Monday, April 16, 2012

Spicy Lemon Creme Sauce

Salmon patties fall into the category of "comfort food" for me. I remember my grandmother making them frequently when I was little, and I always gorged myself on them.

My husband, however, did not grow up eating fried salmon, and its been more of an acquired taste for him. The last time I made salmon patties, he mentioned that they'd be more palatable with some sort of sauce. This spicy lemon creme sauce worked great for the salmon patties, but you could use it on any time of fish or shellfish – especially if you're like me and can't tolerate the mayonnaisey gunk that most people seem to think passes for tartar sauce.


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of ground black pepper


Melt the butter in a pan. Stir in the flour until well-mixed and clumpy. Gradually whisk in the milk until the sauce base becomes smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil until it thickens to the consistency you want (usually 1-3 minutes). Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Serve hot. 

Potato Bacon Soup

Last night I made like a Catholic saint and performed a miracle. Behold: potato bacon soup.

It isn't often that I taste something new and have a "moment." You know, the moment where you close your eyes, savor whatever it is you've just tasted and shiver all over with deliciousness. But those little moments are a crucial part of what life is all about, yes? I totally had a moment with this soup. It was so good that when I let my husband have a taste, he came back for more and I had to smack him away from the pot until dinnertime.

This soup was so good that I had to call my mother and tell her about it. She probably thinks I've gone completely off my rocker, calling to excitedly tell her about food. But I didn't care. I had to tell somebody. Make this soup. You won't be disappointed. 


  • 5 baking potatoes
  • 1 pack bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tbs olive oil 
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2/3 cup sour cream


Bake the potatoes. This is rudimentary, so I'm not going to tell you how to do it. When the potatoes are just a few minutes from being done, chop up the onion and saute it in the olive oil until it is tender and translucent. Cook the bacon. Cover a plate with a paper towel and sit the cooked bacon on the paper towel to absorb the excess grease. 

Melt the butter in a stock pot (I used a Dutch oven. It keeps things from burning a lot better than a stock pot imho) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and stir the mixture for about two minutes. It will clump together into a ball. That's normal. Add the milk gradually, cup by cup, whisking between each cup of milk until the mixture is smooth. 

Add the cream and whisk for another minute or two until the mixture thickens slightly. Most things thicken gradually. This doesn't. When it starts to thicken it happens at the speed of light. Remove the pot from the heat and stop whisking as soon as the soup base reaches the perfect thickness. You'll know it when you see it. 

Peel and chop up the potatoes. If they're too hot to handle, just stick them in the freezer for a few minutes to cool. Add the potatoes and onion to the soup base. Bring the soup base to a low boil for a couple of minutes then turn the heat down to medium low. 

Add the sour cream, cheese, bacon and pepper. Stir the potato bacon soup until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately. 

Note: There is a very good reason this recipe doesn't call for salt. While most potato soups desperately need some salting, the bacon in this recipe provides more than enough salt. Trust me. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Deli Sandwiches

Sandwiches have a bad reputation for being a quick, mom-was-too-busy-to-cook meal. That's a shame. I'm a very big fan of a good sandwich.

When I was a kid, I had to bear the horrible task of going grocery shopping once a week with my mother. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is the root of my hatred of grocery shopping that continues to this day. Every now and then, however, my mother would buy me a sandwich from the deli. The deli can stuff just about anything into your sandwich – even things you wouldn't eat by themselves – and make it delicious. Since I have a personal rule about never cooking on Fridays, tonight we decided to go the deli sandwich route.

One of the things that made those grocery store deli sandwiches so tasty was the sauce. As a kid, I wouldn't touch mayonnaise with a 39 1/2 foot pole, but I snarfed down the deli sandwich sauce like a refugee. I later discovered that it was just equal parts mayo and mustard. 

You wouldn't think that mixing together the mayonnaise and mustard for your sandwich makes much of a difference, but it really does. 

Toasting the bread is also a good idea if you plan on using damp ingredients, such as tomatoes and pickles. Meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato are a given, but you can use just about anything you have laying around to make a killer sandwich. I do this frequently when I purchase something for a recipe that we don't normally eat. Rather than letting it sit in the fridge and slowly die, I put it in a sandwich. Here is a short list of just a few sandwich-stuffing items you might have around the house that you may not have considered:

  • Olives
  • Sliced onion
  • Apples or pears, thinly sliced
  • Sweet or dill pickles
  • Shredded carrot
  • Fresh spinach or watercress
  • Sliced artichoke hearts
  • Almonds or pecans
  • Chopped nopal 
  • Pesto
  • Seaweed
  • Hummus
  • Bean sprouts

Unorthodox is fun. For example, toasted ham, pear and mozzarella sandwiches are divine. Don't be afraid to experiment. You might be pleasantly surprised. Plus, screwing up a sandwich isn't as bad as screwing up a casserole. You can toss a bad sandwich in the trash without feeling like you wasted time and money. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fried Cinnamon & Chocolate Bananas

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that there are several combinations of food that I find absolutely repugnant. The combinations are as follows:

  1. Coffee and liquer
  2. Coffee and chocolate
  3. Chocolate and liquor
  4. Coffee and fruit
  5. Fruit and chocolate

I generally adhere to "fruit and chocolate do not go together" mantra no matter what. I realize, however, that most people – including my family – would not agree. So last night I made them some fried cinnamon and chocolate bananas.

Although I did modify the batter, I would like to note that the original batter recipe was adapted from the fried bananas recipe included on Roti-n-Rice. Thanks to Biren, the blog's author, for such a light and crispy batter. 


  • 1 jar hot fudge (You can make this from scratch or buy it. One of these days I will post my hot fudge recipe)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 bananas 
  • 1 1/2 cups granola
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup rice flour (regular flour would probably work, but you'd have to modify the amounts of some ingredients before you got the proper consistency for batter)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp water


Cut each banana in half and cut a second time vertically. This should leave you with 12 symmetrical slices. Put the slices in a baking dish. Cover each slice with hot fudge and put them in the freezer until the chocolate solidifies. 

Heat up approximately 2 inches of oil in a deep fryer or pot. While the oil is heating, combine the flour, salt, egg and water. Mix until you have a thick and creamy batter. Pour the granola into a bowl. 

Remove each banana slice from the pan. You may need to cut around them with a knife to ensure that they do not break. Dip each slice in the batter, roll it in the granola, and drop it in the pan. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the coating is golden brown. Remove the fried bananas from the oil with a slotted spoon or tongs and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess grease. 

Top with hot fudge and powdered sugar. Serve warm. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Healthier and Tastier Version of the Italian Chicken Sandwich

Everyone is familiar with the Italian chicken sandwich. It consists of a chicken patty slathered with marinara sauce, topped with melted mozzerella stuffed between two pieces of bread. It's greasy, fattening and incredibly delicious. 

Well, you can consider this the Italian chicken sandwich's classier cousin. You know, the one who wears $200 sunglasses, refuses to smile and thinks raising one eyebrow is an appropriate response to a question. Even so, you'd do just about anything to get her. 

And in this case, she's oh-so worth it. 

Sun-dried tomato pesto chicken burger


  • 1 jar sun-dried tomato pesto
  • Wheat hamburger buns
  • boneless chicken breasts
  • soft mozzerella (not the block!)
  • Artesian or romaine lettuce


Grill the chicken breasts. While the chicken breasts are on the grill, slice the cheese and place cheese slices on the top half of each bun. Toast the buns until the cheese melts. When the buns are finished, slather sun-dried tomato pesto on the bottom half. Place a grilled chicken breast into the sun-dried tomato pesto on each bun. Top with the lettuce and the bun's cheese-smothered other half.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ghetto Rice Krispie Treats

Oh yes I did.

My favorite everyday dessert isn't anything complicated or elegant. Nope, a pan of warm, gooey Rice Krispie treats is enough to satisfy me for days. Ok...maybe one day...because after that its gone.

Fortunately for my waistline, I have no clue how to make Rice Krispie treats. All I know is that it involves melting marshmallows painfully slowly on the stove. I'm not into standing at the stove and slowly stirring something for ten minutes. I think butter is also involved in this process somehow. 

Tim is much, much more patient than I am and he makes fantastic Rice Krispie treats, so I never bothered to learn much about the process – except I know that you're supposed to "Spray the spatula with cooking spray so that the Rice Krispie treats don't stick when you press them into the pan." Tim tells me this every time he makes the darn things as if I will one day need this information because I'll be making them myself. 


I should have learned more about the mechanics of Rice Krispie treat making because last night when I wanted a midnight snack and there was nothing palatable in the house, I decided to whip up some ghetto Rice Krispie treats. So I tossed some butter and marshmallows into a pot (I think I was supposed to melt the butter first, but oh well) and when that was good and melted I mixed in what appeared to me to be the correct amount of off-brand Rice Krispies. 

My dessert attempts are usually failures and, true to form, my ghetto Rice-Krispie-treats-in-a-bowl looked scrumptious but tasted terrible. I guess I'll leave the dessert-making to my husband. His sugary confections trump mine every time, and if I didn't get to eat those treats I might just be jealous. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Basic (and easy) Chili

I used to be afraid of chili. Whenever my parents made chili, I cringed (but not quite as much as I cringed when they made stir-fry. Stir-fry was their crack. To this day I won't touch the stuff.). I liked absolutely nothing about chili. I find chili tolerable now. It's not my first choice, but its not one of those things that I'd rather go hungry than eat.

And since every family has their own variation on the old classic, I'm going to share ours. It's gluten-free, but that wasn't intentional, just lucky, especially considering chili is one of Larin's favorite foods. Yes, this is just a basic chili recipe, but Tim always devours it – eating until the point of sickness each time I make it. Thus, I'm just going to have to assume that its tasty. I wouldn't know. All chili tastes pretty much the same to  me. There is one thing I love about chili, however, and that is the fact that, aside from browning the meat and cooking the onions, you can pretty much just dump it in the pot and walk away.

I guess I should have named this blog "The Lazy Cook." Oh well, too late now.

Basic Chili 

  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 lb. ground beef (or more, if you like meaty chili)
  • 1/2 of a green bellpepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp California garlic salt with parsley
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp salt

Brown the ground beef in a saucepan. Put the olive oil in a saucepan. Set the saucepan on medium and multitask, cooking the ground beef and onion/bellpepper mixture simultaneously (Not required, but it saves time.) Or better yet, ask your significant other to cook one while you cook the other. Cook the ground beef until it is completely browned and the onion/pepper mixture until the onions are translucent. 

Set a stock pot or Dutch oven to medium low. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, cooked ground beef, onion/bellpepper mixture, kidney beans, garlic salt, chili powder, and water to the pot. Bring the chili to a boil, stirring it regularly. If you're using a Dutch oven as instructed, you shouldn't have to worry about scrubbing burnt bits of chili out of the bottom of a pot later on. 

We're lazy, remember? We don't like scrubbing.

Take the chili back down to a simmer, put the lid on the Dutch oven and leave it for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes stir the chili and add the butter. Stir the butter in well until it melts. Voila! You're done. You get to eat. As for me, I get to spend the next 20 minutes fighting to get a spoonful of chili in my four-year old's mouth. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gluten Free Pineapple Chicken

I'm testing my daughter out on a gluten-free diet after several weeks of constant stomach pain. It seems to be working. Because lets face it, man cannot live on Vicodin alone. When I initially suggested that she might need a gluten free diet she looked at me with fear in her eyes and said, "I won't be able to eat delicious foods with you guys anymore?"

Pfft. Ye of little faith.

If one of us has to eat gluten free, we all eat gluten free. Enter the pineapple chicken.

What I wanted was to be able to give my daughter that crispy fried chicken taste that she likes. Grilled chicken just isn't the same, and baked chicken? Gag me with a washcloth dipped in Lysol. No 13 year old girl should have to strike fried chicken from her diet (unless she's one of those 300lb. children from daytimie talk shows. Those girls can skip the chicken). 

Given that flour is a no no, we start out by washing the chicken, dipping it in whole milk and rolling it in cornmeal. I usually fry with a mix of flour and cornmeal, so this isn't quite so different. I forgot to salt the cornmeal, but you should. You totally should. 

Heat up about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Heat it until it starts to pop lightly on its own. It's important to get the oil very hot so that the cornmeal sears to the chicken skin immediately. Cornmeal has a greater tendency to slough off during cooking than flour, and we want to make delicious gluten free fried chicken, not wet, crustless, fail chicken. You can turn the oil down slightly after searing. 

While your chicken cooks, toss 1/2 a can of chunk pineapple (this will work with crushed pineapple too) into a saucepan with 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and roughly 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar. It just depends on how sweet you want it. I'm not sure exactly how much sugar I added. I don't really measure things. 

Word to the wise: No matter how funny you think it may be, do not ask your four-year old to taste test the pineapple sauce before you add the sugar. Two things will happen: One, he will spit it out on your nice, clean floor. Two: he will refuse to eat the finished version. 

Bring the pineapple mixture to a boil. Mix 2 tbsp water and 2 tbsp corn starch in a small cup. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the pineapple sauce. This will thicken it. 

Turn the heat down to a low simmer. Add 3/4 tsp ground ginger. Remove the chicken from the pan and pour a generous amount of pineapple sauce over each piece. If you wish, you can serve this dish over rice. The pineapple sauce and the rice go quite nicely together. 

My goal isn't to work around my daughter's dietary restrictions, but to make her forget that she even has dietary restrictions. The pineapple chicken suited that purpose quite well. It's a keeper. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Grilled Salmon in Spinach Cream Sauce

I am always surprised whenever I hear someone claim to dislike fish.  When a person says  he doesn't like poultry, that's pretty straightforward. After all, a bird is a bird and the flavor doesn't differ that much. The same is true of beef. Whether they're free-roaming, grain-fed or stuffed in a corral for the duration of their short lives, cattle taste like cattle.

But fish? Surely you jest. There are literally thousands of different types of fish out there, and each has its own distinct texture and flavor. There are similarities of course, but generalizing and claiming to dislike all fish is like saying you don't like anything with salt in it – as if pretzels had anything in common with vegetable soup.

Tim used to be one of those fish-haters. But, like most fish haters, what he hated wasn't the fish – it was that "fishy" taste. Get ready, because here comes an impromptu science lesson: fish aren't supposed to taste fishy. That "fishy" taste and smell is bacterial growth. The goal, of course, is to get to the fish before that bacteria has time to replicate and create the characteristic unpleasant odor and flavor that so many people associate with seafood.

Salmon in spinach cream sauce

Long story short, we're a fish-eating family. 

Now, you'd think after my less-than-wonderful experience with that onion soup that I would toss my Quick & Easy cookbook into the trash and move on. But no. I am a giver of second chances and ole' Quick & Easy got a second go tonight in the form of grilled salmon in a spinach cream sauce. It sounded perfect. We all like salmon. We all like spinach. We all like cream. 

But we did not all like this dish. Before I go any further, I'll post the recipe and you can take a good long look at it and see if the same thing jumps out at you that jumped out at me. 

Spinach Cream Sauce for Fish

  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch spinach, finely chopped

Pour the sour cream into a saucepan. Heat to simmering. Remove from  heat. Stir in dill. Set aside. Melt the butter in a second saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the white wine and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until reduced. Add the sour cream mixture. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. Pour over fish. 

I'm all about some good sauce, but sour cream and wine? Together? I felt like a moth must feel when its headed for the bug zapper but can't seem to stop. I know for a Rock.Solid. Fact that I am not capable of pulling off that combination, yet I went ahead and did it anyway because the book told me to. This is the same book, mind you, whose authors seem to feel that soups do not require seasoning. 

Tim actually liked it. I would have assumed he was just being polite if I hadn't sat and watched him devour every bite of that fish. In my opinion, the flavor created when one mixes sour cream with wine is retch-worthy. I think Logan put it best when he crinkled up his nose and said: "I do not like this strange chicken."  

Feel free to try it if you must, but don't say I didn't warn you. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Braided Almond Sweetbread

There are two kinds of people in this world: bread people and non-bread people. The bread people (and I know their kind well. I am one) are those who will gladly have two, or even three, rolls with dinner. They'll fill up on buttery, doughy goodness at restaurants that give you rolls to munch on while you look at the menu. At a pizza joint, they'll think nothing of snatching the last breadstick. They would never, ever, ever give up carbs. 

This is for all you bread people.

These sweetbreads aren't nearly as complex as they look. As a matter of fact, its almost impossible to screw up this recipe. My recipe makes about 10 almond sweetbreads, so feel free to halve the ingredients if you have a small family or aren't a complete pig like I am when it comes to bread. 

Braided Almond Sweetbread (Prep time: 1 hour 25 minutes  Cook time: 15 minutes)

2 and 1/4 cups water
3/4 pack fast acting yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt 
7.5 cups flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Start by dumping the yeast into a large bowl and adding 2 cups warm water. The great thing about fast acting yeast is that you don't have to proof it. I usually proof it anyway, just to be safe, but I didn't have time to do that today and the rolls still turned out fabulous. Because you're not proofing the yeast, it will tend to clump together just to scare you. Be brave, and don't let it smell your fear. It will work, even when it looks like this:

Add the sugar, oil, salt and 2 of the eggs. Mix until well blended. Add 7 cups of flour, one cup at a time, and mix well. At this point, your bowl of scary yeast-water should have yielded forth a nice, sticky dough. 

Track down your child and wash his/her hands well. Tell your child that the neighbor's garden gnomes stuck into the house and laid tiny little eggs in the flour. Ask your child to beat the dough until its smooth to make sure those gnome eggs don't hatch. 

Sit back and watch. Feel very satisfied with yourself for getting out of kneading the dough. Eat a cookie.

Add the last 1/2 cup of flour (or more, if necessary) as the child kneads the dough to keep it from getting too sticky. Don't worry about adding too much flour. Like I said before, you really can't screw this up. Once the dough is smooth, form it into a ball and put it in an oiled bowl to rise. I like to put a bit of oil on a paper towel and rub it over the top of the dough ball for good measure. 

You don't need to cover the dough. Just sit it in the microwave for an hour to rise. It goes without saying that you should not turn the microwave on while the dough is in there. After an hour, take the dough out and punch it down. We are not going to do a second rising because we are lazy. 

Preheat the oven to 375. Start pulling clumps of dough from the dough ball and rolling them into strands roughly six inches long with your hands. When you have three strands, braid them together and pinch the ends. Arrange the sweetbreads on a greased cookie sheet. Or, if you'e a piglet like me, two greased cookie sheets.

Crack the last egg into a small bowl. For the love of all that is holy, please pick out the disgusting little chicken fetus. Please. Add the remaining 1/4 cup water and whisk with a fork until you've got a nice, frothy egg wash. Brush each sweetbread with a small amount of the egg wash. If you don't have a food brush, dip a paper towel in the egg wash and wipe the top of each sweetbread with the paper towel. Remember, it doesn't take much.

Sprinkle the sweetbreads with the sliced almonds. They'll stick nicely to the egg wash. Put the pan of bread in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes. If your oven is like mine and rivals the pits of hell at 375, you might be able to get away with cooking the sweetbreads for a mere 10 minutes. Take them out when they're golden and the crust begins to harden and flake.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tomato Basil Soup and BLTs

I generally plan the following week's meals over the weekend. This ensures that I have all the correct ingredients for each dish. Because lets face it, nothing is as irritating as realizing you're out of something when you've already got dinner going. The meal I'd planned for tonight was simple but hearty: BLTs and tomato soup.

The tomato soup recipe that I originally planned to use was in the same "quick & easy" cookbook as the onion soup recipe that tasted like runny styrofoam. Last night's dismal soup experience taught me a valuable lesson: if it sounds like its going to be bland, it probably is. After reading through the book's tomato soup recipe and noticing that, like the onion soup, no spices of any kind were included, I decided to hunt for a recipe elsewhere. is generally my online cookbook of choice since the ratings and reader reviews give you a pretty good idea of what a particular dish will turn out like before you begin. Unfortunately, I'd already bought the ingredients to make the soup that was listed in the cookbook that I no longer trust. Every version of tomato soup on listed at least one ingredient that I didn't have, and I hate, hate, hate  "quick" trips to the grocery store.

Finally I said "Screw it" and just decided to wing it. As it turns out, winging it wasn't a bad idea. This soup turned out creamy and delicious with just a hint of underlying basil flavor. And better yet, its easy. This is an ideal meal for cold winter days when you're craving homemade soup but don't feel like standing in the kitchen for an hour chopping, peeling, stirring, etc.

Tomato Basil Soup – Prep time: 5 minutes/Cook time: 45 minutes

  • 6 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Generous handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Dried basil flakes (optional)

Chop up the garlic and toss it and the butter into a stock pot set to medium low. While the butter melts, wash your tomatoes.

Chop the tomatoes up into chunks. Don't worry about peeling or seeding the tomatoes. That requires more effort than we are willing to expend tonight. The chunks don't have to be tiny either. Big chunks, little chunks, it doesn't matter. It's all going to be pureed eventually.

Add the chopped tomatoes, the chicken stock, the tomato paste and the crushed tomatoes to the pot. Set the pot to medium-low and put the lid on. Then go do something else for 30 minutes. All you need to do is stir the soup periodically. 

After joyously neglecting that soup for a half hour, add the salt and puree the whole pot with an immersion blender (yes, he finally bought me one) until the tomato soup is smooth. Chop up the fresh basil. Add the cream and the fresh basil to the pot. 

Let the soup simmer for 15 more minutes. This part is the most important. The basil flavor has to have time to leech out into the soup, but you can't add it in the beginning because you don't want it ending up pureed with the tomatoes. 

After you let the basil simmer for 15 minutes, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each with a dollop of sour cream and dried basil flakes. This recipe makes a pretty large pot of soup, so be prepared to freeze some of it. 

I won't insult your intelligence by giving you instructions on how to make the BLTs. If BLTs are a problem then its time to just throw in the towel and go to McDonalds. 

Happy dining!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quick, Easy and Flavorless

As desperately as I wanted a food blog, I told myself to hold out on creating one until I had a decent camera with which to take semi-decent food photos. Alas, I have no willpower whatsoever (perhaps this is why I come running when something chocolate starts calling my name from the opposite end of the grocery store) so here I am.

And I'm going to tell you a story about nasty soup.

A friend of mine gave me a new cookbook for Christmas. I love that cookbook. It inspired me to go through my old cookbooks again. It's like a rekindled addiction. Anyway, I happened upon The Best Ever Quick & Easy cookbook. Without stopping to question why on earth I'd want to make something out of a cookbook that advertised recipes that were both quick and easy (because lets face it, the best food takes forever and leaves you staggering out of the kitchen like a culinary zombie) I sent my husband out for the ingredients for onion soup.

Now, here's the kicker: I make a mean cream of onion soup, but my version takes at least an hour – and that's just the prep time. My husband and daughter both love my cream of onion soup. I figured if I could whip up this "quick and easy" soup and it was tasty enough to satisfy them, I could give up on my "It will be done by Easter. Maybe." soup.

I'll admit, I did question the fact that the soup called for almost no spices whatsoever, but I chalked that up to the fact that the flavor of the carrots and onions would be more potent without a bunch of confusing spices. Right? Right?? It certainly turned out pretty. I served it with beer-battered fish and parmesean wheat biscuits.

So there we are, my husband my son and I (my daughter opted to go to a friend's house and have pizza for dinner. At first I was insulted, but now I see that she probably made the right call) tasting our soup – expecting one thing and getting another. Finally my husband looked up and said, "It...has no flavor." 

Indeed, it was like eating warm, runny styrofoam. The fish was delicious and the parmesean wheat biscuits are definitely a keeper, but I've learned my lesson about cooking "quick" soups. Soups aren't supposed to be quick unless they come out of a can. 

But one good thing came of tonight's dinner: the biscuits. Here's the recipe if you're interested in making them. 

Parmesean Wheat Biscuits 

  • 1.5 cups wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 4 tbsp parmesean cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Grated or shredded parmesean for topping

Preheat the oven to 425. Mix together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and drop it into the bowl. Mash the butter pieces and dry ingredients together with a fork until the mixture appears crumbly. Add the 4 tbsp of parmesean and the egg. Mix well. Add the milk. Mix until a soft dough forms. 

Knead the dough into a rectangle roughly 1 inch thick. Lightly flour a cookie sheet and place the dough rectangle on the cookie sheet. Cut "slices" in the dough bar. Don't cut all the way though. Your cuts should mark the place where you will slice the bar into biscuits when it comes out of the oven. This also helps it cook evenly. 

Sprinkle the grated or shredded parmesean over the biscuit bar. Bake at 425 for approximately 20 minutes. I found that I had to cook the biscuits a little bit longer to avoid a doughy center, but cooking times really depend on your oven more than anything.