Sunday, November 19, 2017

The World According to Bella

If  you are reading this and it's past Sunday sunset time you can assume I made it through another deer season safely.  It helped I spent three weeks in the cities but I will have to say it was three very long boring weeks. Not much excitement to report except for those darn turkeys who keep on flying by the window. I wanted in the worst way to chase after them but all I could do was go crazy at the window and bark and bark.   
My highlight outside of daily walks to the dog park were Sadie and Luna's visit. Mr. C and Mrs. S were on doggie duty watching them for the day. And you need to keep a careful watch on those two as they are busy, busy. 

They came bursting into the house, flying here, there and everywhere exploring the house just happy to be out of their kennels for the day. I just sat under the table, my usual spot, watching it all. When Sadie rolled out my ball and started chewing I had had enough. Lucky Mrs. S was watching closely and took my favorite toy away.  
 The turkeys made another dash past the house which caught their attention. 

Sadie and Luna sure were happy to be at our house. They never stopped moving, it was exhausting to watch. I was happy to hear when Mr. C announced it was time for a walk as I was afraid he had forgotten it was our usual time. 
This walk required three leashes 
and Mrs. S's help. We followed behind as it was difficult to keep up with Mr. C who was moving rather quickly to keep up with Sadie and Luna.  
Mrs. S and I were impressed along the way that Sadie and Luna were able to both pee at the same time! 

After a VERY LONG long walk Mr. C had a treat for us. 
They did settle down but quickly lost interest in their raw hides, but not me. 
I carried on for a very long time. Perhaps I should have taken a pass on this extra treat as 
when I got to the lake my vest 
was a very tight squeeze.

Love, Bella

One Excellent Adventure

We all have stories to tell
with Beth Grigsby's debut memoir, "One Excellent Adventure."
Beth and her husband Jeff took a giant leap of faith, secured leaves from their jobs, and embarked on a summer road trip from their home state of Minnesota to head out west in 1972. Travel would become for them a way to escape the mundane corporate world, satisfy their wanderlust as they explored new places. Their original goal was 12 months but in the end scaled back to a three month summer road trip.

This was the time of no Internet consulting, so trip planning was just the old fashioned way with travel books, road atlas and state maps to help figure out routes, places to visit and campground locations. "Travels with Charley" the classic book by John Steinbeck and "On the Road Reports with Charles Kuralt, journalist for CBS Sunday Morning Show influenced them and they thought they could do it too.

With anticipation and excitement, a new truck-1972 Chevy El Camino

 a tent
camping equipment, personal belongings

a map and a small red diary to record their journey they began their trip out West.  At that time Beth had a vague yearning to someday pen a memoir or novel .

This memoir taps into that  desire that many might have to ditch their work life, seek out a new  adventure and explore the vast lands of the USA. 

Beth's memoir is informative and descriptive with her journal entries on what it was like to travel across the country in the mid 70's camping along the way. The reader will experience the beauty and majestic splendors of state and national parks with Beth's descriptive entries. You will admire Beth and Jeff's resilience as they faced relentless rain the first part of the trip and the challenges of camping life. Beth captures for the reader the joy of expected moments of fine dining on a ferry and a birthday surprise. The reader will  chuckle with their unexpected and uncomfortable encounter being at a risque Las Vegas review.  

14, 000 miles later Jeff and Beth arrived safely back to Minnesota with money in their pockets and an adventure they would never forget. Seeing such breathtaking scenery with sweeping vistas and meeting new people were rich experiences that could never be matched. A break from the corporate life allowed time for personal reflections and a renewed energy to move on with life. 

"One Excellent Adventure" is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle

Beth has her BA in marketing communications. She and Jeff live in Prior Lake, Minnesota. They have two grown children and five grandchildren. They continue to follow their adventuresome spirit being avid travelers.
The small red diary became Beth's inspiration to someday pen her story despite experiencing a variety of health setbacks along the way. Beth is to be admired for her diligence and persistence to publish this book.
What a joy to see "One Excellent Adventure" published. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Turkey's Second Act

The Second Act
Reincarnate Leftovers to Brand New Dishes
Creamy Turkey and Gnocchi Soup (an adapted Olive Garden Copycat)
Recipe adapted from  and makes about 5-6 servings depending on bowl size.   
Look for gnocchi in the pasta refrigerated section of the store. The soup is thick and hearty and can be thinned out with milk or broth. The recipe has been lightened up using 2% milk.

  • 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 cup each diced carrot and celery 
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  (48 oz. ) box  chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1/2 tsp. each dried rosemary and thyme 
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • dash of nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups cooked shredded turkey or chicken
  • 1 (12oz.) package potato gnocchi 
  • 3 TB. butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 2% milk 
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • Shredded Romano cheese , for serving (optional)
  • Heat 1 TB. olive oil in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in onions, carrots and celery,sauté 5 minutes, add garlic sauté 1- 2 minutes longer. Pour in broth, add rosemary, thyme, nutmeg and bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cook about  10-12 minutes covered.
  • In another saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, cook and stir constantly 1 minute. While whisking pour in milk then continue to whisk to smooth out any lumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until mixture thickens and lightly boils. Whisk in cream and milk, remove from heat.
  • Add gnocchi to broth mixture, cover and simmer for recommend time directed on package, about 4 minutes. Stir milk mixture into broth mixture, add in chicken or turkey and spinach leaves. Cook, while stirring frequently on a low medium heat 15 minutes, uncovered.  Serve warm with Romano cheese if desired.

Classic Party Mix with a Thanksgiving Twist
Cook's Notes:  A great party mix flavored with savory spices like garlic and onion. But this Thanksgiving mix has some warming spices, pumpkin seeds, and sweet cranberries added that make it a special mix. You can swap the traditional cheese crackers for cheese bugles (pretend they are a cornucopia) or use whatever snacks, nuts, and spices you prefer as long as you keep the cereal and butter amounts the same.
Recipe inspired by and serves 10 to 12; makes 10 cups

  • 4 cups Corn Chex cereal
  • 4 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 2 cups Wheat Chex cereal 
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks 
  • 2 cup cheese-flavored Bugles, mini breadsticks, mini crackers, or oyster crackers (2 ounces)
  • 1 cup honey roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp.ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1- 1/2 cups dried cranberries 

  • Place the cereals, pretzels, Bugles, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds in a 6-quart (preferably oval-shaped) or larger slow cooker. Using 2 wooden spoons, gently toss together, being careful not to crush the cereal.
  • Whisk the butter, Worcestershire, paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Pour half over the dry ingredients and toss to coat evenly. Pour in the remaining half and toss again. Place a double layer of paper towels over the top of the slow cooker to catch condensation.
  • Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. When it is done, the party mix should look toasty and relatively dry.
  • Pour the party mix onto a work surface or baking sheets lined with parchment or paper towels. Spread into a single layer and sprinkle with the cranberries. Cool for 5 minutes before serving or storing. 
Recipe Notes:Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Cheesy Mashed Potato Puffs
Cook's Notes: An easy and flavorful idea to use up leftover mashed potatoes. Makes 12 to 24 puffs, depending the size of the pan used, Recipe from

  • Cooking spray or butter 
  • 2 cups cooked mashed potatoes 
  • 3 large eggs, beaten 
  • 1 cup grated cheese, such as Parmesan or Gruyère, divided 
  • 1 TB. each dried parsley and chives 
  • 1/4 cup diced cooked bacon or ham (optional) 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • Sour cream, for serve (optional) 
  • Arrange a rack in the middle of oven and heat to 400 degrees, Lightly coat the cups of a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray or butter. 
  • Place the mashed potatoes, eggs, 3/4 cup of the cheese, chives, and bacon or ham in a large bowl and stir to combine. Season, if necessary, with salt and pepper. 
  • Fill each muffin cup with the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. 
  • Bake until the potato cups are set, browned on top, and heated through, about 20 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a spoon or knife to gently release them from the pan. 
  • Serve immediately with dollops of sour cream, if desired. Recipe Notes: Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat and re-crisp, arrange the puffs on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (depending on size). 
More Flavoring Ideas for Mashed Potato PuffsLoaded Baked Potato: Cheddar cheese, cooked bacon, chopped green onions, served with sour cream and chives
Curried Potato Puffs: 1 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste), chopped red onion, chopped jalapeño pepper, served with yogurt and cucumber.
Goat Cheese & Spinach: Fine chopped spinach, minced garlic, crumbled goat cheese.
Italian-Inspired: Finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped basil, finely chopped shallots, served with a smear of tomato sauce.Last minute holiday decorating ideas

Printable tag for Christmas Cookies
Free Place Card Printables
My apologies for skipping two steps in the directions for Caramelized Pear, Onion, Bacon with  Gorgonzola Quiche posting Nov. 16th. I have added the necessary steps to the original recipe.    

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Caramelized Pear, Onion, Bacon and Gorgonzola Quiche

Let's see if Ever Ready can help with your holiday entertaining by posting this recipe on Twitter.
Caramelized Pear, Onion, Bacon and Gorgonzola Quiche
Cook's Notes: The unusual combination of ingredients always attract me to recipes. Pears sauteed with cinnamon and onions, adding in savory bacon make this one a winner in my book. And my neighbors all gave it their stamp of approval! 
White cheddar cheese can be substituted for Gorgonzola cheese. 
Cooking tips: Make sure unbaked pie crust is kept chilled and pear mixture is not warm before adding into the unbaked pie crust. Bacon can be fried ahead and crumbled. Bosc and Anjou varieties are best for baking as they hold their shape. 
  • 4-5 slices of thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 unbaked pie crust 
  • 1 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 1 TB.brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 3 pears, cored and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup half and half or 1/2 cup half and half with 1/2 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 3/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese or white cheddar, reserve 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. reserve 1/4 cup 
  • Cook bacon, drain on a paper towel lined plate, crumble and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a medium sized fry pan. Add in onions and saute 4 minutes. Add in pears, cinnamon and brown sugar. Saute 4 minutes.  Place pear mixture on a paper towel lined plate to drain juices off.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  • In a blender mix eggs, half and half, mustard and parsley flakes.
  • To the bottom of unbaked chilled pie crust, add 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and crumbled bacon.
  • Top with pear and onion mixture.
  • Place foil strips around outside rim of pie pan to prevent over browning. Oven rack should be placed on lower part of the oven. Pull rack out and place pie pan on it. Add egg mixture by  cupfuls and sprinkle with remaining cheese and nuts. 
  • Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake 30 minutes longer. Insert a knife to the center to make sure it comes out clean for doneness. 

Turkey's Second Act

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fall Panzanella Salad

Panzanella or panmolle is a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. It includes chunks of soaked stale bread and tomatoes, sometimes also onions and basil, dressed with olive oil and vinegar. Add a twist or two and turn this Italian salad into the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving full of autumn flavors.
Cinnamon and thyme roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash cubes nestled in a bed of greens with apple slices, topped with goat cheese and sunflower seeds, drizzled with an olive oil dressing make this one irresistible salad. 
Recipe inspiration from and makes four salads. 
Fall Panzanella Salad
Cook's Notes:Ingredients for salad and dressing can easily be increased. As a time saver look for pre-cut butternut squash cubes in produce. Italian bread can be substituted for Rosemary though not as flavorful. Advance planning makes assembly go smoother. Bread cubes can be toasted the day before and early in the day roast Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. I included two different vinaigrette dressings to choose from.  
Salad Ingredients:
  • 1/2 of a loaf of Rosemary bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2-1/2 cups butternut squash, cut in 1 inch cubes  
  • 2-1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved and quartered
  • 1-1/2 TB. olive oil  
  • 1/2 cup red onion, slices
  • 2 minced garlic cloves 
  • sprinkle of thyme and cinnamon
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1 large Honeycrisp, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pepitas or sunflower seeds
  • crumbled goat cheese
Salad Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bread cubes on a large baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until the bread is toasted. Set aside.
  • Turn oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl add Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. Toss with olive oil. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pad. Spread mixture out evenly. Sprinkle with cinnamon and thyme. Arrange onion and garlic among the cubes and sprouts. 
  • Roast 20-25 minutes until fork tender but not mushy. Stir once during roasting time. Cool to room temperature.
  • Assemble the salad- each was plated with mixed greens, Brussels sprouts and butternut squash mixture, apples slices, cranberries and crumbled goat cheese. 
Maple-Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients:
  • 3 TB. cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. apple pie spice 
  • 1/8 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp each kosher salt and pepper 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Maple-Cider Vinaigrette 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 TB. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TB. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TB. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Each dressing is mixed in a blender. 

I found I could say things with color and shapes 
that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.

-Georgia O'Keeffe
American artist Georgia O'Keeffe is one of the 20th century's greatest painters. She was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin November 15, 1887. She grew up believing she would become an artist at a time when few women were encouraged to pursue their artistic talents.
Inspired by nature, she used shape, form, and color to create the idea of her subject and the way she felt about it.
Georgia O'Keeffe is renowned for her images of gigantic flowers, vibrant cityscapes and distinctive desert scenes.
Poppies were one of Georgia's favorite subjects. In this painting she shows two blossoms filling the canvas in symmetrical balance. She uses a palette of warm colors. The center of the poppies are a velvety dark shade to draw the viewer's eyes right into the core of the blossoms.

Deer's Skull 
O'Keefe loved the southwest landscape. On her long walks through the New Mexico dessert she often gathered bones to use as models for her paintings. Since she felt cattle were a major part of the American experience it was a way for her to pay tribute to her country through her paintings.

Georgia O'Keeffe died in 1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico. During her legendary life of 98 years she lived to see some of her 900 works of art exhibited in major art museums.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Beef Tamale Casserole with Cornbread Topping

I love the illustrations and this book is a fun read for K-3. It's not a traditional story but a version of The Three Little Pigs story set in Texas near Mexico. Kids will really enjoy it as the connection to the traditional story is close enough that they can predict what will happen, but different enough that they may giggle at the changes and enjoy it. Another fun part is how the author integrated the setting into the story; the horses are built from things you would find in Texas (ending with a house made of spiny cactus), and it also integrates some Spanish words. The words are occasional and are defined in the story as well as in a short glossary, but students, especially bilingual students, will really enjoy it.

Speaking of tamales how about this dish.
Beef Tamale Casserole is a real winner in my book. It's kid friendly taking comfort food to the max with layers of spiced beef, enchilada and tomato sauce,cheesy goodness topped with sweet cornbread. I skipped making cornbread from scratch and went for easy using a box mix. I substituted buttermilk for the milk. If you are a family of cheese lovers reserve some of the cheese and sprinkle over the cornbread before baking. Suggested cornbreads in my order of preference Famous Daves Cornbread, Krusteaz Honey Cornbread, 2 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread.
You can vary the "hotness" of this recipe by increasing the spices or using hot enchilada sauce over mild.
  • 1 box cornbread mix
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup each diced onion and diced mini sweet red pepper 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. each chili powder, cumin, taco seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce mild
  • 1 can (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • Brown ground beef with onions, peppers, garlic and spices.
  • Drain and return mixture back to pan. Make sure beef is crumbled and add in enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes, corn and cheese.  
  • Pour into casserole dish. 
  • Make cornbread according to manufacturer's directions. Place large spoonfuls of cornbread over beef mixture covering as much of pan as possible. It will spread during baking time. 

  • Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Additional cheese can be sprinkled over the cornbread the last 5 minutes of baking time.   
November 14, 1840-December 5, 1926
Monet was the founder of French Impressionist style of painting. His works focused on landscape scenes and his favorite flower, the water lily.
Woman in Green Dress
This painting brought Monet recognition in 1866. It was one of the many works featuring his first wife Camille Doncieux.

These two paintings below are two of his most famous works on display at the Musee d' Orsay in Paris.

"It took me time to understand my waterlilies. 
I had planted them for the pleasure of it; 
I grew them without ever thinking of painting them. ”
- Claude Monet

Monday, November 13, 2017

Chocolate Mixed Nut Pie with a Sprinkle of Kindness

Imagine that-Chocolate Mixed Nut Pie With A Twist upstaged a planned Beef Tamale Cornbread Casserole Pie for today's posting!! 
But who could resist such a chocolate treat. And this is just not any traditional pecan pie but one with several twists-swap pecans for a mixed nut combo that gives the pie a sweet and salty flavor and crunch, Sweet Mexican chocolate that goes beyond the chocolate with hints of almond and cinnamon and a bit of espresso powder. Top the pie with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream and it's all piece de resistance
Recipe adapted from BHG November 2017
Chocolate Mixed Nut Pie
Cook's Note: Mexican chocolate such as Ibarra or Taza can be found Mexican markets or Hispanic sections of supermarkets. If not readily available you can substitute the following to the 3 oz. of bittersweet chocolate, adding in 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. almond flavoring.  

  • 1 single pie crust
  • 3 large eggs,slightly beaten
  • 1 cup dark or light corn syrup 
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder 
  • 1-1/2 cups mixed nuts combo, coarsely chopped, reserve 1/4 cup for topping
  • 3 oz. sweet-style Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. almond flavoring
  • In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and espresso powder until well combined. Stir in 1-1/4 cups mixed nuts and chopped chocolate mixture. Set aside. 
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Prepare pastry and fit into a 9 inch pie pan.  Crimp edges and place foil strips around the outer rim to prevent over browning.  
  • Place pie pan on oven rack and carefully pour filling in by the cupfuls into the pie pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of reserved nuts. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 425  degrees. Reduce heat to 325 degrees.
  • Bake 25 -30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean from the center.
P.S. Beef Tamale Cornbread Casserole will make an appearance next.
World Kindness Day November 13th need not be just one day but should be practiced every day. Here's some ideas to keep the kindness going... 

30 Acts of Kindness : November Challenge
1. Donate to a local food pantry
2. Volunteer for a worthy cause
3. Start a gratitude journal
4. Shop handmade on Black Friday
5. Make someone their favorite meal
6. Donate a coat
7. Compliment a cashier
8. Give yourself a yes day
9. Pay for someone’s meal
10. Thank a veteran
11. Show your gratitude to a loved one
12. Jot down 30 great things about yourself
13. Give something to a homeless person
14. Let someone else have the parking spot
15. Donate to Toys for Tots
16. Invite someone new over for a meal
17. Make someone a handmade gift
18. Email an old friend
19. Donate to a local rescue or animal shelter
20. Thank you local police or firemen
21. Thank your delivery drivers
22. Leave unused coupons at the store
23. Let someone checkout before you
24. Bake something for a friend or loved one
25. Return someone’s cart for them
26. Compliment a loved one
27. Send flowers to someone
28. Hold the door for someone
29. Celebrate world kindness day (Nov 13)
30. Leave kind notes in library books

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Weekend Round-Up

Spotlight on Native American Heritage Month

Dr. Anton Treuer is an American academic and author specializing in the Ojibwe language and American Indian Studies and is a cultural preservationist. He is a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University Minnesota and a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities award winner.  His mother Margaret Treuer is an enrolled member of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation and a lifelong resident of the Leech Lake Ojibwe Reservation. She is a retired tribal judge and was the first female Indian attorney in the State of Minnesota. 

Dr. Treuer grew up in and around the Leech Lake Reservation and has authored or edited 14 books. He is also widely known for his volunteer work at Ojibwe ceremonies, where he helps officiate at medicine dance and ceremonial drums in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Dr. Treuer is a dynamite speaker who relates well to his audience. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak at a recent event called "Let's Talk" in Walker MN. He was part of an informative presentation that was held to facilitate discussion between the community and members of the Leech Lake Reservation.  I would highly recommend Dr. Treuer's book "Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask " published by St. Paul Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012.
In his book Dr. Treuer answers the most commonly asked questions about American Indians, both historical and modern in a question and answer format.  The book is factual,  frank and written with a sense of humor. 
I thought this succinct review I found summed up the book quite well... 
 It touches on Native American history, culture and language, tribal organization and relations with the US government, land theft and its continuing legacy of poverty, the history of oppression and the destruction of Indian culture, cultural practices such as powwows and ceremonies, ongoing challenges such as alcoholism, crime, and unemployment, and a grab-bag of stuff oblivious outsiders don't get, like casinos, the significance of eagle feathers and Indian names, whether Natives have a "mystical relationship with the land," and the appropriateness of the word "Indian".

A book review previously posted in Star Tribune paper

and a NPR interview
Have you ever heard of Pie Crust Crackers? 
Well neither had I until I came across a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie Soup from 
These crackers are so simple to put together with lots of creative variations.
You will need one prepared refrigerated pie crust.   
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Unroll crust to a sheet of parchment paper and gently roll out a few times. Transfer crust on parchment to a baking sheet.
  • Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Use a pizza cutter and cut lengthwise  into 2 inch strips.
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until pie crusts crackers are  golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and cool to room temperatures. 
  • Break into pieces and serve with soup.
  • Other variations include a sprinkle of  sesame seeds or try a sprinkle of cinnamon and you have a mid morning snack with your cup of coffee or tea. 
Pie Crust Crackers can be served as a side 
or topped on the soup. 
Chicken pot pie is ultimate comfort food and this creamy, chunky soup is loaded with chicken, potatoes, mushrooms, corn, peas, carrots, corn, celery and onions in every bite. You can modify this soup with vegetables you like to suit your taste. Milk and a little cream add to a lightened version of the soup. Use more chicken broth on the second day if needed reheating.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Cook's Notes: Advance planning will help make the soup assembly go faster. All veggies can be prepared ahead and placed in a zip loc bag until needed. Use a rotisserie chicken which adds to flavor and ease of the recipe. The soup will be thicker on the second day as potatoes absorb the liquid. I actually liked even better the second day for soup consistency and enhanced flavors. While the soup is on simmer make the Pie Crust Crackers. Another option for soup is adding 1 cup cooked wild rice in towards the end of cooking time. Recipe makes 4-6 bowls depending on the size.

  • 2 TB. butter 
  • 1 cup each diced yellow onions, celery, carrots, cubed without skin Yukon gold potatoes and mushrooms 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1 TB. Dijon mustard 
  • 1 32 oz. box chicken broth low sodium 
  • 1-1/4 cups 2 % milk 
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence 
  • 2 tsp. parsley flakes 
  • 1/2 cup each frozen corn and peas 
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey 
  • In a large soup pot melt butter over medium heat. Add in onion, celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Saute 2 minutes and add in garlic, potatoes and bay leaves. Saute 2 more minutes, reduce heat to medium low, cover and sweat mixture 10 minutes stirring occasionally. 
  • Uncover and sprinkle with flour and stir until veggies are coated and flour starts to dissolve. 
  • Whisk in chicken broth, milk, cream, mustard and spices. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until all veggies are tender. 
  • Stir in chicken, peas and corn and simmer uncovered another 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Monday Night Dinner Celebrating

with a few resources, tips and Beef Tamale Pie.