Mexican Chicken Soup with Jalapeno

Mexican Chicken Soup with fresh Jalapeno
My but prices are going through the roof!! Have you noticed?? I went to the market yesterday to purchase 4 bone in skin on split chicken breasts (2 whole breasts cut in half) to oven roast to make this spicy soup. I paid almost $10.!!!! I was floored. I looked at a whole chicken for $13. operational word here is looked!!!

The reason I was looking at the supermarket was my butcher only has whole free range chickens and boneless, skinless breasts.

This morning I phoned Randy Pearson, owner and Butcher at Rivertown Butcher Shop. I asked his what he was selling his whole free range chickens for these days and his answer was $1.49 @ pound. I asked if I were to order 6 chickens if he could cut, package, and freezer wrap them to my specific request and he said sure.

I asked him to split the breasts and leave the bone and skin on and make 4 packages of 3 each. Next I requested 3 packages of 4 drumsticks each freezer wrapped. I asked him to debone the thigh meat and cut for stir fry and divide into 2 packages and freezer wrap. I asked him to remove the wing tips and package them with the backs all in one bag and freezer wrap for stock. Last but far from least I requested all of the wings be in one package and freezer wrapped.

So Saturday I will pick up 11 freezer wrapped packages of chicken and he didn't charge me a dime extra for cutting and wrapping to order. 

If you go back and look at the fact I just paid 10.  dollars for 4 split breasts and I am going to have 12 split breasts,  it is time for a little math.  Randy said his chickens run 3-3.5 pounds each, weighing 3.5 pounds x6=21 pounds x$1.49=$31.29 total cost. 

By comparison if I had purchased 8 more chicken breast halves to go with the 4 I bought from the market they would cost at around $30.......I would say I have saved significant money by purchasing my chicken at the butcher shop!! For an additional $4.29 I have at least a dozen meals.

Now lets talk inspiration, peppers, and soup.....I have two pepper plants full of peppers. One bush is Jalapeno and the other Chili. The temperature is dropping like a rock today and this is a great soup to use up some of those peppers and to warm the cockles!! I have been drying them too.

The other inspiration was a soup I watched Ina Garten make the other day on the Barefoot Contessa.
My adaption included the addition of pinto beans and whole kernel corn to the mix for a perfectly good slow carb diet dish minus the added tortillas for thickening.


4 split chicken breasts (2 whole split with skin)
Macadamia Nut Oil or Olive Oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lg. chopped onions
1 C. diced celery
2 C. sliced carrots
4 lg. cloves chopped garlic
2 1/2 Qt. homemade chicken stock (store bought if you have to)
28 Oz. can crushed or pureed tomatoes
1 can drained and rinsed kidney beans
1 can whole kernel corn
4 Jalapeno peppers (faint of heart can use 2-3) seeded and minced
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander seed
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro leaves (use parsley if you don't care for cilantro)
6 (6" fresh white corn tortillas) * Omit this if you are planning to use this as a slow carb dish, it is only used to thicken the soup a bit.
Fresh avocado for garnish if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a half sheet pan with foil and place the chicken bone side down on the foil. Rub well with a bit of oil and season well with the salt and pepper. Roast in the prepared oven for 40-45 minutes until juices run clear.

Cool the chicken then discard the skin and bones and shred the chicken in no larger than spoon sized pieces. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 2 T. oil in a large heavy bottomed kettle or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots cooking over med-low heat for about 10 minutes until the onions just start to brown. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. 

Add the stock, tomatoes, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 T. salt, 1 t. pepper, half of the cilantro, the beans, and the corn. Cut the tortillas in half if you are using them and then crosswise into 1/2" strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Next add the shredded chicken and check for seasoning, adjusting as necessary.

Serve this delicious soup pipping hot topped with avocado or cilantro as garnish. You may also want to pass the sour cream and shredded Cheddar cheese with broken tortilla chips.


Asparagus and Eggs make for a Delightful Breakfast

I am eating my eggs each day and it is a challenge to find new ways to make them more palatable and interesting. I love asparagus and had never tried them with eggs until today. YUM MO. They were great.


1/2 bunch of fresh asparagus (about 7-8 stalks)
1-2 T. Macadamia Nut Oil (or oil of your choice)
sprinkling of Kosher salt
sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
1 T. Macadamia Nut Oil (or oil of your choice)
Sprinkling of hot sauce
1 t. soft butter (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Break off the bottoms of the Asparagus and discard. I like to peel the stalks a bit to knock off the scales but this is optional. Wash the stalks under the tap and shake the excess water off.

Toss them in a baking tray and drizzle them with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss them a bit to be sure they are well coated.

Roast in the oven for15-20 minutes until they are tender crisp but cooked. 

If you are not dieting this is a great place to add a bit of cheese!! Take them out 5 minutes or so before they are done and sprinkle with Parmesan or other choice of shredded cheese. Return them to the oven until the cheese is melted and the asparagus is done.

Heat a nonstick skillet and splash with a bit of oil and 1/2 t. of the butter. Beat the eggs well with a fork and add the hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Pour into the warm skillet and cook over low heat stirring constantly until they are done to your liking. Stir in the additional 1/2 t. of butter at the end when the eggs are done to help to stop them cooking. 

Arrange the eggs over the stalks of asparagus on a warn plate and serve with a mug of steaming hot coffee for a great start to your morning.......Yield 1 or 2 servings, depending on appetites.  60mg protein (15 per egg).


Beans and Greens a Slow Carb Soup Idea.

The sprinkle of cheese is optional.
I am seriously thinking homemade bread and cheesecake for Sunday (binge day) and it is only Tuesday!!

But for now I am happy with the lunch dish I just enjoyed. It is a cool day and I love soups and those types of things. Last week I enjoyed split pea with ham and turnips and in that vein I have made a bean soup combined with greens and it is quite tasty.

I am calling it Beans and Greens and it is a combination with baby lima beans, bacon, and Swiss chard.


2 C. dried baby Lima beans (or any other dried bean would work fine)
2 Qt. homemade chicken stock (or low sodium store bought stock)
1 pound of bacon diced and fried crisp, drain grease and discard
1 lg. chopped onion
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

1 bunch fresh Swiss chard (remove stems and cut leaves into 1/2" strips)
Parmesan cheese for garnish *optional

Soak beans in water to cover plus 2" overnight. Rinse well and discard any bad beans.

Cover with 1 1/2 Qt. chicken stock, add onion, garlic, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and taste for seasoning and to see if beans are done. Check occasionally and add additional stock as needed. Cooking times vary according to age, type, and dryness of the beans. 

I used beautiful Rainbow Chard.
Stir in the Swiss chard and cook a few minutes until it has wilted.

Add the crumbled bacon just before serving and garnish each serving with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese if desired.   I doubt it is permissible on the diet but my husband  loves any kind of cheese on his soup.

Meat Loaf Supper

Black Pepper over Ketchup is my Favorite Meat Loaf Topper.
Before I went on this diet I was crazy about meatloaf sandwiches. Guess I'd better get over that!! (No  bread for me.)  I wanted a really flavorful moist but firm meatloaf so I decided to use dehydrated onions, and a lot of them for a super sweet onion flavor.

Here is what I put together for tonight's supper. There is 1/2 C of breadcrumbs to 2.5 pounds of beef so that seems like such a small ratio i thought I could get by with it.


2 1/2 pounds of ground chuck
1 C. dehydrated onion flakes
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 C. bread crumbs
2 lg. eggs beaten
1 can undiluted condensed tomato soup

Mix all of these ingredients together well and form into a loaf. I like to make mine early in the day, form it , cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The flavors get a chance to meld together.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the meatloaf with a thin layer of ketchup and sprinkle with black pepper. 

Add about 2/3 C water to the bottom of the baking pan after you have placed the loaf in and covered it with the ketchup. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until done in the middle.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes prior to cutting. Serve warm with additional ketchup as desired.

Tonight I am serving the meatloaf with baked yams and green peas. Brian gets apple pie too!! 
But none for me.


Apple Pie Baked in a Brown Paper Bag with Streusel Topping!! No Muss No Fuss.

This delicious pie made no mess in my oven from overflowing juices!!
Apple pie baked in a brown paper bag.....I had not tried this although I have prepared turkey in a paper bag and I have put chicken in a paper bag. Sounds like a great idea and I have the apples and 3 frozen pie crust disks from the pie pastry recipe from last weekend. I saw the recipe on the King Arthur Flour website and adapted my recipe to be baked in a bag.

Since I am a little tired from 4+ hours traveling yesterday to attend our families reunion this is an easy decision for me. So I set about to peel apples and defrost a pastry round. It won't take long because I have already put on a Swiss Steak for tonight's dinner and so the oven is hot and the kitchen is warm.

The pastry recipe is given on 10/29/10 and is titled Pastry for Three Crusts. I have defrosted one, rolled it and lined a 10" extra deep pie plate. Return the pastry to the refrigerator for now and preheat the oven to 425 Degrees F.


4-5 pounds of cooking apples, Johnathan, Golden Delicious, Jonagold etc. = 8-9 C. sliced, peeled, and cored apples
1 C. sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. Cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/4 C. cornstarch
1 T. vanilla

Stir all of these ingredients together well in a large microwave proof bowl and microwave the filling uncovered on high for 5 minutes and stir again well. You can skip this step but it does soften the apples and get the juices flowing. 

Spoon the filling into the chilled pastry and set aside.


1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 C. cold butter cut into dice

Combine all ingredients with a fork or pastry cutter until it becomes a crumble, like pea size lumps.
Spoon over the pie filling.

Before baking slide the pie into a brown paper bag to cook.
Put the pie in a large brown paper bag and set the bag onto a cookie sheet. Secure the bag with staples or paperclips.

Bake for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and carefully open the bag. There is a bit of steam so beware and be careful!!! Remove the pie from the sack and set it on a rack to cool. I serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

By the way it was absolutely delicious!!
Yield 8-10 servings.

FAMILY Reunion 9/24/11

It has been said, "you never get those times back again", usually about our young families and our children when they are little......But the truth of it, however unprofound it may be is we don't get any time back and so it becomes very important to cherish what moments we have to share.

Joan Elnora Neukam Burress
And so first I must pay tribute to our Mother, Joan Elnora Neukam Burress.

Bill Burress
And to our Father, William W. Burress for our linage and everything we are.

Grandma and Grandpa Neukam's wedding photo.
Then our wonderful Grandparents William Neukam and Elsie Bauer Neukam.

Grandma and Grandpa Burress' 50thWedding Anniversary.
And Robert Burress and Anna Eva Gibson Burress.

One last old photo I want to include hung that in the Burress home  is of Anna Eva and her half sister.  Grandma is on the right.

The half sister and Anna Eva Gibson Burress
As the oldest of their children I probably remember the now gone family members the most of us kids.

But what really counts is the new memories we are making for all of the little ones!!

Those rock climbers.

Those beautiful babies.

The memories we refresh in the minds of Mother and Gladys, Donnie, and Lester Earl.......and all of the rest!

So I thank you all for coming to our second reunion and if it goes forward I encourage you to bring other family members that we might grow and learn from them.

Here are the pictures from the reunion and I am just going to post them all today and I will work on filling in all of the names later. 

Bill Hagerty's family, wife Linda, niece Angelia and her husband Chad.
Gary Burress and family. Parents Bill and Joan. Son Casey and wife Amy. Walking in the background is Crystal Sisson McKenna and her children Connel & Caylen.
Sandy Vogel (maiden) Cave, daughter of Olphia, husband Doug and daughter Emma.
Billy Hagerty and a winning grin!! Son of Jaunita Burress and Lon Haggerty.
Billy's sis Carole (maiden) Mauder. daughter of Jaunita Burress and Bob Mauder.
Darla Biggs (maiden) Burress wife of Gary and Grandaughter Gracie.
Cheryl (maiden) Truelove Hlvers and husband Ron.
Carole Dudkowski, granddaughter Kaylee, grandson Kathon, and daughter Angelia.
Brian Cosby husband of Diane Burress and Donnie Neukam  (Joan's "baby" brother).
Lester Earl Truelove, Cheryl's brother and son of Catherine Burress and Woodrow Truelove.
Lester Earl's Family, son Tom and wife Diane.
Jeff Sisson, Linda Burress' husband.
Sherree Burress Bolling and husband Baxter.
Travis Burress, son of Gary, and long time gal, Kim!
Ron Gibson center with his lovely fiance Jena to the left and my Mother, Joan Burress to the right.
Glayds Baglon, daughter of Olphia and husband Clay Corrall.
Melissa Clos, daughter of Jeff & Linda Burress Sisson and infant granddaughter Brenna.
Steve Clos, son-in-law to Jeff and Linda Burress Sisson. Standing in the background is Parker Sisson.
Connel McKenna, son of Crystal & Chris and grandson of Linda and Jeff Sisson.
Jack Wade, son of Chris Wade, Grandson of Diane and Brian Cosby
Chris Wade son of Diane and Brian Cosby and Jack, (back to us) Sam Wade, Cheryl's two Grandson's, Michael and Mason, and Connel McKenna.  
Steve Clos and daughter Brenn
 Please call or e-mail me with additional names I can fill in on these pictures.  Also my apologies if I didn't get your picture of if it didn't come out.  I tried to get everyone and see now that I didn't.  Again I am so sorry.  Many thanks to everyone for all of the hard work, good food and good times.

God Bless you one and all until we meet again.



Apple Butter Ham

Does this sound good or what??? I am all for the pineapple and little red cherries but when I saw this recipe I knew I would have to try it. This is my other dish for the reunion. It just sounds so perfect for a fall day and ham is a great take along dish.

This is a recipe I adapted from a cookbook put out by the ladies of the Junior League of Evansville, Indiana. It is called Once Upon A Time, Recipes and Recollections From a River City, in 2003.

1 (8-12 pound) fully cooked ham
24 whole cloves
16 oz. apple butter (I'm using a pint of my homemade)
1 1/2 C. ginger ale
1 C. real maple syrup
1/2 C. French Mustard

Score the fat on the ham into a diamond design and stud the scored fat with the cloves. Place the ham fat side up in a slightly greased 9 x 13" baking dish. Combine the apple butter, ginger ale, maple syrup, and French mustard in a bowl and stir well. Pour evenly over the ham. 

Bake at 350 degrees on the lower rack of the oven for 2 1/2 hours, basting with the pan juices every 20 minutes or thereabouts. Cool 20 minutes before slicing. Yield 20 servings.

Note: If your dinner plans were for fewer just use a half of a fully cooked ham (4-6 pounds) and cut the ingredients in half. I expect the cooking time would be about a hour and a half but there is usually a baking recommendation on the packaging. So check there too should you need to.


Cinnamon Molasses Blondies with Walnuts Just Feels like Fall!!

Heady aromas of cinnamon and molasses and chopped English walnuts give this bar cookie flavor plus!!
Golden rays of sunshine are streaming through the golden leaves as they change color on the dogwoods in my yard. I need an extra cup of coffee to get going and sleep a bit sounder these fall days. Desires for cinnamon and things baked in the oven play hide and seek in my consciousness as I go about my other tasks.

We have a family reunion to attend Saturday if Brian gets to feeling well enough to go. I am going ahead and do a bit of baking and if we don't go I am sure I can find someone to eat them!!

So my selection is a Cinnamon laced Blondie with a hint of molasses and studded with walnuts. I first saw this cookie on a blog called Chasing Delicious and have adapted it to our tastes.


2 C. flour (King Arthur all purpose is my preference)
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon (Saigon is preferable)
2 sticks very soft butter (leave out overnight)
2 C. sugar
1/4 C. molasses
2 lg. eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla (Tahitian)
1 1/2 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 13 " pan by lining it completely bottom and sides with heavy duty aluminum foil. Spray with a nonstick vegetable spray and set aside for now.

Fully line 9 x 13" pan with foil.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and set aside. 

Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer and add the molasses while continuing to beat. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until all is well blended. Stir in the vanilla. 

On lowest speed blend in the flour mixture and then the walnuts just until incorporated. Do not over mix.

When fully cool peel back the foil.
Pour the batter, it will be stiff, into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 25 minutes and test with a pick. The pick should be dirty but not runny or wet. Cool completely before inverting the pan. Lift the pan off then remove the foil. Invert again so it is right side up then cut into bars.

My yield was 36 bar cookies.
You house will fill with the divine aromas of this bar cookie long before you have the pleasure of tasting them. What a two fold treat!!


Rib Tips 'n Kraut and Beans, Soul Food

Rib Tips n' Kraut and Beans
Maybe 6 weeks ago I went to the butcher and questioned him regarding St. Louis Style ribs. I have always preferred baby backs and usually bought them. Brian wanted to try the St. Louis style which amounts to me purchasing 3 whole slabs of spare ribs and having the butcher cut the rib tips off. That made enough to BBQ for all of the family that week and I froze 2 pkg. of meaty rib tips for another day!!

Today is the day. I am slow roasting the ribs in the oven at 325 degrees F after seasoning them well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. After about 2 hours I added the kraut, put a lid on the pan, and turned down the heat to 275 degrees F. They can just lounge around in the warm steam of the kraut while I heat up some pinto beans.

As Brian would say, "That's down home cooking." I would have added fried potatoes and cottage cheese were I not on this diet. Since I am, nix the potatoes and add some sliced tomatoes.

It made a good supper on a cloudy rainy evening in Southern Indiana. It is a penny pincher meal to boot, as rib tips are next to nothing if you buy them and it was cheaper to buy the whole slabs and have the tips cut off than it would have been to have gone to the big box grocery and just purchased St. Louis style ribs.   Cha-ching.

I like to feel like I spend our food dollars wisely so I can splurge for a prime steak every once in a while!! Making dollars stretch is wise on any body's budget and these rib tips are delicious.

Sunday Pie Baking with Emily

Buttermilk Pie
The phone rang early Sunday afternoon and on the other end I heard one of my favorite voices say, "Grandma"??

It was Emily the older of my two wonderful granddaughters. She asked if she could come and make desert for our "Sunday Dinner"? Of course I said sure and a bit latter she arrived. She sat going through my big recipe book and picked out her Mother's favorite, Buttermilk pie.

Desert at it's best!!
If you have never eaten this pie I urge you to try it. It is laden with vanilla and a hint of fresh nutmeg and makes a sweet, luscious, filling in a sinfully flaky crust.

The pastry recipe we used is, PASTRY FOR THREE CRUSTS posted on 10/29/10, you can use the finder box at the right under the topics column, just type in what you are hunting. You can do the same for the BUTTERMILK PIE posted on 11/8/10. Or you can click the deserts and pies topic and they will all line up for you to scroll through.

At any rate it was the first time she made a pie 100% by herself and it was just perfect!! So I felt the recipe was worth repeating here.

So plunge in and make a pie this week. You won't be sorry you did.

Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta

Shrimp Sacmpi
Today I am hungry for pasta and Shrimp Scampi sounds good to me!!

It is Sunday, my binge day on the diet!! I have a lovely 2 pound bag of frozen raw shelled and deveined shrimp and all of the other fixing so this meal is a GO!!


2 lbs. shelled and cleaned shrimp
1 stick butter (1/2 C.)
1/2 C. Olive oil
8 cloves of garlic chopped (1/4 C.)
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
fresh bunch of parsley rough chopped (1/2 C.)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1 lb. Angel hair pasta prepare according to package directions.

This recipe is a quick cook so it is by far the best to have everything prepared (cleaned, chopped, and measured out) prior to starting. I would prepare the pasta water by salting well and bringing to a boil before hand and turning it down a bit until I was ready to cook the pasta so it will be hot and ready to boil quickly as angel hair only cooks a very few minutes.

Melt together the butter and oil in a large flat bottomed shallow pan or skillet over medium high heat.

Bring the pasta water back to a boil and cook it per pkg. directions.

Add the shrimp and garlic to the skillet and stir well as it cooks, adding the zest, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as you go. Add the lemon juice and stir well. The dish is done when the shrimp is white or pink and you need to turn it off quickly at that time.

Garnish with additional parsley and lemon slices.
Drain the pasta and toss it onto a large serving platter or back into the pan with the shrimp. Whichever you prefer. I like to put the pasta on a platter and cover it with the shrimp and garlic sauce. 

Garnish generously with the chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread. Add a side salad if desired depending on the appetites of those you are serving. Yield 6 servings.