All Posts in Category: Winter dishes

Drunken Turkey Vegetable Soup


I created this delicious recipe many Thanksgivings ago to use up all of the left over crudités, wine, and of course to utilize all of the meat left on the turkey carcass. At the very end of simmering I add a small amount of miniature pasta, Acini de pepe, which in Italian means “grains of pepper”for texture. One large batch of this soup makes a wonderful lunch or dinner for a few days, which is restorative and nurturing, and leaves plenty for the freezer for those busy winter months. You will be so happy when you remember after a long day that you have some ready to go in the freezer. Thaw, reheat… add a glass of wine and some crusty bread and you will be in heaven.

For Broth


1 Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

1 large sweet onion halved

1 garlic pod

Water (or water/white wine combo) to cover

*I use a combination of water and Hogue Pinot Grigio (my favorite cooking wine because it is inexpensive and good enough to drink) the wine combination adds an extra dimension of flavor.


Add all ingredients in a very large stock pan, bring to a boil and simmer covered with lid ajar for two to three hours….add water if needed.

Place strainer over another large pot or bowl and pour broth, bone and vegetables in strainer. Move strainer to other side of sink and cool bones and turkey with cold water, removing vegetables and garlic to discard. Set broth aside to cool slightly so fat will skim to the surface.

Separate turkey from bones and shred, set aside, You will be amazed at how much a turkey carcass will produce for a monster pot of soup.

For Soup


Olive oil to cover bottom of large stock pot

1 bunch celery hearts finely sliced

1 bunch of carrots finely diced *I used multi colored organic carrots from Trader Joes

2 large sweet onions chopped

Garlic to taste….*I use a lot

1 to 2 cups white wine such as Pinot Grigio

Stock (with fat skimmed off of surface)

Shredded turkey from carcass

½ to 1 package small pasta such as De Cecco’s Acini di Pepe

1 to 2 packages of Knorr vegetable soup *Optional

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fresh herbs to add at the end such as parsley *Optional

1 to 2 cans fire roasted tomatoes *Optional


Add olive oil to a large stock pot and turn on medium high. Add onions and garlic, and layer carrots and celery on top. Let cook for 30 seconds to one minute and stir. Reduce to medium and stir on and off. When vegetables begin to soften add Knorr vegetable soup packet or packets if using. This depends on how large of a batch you are making. Add wine and stir….add broth (after skimming fat off of surface) and shredded Turkey (and canned tomatoes if using adds balance and some sweetness) and simmer for 15 to twenty minutes. Turn off heat add ½ box Acini De Pepe and let sit covered for 10 to 15 minutes to finish cooking.

*This is delicious with a store bought rotisserie chicken as well. Just remove the chicken and shred prior to making the stock. In a hurry? Skip the stock section of this recipe move straight to assembling  and cooking the soup and add your own broth from the freezer or store bought.

From my heart to yours,

Bon Appetit and Namaste!



Bone Broth, Restorative, Nourishing & Uplifting


In honor of National Family Caregiving Month I am sharing a very inexpensive, nutrient dense, heart healthy broth recipe. I love to sip this broth throughout the day in winter months. I crave it and it nourishes my body and soul. Yes, I said it. There is something ancient and satisfying about sipping this old world broth that packs a nutritional punch. Once or twice a month you’ll see a large stockpot simmering on my stove for days. I use it for braising vegetables, in soups, stews, sauces, gravies, or when making risotto. I certainly will be using it this week as I prepare my family’s favorite and most requested wild rice, sausage, water chestnut, and herb stuffing for Thanksgiving.

Bone Broth is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat adhering to the bones. Bone broths are typically simmered for a very long period of time (often in excess of 24 hours), with the purpose being not only to produce gelatin from collagen-rich joints but also to release minerals from bones. The longer you cook this nourishing broth, the more savory and concentrated it will become. Roasting the bones and vegetables beforehand will add even more flavor and richness.

Broth is a mineral rich infusion made by boiling bones with vegetables, herbs and spices. Besides its amazing taste and culinary uses, broth is an excellent source of minerals and is known to boost the immune system and improve digestion. Its high calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus content make it great for bone and tooth help. Bone broth also supports joints, hair, skin, and nails due to its high collagen content.



    • 4 pounds beef bones, preferably a mix of marrow bones and bones with a little meat on them, such as oxtail, short ribs, or knuckle bones (cut in half by a butcher)
    • 2 unpeeled carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 medium onion, quartered
    • 1 garlic head, halved crosswise
    • 2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
    • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar *helps leach minerals from the bones
    • 6-quart (or larger) stockpot or a large slow cooker
    • Fresh parsley or other herbs



    1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place beef bones, carrots, leek, onion, and garlic on a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Toss the contents of the pan and continue to roast until deeply browned, 10 to 20 minutes more.
    2. Fill a large (at least 6-quart) stockpot with 12 cups of water (preferably filtered) . Add celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and vinegar. Scrape the roasted bones and vegetables into the pot along with any juices. Add more water if necessary to cover bones and vegetables.
    3. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly ajar, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally, for up to 24 – 48 hours on the stovetop. The longer you simmer it, the better your stock will be. Add more water if necessary to ensure bone and vegetables are fully submerged. Alternately, you can cook the broth in a slow cooker on low for the same amount of time.
    4. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool slightly. Strain broth using a fine-mesh sieve and discard bones and vegetables. Let continue to cool until barely warm, then refrigerate in smaller containers overnight. Remove solidified fat from the top of the chilled broth.


You can use any type of bones that honor your lifestyle. Here are some simmering guidelines:

  • Beef broth/stock: 24 to 48 hours
  • Chicken or poultry broth/stock: 24 hours
  • Fish broth: 8 hours

During the last 30 minutes add the parsley if using.


From my heart to yours.

Bon Appetite and Namaste!


My New Caregiving Friend


I have a new friend and a new story to share with you in honor of National Family Caregivers Month. Christine and I met earlier this week on Lisa Garr’s wonderful “Being Aware” Hay House radio show when Christine was brave enough to call in and share her caregiving story. She moved back in with her parents to take care of them because her Mom has Parkinson’s and her Dad has heart/breathing issues. Christine courageously expressed that she has frustration and resentment because she can only do so much, and her parents are making choices about their health that is not in their best interest.

She shared, “I actually WANT to help take care of my parents – it is something I feel fortunate to be able to do. At the same time, I do have anger because I don’t always have the energy to do the things that my mom needs help with, and then I am resentful that she needs the help because she wouldn’t need as much help if she took better care of herself.”

Then Christine mentioned that she too has had some health struggles along the way. She is a three-time survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and worries about the effect her current environment is having on her own health. She welcomes even simple changes such as eating healthier (my wheel house- I can help!) but her parents resist.

“BOUNDARIES” I exclaimed…which she heard and acknowledged. Setting boundaries is one of the most important and yet challenging decisions we caregivers must make.

When I was a flight attendant many years ago,  we were instructed to put our oxygen masks on first or we would be of no help to anyone else on the aircraft. I really want to emphasize that metaphor to all caregivers: you MUST take care of yourself first. It seems so simple… but it is not. As caretakers of our families, loved ones, friends, or patients (as it applies to professional caregivers) in a health crisis, our needs fall by the way side because our natural instincts are to put the patient first and ignore ourselves.

At some point, many if not most family caregivers will need to turn to professional caregivers and other professional sources for help. That decision is a delicate and sensitive bridge to a new way of living and breathing in the world, so you dear caregiver can live your own life while you still love and care for your family member.

I highly recommend The Family Learning Center as a gentle and approachable place for family caregivers to gather information, support, and get guidance when professional help might be needed.

I have more to share with you about this beautiful story as we have only just begun the conversation. Please join in.

Christine, I have a yummy, healthy, comforting recipe for you and other caregivers that are striving to be more healthy and honoring of themselves as well as their loved ones.

Kale and Chicken Lasagna

Blessings and love,











Yummy, Comforting, Kale and Chicken Lasagna


To offset some of the stressors of the holidays bake something easy and healthy for yourself (and your loved ones) caregiver! Winter is the perfect time to dig into comforting dishes like this chicken and kale lasagna, which gets its comforting richness from creamy béchamel sauce made healthy.


  • 4 cups milk, milk alternative like almond for dairy free or vegan
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, or butter alternative such as Earth Balance which is vegan
  • 1 pound bunch kale, tough stalks removed, leaves chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • Dash of Red Pepper flakes (for metabolism and heart health)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour or flour alternative such as oat for vegan
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 package brown rice lasagna noodles cooked according to directions, drained and set on wax paper to keep from sticking. In a hurry? Not gluten free? Use one package of no boil lasagna noodles. *See note below
  • Skinny shredded Chicken to layer. In a hurry? Buy a rotisserie chicken and shred. No and low sodium chickens can be found at healthy food stores. Vegan? Omit and had extra veggies such as zucchini (YUM) or chicken subsititute
  • 3 cups grated skim mozzarella or vegan alternative
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese or vegan alternative


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray at least a 9 by 13-inch (or can be made in two smaller, one for freezing.) baking dish with cooking spray.

Heat the milk, peppercorns, bay leaves and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat until bubbles appear around the edges. Remove from heat and let the mixture steep. Discard aromatics.

Melt 2 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and when they begin to soften add the kale one handful at a time, tossing with tongs to wilt the greens. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and add ¼ cup of white wine, water, or broth to the pan. Cover and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid and place kale in a bowl.

Place the same pan over medium low heat and melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and whisk and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the warm infused milk and cook, whisking frequently, until the sauce is thickened and bubbly, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat if the sauce begins to scorch. Remove from heat, add the nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.

Cook brown rice lasagna according to directions, drain, and set on wax paper to avoid sticking. Or *Soak the no cook lasagna sheets in a big pan of warm water for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside. Spoon about 3/4 cup of the béchamel sauce into the bottom of the pan. Layer the lasagna sheets on top of the sauce. Spread half of the kale and chicken over the noodles and sprinkle with a third of the cheeses.  Repeat with another layer of sauce, noodles, kale, chicken, and cheeses. Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining béchamel sauce and cheeses. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.

Bon Appetit & Namaste

Fire House Pot Roast Bolognese


0103_edf_pastameat_vert“This is that very rich beef sauce that will turn a plate of pasta into a bit of glory!”

I first had this delicious dinner in a farm house. The matriarch of the family cooked tirelessly and did this entire dish in one day. She would jump on her four-wheeler and head out to the gardens to pick tomatoes and herbs, charging back with wild abandon.

For years I made this recipe out of memory, although I always had a copied (laminated) version of the Fresh Tomato Sauce Sicilian on hand that the recipe uses. Problem was the chef and cookbook wasn’t copied so I couldn’t remember whom to credit or research.
It has been so long since I had this recipe on hand, but I remember the cookbook mentioning “this is that very rich beef sauce that will turn a plate of pasta into a bit of glory!” and that is exactly what I wanted the evening our firemen and their spouses came to our home for dinner.
Fire House Pot Roast Bolognese (My way)


2 to 3 pound boneless beef chuck.
3-tablespoon olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste
Season the meat with salt (or salt free product such Mrs. Dash) and pepper to taste. Brown well in a suitable size pot (Dutch oven) in olive oil after browning add the following

1 cup dry red wine (I doubled because that’s how my math when it comes to wine.)
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup water or beef broth

Simmer gently, covered, for 2 hours. Turn off heat and let sit for at least two hours. Make sure there is enough liquid to keep the pan from drying out and then keep covered without peeking. Allow the meat to cool in the liquid until its cool enough to handle. Shred the meat and place in a Dutch oven along with its cooking juices.

Add enough tomato sauce to cover shredded beef and one cup broth.

Simmer the shredded beef in the tomato sauce and broth for 45 minutes, stirring often.
Then add…

2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1-cup cream (milk, or other substitute for cream.)
Simmer 15 minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta. I love Papardelle or Tagliatelle but sometimes it is hard to find but Fettuccine works too.

Grab those you love and serve with hard rolls or fresh bread to lap up the sauce, a nice Salad, and perhaps a bottle of Italian wine.

Bon Appetit and Namaste!

Winter salad

Winter Salad with Roasted Beets and Citrus Reduction Dressing

It has been one year and six weeks since my husband Stephen had his heart attack and died four times before coming back to life. He is now down forty pounds, looking and feeling fantastic, and enjoying plenty of delicious, heart healthy fare.
While compiling menus for our Christmas gathering, I came across this tasty recipe created by Cooking Light Associate Food Editor, Timothy Cebula. This colorful salad celebrates the produce of the season and would make a knock out addition to any holiday table.

4 medium beets (red and golden)
Cooking spray
3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 4 oranges)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups torn Boston
2 cups trimmed watercress
2 cups torn radicchio
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Leave root and 1-inch stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Place beets on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat beets with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until tender. Cool beets slightly. Trim off beet roots and stems; rub off skins. Cut beets into 1/2-inch-thick wedges.
3. Bring juice and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan; cook 10 minutes or until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Pour into a medium bowl; cool slightly. Add shallots, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.
4. Combine lettuce, watercress, and radicchio. Sprinkle lettuce mixture with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss gently to combine. Arrange about 1 cup lettuce mixture on each of 8 salad plates. Divide beets evenly among salads. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon dressing
*December 2009 Cooking Light magazine (Photo by Randy Mayor)
Delicious served with seafood or even a filet on the grill.

Note: I was going to serve Oregon Dungeness Crabs along side our salad for Christmas Eve but the season is opening late this year and not until months end. Please let me know if you have any fabulous ideas! Perhaps Bacala (or fresh cod) With Wine Broth & Crusty Bread? XO

Bon Appetit & Namaste!