Butternut Squash/Sweet Potato Soup

YUM! What a wonderful soup to prepare and enjoy with your homemade croutons and a little fried sage as a garnish. The cooler (cold) weather is coming and it is a nice way to start the season.

  • 1 lb. cubed, peeled butternut squash
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 generous sized sweet potato, peeled and cut in cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. good olive oil
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 McIntosh apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 900 ml vegetable broth (no salt)
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl toss together the squash, garlic, potato, onion, pinch of salt and pepper mixing well. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread the mixture out and bake for 15 minutes, turn the vegetables over and bake a further 15-17 minutes until tender.

In a large pot, melt the butter over a low heat and cook the apple until soft,  stirring gently for about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the vegetable mixture and pour in the broth bringing up to the boil. Reduce the temperature and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the cream and lemon juice. Blend this until smooth. Now the fun part, strain back into the pot so you have a perfectly smooth soup. Don’t cheat or it won’t be the same.


  • 7 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 slices white bread cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp. finely grated Asiago cheese

In a skillet, heat the oil and cook the bread for about 5 minutes, tossing until a golden brown. Remove from the heat and toss with the grated cheese. You are almost done.


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6-7 sage leaves

In a small frypan cook the sage leaves until crisp (about 3 minutes). Remove from the pan and place the leaves on a paper towel to cool.

To serve, heat the soup up and ladle into pretty bowls, top with the croutons and a leaf or two.

Now you can proudly say “damn I did this”.

Super Smooth Butternut Squash Soup

This is recipe #1775


What can I say? Don is on a roll again today. We had a large squash on hand and he decided to make this soup. OMG! I’m sure glad he did. Make it – try it and you will make it again and again.

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes. cubed
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 1/2 containers of chicken stock (44 ounces)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • grate a pinch of whole nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp. butter

Melt the butter in a large pot and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes and squash for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low , cover with a lid and simmer for 60 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Add the nutmeg and cream.

Using a hand held blender (we called the motor boat) and blend until really, really smooth. If any stock left, add now and again, season with salt and pepper.


Old Fashioned Onion Soup

We have had this sitting in our recipe box now for over 30 years and I thought it might be a giggle to make it up again. It was delicious back then and should be even more so now. Let’s go!

  • 1/4 cup  butter
  • 4 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 4 cans (10 1/2 oz. size), undiluted condensed beef broth
  • 6 slices, French bread, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
  • 2 tbsp. grated Asiago cheese

In a large skillet, sauté the onions in the butter until a light golden but not burned. This should take about 8 minutes.

Place the bread slices under the broiler, toasting both sides. Sprinkle each slice with the grated cheeses, dividing equally..

Add the onions to the broth, making sure to combine well.  Heat well and pour equally into the soup bowls. Add a toast on  top of each bowl.  Place under the broiler just until the cheeses have melted (Serves 6). Add a beautiful salad and you have a light meal.

Corn and Crab Bisque

This was one of the dishes that was made at the New Orleans School of Cooking and believe me when I say when the offer for seconds was announced, there was a mad rush of almost all 50 people to the front for more. It was fabulous.

Here it is for you to try and you’re welcome!

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 lb. butter (1 stick)
  • 1 qt. heavy cream
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • Joe’s Stuff seasoning to taste
  • 1/2 lb. crab meat (both canned and claw)
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped
  • 24 oz. whole corn with liquid (do not use creamed)
  • crab boil to taste (flavouring)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley for garnish

In a large pot, place stock, spices, 1/2 of the corn and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 10-12 minutes.

Make a blonde roux with equal parts butter and flour. Add roux to your simmering pot. Add the cream and then stir in the remaining corn, crabmeat and simmer for another 5 minutes. DO NOT LET THIS BOIL.

Add in half of the onions.


**Use the balance of the onions and parsley for garnish, if you wish.

You can substitute crab for lobster or shrimp if you wish.


Cock-a-Leekie Soup

This is a very popular soup in Scotland and I know you will like it when you make it yourself.

It is not difficult to make and lists most of the ingredients needed already in your kitchen.

  • 3 lb. whole chicken
  • 9-10 cups of water
  • 5 leeks, both green and white parts, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 large stalks celery, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large sprigs of parsley, stems removed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • generous pinch of salt
  • chopped parsley for garnish

Wash the chicken and then tie the legs and wings close to the body. Place in a large stock pot. Add the water, making sure you have enough to cover the chicken and bring to a boil.

Add the leeks, celery, parsley, barley, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and salt. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes (until the chicken is VERY tender.)

Remove the chicken from the stock pot and set on a platter. Cool it enough to be able to remove the meat from the bones. Cut the meat in short slivers; discard all the bones, skin and cartilage.

Return the meat to the stock  and reheat well. When ready to serve, sprinkle each bowl with the chopped parsley.

Serve with toast, warmed buns or simply crackers.

Here in this country, it would be simply called chicken soup I think. Enjoy!


Chowder For Autumn Days

Summer is now officially gone and our beautiful Autumn Days are  upon us. This is a terrific chowder to make and savour.


  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots (use the rainbow carrots if you can)
  • 1/2 cup celery (peeled) sliced thin
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 16 oz. can tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 cups McLarens Cheddar cheese (red bowl)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • pinch of salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan melt the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the vegetables and simmer until they are tender.

Add the milk, cream, Worcestershire sauce and bouillon cubes. Simmer this now for about 35 minutes over a low temperature.

Stir in the cheese and parsley, When melted season with salt and pepper

If you have small pumpkin shaped soup bowls they would be perfect. As most of us don’t, use a pretty soup bowl and top with a cheese tuile.**

It is okay as your guests will probably lick the bowls. It really is a yummy chowder.


** On a parchment lined baking sheet, grate cheddar cheese and in small amounts, mound about 3 inches apart, bake until completely melted and smelling wonderful. Remove from the oven,. let cool completely and carefully peel off the paper. ooooooohhhhh!


Exciting Soup in Acorn Shells

Sorry people for being so long without posting a recipe for you but moving and doing a renovation at the same time is not the way to go.

This soup is really a showcase for your talents, so give it a go.

  • 4 large acorn squash with stems and flat bottoms
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
  • 1/4 lb. Gruyere cheese

Cut around the stems so you carve out a lid. Scrape out the seeds and discard, making sure the stringy pieces  and pulp are scraped out, but leaving a 1/2 thick shell. Discard the stringy pieces.

In a medium size pot, combine the pulp and broth, bringing to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer briskly until the liquid is reduced to about 2 cups. This will take about 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree until very smooth. Add the cream and seasonings.

Put the rack in your oven to the lowest position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide half the cheese among the 4 squashes and ladle soup over the cheese. Top each one with the remaining cheese. Cover with the lids.

Arrange in a shallow roasting pan and bake until the squash is dark in colour and tender (40-45 minutes). Place the individual squash into soup bowls and serve. Just make sure you have a side plate to remove the lid on.

Triangles of cheese toast will also enhance the flavours, so place some on a plate and let everyone help themselves. Oh and perhaps  glass of a crisp white wine will also work. Count me in!


Homemade Tomato Soup With A Surprise Crouton

If you lived in my home, you would be eating soup almost everyday for lunch…homemade soup only. Don loves his soup and, let me assure you, it is always awesome. Here is another one for you to try.

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, threads removed and chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, seeds removed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 1-796ml can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a fry pan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is translucent but be careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the carrot, celery, pepper, tomato paste, lime juice, sugar, salt and cayenne. Cook, stirring until the vegetables are soft. This should take about 5 minutes.

Add the broth, diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. (until the vegetables are tender)

Puree in a couple of batches until very smooth and return to pan to keep warm while you make the croutons.


Make these like a grilled cheese sandwich. Butter both sides of the bread and place in the fry pan. Top each slice with the cheese and add the second slice of bread. When golden on one side, flip over and cook until the cheese has melted and the bread has turn a golden colour.

Remove from heat and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Pour your soup into warmed soup bowls and top with the croutons.

You still have the tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich but on a smaller level. YUM!


Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

I happen to really like sweet potatoes so this is a real winner. You can increase the amount of leeks if you wish, but for me, I find the taste to be milder and more palatable with the amounts in the recipe.


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 bunch leeks, white parts only. Wash really well; slice
  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup  – 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup, chopped chives (optional)

In a large saucepan, sauté the onion, leeks and garlic in the butter until they become soft.

Stir in the potatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes. Now add the chicken broth, nutmeg, salt, cayenne pepper simmering until the potatoes are soft. (about 20 minutes)

In batches, pour into a food processor or use a hand held blender, processing until smooth. Stir in the cream and heat through. Ladle into your prettiest bowls and, if using, sprinkle a few chives on top.

Spicy Chicken Soup

If you are a fan of Mexican food, then you will love this. It is spicy hot, and will remind you of any Mexican meal you ever  had.


  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 carton 900 ml chicken broth
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups canned tomatillos
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 3 tbsp. finely diced pickled jalapenos
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Before we start, I was going to add 1 lime, cut in wedges, 4 tequila shots…..to take away the fire of the soup, but I didn’t.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic cloves. Cook until the onion softens (3 minutes).  Stir in the tomato paste and chili powder and cook for a further 1 minute.

Pour in the broth and add the chicken. Cover and boil for about 8 – 9 minutes, until cooked through. Transfer chicken to a cutting board to cool slightly.

To the pot, add the canned tomatillos, frozen corn, jalapenos and reduce the heat to medium. Gently boil for 5 minutes.

Using two forks, shred the chicken and stir into the soup. Ladle into 4 bowls and top with the avocado and cilantro.



Mushroom Bisque With Spicy Croutons

I love bisques and chowders more than any other soup and this one is at the top of my list. Can you guess I LOVE mushrooms done any way.


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dried mushrooms
  • 2 lbs. fresh crimini, white, and  portabello mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, chopped coarsely
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 leek, white part only, rinsed extremely well, chopped coarsely
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • sea salt and white pepper
  • 1 stalk celery, ribs removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stalk
  • 1/4 cup sweet sherry (Marsala)
  • 1 Yukon gold potato, peeled, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
  • pinch of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Spiced Croutons (recipe below)

Bring the water to a boil. In a bowl, place the dried mushrooms, add the boiling water over and set aside.

Clean and trim the mushrooms, chop coarsely and set aside.  Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add the leek, shallots, pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for about 5-6 minutes until the shallots begin to brown. Add the celery and rosemary and continue to cook for two minutes.

Add the fresh mushrooms and season with salt and pepper, stirring often for about 5 minutes, until they cook down to half their volume. Using a slotted spoon, add the porcini mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and add to the pot. Increase the heat to high and cook for 60 seconds.

Slowly pour the reserved liquid into the pot, making sure no sediment gets into the pot. Now add the stock, sherry and potatoes. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 12-13 minutes or until they are tender. Turn the heat off and let the soup sit for about 9 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If using a blender, puree in small batches or use a hand held immersion blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a clean pot and add the thyme and whipping cream, Stir well. If too thick, simply add more whipping cream (of course). Simmer for 5 minutes and ladle into warm soup bowls and top with the spicy croutons.


Spicy Croutons

  • 1/4 tsp. of each of the following: dried basil, white pepper, oregano, thyme, dried dill, garlic powder and ground celery seeds
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 9-10 slices of baguette, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything together in a small bowl. In a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the spices and salt to taste.

Pour over the bread cubes to coat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes until golden.

Stir just once during the baking time. Let cool down and top each bowl of soup with this delectable tidbit.



Super Bowl Third Quarter Meal

I, like the rest of the world, seem to be interested in the Super Bowl beit the game or just the commercials,  but this may help you get through the day with the least amount of work.


Mini Grilled Cheese and Ham Pumpernickel Sandwiches

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
  • 32 cocktail size pumpernickel bread slices
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Havarti cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 8 thin slices of ham, each cut in half

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour half in a small bowl and set aside. Add sage to the remaining butter in the saucepan and stir for 30 seconds.

Arrange 16 slices of the bread on a clean surface and brush lightly with the sage butter. Mix together the cheeses and divide among the slices.

Fold half slices of the ham to fit over the cheese.

Top with remaining bread, pressing to adhere. Brush the tops of the sandwiches lightly with the butter. Heat a large fry pan on medium heat and place four sandwiches, butter side down in the pan and grill until golden (4-5 minutes). Brush the top of the sandwiches with butter and turn over, cooking until the cheese melts, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.

Serve with a Chipotle Spiced Tomato Soup – recipe follows.


Chipotle Chili Tomato Soup

  • 2 x 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes in juice
  • pinch of cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small chipotle chili, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. white sugar
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes with juice. Set aside.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the cumin. When they begin to sizzle, add the oil, onion, garlic and ginger. Saute until the onion is soft (4-5 minutes).

Stir in the chipotle, chicken stock, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Working in small batches, transfer soup to a blender and process until completely smooth. Serve in small cups with the mini cheese sandwiches and you just scored a touchdown.

Yahoo! Yummy.