Lemon and Herbs dry salad seasoning mix. Cover and refrigerate until served.


Back in the Kitchen

I have been missing from many of my usual places due to a fall and vertebral fracture, with complications that have made me grateful others were doing the cooking!  Part of my treatment is being encased in a bulky cast/brace, no bending, twisting, or lifting. So my contributions to meals have been limited. I have missed Kitchen Keepers posting, so as I return, I would like to sort through my collection of cookbooks, clippings, and family favorites from years past, picking a few to share. Going through old recipes is something I enjoy and rarely have time to indulge in, so this will be fun. I hope you will see one or two you want to try. Almost all of these will have a story!

In 1986, our family made a big change. That was the year that Sean graduated from Plano Senior High School in Plano, TX. It was also the year Joe took a position with ARCO International with headquarters in Los Angeles, CA. He began working in LA soon after the first of the year while the boys and I stayed in Plano for Sean’s senior year finish and to get our house on the market. While Joe looked for a new home for us in California and I readied our family and household for the move. Sean would come with us for the summer, but return to Texas to enter North Texas State University in the fall. We did not know it at the time, but our move to Thousand Oaks, CA would be for just over a year. By Fall the following year,  Joe, Jeremy, Ben, and I were headed to our next home in Jakarta, Indonesia!

During the year that we lived at 347 Bethany Street in Thousand Oaks, we were glad to have Don and Brenda Mann and their daughter, Donna, as neighbors. They and their friend Myrna invited us to begin a supper club, one evening a month where we ate at each others’ homes. It was called Gourmet Dinner. The host for the evening prepared most of the food; others brought an appetizer and dessert. Myrna Bates kindly printed the recipes from March 26, 1987 at our home. I  made Shrimp Toulouse, an item then  on the menu at Court of Two Sisters restaurant in New Orleans, LA. I also served  Baked Rice and Artichokes, Green Beans Rotel, and a cold asparagus salad.  One of the guests brought a hot clam dip and Myrna provided dessert – Eclairs with Praline Sauce.

Shrimp Toulouse

1/4 lb. butter

1/2 cup chopped shallots

1/4 cup diced pimientos

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 cup sliced mushrooms

3 lbs. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup white wine

salt and pepper to taste

Draw butter, add green peppers, shallots, celery, pimiento, mushrooms, and shrimp. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Add wine, salt, and pepper and simmer additional 5 minutes. Add parsley and serve over toast or in patty shells. Serves 6.



Pico de Gallo Egg Muffins

This breakfast muffin recipe has a number of reasons to be a keeper: ease of preparation, good flavor, nutritious, and the advantage of offering many variations just by switching out any ingredient except the eggs! Choose from a list of fresh herbs from your garden, greens like chopped kale and spinach, diced veggies, or add some crumbled cooked sausage or bacon. The muffins keep well in the refrigerator if you want to keep a few to reheat for a busy morning. Joe likes pico de gallo on anything, so he was my reason for trying this combination. In Mexican food, pico de gallo, also called salsa fresca or salsa cruda, is made from chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, serrano peppers, salt, and lime juice, so using this means there is plenty of flavor. But you can use your favorite condiments to add flavor to other combinations.

Pico de Gallo Egg Muffins

(For one 12-cup muffin pan)

9 large eggs, more if using smaller eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 cup pico de gallo, drained (may use purchased or make your own)

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin tin cups with cooking spray. I like to break the eggs into a large Pyrex measuring cup with a pouring lip. Whisk eggs, add salt and pepper, and set aside. Drain the pico de gallo and pat with a paper towel, then divide evenly into the muffin cups. Sprinkle with grated cheese, then pour egg mixture into muffin cups until each is about 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before removing to serving plate. You can refrigerate or freeze the egg muffins if needed for later use. I like to serve these with sliced avocado or fruit.






Chicken and Dumplings

Recently when I was in the kitchen chopping vegetables for Chicken and Dumplings, I wondered if I had ever shared that dish in a post for Kitchen Keepers. I thought I surely must have since it is Joe’s frequent request, but I have not, so here is our favorite version. I have sometimes used fresh herbs, and even tried making scratch dumplings, but this one using refrigerated canned biscuits always gets the most votes. Comfort food, made in my grandmother’s soup pot, it is Southern fare sure to warm hearts and bodies on cold nights!

Chicken and Dumplings

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 carrots, sliced

3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme (I use Penzey’s French Thyme)
2 teaspoons Penzey’s Fox Point (a blend of garlic, dill, chives, and salt)

1 carton chicken broth (4 cups)

3 cups shredded cooked chicken (leftover rotisserie chicken works great!)

1 can refrigerated canned biscuits
salt and black pepper to taste
In a heavy soup pot, heat olive oil and add chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Saute 3-4 minutes, then add spices, chicken broth and chicken. Bring to low boil and cook until carrots are fork tender. Open biscuits, and tear each biscuit into small pieces, dropping into simmering broth. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 15 minutes.


Ham and Cabbage Skillet Dinner

As I posted a few weeks ago I love one dish dinners. I particularly love to make supper in a skillet. The photos look almost the same! Both contain cabbage but the remaining ingredients are very different. We cut the last small cabbages from our winter garden so this is one of the results. You may want to vary the time for cooking the carrot and cabbage in the beginning. We like vegetables still crunchy, but cook longer if you want them fork tender.

Ham and Cabbage Skillet Dinner

2 cups chopped ham

1 Apple, peeled and chopped

3 Carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2 large head or 1 small green cabbage

1/2 tsp Black pepper

1 1/2 tsp Caraway seeds

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tbsp Cider vinegar

2 tbsp Olive oil

1/2 cup White wine
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and carrot and cook, covered, for 4-5 minutes, stirring a few times. Add wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add ham, apple, vinegar, caraway, salt and pepper. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring, or until cabbage and apples are tender and most of the liquid has been reduced.


Egg Roll Skillet Supper


I love one dish dinners. I particularly love to make supper in a skillet. You can serve this right from the pan on the stove for individual portions, or put your favorite trivet on the table, add the skillet full of all these delicious flavors and a big spoon. I promise, it won’t last long. Our family liked this so much we will try it again soon. There are variations all over social media. We like adding red pepper flakes or chili sauce.  This is carb and gluten free, but if you like you can add chow mein noodles for crunch.

Egg Roll Skillet Supper

1 pound ground pork sausage
6 cups coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon ginger minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often to crumble, until cooked through. Do not drain. Add the coleslaw mix, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce to the skillet with the sausage. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until cabbage has softened a bit. Remove from heat, add green onions and drizzle with sesame oil.