Southwest Chicken and Bean Soup


The idea for my easy meal recipe this week originated in the cookbook ‘Everyday Light Meals’. Of course, I just had to make some changes to make the dish even easier to make and more flavorful.

My Southwest Chicken and Bean Soup is super easy to make, light, and so tasty. I suspect the soup would be a great meal even without the chicken for a meatless Monday dinner!

easy Southwest Chicken and Bean soup.

recipe serves six


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast.

1 – 16 oz can fat free refried beans.

1 – 15 oz can reduced sodium black beans – drained and rinsed.

1 – 14.5 oz can fat free chicken broth.

1 – 10 oz can RO-TEC original diced tomatoes and green chilis.

3/4 cup roasted corn (thawed from frozen).

1/4 cup shredded Colby cheese.

1 cup of reserved water from chicken boil.

1 bay leaf.

1/2 tsp ground cumin.

salt and pepper.

fat free sour cream for garnish.


In large pot add enough water to cover the chicken breast. Bring water to boil and add breast, bay leaf, and dash of salt and pepper. Bring to strong boil and then reduce to low boil for 5 or so minutes. Remove chicken from water, and then poke it with a fork to make sure no red fluid flows. If cooked properly set it aside.

Reserve 3/4 cup of the chicken boil water. Discard remaining water.

To the same large pot add the reserved water, chicken broth, diced tomatoes sauce, and cumin. Heat to low boil. Add the refried beans and black beans. Stir to combine. Bring mixture back to low boil.

Chop the chicken breast into bite size pieces. Add chicken to pot.

Cook at low boil/high simmer for at least 10 minutes to soften the black beans.

Before serving, melt the Colby cheese into the soup.

After the bowls are filled with the wonderful chicken and bean soup, garnish each serving with a little sour cream.

And that’s all there is to making an easy dinner that is relatively low in fat yet super tasty!


Don’t forget my three volume action novel series featuring Jack Fields and Amber Reyes, along with my thriller Dinner With Lucifer are available from all e-book suppliers virtually everywhere!

Good Eating and Table Talk,





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Best Lasagna Ever


A few years ago I posted Lois’s Grandma’s Italian Lasagna recipe.   That recipe was my go to lasagna for years. But, as usual my mind wondered, and I decided to dial it up to eleven. As a result of my efforts I now have a super easy recipe which will provide you the Best Lasagna Ever!

This recipe is good for a dinner party, large family, or to freeze leftovers.

best lasagna ever

recipe serves ten using two baking pans.


2 packages lasagna noodles.

1 lb. ground beef.

1 lb. ground pork.

1/2 lb. Italian pork hot sausage.

1 lb ricotta cheese.

1 lb mozzarelle cheese.

1 cup parmesan cheese.

28 oz can crushed tomatoes.

12 oz can tomato paste.

14 oz can stewed tomatoes.

1 cup red wine.

1 medium onion – diced.

2 eggs.

4 cloves garlic – minced.

1 Tbsp dry basil.

1/2 tsp salt.

1/4 tsp allspice.

1 bay leaf.

4 loaves sourdough bread (use my garlic spread recipe at table to knock it out of the park).


Heat a large fry pan to medium high heat. Add ground pork, beef, and after removing casing the Italian sausage. Break the meat up with spatiual and brown. When done, spoon out excess fat.

To meat add onions and garlic and sauté. When done add meat and onion mixture to a large pot.

To the meat pot add all tomato cans, and wine. Stir to mix. Add basil, allspice, salt and stir to mix. Add bay leaf. Bring contents to boil and then reduce to strong simmer/low boil. Leave the meat sauce uncovered and reduce until sauce thickens (at least an hour maybe more).

When the meat sauce is getting close, heat a large pot of water (better to do two) and when boiling add noodles and cook per box instruction.

While the noodles cook, mix the ricotta cheese and two eggs in a mixing bowl.

When noodles are done, drain water and place noodles on a greased cookie sheet so they do not stick.

To your 9 x 13 inch backing pans spread butter on bottom and sides. Spread one tablespoon of meat sauce on bottom and then put down  a layer of noodles. Do same to other baking pan.

Add one-third of the meat sauce evenly between both pans, and then do same with ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Lay down a second layer of noodles and repeat the addition of meat and cheese. Lay down a third layer of all ingredients, reserving some mozzarella. Top each pan with a layer of noodles and spread mozzarella over top.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put lasagna pans in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before slicing into servings.


While the lasagna sets up, slice, butter and garlic once wrapped in aluminum foil heat your bread in oven at 150 degrees, and make a salad.

And then, its showtime!



Don’t forget, my new religious fiction, thriller, Dinner With Lucifer is now available in all e-book formats.

Good Eating and Table Talk,





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This week my recipe is beyond simple and delicious! This roast garlic spread will wow your guests and keep the vampires away!

roast garlic spread


6 garlic bulbs.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.

1 anchovy – minced.

2 tsp of olive oil remaining in aluminum foil after baking.


Remove excess from garlic bulb, and then slice about 1/3 inch off top to expose garlic cloves.

Place bulbs on large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil over the open garlic tops. Fold aluminum over to seal the garlic. Place aluminum pouch on sided baking sheet (in case there is leakage).

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F and then bake bulbs for 45 to 50 minute.


Let bulbs cool to touch, and then simply squeeze the garlic cloves into a bowl. Use a fork mash the garlic.


Then mince the anchovy and add it to mashed garlic (note: anchovy in photo not minced).

Place garlic mixture into mixing bowl and use a hand blender to mix the anchovy into the garlic and form a nice spread.

And that’s it, you just made a great and easy garlic spread for a killer good bread side.


Last weekend we did a road trip to Oakland to visit family. Of course on the way up we planned in a little time for wine tasting in Paso Robles.

With the aid of our 17 year old son and designated driver at the wheel, we went to three wineries. We enjoyed the wine and vibe at Tobin James and although the wine tasting was free we purchased a nice red.

We finished our tasting at Eberle Winery. ( The view of the vineyard from their outdoor deck is awesome! While stepping up to the bar, Sue said to me she hoped we would get to see the wine cavern. Immediately Kirk, the tour guide, unbeknownst to us, standing to our side said, “Grab a glass of wine and I’ll take you on a private tour.”  Sweet!

We learned the story of Eberle, the first winery in the area, and how the process works. We also learned that the nice man sitting near the front door with his dog and friends was ….. yep, the owner — hanging with some local wine lovers. He then led us past the presser, and down a ramp into the ground. On our way to the cavern we passed the enormous distiller tanks.



Finally, Kirk led us down another, steeper, ramp into the wine storage cavern. There we learned the origin of various wood casks, and how different casks were used for specific wines. The cavern was huge, and had two large tasting/dinning areas for club member to enjoy new offerings.



So, after experiencing a private tour led by our friendly and knowledgeable guide, Kirk, we then stepped up to the wine bar to taste their wines. So, here’s the thing, the vineyard is beautiful, the owner sometimes hangs out by the entrance, the tour guide was great, and the wines were wonderful. So, we bought a 2013 Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 2014 Zinfandel and a Syrah. Oh, and since I’m dying to do a tasting in the cavern, and in the meantime get a discount on wine, I joined the Eberle Winery Cellar Club. We’ll be back!

Don’t forget, my new religious fiction, thriller, Dinner With Lucifer is now available in all e-book formats.

Good Eating and Table Talk,







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Portabella Mushroom & Shrimp Wok


This week I’m combining the wonderful texture of the portabella mushroom with the tangy taste of spicy shrimp wok. This recipe is easy to make, has a good look, and tastes great.

portabella wok

recipe serves four.


16 large shrimp (abut 1 lb.) – shelled and deveined.

4 large Portabella mushrooms.

3 Tbsp. butter.

2 cups steamed broccoli.

2 cups white rice.

2 cloves garlic – minced.

1 cup cherry tomatoes.

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar.

1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice.

1 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce.

1Tbsp lemon juice.

1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce.

1 tsp Perfect Pinch Asian dry seasoning.

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes.

olive oil.


Shell and devein shrimp and then store in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Using wet paper towel wipe the top of the mushroom clean of dirt. Cut stem off and then using spoon scope out gills. Coat top with a little olive oil.

Place mushrooms gill side down on canola sprayed baking sheet.

Place sheet of mushrooms in oven for ten minutes and then turn mushroom over and heat for 5 to 10 more minutes.

Make rice per instructions on package.

Wash broccoli and then cut stem into nice bite size pieces. Place in steamer until soft but not soggy.

Mince garlic.

Heat frypan on medium high heat, melt butter, add garlic and then add shrimp. After one minute turn shrimp over, add lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, dried red pepper flakes and fry for 1 minute. Add hoisin sauce and stir gently to mix. Remove shrimp and cherry tomatoes to plate. Slice tomatoes in half.

In small sauce bowl combine rice vinegar, lime juice, Perfect Pinch Asian, and soy sauce. Stir to mix.

Add broccoli to large bowl, add rice vinegar mixture over and stir to coat.

Plate 1 mushroom per plate, add rice, add broccoli, and 4 shrimp and a couple sliced cherry tomatoes. Maybe add a side of rice and broccoli to good use of any left over.

And that is all there is to making an easy, fun, and good tasting dinner for four!

And Stuff


Dinner With Lucifer

Don’t forget, my new religious fiction, thriller, Dinner With Lucifer is now available in all e-book formats.

Good Eating and Table Talk,




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