Easy Cook: Chicken Taco Soup

“Chicken Taco Soup” is a hearty and satisfying soup to cook for a hurry-up lunch or supper meal. It is a quick recipe and doesn’t require much of effort — just open several cans — which is very nice once in awhile. I used left-over rotisserie chicken in the soup along with several canned and frozen vegetable ingredients and a packet of dry taco seasoning. That’s it; this recipe made a very tasty soup–entrée. Sometimes I will purchase a rotisserie chicken for a meal and find that about half of the chicken is left-over after we eat. Rather than let the chicken go to waste (which can easily happen), I have several recipes which make good use of the chicken. This is one such recipe. Plus, by reading the labels, I have found ways to cut down on the sodium in the soup.

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Freezer Banana Chocolate Chip Waffles

Freezer waffles make such an easy and tasty breakfast and snack. We eat more Kellogg’s Eggo-Waffles at our house than I ever care to admit. So, why not make my own waffles? Should be easy enough, I thought. First, that meant purchasing a waffle iron, since I couldn’t find my old one. Second, it meant coming up with a recipe for waffles that taste like the commercial ones. Eggo-waffles are crispy, thin and flavorful. I wanted a square, thin waffles so that the waffles would fit in my toaster. The waffle iron which I purchased from Amazon turned out to be a Belgium waffle iron which makes thick waffles — and they are not square. Plus, the waffles are not crisp! But the waffles are very, very tasty. And, and I am happy to report that the frozen waffles do crisp up when re-heated in the toaster. Success!

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Easy Cook: A Small Batch of Air Fryer Granola

Wow, I’ve just made the best and easiest batch of granola possible. It is crunchy and aromatic. And I used my newest kitchen “gadget,” an air fryer, which I purchased around the holiday season. The air fryer was intended as a Christmas present for a relative. But when the relative stated that she already had an air fryer, I decided to keep this Christmas present for myself. Do you ever do that? Although other friends say that they “love” cooking with air fryers, I really haven’t figured out a way to make good use of my air fryer. Today I decided to give this little appliance another try and am pleased to report that I made a very successful batch of granola.

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Easy Cook: Vicki’s Baked Salmon with Marmalade Glaze

We all know that the American Dietary Guidelines recommend eating more salmon and deep sea fish for a heart-healthy diet. That’s great, but how do you cook the salmon? Sister-in-law, Vicki, shared this three-ingredient recipe for “Baked Salmon with Marmalade Glaze.” The salmon is tasty; and you can’t find an easier recipe than this one. And it is a great choice for the Passover meal coming up this week.

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Cheesy Cauliflower & Potato Soup

What do you cook with half a head of cauliflower and one baking potato which are left over from other cooking projects? A soothing, hot soup for these cold spring nights is just what we all need. So I made “Cheesy Cauliflower & Potato Soup” which combines two of my favorite vegetables. The soup is creamy, smooth and flavorful. I used evaporated milk in the recipe rather than heavy cream; the soup is low-fat and healthy, too. Freeze the leftovers if you have any left. Add a little hot sauce to give a Cajun “zip.”

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Instant Pot Magic: Spaghetti with Diced Tomato & Meat Sauce

For me, the joy of an “Instant Pot” is all about the challenge. I am starting out the New Year with another of my “Instant Pot” experiments. Can you cook spaghetti with diced tomato & meat sauce in an Instant Pot? Although cooking pasta on the stove in one pot and meat sauce in another pot really isn’t difficult, an Instant Pot does save several steps and it reduces the number of pots that you have to wash. (And that is so important.) Plus, homemade spaghetti sauce tastes better than any commercial one, in my opinion, and it is easy to make. As an added benefit, the homemade sauce can be made so that it is not high in sodium (salt). Spaghetti with meat sauce has always been one of our favorite “go to” suppers. With a “never give up” approach; I made this simple recipe over and over in an Instant Pot trying to get the process perfected.

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Easy Cook: A Small Batch of Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup

Autumn is the season for pumpkin, gourds, winter squash, apples and sweet potatoes. I look forward to cooler weather and all the fall produce. In addition to providing decoration for our homes and yards, pumpkin and winter squash are extremely tasty — when properly cooked. In my opinion, there is no comparison between freshly cooked pumpkin and the canned variety. My husband recently brought home several small “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins.” Okay, now I get to cook them! But, I’m ready. These pumpkins have a very mild, slightly sweet flavor and can be used in many recipes. Today I made a small batch of absolutely delicious “Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup.” Although some recipes for this soup are complicated, this Thai-inspired soup is extremely easy to make. 

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Let’s Cook “Minestrone Soup” with a Louisiana Twist

I love a hearty soup on these cooler fall days which we are finally experiencing here in south Louisiana. Soup seems to take the chill out of the air and warm a person’s soul. So, today I’m making a variation of “Minestrone Soup” by including several seasonal autumn vegetables. I associate “Minestrone Soup” with Italian cuisine, although actually the soup precedes modern Italian culture and can be traced back to ancient Roman days. It was considered to be “poor man’s soup” where any and all leftovers were thrown into the soup pot. My soup certainly has lots of vegetables and beans which makes makes for a very colorful and flavorful soup. In my recipe, all the ingredients blend together — it is not overly rich, spicy or “heavy.” The soup is easy to make, and is a great way to increase the vegetables in your meals.

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Ridiculously Easy One-Bowl Oatmeal & Apple Cookies

My grandmother Ida’s pride and joy was her “Oatmeal Bars” which we helped her bake every summer during our visits to her Iowa farm. She was especially proud that you could make these bars using only one bowl. I decided to bake a variation of her recipe, but making cookies rather than bars. I had a very tart apple to use up and added this to the dough. The cookies turned out great. They are soft and moist yet chewy with plenty of apple and oatmeal flavor. The cookies are very simple to make. I used a large saucepan and “dumped and stirred” in the ingredients — one at a time in order. For further ease, I adjusted the ingredients so that most of them are “one” cup or “one” item. The hardest part of the recipe is peeling and chopping the apple.

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Easy Cook: Italian-Seasoned Baked Catfish Filets

Every now and then, it’s nice to have such a quick and simple supper entrée to prepare, that you can almost make it in your sleep. This “melt-in-your-mouth” baked catfish recipe is very easy to cook and it is also very tasty. There is no chopping, dicing, stirring or mixing involved. It is a great recipe to fix when I arrive home from work, exhausted, but still want a home-cooked supper. I have several of these “simple” catfish recipes. This first recipe involves a “secret” ingredient.

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