Beef and Vegetable Soup















I picked up some frozen vegetables today at Walmart and threw some ingredients together for this soup. I was skeptical about it, but the family loved it. Although I had tasted the soup a few times while adding ingredients, I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted the finished product!

The bacon ended up in here because I had some end pieces left in the fridge and besides,  bacon makes most anything better! The peperoncini juice is a strange addition, but since I didn’t use canned tomatoes like usual, the juice seemed like a good substitution for the tang of the tomatoes but with an added flavor boost. It worked. Whew!

As always, the ingredient amounts are approximate. 🙂

Beef Vegetable Soup
8-10 servings

1 1/2 lbs ground chuck
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 c seasoning blend vegetables (photo below)

Seasoning Blend


32 oz frozen soup vegetables (photo below)

Vegetable Soup Blend
Vegetable Soup Blend

Water (enough to cover and for desired soupiness)

1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
3 – 4 T peperoncini juice
2 t beef bouillon paste (“Better Than Bouillion”)
1 t chicken bouillon paste
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t Mrs. Dash garlic & herb seasoning
1 t marjoram flakes
1/4 t onion powder
Fresh ground sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Pinch brown sugar

1. In large stew pot, crumble and brown ground chuck. Drain, if desired.

2. Meanwhile, in separate skillet, sauté chopped bacon.

3. Add seasoning blend to skillet, and sauté until slightly caramelized.

4. Add seasoning blend and bacon to browned meat.

5. Add water, soup vegetables, and seasonings.

6. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for about an hour.

7. Enjoy!

Janice Powell 2014


Meatball Stroganoff and Noodles

Stroganoff JPG
Meatball Stroganoff and Noodles served with Sautéed Asparagus and Almonds

I woke up from a nap this afternoon thinking of meatballs with some sort of cream sauce.  I don’t recall ever having bought frozen meatballs, but I had purchased some recently to try another recipe. Since there were still oodles left in the giant Sam’s bag in the freezer, I thought I’d try them again.

Note: Mushrooms aren’t allowed in any size, shape, or form in any recipe in my house. My husband detects even a microscopic speck of a mushroom and scrapes it to the edge of his plate. I have given up.

I messed with this sauce until it tasted like I wanted it to. So I present to you a sort-of stroganoff that is certified mushroom-less.

Meatball Stroganoff and Noodles
Serves 8-10

4 T butter
3 T flour
2 t beef bouillon paste
1 t chicken bouillon paste
1 1/2 c water
1/4 t garlic
1/2 t marjoram flakes
3 T white cooking wine
1 T worcestershire sauce
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 c sour cream

2-3 T olive oil
1 c water
30-40 frozen meatballs
Country style noodles (I purchase the big bag from Sam’s – cook as many as you think you’ll need. )
Parsley flakes for garnish

First, start water to boil in large pot for noodles. The country style noodles take 20-25 minutes to cook.

Meatballs:  In large skillet, add oil and heat to medium heat. Add frozen meatballs, stirring and browning all around. Reduce heat and add about 1 c water. Cover and simmer while cooking sauce.

Noodles:  Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, return to noodle pan, and keep covered until ready to serve.


1. In medium saucepan, heat butter until melted and simmering.
2. Whisk in flour and cook on low to medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring to keep from lumping and scorching.
3. In large measuring cup, stir together bouillon pastes and water, then whisk into flour and butter mixture.
4. Stir in seasonings, wine, and worcestershire.
5. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
6. Whisk in sour cream.

Pour sauce into meatballs and simmer, covered, on low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add cooked noodles to large serving bowl and pour meatballs and sauce over. Sprinkle parsley on top and serve.

All amounts are approximate.

Recipe for Sautéed Asparagus with Almonds is here.

Janice Powell 2014


Swirled Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies

brownie 1I experimented today for our Easter meal by combining two of the best dessert ingredients: cocoa and peanut butter. The result was a panful of peanut butter gooey stuff on the bottom and my regular brownie recipe on top. Delicious!

You’ll want to mix these in separate bowls and preheat your oven to 350.

Brownie Layer:

1/2 c butter, softened

1 c sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c cocoa powder

1/2 c flour

2 t vanilla extract

1/3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

In mixer bowl, blend butter, sugar, and eggs on low speed. Add flour, cocoa, and vanilla and mix until blended. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave for about 45 seconds or until melted. (Microwave ovens vary so watch closely.) Stir and add to mixture in mixer bowl. Turn up mixer speed a few notches and beat for a minute until mixture is smooth.

Peanut Butter Layer:

1/4 c butter, softened

1/4 c peanut butter

1 c sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c flour

2 t vanilla extract

In separate mixing bowl, stir all ingredients together with spoon until blended.

In 9×13 baking dish (trust me, it doesn’t need to be greased), spread the peanut butter mixture evenly, then spread the brownie mixture over it. With a butter knife, swirl the batters around a bit. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is slightly shiny and doesn’t slip when you tilt the pan slightly. Serve warm or cooled, preferably with ice cream or whipped cream. If you really want to get crazy, drizzle your homemade chocolate syrup on top.

Hint: If you would like a 9×13 pan of fudge brownies and no peanut butter, double the recipe for the brownie layer and bake as directed above.

Janice Powell 2014




SautĂ©ed Asparagus with Sliced Almonds

My hubby has an aversion to most things green, so I was excited that he said this was delicious! I have attempted cooking asparagus a few times but was never pleased with the results until now. One trick is not to cook it too long. It needs to be crisp tender so as not to peg my too-mushy-to-swallow meter.

Asparagus JPG

1 bunch fresh asparagus
Extra light olive oil
1/2 t coarse sea salt, to taste
1/4 t Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy
1/4 t smoked paprika
1 t minced garlic (I used freeze dried)
2 T sliced almonds (I used oven roasted from the salad dressing aisle)

Rinse asparagus and trim off tough ends. Heat 2 T olive oil in stainless steel skillet (my preference) on medium heat and add asparagus and seasonings and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes, turning pieces with tongs. Drizzle in more olive oil if needed. Cover with lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer for a few minutes. Remove lid, increase heat to medium, and turn pieces several times as they sauté for a few more minutes. Sprinkle in sliced almonds and sauté about one more minute. Remove from heat and place asparagus on platter. With rubber spatula, scoop out the yummy stuff left in the skillet onto top of asparagus and serve.

Janice Powell 2014

Pumpkin Banana Bread

bread saucer 2

I like both banana bread and pumpkin bread, so I decided to combine the two. This recipe makes three large loaves, so maybe your family can eat one and you can share the other two. Or you can be like us and eat them all! The texture and flavor is even better the next day after baking.

½ c butter, softened
1 c applesauce
1 c brown sugar
2 c white sugar
6 eggs
4 small or 2 large overripe bananas, mashed
1 15-oz can pumpkin
3 t baking soda
1 Âľ t salt
2 c wheat flour
3 ½ c white flour (or 3 1/4 c white and ¼ c almond flour)
½ c yogurt, vanilla or plain
1/3 c hot water
2 t vanilla
1 ½ T ground cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
½ t ground cloves (optional)
Brown sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients (except brown sugar for topping) with a spoon or mixer on low just until all is moistened. Pour into three 9×4 loaf pans that have been lightly buttered or sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

bread in pan before baked
Ready to bake

Bake for about 45 minutes in convection oven. Adjust time accordingly for conventional oven. (Truth is I don’t really know how long I baked it, but it’s done when thin knife or uncooked spaghetti inserted in center comes out clean.)

bread pan baked
Cooling in pan

Allow to cool on cooling rack for ten minutes then remove from pans. Cooling for 30 minutes longer will make the loaves easier to slice. Store in plastic wrap or bag after completely cooled.

bread on platter
Ready to slice and serve
bread saucer 1
My Grandma’s dishes make it pretty!

Janice Powell 2013

White Chili’s Cousin

White Chili's CousinWet stuff fell from the sky here today after no substantial rain for about a month. Temps are cooler and the house is darker, so it seems like a soup sort of day! I intended to make white chili, but decided to change it up a bit, resulting in a soup that’s a tasty cousin of white chili. I have listed everything I put in it, but, as usual, the amounts are estimates! I served it with wheat French bread, sliced, drizzled with olive oil, lightly salted with ground sea salt, and toasted in the broiler.

White Chili’s Cousin

3 boneless chicken breast halves
1 c onions and green and red peppers (I used frozen fajita mixture)
1 medium zucchini, sliced or diced thinly
3 T butter or extra light olive oil (I used some of each)
3 cans garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 c salsa
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 – 1/2 t ground white pepper
pinch chipotle chili powder
1 1/2 t ground smoked paprika
1 T chicken bouillon paste
pinch brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste

In large pot, boil chicken in water, covered, until tender (about 45 min for large ones), remove from pot, and shred with two forks. Keep the broth in the pot. In skillet, saute onion mixture in half of the butter or olive oil until caramelized, then add to broth. Add remaining butter to skillet and saute zucchini until lightly caramelized, then add to broth. (Zucchini doesn’t take as long as onions and peppers, and you don’t want it to get squishy.) Return broth to gentle boil, add remaining ingredients, and stir in shredded chicken. Boil gently for about 15 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Janice Powell 2013

Hearty “Buttermilk” Pancakes and Homemade Syrup

These pancakes are wholesome and filling and taste so much better than those from a mix!


Dry ingredients:

1 c white flour

1 c whole wheat flour (or brown rice flour or combination)

2 T wheat germ

2 T sugar (optional)

2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

Wet ingredients:

2 eggs

ÂĽ c oil + oil for griddle

1 c plain or vanilla yogurt

1 c milk

2 t vanilla

In large bowl combine dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients all together to dry ingredients, and stir until combined. Batter is thick and somewhat lumpy. Heat oil in non-stick skillet to medium. Spoon about 1/3 c batter for each pancake into skillet and cook until golden on both sides. Serve with butter and syrup or whipped cream and fruit. Makes approximately 12-15 5-inch pancakes.

This syrup is a pleasant alternative to “fake” maple syrup or additive-laden bottled syrup.


2 c water

3 c white sugar

1 c brown sugar

2 T molasses

2 t vanilla extract

1 t almond extract

In large saucepan, stir together water and sugars over medium heat. Bring to gentle boil, uncovered, and add molasses and extracts. Gently boil uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir unused syrup in refrigerator. Syrup thickens with refrigeration. Makes approximately 1 ½ pints.

Janice Powell 2013

Cashew Chicken with Fried Rice

Cashew Chicken (with plain brown rice)
Cashew Chicken (with plain brown rice)

If you have read my other recipes, you know I am not very in to exact measurements. Take these as estimates. I always cook for a crowd, so these proportions make quite a bit. The chicken and sauce recipes are adapted from a church cookbook from nearly 40 years ago. So, little lady from Southeast Missouri, here’s my version of your recipe. As for the fried rice, it’s just one of a jillion ways you could make it.

Since these nuggets are so good by themselves, I have trouble with the supply of nuggets on the platter disappearing while I’m still cooking the rest. Enjoy!

Cashew Chicken
About 8 servings

6-8 boneless chicken breast halves, cut in 1” cubes
2 egg whites
1/4 c water
1/4 c soy sauce
Cornstarch (enough for dipping chicken)
Oil for frying (I prefer extra light olive oil)

In large bowl, whisk together egg whites, water, and soy sauce. Add chicken and stir until all chicken is covered. Let stand covered in refrigerator for as long as you have before you have to start cooking, preferably overnight.

Add cornstarch (nearly a whole box – save 2 T for sauce) to a large bowl. With a slotted spoon or tongs, add chicken to cornstarch and coat each piece thoroughly. Heat oil (about 1/4” deep in skillet) to medium heat and add chicken pieces one at a time, making sure they do not stick together. Cook until golden brown on one side then turn them over to cook on the other side, probably about 6-8 minutes total. Drain on paper towels.

2 c chicken broth
1/4 c soy sauce
2 T white cooking wine
2 T cornstarch
2 T water
Green onions, chopped
Cashew halves

Remove from chicken skillet all but about 2 T of the oil and crumbs. Heat to medium temperature and pour in broth, soy sauce, and wine, scraping and stirring to deglaze pan. When heated, stir together in measuring cup the cornstarch and water, and whisk into skillet. Let simmer until thickened. Remove from heat. In large serving bowl, add cooked chicken then pour sauce over all. Sprinkle with green onions and cashews and serve over rice.

Fried Rice
3 c cooked brown rice
2 eggs
3 T soy sauce
2 T oil

In large non-stick (I repeat non-stick) skillet, heat oil to medium temperature. Stir in cooked rice and soy sauce. Saute for a few minutes. Move rice to outside of skillet, leaving an empty space in the middle. Add eggs to this spot and scramble. When cooked, stir the eggs into the rest of the rice. You may need to reduce temperature so the eggs don’t burn. Serve with chicken and sauce.

Variation: To heated oil, add finely chopped onions, carrots, zucchini and/or broccoli. Saute until caramelized, then add rice. Continue as directed.

Triple Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

This is an adaptation of the recipe I use to make regular chocolate chip cookies, which is itself kind of a mixture of other recipes, which have been somewhat based on the recipes on various chocolate chip packages. I got a 70s cookbook from my Grandma that was full of cookie recipes, and in it I found one that called for both baking powder and baking soda, so I have incorporated them into my current recipe. The combination of these two makes a cookie that is somewhat crispy on the outside, but chewy on the inside–my idea of a perfect cookie! Well, as long as chocolate is included, and these cookies are definitely chocolate!

Today I baked an inordinate amount of the dough compared to what usually makes it to the oven – almost all of it – so a pretty accurate estimate of yield would be about 50 1-1/2″ cookies.

Triple Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
3 T milk

2 1/2 c flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
3/4 t salt

3 t vanilla extract
12 oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips, with 1/2 c separated out
Powdered sugar for dipping

Preheat oven to 375. Cream together on low speed the butter, sugar, and eggs. Add remaining ingredients one at a time, except chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Meanwhile, melt 1/2 c chocolate chips in microwave in small microwave-safe dish for about 45 seconds. Add to mixture and blend. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in remaining chocolate chips. Scoop cookies with cookie scoop or spoon, forming into one-inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar and place at least an inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake for about 7 minutes in convection oven. Cool on cookie rack and serve…with lots of ice cold milk.

Janice Powell 2013

Updated 2017

Chicken Breast Fillets with White Wine and Sour Cream Sauce – and Caramelized Green Beans

Chicken dish
Successful experiment results!

Thaw out some boneless chicken breasts, and while they’re thawing, decide what you’re going to make with them. Oh wait, that’s what I do, but I’ll save you the agony of deciding by sharing this recipe. Just for the record, I hesitate to call any of my food ideas actual recipes since I am not too accurate about amounts and cooking times. I’ll feel better if you think of this as just a general guideline.

Note: I sliced the thick chicken breasts horizontally so I would have thinner fillets that cook faster.

3-4 pounds boneless chicken breast halves

Mrs. Dash seasoning blends: Table Blend and Extra Spicy (optional on the spicy – I think I’ll leave it out next time)

Salt, pepper, olive oil

White cooking wine – about 1 cup

Chicken boullion paste (optional)

Sour cream, to taste – or about 1/4 cup

Season one side of the breasts and place seasoned side down, in medium hot, oiled grill skillet or regular skillet. Add seasoning to the upper side. Wait to season the other side after you turn the pieces over in the skillet. This way, you don’t leave half of the seasoning on your cutting board.

Note: My grill skillet is shallow, so it was a little tricky to deglaze the pan, but it did work. Next time, I will sacrifice the grill marks and use a regular non-stick skillet.

Sauté until nicely golden or until those great grill marks appear. Turn the breasts over, season other side, and saute another few minutes. Remove them to a platter.

Add cooking wine to skillet on medium heat, however much you wish to use. If you want a lot of sauce, use more. If not, use less. (Remember to place the cooked chicken in a deeper platter if you make more sauce.) Deglaze the skillet, scraping up all those wonderful chicken thingies. Add about a teaspoon of the boullion paste, if desired. Pour glaze into a bowl and whisk in sour cream. Use more sour cream in proportion to how much cooking wine you used. Pour over chicken breasts.

I served this with penne pasta and caramelized green beans, but rice and steamed carrots or broccoli would be lovely, too.

What are caramelized green beans you ask? Well, maybe you don’t, but just in case you do, here’s how I make them:

Place frozen green beans (you choose the amount!) in a skillet with about 3/4 c water. Add salt and cover; simmer on medium heat for about ten minutes. Remove lid, add about two tablespoons butter, season to taste (green beans require a lot of salt in my opinion…and Mrs. Dash and I are good friends), and let cook, uncovered, until all water cooks away. Continue to sautĂ©, stirring a little until beans develop that lovely caramelized look and fragrance. This brings out the sugar in them, and that bitter, yucky green bean taste disappears. Sprinkle with slivered almonds right before removing from heat, if desired.

My family enjoyed this dinner, although the kids referred to the delicate white wine sauce as gravy. And there wasn’t enough of it, so next time I’ll definitely make more. I think I’ll use part wine and part chicken broth to stretch it a bit.

Here’s what I did with the leftover chicken and pasta for lunch:


Just heat a little olive oil in a skillet, toss in the chopped chicken and pasta, add a little more wine, and sauté for a few minutes. If you want to get all photogenic, sprinkle some parsley on top. Enjoy!

Janice Powell 2013