Asparagus Vichyssoise with Chive Oil


2 pounds asparagus, tips reserved, cut into 1″ pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 large thyme sprig
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly gound white pepper

Chive Oil:

1 large bunch chives, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the asparagus tips until crisp-tender, about 1 minute.  Drain the asparagus tips in a colander and refresh under cold water.  Pat dry, halve the tips lengthwise and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the asparagus stalks, potatoes, stock, water and thyme and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprig.   Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, then transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in the milk, salt and white pepper.  Let the soup cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the chive oil, puree the chives with the olive oil in a blender.  Season with salt.  Strain the oil through a fine sieve.

Ladle the soup into chilled bowls and drizzle with Chive Oil.  Garnish with the asparagus tips and serve.

*Note:  This soup is just as delicious served warm!  Heat and serve with chive oil and asparagus tips.

Bacon Roll-Ups

By Request!


1 loaf white bread (purchase square-shaped bread for best results)
1 can mushroom soup
1 package bacon


Lay out 12 pieces of white bread and spread each slice evenly with undiluted mushroom soup.  Using sharp knife, cut crusts from all bread slices.  Then cut each slice into three even strips.

Slice all bacon pieces in half lengthwise.  Roll up each bread strip and wrap with a half bacon slice.  Secure with toothpicks.

Place bacon roll-ups on baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.  Depending on thickness of bacon, cooking time may be more or less so watch carefully and cook until bacon is crisp.

Roasted Corn and Lobster Dip

IMG_4824By Request!


1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 ounces Pepper Jack cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon peel, finely shredded
8 ounces lobster meat, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into narrow wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into narrow wedges
tortilla scoops


Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread the corn and chopped pepper on the sheet and roast in a 425 oven for 15 minutes or till vegetables begin to brown, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, stir together cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon peel, and chopped lobster in a bowl.  Stir in roasted vegetables.  Spread evenly in an 8-inch pie plate.  Bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes or till heated through.

Serve with sweet pepper wedges and tortilla scoops.

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

By Request!


75 meatballs
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 bottle chili sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Thaw meatballs if frozen.

In 2 to 3-quart pan, cook cranberry sauce, chili sauce, sugar and lemon juice over medium heat, stirring, until bubbling.  Add meatballs and stir to coat with sauce.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through.

Transfer to serving dish.  Offer with wooden picks.

Savory Pot Roast

A recipe from my Auntie Eleanor’s collection of gems!


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 pounds chuck roast, block-style
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
6 medium potatoes, quartered
40 baby carrots
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons flour


Heat oil over high heat in a large dutch oven or stock pot.  Brown roast on all sides.  Spoon off fat.

Stir in mushroom soup, onion soup mix and one cup water.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 2 hours.  Add vegetables, cover and cook an additional 45 minutes or until roast and vegetables are tender.

Remove roast and vegetables.  For gravy, combine flour and 1/4 cup water in gravy swirler (or small plastic container with tight-fitting led) and shake until smooth.  Gradually stir flour mixture into soup mixture and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

Slice roast and place on a platter with the vegetables.  Pour some of the gravy over roast slices and pass the rest.

Sweet Red Pepper Bisque


2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 red bell peppers
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced


Preheat oven to 350.

Cut off and discard root ends of garlic cloves.  On a 10-inch pice of foil, drizzle garlic with oil.  Crimp foil to seal and bake in middle of oven until garlic is tender, about 30 minutes.  Cool, then peel.

While garlic is baking, lay bell peppers on their sides on racks of gas burners and turn flames on high.  Roast peppers, turning with tongs, until skins are blackened, 5 to 8 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and let stand, covered, until cool enough to handle.  Peel peppers and discard stems and seeds.  Coarsely chop peppers and puree in a blender with roasted garlic and chicken broth.

Transfer puree to a saucepan.  Add cream and warm over moderate heat, stirring, until warm, then season with salt and pepper.  Pour into individual cups (for hors d’oeuvre portion) or bowls.

Stir together sour cream and milk.  Drizzle 1 teaspoon sour cream mixture over each serving of soup and sprinkle with chives.

Spiced Apple Cider


3 quarts apple cider
12 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick plus additional for garnishing
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


In a large saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil.   Strain and pour into glass mugs.  Garnish with cinnamon sticks and serve.
Makes 12 cups.

Chicken Florentine in Puff Pastry


1 sheet puff pastry
4 small boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
1 egg, beaten with water


Toast pine nuts and roast garlic in advance.

Thaw pastry 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

In medium skillet, brown chicken breasts in butter; set aside.

In medium bowl, combine spinach, cream cheese, Parmesan, pine nuts, basil and garlic.

Cut pastry sheet lengthwise and crosswise into four rectangles.  One section at a time, roll out to form a 7″ square.  Spoon one quarter of the spinach mixture onto the pastry square and place a chicken breast on top.  Wrap pastry to enclose chicken.  Place seam side down on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with additional Parmesan if desired.

Bake 20 minutes until puffed and golden.

Zesty Black Bean Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño chile with seeds, divided
2 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, undrained
1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
Sliced red onion
Sour cream


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Mix in cumin and 1 teaspoon jalapeño. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, and broth; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer 3 cups of soup to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to pot. Simmer soup until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon jalapeño, if desired.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Pass red onion slices and sour cream separately.

Diane’s Best Lasagna


1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage (if you purchase links, squeeze the sausage out of the casings and then brown)
26 ounces basil-flavored pasta sauce
1/2 cup water
8 lasagna noodles
1 large egg, beaten
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
8 slices mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Additional sauce, if desired


Brown sausage until well cooked.  Drain off fat.

In a large bowl, combine spaghetti sauce and water.  Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in a lightly greased 11 x 7-inch baking dish.  Arrange 4 uncooked lasagna noodles on sauce.  In a medium bowl, combine the beaten egg, riccota cheese, spinach and pepper; Mix until smooth and well combined.  Spread one-half of ricotta mixture evenly over noodles.  Then continue layers with half each of mozzarella cheese, remaining sauce, and sausage.  Repeat layers.

Cover tightly with non-stick aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 50 minutes.  Remove foil and bake, uncovered, an additional 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

If desired, heat additional sauce and pass when serving.