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Beef Barley and Veggie Soup–Rich and Hearty

In the Winter I love a good hearty soup with good crusty bread some delicious hard cheese and a green salad. It makes a wonderful dinner that is prepared in one pot. This is a very hearty soup and I say rich because of the beef cubes which add a delicious layer of flavor and make this soup more than a soup more like a meal. As Rachael Ray says a”stoup”. It is thicker than a soup and mine is almost as thick as a stew. You can freeze this soup since it makes so much and you’ll have it for a snowy day when you can’t get to the market for these ingredients.


1 1/2 lbs. Beef Chuck Cubes — the butcher section usually has this pre-cut if not just ask your butcher to cut into cubes for stew

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Kosher Salt

2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

1 whole onion chopped ( yellow)

1 large stalk celery– thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves–roughly chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

3/4 cup Red Wine– any dry red wine will do –I used a Malbec

8 cups Beef Broth–you can use low-sodium if you’d like

1 1/2 cups Water– you’ll need more as you finish but use this to start–at least for the first 2 hours

2 Bay Leaves

1/2 Tsp.dried thyme or fresh –1 Tbsp.

1 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar

3/4 cup Pearl Barley such as Quaker Medium Pearled Barley if you can find if not use whatever you can find

3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 ” round slices


Dry off the beef cubes with a paper towel then season them generously with Salt and Pepper.

In a large Dutch Oven (Le Crueset) type soup pot, heat 1 Tablespoon of the Vegetable Oil over medium high heat. Add 1/2 the beef and sear it without turning it, until browned on one side–app. 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and add another Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil and continue searing the other 1/2 of the Beef. A little note– you can really sear the beef on one side and transfer it to a plate because it will fully cook in soup. You just want to get a good crust on at least one side of the meat. Remove the meat to a plate and start to prepare the soup.

Lower the heat in pan to medium-low and add the onions, celery and garlic. Cook , stirring frequently and scraping up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (from the beef) You’ll want to cook until the veggies are soft and onion is translucent, probably another 5 minutes. Don’t burn veggies. You have to keep an eye on them. Lower the heat to a simmer if necessary.

Stir in the tomato paste. Add the beef along with any juices. Add the wine, broth, water , bay leaves, thyme, sugar and a little more salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low . Cover and Simmer for 2 hours.

After 2 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Add the barley and carrots and simmer, covered until the carrots and barley are cooked and the beef is tender. I cooked for another hour and it can simmer for even longer. Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you like a thicker soup ( and I do) simmer uncovered until your desired consistency is reached. For a thinner soup, add a little more water at a time until your desired consistency is reached. It’s not an exact science. I definitely added more water at the end stage.

*Just a little note –this soup will seem very brothy during the beginning stages but once you add the barley it will quickly soak up the broth so be careful not to reduce too quickly. You can always add water or more broth if this happens. Look at photos of the finished product.

Ladle into bowls and serve!

Soup will keep in fridge for 3 days and frozen for 3 months. 3 months is my limit for frozen . When you re-heat it add some water to bring it back to life and you’ll probably need to add a little salt and pepper as well.

Beef Barley and Veggie Soup

Brussels a la Caesar

I combined two of my favorites Caesar Salad Dressing and raw brussels . I bought the bag of Shaved Brussels which took all the work out of having to cut them up and I made my salad dressing which is detailed below. I used shaved Parmagiano Reggiano Cheese to add some flavor and let it all marinate together for about an hour before serving. I like it a little wilted but of course it tasted kind of delicious right away. It is nice to be able to make salad a bit ahead of the meal without worrying about how wilted it will be. The Brussels are tough enough to stand up to anything and sit out for a while dressed. This is always perfect while you’re preparing the rest of your dinner.

I used a Food Processor -mini or regular. You can do it in a blender as well.

If you love Caesar Salad and you love Brussels Sprouts this one’s for you.

Please follow me on Instagram@cookingwithcandi

Brussels Caesar Salad


Caesar Salad : with Brussels

1 bag of shaved brussels sprouts — app. 1 lb.

2 cloves of garlic

1 egg yolk — if you don’t like the raw egg you can coddle it but I always just use a raw egg yolk

1 Tablespoon Dion Mustard- heaping

freshly ground black pepper

5 anchovies

2 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano


I use a food processor to make my salad dressing , you can use a mini or a regular sized one. I put the 2 cloves of whole garlic into the processor and chop them, then I add the 5 anchovies and mix all together.

Then add lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce and egg yolk. I mix all together and then slowly add the olive oil in from the top stream the oil in. Add freshly ground black pepper after everything else is incorporated. I don’t add salt because anchovies are very salty.

Pour dressing on the Brussels and mix well. Let it sit for an hour or so if you have the time. Add the cheese and mix well.

*this salad can easily be doubled or Just make double the salad dressing and you’ll have it if you need more dressing depending on how dressed you like the salad. Dressing can stay in fridge for a few days ( raw egg) .

  • Brussels Caesar Salad

Cauliflower Pizza

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Originally posted on Cooking with Candi:
this is how I am doing my crust now in a small rectangular pan!!! finished product This is one of my most favorite recipes ever. I almost always have the ingredients and all I…

–Set it and Forget it Chicken Taco Chili

Set it and Forget it Chicken Taco Chili for Golden Globes Watching this evening.

Cooking with Candi

This is a very easy recipe and will cook in the slow cooker on high in 6 hours! So set it and forget it. This is a re-blog from last October so if you missed it you get another shot at it and if you already made this recipe here you go again.

It’s the Golden Globes Awards this evening and I intend on eating this in front of the TV Screen. No muss No Fuss come tonite, all the heavy lifting will be done by noon. My kind of cooking.

Slow cookers make for perfect cooking all year round. Nothing better than setting it and forgetting it! Making life easier and less clean up after dinner. I happened to have a package of Taco Seasoning Mix in the house so I used it along with cumin and chili powder. I used dark meat and white meat chicken, you can…

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Breakfast in a Jar–Overnight Oats

Cooking with Candi





This has become one of my favorite go to breakfasts. It is packed with nutrition and delicious not to mention so very filling.  Low in fat and low in sugar. Fiber from the chia seeds and anti-oxidants from the blueberries!  I make 2 of them at nighttime and my breakfast is ready and waiting for me in the morning and then I have one for the next morning. No fuss at all, easy simple ingredients and substitute any fruit you like. I happen to love blueberries but bananas would work as well as peaches, etc. If you don’t like nuts or chia seeds just omit or use any kind of seeds (flax) or nuts you like. Awesome! I used a mason jar because they have such a good lid and you can shake it up and close tight. Take it with you on the go , before the gym, before ski …

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Creamy Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps

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Originally posted on Cooking with Candi:
Parmesan Crisps with Tomato Soup ? Soup at the beginning of the cooking process ? Parmesan Crisps Tube of Tomato Paste–I love the tubes One of our most favorite soups is Tomato Soup. I…

Lasagna in the Slow Cooker

Delicious Recipe made super easy in the Slow Cooker. Set it and Forget it!

Cooking with Candi

I have to say when I first heard about lasagna in the slow cooker I was sort of skeptical.  My friend Cathy told me about it; she said she had made it for her family and I should give it a go.   The original recipe is from Jessica Seinfeld, who sneaks vegetables and healthy stuff into her food. I did make a few changes from original recipe , I used more sauce and a little more salt , I used fresh spinach which can easily be substituted for ground turkey, sausage, or any type of meat you like.  Next time I make this recipe I will be using meat because it really was quite easy and pretty quick even by slow cooker standards. It cooked in 3 1/2 hours, looked amazing and tasted delicious. I am still a little surprised by how good it was. The spinach wilts down and almost looks like basil…

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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 I added Brown Rice.

Please follow my blog on Instagram @cookingwithcandi— thanks


2 Tablespoons Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard, divided

3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup, divided ( used 2 and 1)

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

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, 3 Tbsp. of the Dijon Mustard and 2 Tbsp. of the pure Maple Syrup

Season the chicken all over with Salt and Pepper and then arrange the chicken on the sprayed 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.

Arrange the vegetables on the baking sheet around the chicken. Pour the Dijon-Maple -Soy sauce over the chicken, turn to coat completely, 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.

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

Amazingly Delicious.

Thanksgiving 2018

It’s hard to believe it’s November already and nearing Thanksgiving and then before we know it, it’s Christmas and then 2019!!  Is it just me or does time just seem to fly by? Here we are in November and it’s time to think about our Thanksgiving menus and that’s what I am doing now , even though I am secretly in denial that Thanksgiving is almost here but in 2 weeks from today we will be sitting down to this sumptuous feast.  I always set out to make some new recipes but my family is pretty fussy about expecting the same dishes on our table. It’s tradition and why screw with tradition.

cookingwithcandi 092

Fully Baked Cremini Pumpkin

So here we go again with my Thanksgiving recipes –for those of you who have tried them and love them please let me know and if anyone out there has some new great recipes I would love to hear about them.

Enjoy the prep and enjoy the holidays and mostly enjoy your families. Holidays can be tough on all of us but relax and enjoy! I am all for cooking some side dishes ahead and using hot trays to keep my food warm. Since it’s virtually impossible to cook everything and serve it hot you have to employ the use of a few tricks of the trade here. When possible serve some side dishes at room temperature. Use hot trays available on amazon and bed and bath. Make your life easier not more difficult. Cranberry can and should be made ahead as well as sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. Stuffing can be made a day or two ahead and you can re-heat it later, uncovered , and drizzled with a little turkey stock or actual drippings from the turkey pan ( my Grandmother used this trick all the time).Make your salad dressing a day or two ahead as well as any roasted nuts etc. Just get as much together as you possibly can to make your life easier. That’s what it’s all about. I always set my table the day or night before and get out all your serving pieces , platters etc.

Also don’t let guests bring food that has to be prepared at your house, they have to bring food that is ready to go. That means it’s not ice-cold , that means no whipping cream at my house , that also means if you’re bringing fruit salad make sure it’s already cut up before you get here and that means ready to go–on the hot tray but not in my oven!!!! I am all for help with the side dishes but not at the expense of having to use my kitchen! This is my golden rule.

Keep in touch with me –I love to hear your feedback and recommendations etc.

Wishing you happy cooking and happy holidays from my kitchen to yours. Remember be grateful not hateful and Gratitude not Attitude!

These are some of the recipes you may want to look at: I will be posting them one at a time.

Corn Bread Pudding

Butternut Squash Soup 

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

Kale and Brussels Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Pumpkin Lentil Soup

Pumpkin Walnut Bread and Hurricane Sandy Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Cremini Mushroom Pumpkin Lasagna 

Pumpkin Penne Bake

Stuffing that will be on our Table or Cranberry Walnut Stuffing

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Candied Yam Souffle

Easy Peasy Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes

 Aunt Pammy’s Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Fresh Cranberry Sauce, Karyn’s Famous Thanksgiving Cranberry Crisp and Joy’s Cranberry Sauce

Michele’s White Chocolate Jumbo Macadamia Cookies

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Apple Crisp


Pumpkin Penne Bake




Chicken Tortilla Soup


This soup has always been a favorite of mine and I usually try to order it when it’s offered on a menu. I am a big fan of Mexican Food and have always wanted to try to make my own Chicken Tortilla Soup .This is a super easy version using a store-bought rotisserie chicken and a packet of Taco Seasoning.  Now that the weather has turned super cold it’s a perfect time for heart warming meals. I started cooking soup in the afternoon, prep was pretty quick and I let it simmer for an hour and then turned off stove while we went out. When we got home I turned on the stove and continued cooking soup. I cut up avocado, chopped up some cilantro, put sour cream and cheese into some little bowls and in less than 1/2 hour we were sitting eating this delicious and tasty soup! Joel even ate the avocado!!!! This is big!!! He loved the soup. It’s very filling.

I use crispy tortillas if that’s what I have in the house. It is delicious with soft corn tortillas sliced up and added into the soup at the end also. I love when the crunchy chips go soft in the soup with the melted cheese– I could go on and on about this soup. Tonite I used soft tortillas.

If you have the time I suggest making this soup, it is so easy with a prepared chicken or you can make your own chicken .  The prep is about 15 minutes using store-bought chicken and cooking is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for soup.  I just think soup tastes better the longer it sits. I prefer making it in the early part of the day and letting it sit on the stove for a while.

This is a big soup and will probably serve 6-8 nicely. I have a container in my freezer and 4 of us ate this soup.

Look for my slow cooker version also on my blog.



1 Rotisserie Chicken from your favorite supermarket

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Packet of Taco Seasoning — this is really easy , use whatever brand you like

1 cup diced onion

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 diced green pepper

1 diced yellow, red or orange pepper

1 10 oz. can  Rotel brand Tomatoes and Green Chiles–just a suggestion

1 can enchilada sauce– green or red ( in Mexican Food section of your supermarket) its a small sized can

1 15 oz. can of whole-kernel corn  – drained

32 ounces Chicken Broth

3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

4 cups hot water

2 cans Black Beans , drained and rinsed unless they’re organic and then you don’t have to rinse but I always do anyway

3 Tablespoons Cornmeal –mixed with water ( see instructions)

5 Soft Corn Tortillas (I use the small ones) cut into uniform strips or crunchy tortilla chips–use as many or as little as you like–or skip all together for a lighter version.


*optional and use whatever you like — these are just some suggestions

Sour Cream


Grated Cheese –Monterey Jack is a good choice here or Mexican Blend Grated Cheese

Cut-Up Avocado

Salsa or Pico De Gallo

Diced Red Onion

Diced Fresh Jalapeno

Hot Sauce like Cholula is my favorite go to sauce


I took skin off chicken and shredded most of the chicken meat.

Heat 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil in a large Pot –dutch oven is great here (Le Creuset) add onions, peppers, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the packet of Taco Seasonings if it’s very dry and hard to stir you can add a little more olive oil. Add in the shredded chicken and stir it all up.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, enchilada sauce, water , black beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for app. 45 minutes to an hour, uncovered.

In a little bowl mix 3 cornmeal with a small amount of water , just enough to mix it into a paste like consistency. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes at least, I cooked for another hour. I always believe the soup is best when it sits for a long time.

Check seasonings, adding more salt if you need it , I added kosher salt because I felt it needed it. Taste has to be your guide but be sure not to undersalt, you don’t want this to be bland. Turn off heat and allow to sit for about 20 minutes.

Five minutes before serving, gently stir in the tortilla strips if you’re using them.

Ladle into bowls, then top with your favorite toppings and there you go! I think the chips/tortillas make this soup along with the cilantro and avocado. Let your taste be your guide here.