French Onion Soup aka FOS used to be something one could order in a restaurant and that was about all. It was considered a rather elegant choice of soup. Homemade was unheard of. KAYTE is a big fan of FOS and chose this week’s Wednesdays with Donna Hay. Now when I say big fan I mean BIG fan. If there is a recipe out there, she has tried it. I am sooo surprised it took her so long to put it into our rotation!!


In the past I have made Jamie’s English Onion Soup as well as Ree’s French Onion Soup.

I topped Donna’s version with some shredded parmesan and a piece of toast and tuckered into it for lunch. It was very tasty. But I have to admit I prefer Jaime’s. It has sage and cheddar. I found Donna’s to be in need of more flavor and depth.

Check with Chaya, Kayte, and Gaye for their soups.

If you want to try Donna’s Onion Soup it is on her website and on page 27 of Modern Classics Book 1. AND if you want to join us we are using Donna’s Off the Shelf, Modern Classics Book 1, and her online recipes. Just let us know.

The other day I was cooking with the Vanderbilts… okay, not THE Vanderbilts, but A Vanderbilt. It was Jessie of Vanderbilt Wife and believe me, her blog is as rich with delicious recipes as the Vanderbilts are with, you know……!! Which of course made it difficult to chose just ONE!! So, I didn’t…!!

Jessie says,

    “I started Vanderbilt Wife in 2006 as a way to make myself write more regularly. That is still my primary goal. I also want to support other women who feel more than a little imperfect, like myself.

Her first entries are little snippets of her life: Why I hate Bowling”; “Making Memories’:I don’t think being an introvert is a bad thing.” I loved reading each and every one of those.

But as time went by she started adding recipes. Thank you, Jessie!!!

It wasn’t easy picking the recipes – it never is- but I ended up with:


    Crunchy Panko Chicken Fingers



    Parmesan and Herb Chicken Fingers

Both used different methods to make but I decided to use the same method on both “finger groups” and try the different flavors. I used the milk and egg dip for both which gave me a nice solid coat for the chicken pieces. Then I used the differnt herb/spice mixes. Both were sooo good.

Crunchy Panko Chicken

    1 lb. chicken tenders
    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 c. milk
    3/4 c. flour
    1 c. panko bread crumbs
    1 tsp. paprika
    1/2 tsp. cumin
    salt and pepper

Set up bowls, pie plates, or fancy-smancy Pampered Chef coating trays that I kind of wish I had. In the first, place flour. In the second, milk egg and milk. In the third, combine panko, paprika, and cumin.

Season tenders with salt and pepper. Dip in flour, then egg wash, then coat well with panko. Place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and coating is slightly brown.

For the Parmesan Herb Fingers:

    1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
    3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    1 T Italian seasoning
    2 tsp. dried parsley
    1 1/2 T minced garlic
    3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
    generous sprinkling of salt and pepper

    Mix all together with a fork.

Follow the recipe for the Crunchy Fingers.

They were both good and made great wraps:


When it turned cold, finally, I wanted something warm and comforting. What better than SOUP!


In this case, Farmer’s Market Soup or what Jessie referred to as “A Take on Ribollita” which is “simply a “next-day” kind of soup, made with leftovers.” While Jessie put beans and fennel in hers I left them out and added in some shredded cabbage. It was the perfect way to warm up on a cold day. And, better, it was nice and light after all the rich holiday food.

    3 T olive oil
    2 onions, chopped
    2 carrots, sliced
    4 garlic cloves, crushed
    2 celery stalks, finely sliced (I always add some of the inner celery leaves for flavor)
    1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped (this post from Orangette has a good tutorial for cutting fennel)
    2 large zucchini, cut into thin half-moon slices
    14 oz crushed tomatoes
    10 basil leaves, chiffonaded
    4 cups vegetable stock
    14 oz can cannellini or Great White Northern beans
    salt and pepper
    grated Parmesan cheese and Texas toast — optional

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, celery, and fennel. Saute slowly for 10 minutes. Add zucchini and saute an additional two minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, basil, stock, beans and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, simmer 25-30 min. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Serve with Texas toast and Parmesan cheese sprinkled lightly over the top of the bowls.

Super simple, super delicous, super adaptable.

For more of Jessie’s recipes visit her website.

Jessie was my January Assignment for Secret Recipe Club. Visit below for all the other members.

Isn’t it wonderful when simple ingredients…


… can come together and result in a dish that is creamy, full of flavor, and healthy all in one bowl. In this case it was Dorie’s


    Creamy Cauliflower Soup sans Cream

It was very comforting with wedges of buttered toast and a small sprinkle of fried prosciutto. And all it took was 6 simple ingredients. I say it was healthy because there was no cream in the soup and only 1 TBL each of EVOO and butter. The rest of the ingredients added only flavor.

I know there are a lot of people out there who are not fond of cauliflower. Fortunately it was one of few veggies I really liked as a child so making this soup was not a big leap for me. I KNEW it would be good. It’s nice not to be disappointed.

You can find Dorie’s soup on page 68 of Around My French Table

And please visit the other members of

doire FFwD and see if they liked it, too.

Soup is so easy to make. Especially when the ingredients are simple and readily available. The hardest thing to do for this soup was shredding the cooked chicken.

All you need for this comforting bowl of warmth is broth, green onions, corn, soy sauce, garlic, and Chinese cooking wine. What you end up with is a nice simple soup.

I added rice noodles to mine for more body. I have to admit this wasn’t my favorite soup. But if you want simple, this is the one to try.

Check with Gaye and Chaya, who chose this week’s recipe, for their soups. The recipe came from Donna Hayes Modern Classics Book 1 on page 30.

And for me it is definitely spur of the moment. I had decided I wasn’t going to make the soup this week for FFwD. The weather has been in the mid 80s and, to me, that is NOT soup weather. But when Hubs left town and my dinner date fell through I needed something quick and filling. This soup seemed to fit the bill.

    sour-of-the moment Vegetable “Stone” Soup”

…is what Dorie calls this quick and light veggie soup. A mix of sauteed onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, and herbs simmered gently in chicken broth that you can eat ‘chunky’ light style or puree into a smooth silky comfort soup.
I liked the simple broth with veggie chunks, B preferred it slightly pureed.

Either way it is delicious.

Dorie reminds us that it is ‘…it’s more an idea for a recipe than a real recipe…” which means it is highly adaptable to your pantry or veggie bin. tomorrow night I will add a few more vegetables, some pieces of cooked chicken, and some left over pasta which will add more body to the soup. I’ll think of it as neighbors bringing more tidbits to add to the simple stone simmering in water!

Look on page 74 of Around My French Table for the soup ‘concept’ and check out the other soup makers at for their versions of Stone Soup!!

I would like to introduce you to Jaida. She is the blogger behind Sweet Beginnings. And she is my ‘assignment’ for October’s Secret Recipe Club.

Her kitchen is in Central Texas and she shares it with her cat, Sunny, and Bubba, her Boston Terrier. She says she loves food and I believe it. You should see the recipes on her blog. There is a little of everything. Including 38 yes, 38, recipes for tacos. I didn’t know there were that many types of tacos. I was tempted to try several, but had to limit myself so I ended up with three of her recipes. It was a hard choice.

Butternut Squash Risotto

    1 cup arborio rice
    3 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
    1 cup butternut squash soup or puree
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    3 shallots, chopped
    5 sage leaves, finely chopped
    1 tsp butter or olive oil
    2 oz dry white wine
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    freshly ground pepper
    1 tsp salt

In a medium sauce pan heat chicken broth and squash puree. Keep mixture warm over low heat.
In a heavy saucepan, heat butter on a low flame. Add shallots and garlic and saute until golden.
Add risotto and sage and stir well to coat each grain with butter.
Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.
Add salt, pepper, and stock mixture 1/2 a cup at a time stirring constantly until absorbed. Continue this process until all the stock is used, about 25-30 minutes from the time you started.
When all the liquid is absorbed, stir in the grated cheese and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

This was a good risotto. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it might be a little sweet because of the butternut squash. But any sweetness was cut by the sage and white wine which are included in the risotto. I just learned how to make risotto so any time I see a recipe I know I have to try it. So glad I did. We both liked it which I didn’t expect, especially from my Other Half.


Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon sifted mustard powder
    1 tsp garlic powder {I think I would use a little more.}
    ¼ teaspoon sifted cayenne pepper
    ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
    2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
    Approximately 1/2 cup cold milk

Preheat oven to very hot 475°F.
Triple sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.) Mix in mustard powder, garlic powder, cayenne, grated cheese, and chives.
Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse beach sand.
Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the biscuits will be!
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about 3/4 inch thick. Using a well-floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, stamp out without twisting six 2-inch rounds, gently reform the scraps into another 3/4 inch layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones.
Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly colored on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

These were quite good. Each bite gave a hint of garlic which quickly disappeared. For that reason I would add just a little more garlic. I left out the cayenne pepper because I didn’t want a spicy biscuit, just a cheese-y chive-y one. And they were just that! I don’t often make biscuits, but these are definite keepers.

And they were perfect to serve with….

    Loaded Potato Soup

B’s favorite soup is Potato soup. I made lots of it while he was sick and haven’t made it in a while. It is filling, comforting, and warming on a cold day. And since it is only supposed to be 49 in the morning it seemed like a perfect time to make it.

    6 slices of bacon, chopped
    1 medium onion, diced
    3 medium carrots, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced {Left out because I didn’t have any.}
    2 garlic cloves, finely minced
    4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
    1 tsp dried thyme
    4 c chicken vegetable stock or broth
    2 oz cream cheese
    1/4 c heavy cream or half and half
    1 c shredded cheddar, jack or colby cheese, divided
    2 c steamed broccoli
    3 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon from pan to paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the pot.
Add olive oil if necessary for 2 tablespoons total, and add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, then add carrots and garlic. Allow the vegetables to cook until they start to develop some color.
Add the potatoes and thyme, stirring to combine, and season with salt and pepper again. Add the chicken broth and bring the soup to a simmer. Cook until potatoes begin to fall apart, about 10-15 minutes. Break up potatoes with a potato masher to desired texture. Over low heat, add the cream cheese and cream, if using, and stir until cream cheese melts. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheese.


Serve topped with the reserved bacon, remaining cheese, steamed broccoli and scallions.

Now that you have seen a sample of Jaida’s offerings you need to go by for a visit.

And stop by the other bloggers (below) who participate every month with Secret Recipe Club. Fun times every month. You should join us.

    “Oh the wind is lashing lustily
    And the trees are thrashing thrustily
    And the leaves are rustling gustily
    So it’s rather safe to say
    That it seems that it may turn out to be
    It feels that it will undoubtedly
    It looks like a rather blustery day, today
    It sounds that it may turn out to be
    Feels that it will undoubtedly
    Looks like a rather blustery day today.”

But if Pooh was at my house today, where it is actually chilly but sunny, he could warm up with this comforting tasty anti-Blustery day soup!

    Hay’s potato and parmesan soup with parsley pesto

is rich and thick and flavorful with the addition of the pesto – that’s the green swirl you see!! And very easy to make. Sautee the onions and garlic in butter, add peeled, chopped potatoes, cook, and Parmesan cheese and milk and Voilà, you have a soup that will keep you warm all day long.

The pesto is made with parsley but since I couldn’t find ANY (can you belive that?) at the store I used some basil/cashew nut pesto I had hanging out in the fridge.

    Oh. So. Good!!!

This was Kayte’s choice for Donna Hay Wednesday which I am having fun with along with Gaye of Laws of the Kitchen

If you want to join us, just leave a comment with any one of us, we would love to have you. Let me twist your arm like Kayte twisted mine!! Didn’t take much of a twist!!!

The recipe for the soup is on Donna’s Site.

I think Winter has finally arrived in The Deep South. The wind is howling (literally!) down our veranda. The temperatures have dropped dramatically {23° tonight is predicted}. There is a fire offering warmth from the fireplace. IT is a perfect day for soup. And a perfect day for this simple little soup from Hazan’s 30 Minute Pastas.

    Minestrina per i Bambini

This soup is as simple as it gets but big on flavor. You simply bring Italian Meat Broth {which you can sub water + beef boullion + chicken boullion for} to a boil Add the pasta {I used timy little star pasta} and cook until al dente. Hazan says you can add butter, but it is optional {I don’t think so!!}. And then added grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The cheese and the butter give it so much flavor. They add just that little extra level that not only thicken the soup but add depth of flavor, and more texture.

You can find the recipe on page 39 of Hazan’s 30 Minute Pastas.

There are several of us participating in 30 Minute Thursday’s using Hazan’s book. Kayte made Tagliatelle with Peas and Peggy made Spinach and Ricotta Penne so go check their pastas out. You won’t be sorry. And if you want to join in (we just cook from his book and post on Thursdays) just leave one of us a comment and we will include you in our posts.

See ya next Thurday!!

FINALLY!!! There is cool weather in the Deep South. And that means it is time for Gumbos, Stews, and Soups. FINALLY!!! I do miss those in the Summer.

I found a recipe for this soup in Secret Ingredients published by the Junior League here in Central Louisiana.


    4 slices bacon
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    3 tablespoons flour
    3 cups half-and-half **
    2 cups chopped cooked chickent
    1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
    ½ teaspoon thyme
    1 (17-ounce) can whole Kernel com, drained
    1 large potato, peeled, chopped, parboiled
    1 carrot, peeled, chopped, parboiled
    6 chicken bouillon cubes
    ¼ teaspoon pepper
    1 tablespoon flour (optional)
    2 tablespoons water (optional)

Cook the bacon in a large saucepan until crisp. Remove the bacon and crumble. Saute
the onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Stir in 3 tablespoons flour. Add the half-and-half, whisking constantly. Add the chicken, Creole seasoning, thyme, corn, potato, carrot, bouillon cubes and pepper and mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally; do not boil again. Combine 1 tablespoon flour and water in a
bowl and mix well. Add to the chowder to thicken as needed. Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle with the bacon.

** May substitute 1 ½ cups.half-and-half.and 1 ½ cups 2% milk for 3 cups half-and-half.

MAJOR good soup. Filling! Delicious! Comforting! Family liked it! That’s all I need to make it again. Little pieces of carrot and potato add a great texture. As does the crumbled bacon. YUM!!

But I will decrease the amount of Creole Seasoning. It was a little ‘peppy’. But it was very easy. Definitely a repeat here!!


    1. Large in quantity; abundant.
    2. Giving generously.

And that is exactly what I found when I went to my ‘assigned’ blog for October’s Secret Recipe Club:

Si is a stay-at-home Mom who happens to Live In Bountiful, Utah. She loves to cook and bake. And her kitchen is BEAUTIFUL!!

So many wonderful recipes to choose from. Desserts. Breads. Soups. Sides. Game. It has everything! And everything looked delicious. And every time I went back to look at the recipes again and try and choose there was a new one up. Just made it harder to make that final choice. Finally I ended up with three but I couldn’t choose between them so I did all of them.

    For Breakfast:

    Fresh Cranberry Apple Scones

How could I pass up SCONES!!! On Si’s blog these are actually Fresh Cranberry Scones. I searched and searched for the bag of cranberries in the freezer to no avail. I was determined I was going to make these scones so I subbed in an equal amount of diced Granny Smith Apple. O. My. Goodness!! The scone recipe was perfect and with the apples there were little bits of tart mixed in with the sweetness of the scones. They are spinkled with Turbinado sugar before baking and then topped with Whipped cream after. Si used Almond but since mine were made with apples I made a cinnamon cream and then sprinkled the whole thing with Cinnamon Sugar.

    1 cup fresh cranberriesdiced apples
    1/4 cup sugar
    3 cups flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoons salt
    3 tablespoons sugar
    6 tablespoons butter, softened
    3/4 cup buttermilk
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 egg, beaten
    Turbinado sugar

Peel and chop apples coarsely. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cut in softened butter. Add buttermilk, vanilla and egg. Mix well. Add apples and any juice in bowl to dough. Mix in a little milk if dough is too dry. Knead lightly a few times until all dough is gathered, and forms a ball. Place on lightly floured surface and pat into two 5 inch or one 10 inch circle, about 1 inch thick. Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Bake on greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. When scones are done, remove from oven and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Serve with Cinnamon Cream.

    Makes 8 large or 16 small scones.

Cinnamon Cream:

    1/2 pint whipping cream
    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 Tbl {Or to taste} ground cinnamon

Whip cream until it starts to thicken. Add powdered sugar and cinnamon. Continue whipping until stiff. Serve with scones.

    For Lunch:

    Butternut Squash Soup

I had some Steamed Butternut Squash sitting in the fridge. This was the perfect way to use it.

    1 sweet onion, chopped
    1 Butternut Squash peeled, seeded and cubed. About 5-6 cups
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    dash nutmeg
    salt and pepper to taste
    4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    3 tablespoons cream or half and half, optional

Place onion and olive oil in large stockpot cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add squash, brown sugar and seasonings. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Add broth and cook until squash is soft. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients in the stockpot until smooth. Add more salt and pepper to taste and cream, if desired. Garnish and serve.
Approx 6 servings. {I used the heavy cream and it gave the soup a nice deep flavor.}

Si a curry variaion listed on her blog but of course I remembered that AFTER I had eaten the soup. NEXT TIME!!!!

The soup was wonderful. I really didn’t think I would like it, but I did and I will make it again. It is Butternut season after all.


Can you handle just one more?? Thought you could!!

    For Dinner:

    Veggies Lover’s Quesadilla

You can find this recipe on Si’s Blog. Super Simple and very adaptable to individual tastes. And very, very tasty!!

I made mine with Zucchini, mushrooms, Spinach, PepperJack Cheese, red peppers, onions, and Pesto I had made before. I think Si used her veggies raw. I decided to stir-fry mine crisp tender.


Thanks, Si, for all your delightful recipes!!

If you are somewhat adventurous and like to ‘meet’ new people you really should join up with Secret Recipe Club:which was founded by Amanda. It is great fun and a fantastic way meet fellow foodies AND their food.<P

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