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All Vegetable Soup — Meatless Monday

This vegetable soup is a delicious blend of different vegetables brought together in a delightful tomato broth. Very easy to make and you can freeze a few containers and have wonderful soup whenever you’d like it. Of course you can change any of the vegetables for veggies you may have in the house and want to use. If you don’t have a russet potato use a different one. You can add beans such as kidney, chickpea or my personal favorite cannellini beans — just rinse a can of beans and dump it in. Or add some pasta , 1/2 cup would be fine just make sure there is enough broth at the end of cooking bring to a boil add the pasta and cook for about 15 more minutes or till pasta is done, you may have to add water/broth before or after you add the pasta. You can add some spinach, kale, Swiss chard or escarole as well. Many many different variations. I make the basic soup and when I defrost I usually add something new like beans or pasta or kale. It’s a very delicious soup and very hearty and very healthy.

*Slow Cooker Directions:

If you’d like you can also make this in the slow cooker. I would saute the onions, carrots and celery in olive oil first though. Then place in the slow cooker along with garlic, salt, pepper, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, vegetable broth and potatoes. Low heat for 4 hours. Then add the corn and green beans cook for about 10 more minutes and serve. At the end check for liquid before adding the corn and green beans you may need to add some water or broth.


1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 cup finely diced onion– yellow or white onion

3 carrots , peeled , halved lengthwise and sliced

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced and then cut in about 3 inch pieces

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Kosher Salt and Coarsely Ground Black Pepper to taste

20 oz. can of diced tomatoes– Do Not Drain

8 oz. can Tomato Sauce

1 1/4 teaspoons Italian Seasoning

6 cups Vegetable Broth — and you may need more or add water if too thick at the end — I added about 1/2 cup of water

1 large Russet Potato peeled and cut into 1/2 ” cubes

3/4 cup frozen corn

3/4 cup cut up frozen green beans or fresh

*extra liquid — you can use water or broth if you still have on hand


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion , carrots and celery to the pot.

Cook for about 5 minutes till veggies are softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, broth and potato to the pot and bring to a simmer.

Cook for about 1/2 hour at a low simmer or until potatoes are tender. Taste and add salt and pepper . Soup will probably be ready in 1/2 hour but I let it simmer for a full hour. I added some liquid as a lot of the liquid evaporates and gets absorbed the longer it cooks.

Stir in the corn and green beans and cook for another 10 minutes or so. If you’re adding any other ingredients this would be a good time. i.e. beans, kale, pasta etc. See notes above for *slow cooker directions.

  • Perfect for freezing — just will have to add some liquid as you heat it up. Broth or water is just fine.

Chicken Tikka Masala in the Slow Cooker

This is such an amazing way to make this recipe. I love Indian Food but don’t cook it all that often and since I have the time and the inclination I decided to try a few new recipes. I usually save this for take out but that’s not happening where I am right now. I have to say there are a lot of ingredients and spices you may not have in the pantry but if you can obtain the ingredients it’s really worth the effort.

I made the 2 lbs. for the two of us and have a second meal in the freezer. If you’re going through the effort to make you may as well get another meal out of it. I served over Basmati Rice but any rice will do . I also served with toasted Naan Bread on the side.



2 lbs. boneless , skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces — if you must use chicken breasts go ahead I just like the way the thighs hold up to the heat better the breasts will probably be more shredded. Delicious either way!

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 cup Whole Milk plain yogurt– Not Greek

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and more for taste

1 large onion, diced

3 – 4 cloves garlic minced

1 Tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

*for extra kick you can add some cayenne pepper or chili powder –totally optional

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk — if you don’t have either one of these you can use oat milk which will be thinner and not as tasty but fine


Place the cut-up chicken, yogurt and 1 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt in a 4 qt. or larger slow cooker and stir to combine

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on the stove-top add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender – maybe 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, garam masala, cumin and turmeric and cook for another minute or so. Add the tomato paste and cook until darkened in color another minute or so. Add the drained tomatoes and another teaspoon of kosher salt and bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Transfer to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the chicken.

Cover and cook on LOW setting for 8 hours or High for 4 hours. After the initial time is over stir in the cream you’re using. If you prefer a thicker sauce leave the slow cooker uncovered and cook on the HIGH setting for another 1/2 hour. If sauce is fine the way it is cover and cook for another 1/2 hour. Taste and season with salt as needed.

I served with Naan Bread and Basmati Rice.

*leftovers can be stored in the freezer for 3 months

Simple Roast Chicken in a Skillet

This is the most delicious and easiest way to cook a chicken — very little in the way of ingredients , counting the chicken there are 4 ingredients. You will need a cast iron skillet and this is such a worthwhile investment. It’s relatively inexpensive and Lodge makes a great one . I use a 10″ skillet. You can actually buy it on Amazon and can get the 6.5″ as well for $30 for the two. It’s an investment you’ll use forever. I have actually seen Lodge Products in the supermarket — check it out.

In under an hour you’ll have a delicious roast chicken and the beauty of the chicken at least for the two of us is that I can make chicken salad for the next day lunch. Which these days is a win-win.



1 whole chicken, app. 4 lbs.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper — Kosher Salt and Course Ground Black Pepper

*if you’d like a little Paprika you can sprinkle as well but for this recipe I just do S and P


Put a cast-iron skillet on a low rack in the oven and heat oven to 500 degrees.

I brush my chicken all over with olive oil and sprinkle generously with Salt and Pepper

Once oven and skillet are hot — I leave it in for about 15 minutes, carefully put the chicken in the hot skillet, breast side up. Roast for 15 minutes at 500 degrees, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees. Continue roasting until chicken is golden brown and an instant read thermometer insterted into the meaty part of the thigh reads 165. I cooked for another 40 minutes or so after the initial 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and tip the bird gently to let the inside juice flow into the pan.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes.

Carve and Serve.


Slow Cooker — BBQ Chicken

My daughter Jenn passed this recipe on to me and I knew that I had to make it . It was super easy ( dump everything into the slow cooker) and so delicious . Also we went out to ski and came home to a delicious made meal which is probably the best part of cooking in the slow cooker. This is one of those recipes that you’ll make time and time again because it’s great for a group ( when that happens again) and great for just the two of us because I froze the leftovers for future meals.

I served over rice with a vegetable but this would be great on a big bun as well. Would be great with some cole slaw or corn bread.

Will most likely serve 6 depending on your eaters and if you have a lot of side dishes maybe 8 servings. You can adjust sauce and ingredients for less — for instance cut whole recipe in 1/2 . It is very saucy but you can probably do 4 lbs. of chicken easily. As well use 2 lbs. and cut all ingredients in 1/2. You’ll still want to cook for the same amount of time to fully tenderize chicken. Check liquid in slow cooker if you cut recipe and make sure it’s enough liquid for the chicken.

Enjoy! and thanks Jenn


3.5-4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts — you can mix in thighs with this as well I happen to have 3 packages of chicken breasts so I used that.

2 cups. BBQ sauce — I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Original since we always have that in the house and it’s rather delicious

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/4 cup brown sugar packed — light or dark doesn’t matter

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper


Combine BBQ sauce , brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and crushed red pepper into the slow cooker — and mix to combine

Add chicken breasts and use a spoon and mix it all around

Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours. Chicken is done when it easily shreds with a fork. I had on high for 7 and then shredded after it sat for a few hours on warm.

Shred Chicken and stir well to coat with BBQ sauce.

Serve and Enjoy!

Creamy Dreamy One Pot Pasta with Sausage

This recipe is wonderful on so many different levels I don’t know where to begin. Firstly it comes together in under an hour , then there’s the one pot situation which is amazing, and the flavors are wonderful and the meal is delicious so what more could you want?

Good for families and good for the two of us since I froze 1/2 of it for another meal and have a little left over for lunch the next day. So it’s all good and easy and perfect .

We love pasta and this is just one more wonderful pasta dish.


1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 pound Italian Sausage , casings removed I used 1/2 Sweet and 1/2 Spicy –use whatever you like even chicken or turkey sausage would work well here. I can usually find it at the butcher in bulk so don’t have to remove from casing. It’s not a big deal to remove from casing.

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds — don’t omit

Pinch red pepper flakes — as big or small a pinch depending on how much you like the heat. You can put on the table so everyone can add more to their own

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher Salt app. 1/2 teaspoon and taste for salt towards the end

Freshly Ground Black Pepper — app. 1/4 teaspoon

4 cups Chicken Broth — 1 box

28 oz. Can Tomato Puree

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

1 box ( 16 oz.) Fusilli Pasta or any other pasta shape you like

1 cup shredded Mozzarella

Grated Parmesan for serving


In a large deep pot — I use my trusty Le Creuset– it’s perfect– spray first with cooking spray — add the Tbsp.. of Olive Oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the bulk sausage and cook until it starts to brown up, app. 5 minutes. I then added the diced onions right in and cook until softened and translucent and the sausage is well browned, probably another 5 minutes.

Add the oregano , fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic and the Salt and Pepper and stir to combine .

Add the broth, tomato puree and tomato paste and stir well and bring to a low boil. Add the uncooked pasta into the sauce , reduce to a simmer and cook , stirring occasionally until the pasta is al dente, app. 15 minutes. Mine was perfect after 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the mozzarella and taste for Salt and Pepper but I didn’t need anymore it was perfect. If you think it needs more seasoning add now.

Serve with grated or shaved Parmesan.


Maple – Dijon Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash.

Here’s a new recipe that I absolutely loved making and loved eating! Tasty and Easy and anyone can do it. All it took was a few pantry ingredients that almost everyone has in their home.

I just love one sheet meals — another reason to go out and buy a large sheet pan if you haven’t done so already. 18 x 13 is the size you’ll need because if you crowd the ingredients they end up steaming and not really roasting. Roasting is what you’re after here.

I chose Chicken Thighs because they can stand up to the cooking time along with the veggies. I didn’t use Drumsticks but you certainly can use both. If you insist on white meat you’ll have to remove chicken earlier than veggies or you’ll have dried out chicken for sure.

Enjoy this lovely sheet pan meal and add Brown Rice or White Rice or Rice Pilaf or any rice is kind of perfect here. Basmati and Jasmine are also perfect.

Please follow my blog on Instagram @cookingwithcandi— thanks


2 Tablespoons Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard, plus 1 Tablespoon

3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup, plus 1 Tablespoon

6 large bone in chicken thighs, or use 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks or whatever pieces you’d like

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

app. 12 ounces butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch cubes

app. 12 ounce Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved

6 sprigs of fresh thyme or dry thyme if you don’t have fresh

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

and you’ll need some cooking spray — you can use Olive Oil spray or just regular spray


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray an 18 x 13 inch large rimmed sheet pan

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, 4 Tbsp. of the Dijon Mustard and 3 Tbsp. of the pure Maple Syrup and 2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

Season the chicken all over with Salt and Pepper and then I like to dip my chicken into the mustard mixture and place on prepared baking sheet

In a large bowl combine the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, thyme, and olive oil, season with a sprinkling  of salt and pepper here too. (lightly)

Arrange the vegetables on the baking sheet around the chicken. Pour any left over Dijon-Maple -Soy sauce over the chicken and pour any remaining sauce over the veggies.

Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender, app. 35-40 minutes. Look at the chicken after 30 mins. I cooked for 35 minutes and it was browned up rather nicely.

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 1 Tbsp. Dijon and 1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup and remove chicken from oven.

Brush the remaining mixture over the chicken. Bake a few more minutes till browned and perfect looking if not browned nicely you can place under broiler for a minute or so. I have never had to do this but some ovens are different than others.

*next time out I am going to try this sauce on boneless , skinless chicken thighs — it’s gotta be good!

Serve alongside some brown rice or any rice you’d like.

Amazingly Delicious.

Maple Dijon Chicken with Brussels and Butternut Squash

Baked Greek Shrimp

I saw a recipe for Baked Greek Shrimp on the NY Times Cooking site by David Tanis and he was my inspo for this recipe. I made a few changes to the original to make it my own and I think it was wonderful . So thanks to David Tanis and the NY Times Cooking site which I absolutely love.

This is Greek Shrimp and not Italian mostly by the fact that obviously the Greeks don’t mind adding cheese to their seafood and I have to say it all tastes rather delicious.

I made it for the two of us this past xmas eve and this is what I did.


2 large shallots, minced ( use a mini processor if you have one)

4 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes– drained

a nice size pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 lb. of large shrimp, peeled and deveined and tails off

app. 4 oz. of crumbled feta cheese or block that you crumble

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


I use my mini food processor and I mince the shallots and the garlic together. If you don’t have this little machine I suggest purchasing it it’s a life saver in terms of chopping and mincing garlic and onions. Put 4 Tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat . Add shallots and garlic, season with a little salt and pepper and cook till softened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir around to keep mixture from browning. Add drained can of diced tomatoes to the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste and add a large pinch of crushed red pepper. Cook stirring, until mixture is juicy and tomatoes have softened, about 10 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Put shrimp in a mixing bowl and add 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, season shrimp with salt and pepper and stir to coat. I used about 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and a little black pepper.

Transfer tomato mixture to a shallow baking dish ( not metal) glass , ceramic or earthenware. Add shrimp in one layer over tomato mixture in one layer. Crumble cheese over surface and sprinkle with oregano.

I baked for about 15 minutes , you’ll want tomatoes to be bubbling and shrimp to turn pink and curl a bit and cheese has browned slightly. Put under broiler for the last 3-4 minutes till cheese browns up a bit. Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or so.

I cooked up some orzo and served shrimp over the orzo and it was perfect. Served with a nice light green salad as well.

Baked Greek Shrimp

Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash

I had some Butternut Squash in the house and usually I just roast with some olive oil and salt and pepper. This time I added a bunch of spices a little Maple Syrup and some fresh Orange Juice. It was very yummy . I am writing this up for 2 lbs. of butternut squash , feel free to cut this recipe in 1/2 . Please use pure maple syrup for this one and a fresh orange for the juice. This recipe would also be wonderful on sweet potatoes!

We loved it and it was a wonderful new side dish and one I will repeat often.

Now that you can buy butternut squash pre-cut there’s no excuse not to make this wonderful healthy vegetable more often.



app. 2 lbs. butternut squash cut into 1 inch pieces ( pre-packaged is the way to go here)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons pure Maple Syrup–grade A is what I use

Juice of one fresh orange–app. 6 Tablespoons


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

I sprayed a large baking sheet with Cooking Spray — you must or use parchment or aluminum foil for easier clean-up . Just a little note– I used Bakers Joy cooking spray I find sometimes it works best on this type of recipe. I absolutely love this cooking spray for baking so why not for sticky gooey recipes? Clean up was a snap. (just saying)

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together . I let it sit for a while before I roast, I find the oil and spices meld together nicely so if you have the time I would recommend doing this for maybe 15 minutes or longer.

Pour onto baking sheet. Roast in the oven until butternut squash is tender about 45 minutes, halfway through I removed and tossed .

Remove from oven when browned up and smelling delicious. (app. 45 minutes)

Serve it up.

Sausage, Orzo and Cabbage Soup

This is one of those delicious easy to make super comforting soups. Of course I may have lost some of you with the Cabbage and if you hate it you hate it but if you’re willing to give it a shot this is a super cozy kind of soup which we can all use a little bit of these days. Made this for Joel and I and had 2 quarts left over for 2 more meals. Perfect dinner served with a nice green salad . I used pork sausage because that’s what I had in the house feel free to use chicken or turkey sausage whatever works best for you. I used a spicy italian pork sausage . I also used a frilly-edged Napa Cabbage . This cabbage is nice and soft and breaks down quickly . If using regular green cabbage you’ll have to cook a bit longer — probably another 15 minutes or so. Of course you can be flexible with your pasta , I used orzo but you can use any small pasta such as ditalini, mini elbows or mini farfalla .

Enjoy this most satisfying soup which is just perfect on a cold wintery day or night.

Stay safe folks.


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 pound Italian sausage, mild or spicy remove casings

2 cloves garlic minced

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper, start with a pinch , plus add more to taste

1/4 cup Tomato Paste

1 large Napa or Savoy Cabbage, trimmed , quartered and thinly sliced

4 cups Chicken Stock

4 cups Water

1 cup Orzo

1 -2 Parmesan Rinds

*grated Parmesan for serving


Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven type of pot.( Le Creuset works well here) over medium heat.

Add sausage in a single layer and break up into smaller pieces, stirring occasionally until sausage is cooked through and no longer pink. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.

Add the chopped onion and several big pinches of kosher salt and black pepper. Saute the onions for about 5 minutes then add the garlic and continue cooking for a few minutes. Lower the heat and add the tomato paste and continue to cook stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot. Onions will start to caramelize in about 3 minutes.

Add the cabbage, chicken stock, water, orzo , Parmesan Rinds, and add another big pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Continue stirring so pasta doesn’t stick to bottom of pan. Add sausage and continue to simmer for about 15 more minutes or until pasta and cabbage are tender.

Remove an discard rinds. I couldn’t find one of my rinds and it is no big deal. If you use larger ones they’re easier to find. You may find when you spoon out the soup!

Taste for Salt and Pepper

I then turned off heat and let soup sit on the stove till we were ready to eat dinner. I brought to a low simmer and served in bowls with grated Parmesan.

If you do freeze you’ll probably need to add some water/stock to it because it will thicken up considerably.

Homemade Applesauce– Sweet and Tart–Not Diet and Diet

photo (42) photo (40) photo (39) photo (38)I love apple season and what better use for all those apples but applesauce? It’s great by itself, with meat, poultry,  over ice cream , yogurt or pancakes,  in muffins, any time you feel like applesauce.  Easy shopping list, most ingredients you probably have in the house. If you’d like you can add a pinch of nutmeg or allspice. A little butter or maple syrup is also a good thought. I used a little bit of maple syrup ( maybe 1/4 cup) . Play around with flavors. Quick prep time , very easy to make, 3 lbs. will probably serve around 6 – 8 people. Cook Time is about 1/2 hour.

This is the obvious more fattening way to go, I also wrote up a more diet conscious recipe for those looking to cut calories and it’s on this page as well. It is obviously more tart than the sweet one, you can add a little sugar-free maple syrup if you’d like.

Your kitchen will smell glorious. Enjoy!

Pantry ingredients:

Lemon, Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup, Cinnamon, Allspice, Butter, Nutmeg.

Shopping List:

Apples, Apple Juice or Apple Cider


3 lbs. apples , peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices (any kind you have) I had Macintosh in the house and just used them

1/2 cup Apple Juice or Apple Cider

Juice of 1 Lemon, a small regular lemon is fine

1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, more or less to taste

*1/4 cup of pure maple syrup, you can use sugar-free maple syrup

*1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*1/2 teaspoon Allspice


Combine all ingredients in a large enough pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes, till apples break down. Now I like a chunky applesauce and it broke down so beautifully in 1/2 hour, I just mashed with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon.  If you’d like it smooth and not chunky puree it in food processor. It really broke down so beautifully a few mashes with a masher and it was perfect for a chunkier like consistency.

Store in the fridge.  Will keep for a week or two. Joel ate it all the next day so that was the end of that.


Diet Version of Homemade Applesauce:


12 medium apples, peeled cored and sliced (use whatever kind you have on hand)

2 sticks cinnamon if no cinnamon sticks , sprinkle ground cinnamon over apples.


Place apples and cinnamon in a large Pyrex type dish with a lid or cover with aluminum foil.

Bake covered at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours

Allow to cool slightly and remove cinnamon sticks.

Crush apples with a potato masher until sauce is consistency that you like .

Serve with Latkes.