Cauliflower-Cheese Soup with Bacon and Wine


I just had a taste for soup. A simple one-pot meal that I could eat off of for a couple of days.  I don’t make cheese soups often.  I’m a soup maker forever, but for some reason have usually skipped making the creamy, sometimes stringy, more-cheese-than-broccoli type soups so often sold in restaurants.  The only thing like that I ever order out is beer-cheese soup in a brew pub and then it’s with a salad because that stuff will stick to your ribs.

I kept picturing the bag of Costco cauliflower florets (2 pounds for $3.79) I had in the spare fridge. And the lovely cheddar my local grocery store cheesemonger had pressed on me recently.  The two needed to meet and mingle, perhaps blend and marry their distinct, but complimentary flavors. Continue reading

English Muffin Chicken Pot “Pies”


Start with a little music when you only have a half an hour to make dinner.   Perhaps Adele’s NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.  Maybe a glass of wine, too.  If there’s anyone else home, have them set the table and light the candles.  While this is fast, it’s luscious and homey and that deserves a bit of attention from everyone.  If you love Chicken Pot Pie (and who doesn’t?), but never have the time to make it from scratch –you order it out, right? — this one’s for you.  All of the goodness and none of the hassle.  Try it tonight:


Sun on pie!


makes 4

Done in about a half hour, this filling and comforting dish will sooth even the most tired cold soul. My version uses home-cooked or rotisserie chicken. Skip the pastry and instead buy English muffins for the bottom and top of the “pie.” Make it as written, or ramp it up with the changes in vegetables noted in parentheses.  A small, peeled and diced potato could also be used in place of two of the carrots.  Alternately, you might use some leftover cooked vegetables. Continue reading

Warm Wild Rice Salad

IMG_2056Mid-winter, the perverse cook in me always has a hankering for a grilled burger and potato salad.  Mid-summer, I crave chili.  Given the weather in Colorado, I often am able to fulfill my deepest wishes right down to the sun or cold wind to go along with the meal.  It isn’t a real oddity to see 65 degrees in January or 45 in July.  It happens. Somehow out-of-season dishes occasionally rear their pesky heads.


The other day wasn’t so terribly warm, but it wasn’t cold either. In fact, I was making tomato soup and just wanted something real to go with it.  A couple leeks languished in the fridge next to some waning baby zucchini; a big paper box of mushrooms nearly cried foul from the crisper.

What was a girl to do?

A quick bang of the cupboards–a favorite occupation– showed up a few packages of Minnesota wild rice* and, while wild rice has a truly indefinite shelf life (no joke), it sounded fine, just fine. While I wasn’t quite sure how the meal would come together, I trusted in the spirit of the rice*  and began to cook.  I was sure that by the time it was done — it takes nearly an hour–I would have figured out dinner.  I was right.  Try this luscious bowlful, which just happens to be both vegetarian and gluten-free, and is also simply altered for a vegan version. (See bold green notes for vegan version.) Continue reading

Quick and Lusty Tomato Soup


Done in under a half hour, this lusty (I almost said perky, but perky it isn’t) soup just about jumped out of the pot, put its arms around me, and begged me to eat it.  Wonderful for the I-ate-too-many-chocolates post-holiday cooking time,  you can skip the fresh basil, if you still haven’t gotten to the store, and add Herbes de Provence or a combination of dried oregano and basil.  Easily vegan and gluten-free (with a few changes or lack of a garnish), this meal will heat everyone up despite the weather.  It’s sunny, but snowy … Continue reading