Category: Recipes

Recipes for Kelsey

Tuscan Chicken Soup and Chili

Kelsey asked for a couple recipes of the food that she was able to choke down when she lived here. First one is the Tuscan Chicken Soup. It’s pretty good, if I do say so myself. Oddly enough, I think it’s an old Weight Watchers recipe. I got it from a friend at work. He said he often makes it for guests and that they always like it. In fact, I just made it a couple days ago, and there’s a bowl or 2 left over in the fridge right now. Yum.

Tuscan Chicken Soup

  • olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • about 3 14.5oz cans of chicken broth
  • 1/2 Cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 – 14.5oz can of stewed tomatoes (chop up the tomatoes, but keep the liquid and add to soup)
  • 1 – 16oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (fresh ground is best)
  • 1 – 6oz package of fresh baby spinach
  • shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook garlic and onion in oil about 5 mins until tender. I ususally cook the onion for a couple minutes, then throw in the garlic Add chicken and cook about 5 more minutes and crumble the chicken as it cooks
  2. Add the broth and the next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer about 20 minutes until orzo is done.
  3. Stir in the bag o’ spinach until the spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls, and top with cheese. Eat the soup.


Chili is one of those “make it up as you go along” kind of recipes. The basic recipe is a chopped onion and a few minced cloves of garlic cooked in oil until they start to soften. You can also add some chopped green pepper and/or jalapenos if you like that kind of thing.

Add about 2 pounds of ground beef and cook until it’s no longer red, breaking it up as it cooks. You can also use ground turkey, or rough chopped chuck for chili, or a combination if you want.

Then add a large 29oz can of crushed tomatoes, and four 14.5 oz cans of small red beans or kidney beans or whatever beans you like. I usually dump in a 12 oz can of V8 juice and/or a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes because it usually needs more liquid and I like tomatoes.

You need to put in about 3 tablespoons of chili powder to start, and some cumin is nice, about a tablespoon. Add some pepper, maybe a teaspoon or so. Be careful with salt. It’s easy to over-salt. I’d put in just a little, maybe a teaspoon or so, then add small amounts as it cooks if you think it needs more. Remember, you can always add a little salt, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there. Taste it as it cooks and add chili powder or whatever you think it needs more of or what would be good. It will need more chili powder. Worcestershire sauce is good in chili, as is some liquid smoke, if you like liquid smoke.

Let it simmer over low heat until the beans are the correct degree of softness and it thickens up a bit. Put in bowls and if you want, add cheese, sour cream, chopped onions, cornbread or crackers on the side, whatever. Eat the chili.

Bud’s Cowboy Beans


It’s supposed to be lucky to eat beans on the first of the year, or so says the “Organization of American Bean Producers.”  So, we started 2016 out right with a batch of Cowboy Beans using Brenda’s Dad’s recipe. Yum!

Like any good cook, Brenda’s dad had no written recipe for this, he just made it up as he went along.  It’s sweet, tangy, and bacon-y.  What’s not to like?

You need:

  • 5 or so slices of chopped, uncooked bacon,
  • about a pound of hamburger,
  • about 1/2 chopped onion,
  • about 4 cans of various kinds of beans,
  • about 1/2 cup ketchup,
  • 3-4 tablespoons of vinegar or more (depends on how tangy you want it),
  • 1/2 cup or so brown sugar,
  • a tsp of mustard (powdered or prepared),
  • salt, & pepper.

You can also throw in green peppers, molasses, chili powder, liquid smoke (hickory flavor), or whatever you have laying around that you think might taste good.

Cook the bacon, onion, and hamburger and drain.  Throw in everything else and play around until it tastes good to you.

El Az Chicken Enchiladas!

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Delicious chicken enchilads in front of Amandas unfrosted pumpkin cupcakes that are liable to get all dried out and eaten. Brenda getting ready to eat and watching the TeeVee.

I made one of my favorite things tonight:  Chicken Enchiladas a la El Azteco.  El Azteco, or “El Az” as it reverently called, is a tex-mex restaurant in East Lansing, Michigan, home of Michigan State University.  When I attended MSU back in the stone age, El Az was a dingy basement restaurant on M.A.C. St., which is off of Grand River Ave., right across from the Student Union.  Now, El Az is a full-fledged 2 story restaurant about a half a block from its old location that features rooftop dining and pretty much the same wonderful food that I enjoyed 30 something years ago.

They had 2 kinds of chicken enchilada.  One had a red sauce, and it was okay.  The other was called “chili verde” and a  green and white sauce (get it?  green and white?  MSU?) that was hotter.  That’s the one I liked.  I found a recipe on the internet that is allegedly from an ex-employee of El Az.  It sounded completely crazy, but when I made it, well, that was it!  Here’s the recipe.  It makes way too much food, so you can cut the recipe in  half, or better, just freeze half of the sauce and chicken for future eating.

1. Chicken.  You need a mess of chicken, like 4-5 pounds.  So I used thighs because of, you know, the cheapness, and they have a lot of flavor.   Boil the chicken until tender.  It’s best to boil with some celery, carrots, onions, and tomato paste, but you don’t have to.  When it’s done, shred it with 2 forks and put it in a bowl.

2. The sauce. Chop off the stems from 10-12 jalapenos.  You can remove the seeds and pith from the peppers if you want a milder sauce, or leave them in for a hotter sauce, or remove half of them for a medium sauce.   Put the peppers in a food processor and process. You need 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup.  No, wait!  Don’t go away.  I know It sounds nuts, but work with me here.  Add the 2 cans of soup to the peppers, then add a 16 ounce container of sour cream.  Add 2 or 3 tablespoons or so of cumin depending on your level of cumin love,  and a 1/2 cup of water.  Stir.

Heat a corn tortilla in pan & flip it over so it’s soft.  put in a little chicken and some shredded cheese and roll it up like a fat cigar.  Put it in a baking dish.  Do this many times until the pan is full.  Spoon the sauce over the enchiladas and cover with grated cheese.  You can put some scallions on top if you want. Then bake at 350 until the cheese starts to brown.  Eat the enchiladas.  Yum!

Red Velvet

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Sorry, forgot to post for a couple days. I know you’re clicking the page all day long hoping for a post.  And I disappointed you.  Again.  Well, dry those tears, here’s something boring and banal!  At last!

Amanda invited John over for dinner. Gabe, Erin and Julian were supposed to come over, but Gabe isn’t feeling well, so they stayed home. Too bad – their loss. Amanda wanted a chuck roast, natch’. So we had that, potatoes and gravy, and those garlic beans everyone seems to like. And a red velvet cake. Yum!  Good food and interesting conversation – a good night.

Oh, on a humorous note, while I was making the gravy, I unscrewed the pepper cap on one of those huge Costco bottles of pepper and, funny thing, someone had removed the plastic strainer from the bottle so I dumped about a pound of pepper into the gravy.  HA!  It’s funny because it didn’t happen to you!  So we had powdered gravy mix instead.  Delicious!

Last time we had the beans, Erin wanted the recipe, so here you go:

1# green beans – French style are nice
3 tablespoons or so soy sauce
1 tablespoon or so balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar or Splenda
2 tablespoons or so sesame oil
2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

Steam the beans until tender, but not too soft. Cook the garlic for a minute or so in the sesame oil. Mix up the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar and dump that in with the oil and garlic, then add the beans amd mix them up so that they are coated with the sauce. Eat the beans.


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5:43am8:37pm EDT
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