Shiner Seafood Chowder

At the risk of sounding a little like Pooh Bear, I must say that it has been blustery here in Waco. There really isn’t another word. We have alternated between days that are in the 80’s and days that are … Continue reading

Creamy Mushroom Meatball Soup

Happy New Year! I hope that the holidays were nice and relaxing for everyone.  I am glad to be back in the swing of things.  I always enjoy the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, but I find that I miss my routine!  It was kind of quiet here at The Olive Branch that week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  What that means, is I had time to experiment.  It was kind of like that show on Food TV, “Chopped.”  I took a look around the kitchen to see what I could make using up the ingredients we had leftover.  I created a really yummy new soup: Creamy mushroom meatball.  Here is my first new recipe of the New Year!

Creamy Mushroom Meatball Soup:

  • 1 quart of beef broth
  • 1 family size Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 packet of Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 T dried Thyme leaves
  • 1t garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
  • 1 small jar of sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 of a bag of frozen, fully-cooked meatballs


  1. In a saucepan, stir together the beef broth and the cream of mushroom soup and start to heat on medium.
  2. Stir in the soup mix, the thyme, and garlic.
  3. Bring soup to a gentle boil, then turn down the heat
  4. Add the meatballs and the mushrooms.
  5. Heat through and serve.

(It’s yummy with a little dollop of sour cream, too!)

Chicken Soup for the Sick

chicken soup

Sick, Sick, Sick…

I HATE being sick.  Thank goodness I rarely am! I really don’t have time for it.  Wait, I don’t have time to blog, either!  Anyway, I do have a second rule of life: If you are sick, please don’t share. Stay home. Unless you’re faking, then you should go to work!

OK – now that that’s off of my chest, I do have a great recipe for a chicken soup that will soothe the savage “sick” beast.  It is easy to make and it will warm you up from the inside out.  The spice in it will clear your head and fill the house with comforting smells.  The recipe is in my cookbook, “To Taste,” but in the spirit of good health I will share it with you here…  PS – I hope you get to make this just to share with friends and not cuz you’re sick.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 package of raw chicken breasts – cut into bite size pieces
2 Large cans of chicken Broth (49.5 oz each)
2 small cans Rotel
2 small cans corn
4 T chili powder
1 package mild taco seasoning
crushed red pepper to taste
2 medium zucchini, cut into ½ inch chunks

Tortilla Chips
Sour Cream
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

  1. In a slow cooker, put the chicken pieces, the “rotel” (undrained), the corn (undrained) and the zucchini.
  2. Pour the chicken broth over everything and add the spices.  Cook on low for at least 6 hours, it can continue to cook up to 10 hours.

To serve:
Ladle soup into bowls.  Crush 2-3 tortilla chips into the soup and top with sour cream and cheese.

Southwestern Chili

chili finished

So, I read an interesting article in the paper the other day.  It was about cookbooks and getting back to basics.  Apparently, Americans have forgotten how to cook!  Cooking is somehow second nature to me and I find it difficult to believe that basic skills are forgotten.  In fact, I would say that they have not been forgotten, but that they have been buried, maybe!

In the hype of all of the cooking shows and recipe books and magazines, I think there is an idea out there that every meal must be fancy and use every utensil in your kitchen to be “good!”  I would say the most important thing about cooking is to make food that tastes good.  Food that the people you are serving will enjoy eating.  And, if you want something “fancier” that you don’t know how to make or prepare, what is the harm in letting an expert do it for you?  Prepared and packaged foods, while pricey, are getting more and more authentic and yummy.  I am not suggesting that you have every meal specially prepared for you, just that you can maybe add in a couple of special elements to jazz up the basic, delicious fare that you have created yourself.

chili ingredients

I have a rockin recipe for a southwestern chili.  Talk about cheating.  You will die when you see how simple it is.  However, when I serve it, I often use bread bowls from the bakery or serve my favorite guacamole from my favorite restaurant.  And I sometimes put my time and energy into a spectacular dessert to balance the spiciness of the main course.  It always seems to end up “fancier” than the time it took to prepare it!

chili cooking

Southwestern Chili
2 pounds ground beef
2 cans black beans
2 cans pinto beans
1 can white beans
2 cans corn
1 large can petite diced tomatoes
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 pkt ranch dressing seasoning
1 pkt mild taco seasoning
3 T chili powder
2 T cumin
1T minced garlic

  1. In a deep saucepan, brown the beef with the minced garlic.  Drain off the excess fat.
  2. Add the tomatoes, the cans of beans (undrained), the corn, and all of the seasonings.
  3. Let simmer until all is well combined.  The flavors get better as they sit.

Serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, jalapenos and guacamole