RSS Feed

Category Archives: Soups

Max and Erma’s Tortilla Soup

This is a picture of my version of Max and Erma’s Tortilla Soup.

img_20170201_172145052As Mr. D and I was traveling through the state of Ohio last summer to visit our family, we stopped at a regional restaurant chain, Max and Erma’s.  They gave us a free sample of their tortilla soup.  It was so creamy, smooth and delicious.  The chain is known for this wonderful soup and I can understand  that.  I knew I had to find a similar recipe and try it some time over the winter months.  A few weeks ago I found the recipe I am sharing with you and it is a copycat recipe.  There were many different versions when I googled the internet for a version of the soup.  However, this version seemed so creamy and so similar to the taste I experienced.

This is a link to the recipe:

Was I satisfied with the results? Absolutely.  It was smooth, creamy and had the perfect portion of all the ingredients.  It isn’t a real heavy soup so it would be a good choice for the springtime or autumn. I think the velveeta makes the soup so special.

Below is a link to Max and Erma’s website.  They are based out of Columbus, Ohio and have restaurants throughout the area.  Even though I was pleased with the results of this recipe, if I had a choice I would much rather have some of the real thing from Max and Erma’s.

Thanks for stopping by.



Lasagna Soup

Here in the foothills of North Carolina, we are experiencing unseasonably warm weather.  Last week I decided I wanted to make this soup and when I did my menu planning it was cold enough for soup.  On the day we planned to have it, it was close to 70 degrees.  I felt like turning on the air conditioner to let it get a little cooler so we could enjoy the soup.  However, the heartiness of the soup along with the pasta helped to make it very enjoyable even in warmer weather.

This is the first time I have made this soup and it was sent to me by my California cousin.  I used the whole wheat penne pasta in for the pasta and it has such a good rich flavor and you could imagine eating something italian while consuming it.  One of my favorite things about the soup is the fact that you don’t have to peel and chop lots of vegetables and most of us would have the ingredients in our kitchen.



Lasagna Soup

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 large green pepper chopped

1 medium onion chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

2 14 ½ ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained

2 14 ½ ounce cans of beef broth

1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 cup frozen corn

¼ cup tomato paste

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 ½ cups uncooked spiral pasta

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan cook beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another couple of minutes.  Drain.

Return to saucepan and stir in tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce, corn, tomato paste and Italian seasoning and black pepper.

Bring to a boil, stir in pasta, reduce heat, simmer covered 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese

I am not complaining about the warmer weather even though I have noticed my tulips are beginning to peep out of the ground.  It is my understanding the cold weather is returning next weekend.  Because our snow has melted off the grill and we are experiencing warmer temperatures, I have really wanted to start grilling again.

Thanks for stopping by.

Country Style Vegetable Soup

Here in the foothills of North Carolina, we experienced a drought this Summer.  Over the past few weeks we have experienced lots of rain.  This is the third day of rain this week and the thermometer is hovering around 55 degrees.  That always makes me think of making soup. The first memory I have of homemade soup is this recipe I am sharing with you today.

My Grandmother and Mother made their homemade soup this way.  As I am the only existing cook in our family, I am very happy to share this recipe with you so it will be shared with future generations.  I have suggestions beside some of the ingredients.  When my Mother and Grandmother made this soup they did not include meat.  Actually, they would make it in the summertime and we would eat it as a meal.  Just remember we lived in homes that were not air conditioned.  No one complained because it was so good.

Southern Style Country Vegetable Soup

1 lb of hamburger or lean stew meat  (if desired)  this is my variation to the recipe even though I have made it without the meat and it was good

1 large can of crushed tomatoes (this is my variation on the recipe as my Mother and Grandmother would used home grown tomatoes or canned whole tomatoes)

1 16 oz can green beans, undrained

1 16 oz can whole kernel corn, undrained

1 16 oz can lima beans, undrained

3 medium size potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces  (about 1 and 1/2 pounds)

1/4 head cabbage, cut into small pieces

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 tsp. cajun seasoning.

Brown hamburger and drain.  (If using stew beef, brown slightly in dutch oven and remove from dutch oven.  Add cabbage and potatoes with the two cups of water to the dutch oven and cook until tender.  Add all other ingredients including browned ground beef or stew beef and simmer for an hour.  Makes approximately 8 to 12 servings.

This recipe could be adapted to a crockpot after all the ingredients are added.

I have made chili but I have not made any homemade soup during this fall season.  However, I do plan to make some soon and I think I will try french onion soup as I have never made it.  However, this country vegetable soup is my all time favorite.  I think it is because it stirs wonderful memories of my Mother and Granny working so hard in their hot kitchens to prepare it.

Thanks for stopping by.

March Days and Pot Likker Soup

The month of March is such a transitional month here in the foothills of North Carolina. Monday it was 70 and sunny, Tuesday it was cloudy and in the 50’s, yesterday it was 65 and windy.  Today it is rainy and will be in the 50’s.  I still like to make soup in March but I transition a little to a lighter soup.  My chili recipes usually are put away until we have a crisp and cool fall day.

As I was reading through my “the Glory of Southern Cooking cookbook by James Villas, I saw the recipe I am sharing today for pot likker soup. I think James explanation of pot likker is spot on.  He said this soup was probably an invention of his grandmother’s and I am so glad he is continuing her tradition. One of my favorite memories of pot liker is my grandmother boiling turnips and then making corn meal dumplings in the pot liker or broth from the turnips.  I found a recipe that seems similar to my grandmothers and I hope to give it a try sometime soon while we are still in the cooler months.

pot liker soup2


I can’t think of anything that would be more comforting than a bowl of this pot likker soup on a cold rainy day. Thanks for stopping by.

Comfort Foods – Chicken and Rice Casserole or Oyster Stew

I know it is cold all over the country and we are experiencing extreme cold here.  We had icy roads yesterday morning and will having below freezing temperatures for the next few days.  That is highly unusual for us and the only thing I can think of is comfort foods.  I have made soup, chili, casseroles and slow cooker navy beans.  As the cold weather isn’t over, I still need some more comfort foods.  I thought of this chicken casserole that I saw in The Gift of Southern Cooking by Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis.  It was Scott’s Grandmother’s recipe and his favorite. I love how he share’s a picture of his grandmother with the recipe.

chicken & rice

As I was browsing through my collection of recipes, I saw this one  for Beaufort South Carolina Oyster Stew.  Mr. D loves oyster stew and so we will have it sometime over the weekend.  It is definitely a comfort food too. I found fresh oysters at Sam’s and I think they will make the stew extra special. Even though I am not a big fan of oysters, I love the flavor of this broth. Of course, the oleo referred to in this recipe would be margarine.


oyster stew

Comfort foods have so many different meanings for us. It is good to see someone write a cookbook and include his Grandmother’s recipe. I truly believe we can try to impress our Grandchildren but they will remember the simplest things we made and the aromas that remind them of us.  My Grandmother made stew beef and she simply cooked it on the stove but I still remember that wonderful aroma and how comforting it was for me as a child. Oyster stew was one of my Daddy’s favorites.  So I am sure the aroma of the stew will stir some childhood memories for me too.

Stay warm and thanks for stopping by.








Justin Wilson’s Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

When I shared a Cajun New Year’s with you on New Year’s Day, I immediately thought of Justin Wilson. He had a cooking show on PBS in the 80’s and I really enjoyed it. He was an internationally acclaimed humorist and published four cookbooks. He had a great Cajun accent and his Louisiana dishes really appealed to me. Over the weekend I visited the library and borrowed one of Justin’s cookbooks, “Justin Wilson’s Homegrown Louisiana Cookin.”  As I have read through it, the recipes really seem familiar to me.There is more seafood included in the recipes but you would expect that from the state of Louisiana.  As far as his techniques and cooking style, they remind me so much of the way our parents and grandparents prepared food.

I have heard of Jambalaya for as long as I can remember and as I read this recipe, I thought it would be a warm and inviting dish for the cold weather most of us are experiencing right now.  All in all, other than the cutting or chopping of the meat and vegetables, the recipe seems relatively easy.

chicken and sausage jambalaya

In the recipe Justin refers to another page of the cookbook on how to prepare your own Chicken Stock.  He does state that you could use water instead and I think it would be okay to use store bought chicken stock or broth. I can just imagine the comforting smells of this as it is simmering on the stove.

Justin Wilson’s book really brought back some great memories for me and I am happy to share his  Cajun cooking with you.  Thanks for stopping by.


Sharing The Joy Of Cooking and And A Vegetable Beef Soup Recipe

Over the last few days I have read posts from fellow bloggers and I have been impressed with their blog goals for the New Year.  I have been thinking of my blog goals for this year and I hope I can convey to you the joy and passion I have for cooking.  When I am having a bad day and things are spiraling out of control, I can go into my kitchen and prepare something from past experience or from a recipe.  When it turns out the way I intended, I feel a sense of accomplishment and realize everything isn’t “messed up.” I can see over the years how the skills of cooking has evolved and I am so happy to see chefs on TV and so many other resources for cooking that our parents never had.

I love to watch the HGTV show House Hunters and I sometimes chuckle to myself when I see someone require a “gourmet kitchen.”  I wonder if they think the gourmet kitchen will make them a “gourmet.” I remember all the meals my Mother and Grandmother prepared with the very basic cooking equipment in very small kitchens.  There were so many delicious meals prepared and I don’t think they ever thought about a gourmet kitchen.  They just loved to cook for their family and friends. You don’t have to be a gourmet to make one or two dishes that are your signature dishes and people look forward to enjoying.

I have another goal to share different cultures of the South with you during the year.  Because I live in North Carolina, I have shared this part of the Southern culture with you but there are so many other wonderful parts of the South for us to explore together.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is a recipe I have adapted from my Grandmother and Mother.  They would make homemade vegetable soup in the summer time with fresh tomatoes.  Imagine eating soup in the summer when you didn’t have air conditioning in your home.  As I remember this, I only remember how good that vegetable soup was and don’t remember the heat at all.  The basic soup was the cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes and I revised it to make it a little more hardy.  I do make the basic soup sometimes but not in the summer.

country vegetable soupAs far as a personal goal for the year, I do plan to make chicken and dumplings.  I have said this before but haven’t ever done it.  This year and sometime this winter actually I do plan to give it a try.

I hope you will continue to read my blog as I share my love for cooking and the South and the traditions that make it so special. Thanks for stopping by.

Slow Cooker Tavern Burgers and Veggie Soup with Beef

This time of year I use my crock pot for everyday meals a lot.  I realized that I have been using the same recipes over and over and decided I would try some new ones.  I thumbed through my Crockpot 5 Ingredients or Less Cookbook and saw the two recipes I am sharing with you today.  I thought they looked like good choices for this busy holiday season.  I purposely found recipes that did not include chopping or peeling vegetables. One of my favorite fragrances is the smell of dinner ready and waiting when I am returning home from a hectic day.

I have one question when it comes to crock pot recipes however and if you can help me out with this, I would appreciate it.  I don’t like to prepare recipes in my crock pot that call for frozen vegetables because I think they become very mushy.  Am I doing something wrong or is that just how they turn out in a crockpot.

slow cooker tavern burgers and soup

When our family returns for Christmas I think either one of these recipes would be good options for one of our meals that we share and would not keep the cook (me) out of the kitchen and enjoying my grand kids. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping by.






Ina Garten’s Lentils and Tomatoes


I know everyone is busy but over the past few weeks we have been extremely busy.  Of course, we spent our wonderful week at Hilton Head Island but it took a week to get ready and then another week to get over it.  I realized I haven’t been cooking that much.  We have been eating basic meals of a grilled meat, a vegetable and some type of starchy vegetable.  I knew this week I really wanted to prepare something special.  Yesterday, when I came home from work, I made the Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes from Ina Garten’s Cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home.  The picture above is the recipe when I made it.

I will say lentils is not something I was familiar with growing up in the South.  I did not actually consider using the beans until I saw this in Ina’s cookbook.  The dish is rustic and comforting.  I think the hardest part is peeling and chopping the carrots and onions.  I have made this several times and at first I did not cube my carrots in very small pieces.  My lentils would be done but my carrots would still be a little too crisp.This time I made sure to chop them in smaller pieces and I did use my food processor so my cubes would be more uniform. The red wine vinegar adds such a great flavor to the lentils.  If you asked me what lentils taste like, I would probably say they are tasteless but with the other ingredients they are very good.

Page One Of Recipe

lentils page 1

Recipe Page Two

lentils page 2

As you read through the ingredients, I think you will see this dish is quite healthy.  I love anything that incorporates more vegetables.  I did not include the curry in my version as Mr. D and I just don’t like that taste.

Here in the South as we transition from Summer to Winter, we have cool days and then we will return to warmer days.  I planned this meal earlier in the week when our temperatures were in the 70’s.  However, as I prepared the dish yesterday, it was 81 degrees.  We still enjoyed the lentils and tomatoes and I think it is a great option for a Winter meal too.

Happy Friday Everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Hilton Head Island – A Heavenly Place

I think my idea of heaven would be a place like Hilton Head Island, SC.  A place with a beautiful seashore and perfect weather, picturesque bike trails that you could ride forever and wonderful places to eat.  If it was heaven, then I suppose I wouldn’t get sunburn on the beach, painful body joints from riding my bicycle and no worries about calories from the wonderful foods I would eat.  Yes, I think that would be heaven. The picture below is at sunset on the beach on a cloudy afternoon.


Today, I am sharing two more recipes from the local Fork and Fun restaurant guide for Hilton Head.  I thought both recipes looked good and would be easy to make.  I especially like the chicken soup recipe.  I know fall will officially arrive next week and we will be thinking of soup.  You could cook the chicken and reserve the broth, freeze it and have it ready to use in the soup whenever you want to make it. My love for peppers makes the garlic pepper bread appetizer so appealing.

garlic bread appetizer

chicken noodle soup

Thank you for sharing my wonderful vacation at Hilton Head Island, SC last week.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping by.

%d bloggers like this: