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Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

November 27, 2018

I didn’t intend for this to be a blog post. This dish started as me just using up the turkey carcasses we froze after Thanksgiving.

But then I tasted it.

As usual with home cooking, simple ingredients, slow cooked, with flavor make the best best dishes. And this soup was SO delicious I had to share it. So here we are. If you don’t have a turkey carcass left over, consider just making this with chicken. It is that good you can’t wait until next year.

I made a huge pot of Turkey stock yesterday in our lobster pot and cooked for 3+ hours. If you have never made stock, check out my post here.

While it simmered, I cleaned out the fridge and tackled organizing projects in the kitchen. So basically, a clean fridge plus a delicious soup with crusty bread on a cold rainy day = the perfect evening. Plus making stock is so great for using up all those veggies in the veggie drawer that have seen better days.

Sometimes it can be hard to sell my family on soup for dinner, but everyone took a bite of this and raved. It is totally thanks to the delicious broth that adds so much depth of flavor, plus the comforting, stick to your ribs feeling from the creaminess of the butter and milk and cream.

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I hope you still have a turkey carcass you can use up! If not, just pull this post up next year. You’ll be so glad you did!

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup (find printer version here):

  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice blend*
  • 1 small yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 medium carrots , diced
  • 2 ribs celery , diced
  • 6 Tablespoons butter , divided
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 4 1/2 cups turkey (or chicken) broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds turkey meat, diced (can substitute chicken breasts, see step 5)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or half & half)
  1. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.

  3. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until slightly tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

  4. Stir in the broth, thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. *If using chicken breasts, add and bring mixture to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to boil for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, then remove chicken to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.. If using pre-cooked turkey, skip to next step.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add turkey meat (or chicken meat) and cooked rice to the soup.

  7. In a separate medium saucepan melt remaining 5 Tbsp butter over medium heat.

  8. Add flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken.

  9. Add this mixture to the soup pot and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in heavy cream or half & half. Serve warm.

Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch’s Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Corn, Crab and Bacon Chowder

August 10, 2018

Why is it I crave chowder in the summer? I mean it’s 80 degrees, and I’m dreaming about potatoes cooked in a creamy broth, preferably with seafood.

What the heart wants, it wants, I guess.

A few weeks ago, my husband took the big kids camping and I had the babies solo, and a whole day to get ready for my best friend visiting. It might be some sort of existential test to ask yourself, ‘If you had a whole day alone with twins what would you most like to do?’ My answer was of course cooking. I made this chowder and a loaf of sourdough bread. It took me most of my free waking hours to do that BUT it filled me up and we munched on the bread all weekend with avocados, jam, and cheese. (I used this recipe for the second time and loved it).

This soup was so good and satisfying, and feeds a crowd. I even pureed it for the babies and they loved it! (After I googled if babies can eat shellfish, which they can! Why do I forget all these things?).

I know most seasoned home cooks keep their bacon drippings around forever, and can’t bare to waste it, but I honestly don’t  – it feels like pressure when it’s sitting there. I usually just try to brown up bacon at the start of a recipe and then use it as a garnish. I love the way cooking onions and garlic in bacon drippings infuses a dish with a rich, smoky flavor.

I added peppers to the dish for color, and loved the flavor they added too. And you can use fresh or frozen corn for this recipe, whatever you have. And I used two cups of heavy cream in addition to homemade broth I had in my freezer (makes it so good but use whatever you have!). But you can sub milk if you want though it will loose a lot of creaminess if you do (maybe add a pat of butter in that case. Creamy soups forever).

Or you could just use more of this secret ingredient is right here: cream cheese. Adding cream cheese to creamy soups to add richness, tang and creaminess.

Trust me, you will want to add this to every creamy soup you make from now on. It adds that quality where you can’t stop eating it, something in it is just so good.  

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make another batch of this soup because after looking at these pictures I am totally CRAVING it now.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Corn, Crab and Bacon Chowder (printer version here): 

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 8 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 small orange, red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs of thyme OR 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 cups heavy cream depending on how rich you like it
  • 4 cups corn kernels, scraped fresh from the cob, or 1 bag frozen kernels
  • 1 lb. cooked lump crab meat, fresh is available in plastic tubs at many fish counters
  • Chives, chopped for garnish


  1. Place 1 tsp butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove onto a paper towel lined plate. Leave fat in pot.
  2. Lower heat to medium heat. Add 2 tbsp butter, once melted, add garlic and onion. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until onion is translucent.
  3. Add celery, potatoes, seasoning with salt & pepper, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add bell pepper, bay leaves and thyme
  5. Add flour and mix it in. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  6. Add broth and cream, stirring to combine.
  7. Put the lid on and simmer for 25 minutes (adjust heat so it’s simmering energetically but not bubbling like crazy or super gently).
  8. Whisk in 4 oz (half a brick) of cream cheese
  9. Add corn and lump crab, stirring to combine and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  10. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with remaining bacon and chives.


Light Potato Corn Chowder

May 16, 2017

First, congratulations to Donna Sylvester for winning the giveaway contest in my last post! Thanks to all of you who visit here, the numbers just seem to grow even if I can’t share as many recipes as I wish I could lately, so I am really grateful.

I have not been able to blog here as much thanks to final book edits (you can pre-order it here!) a First Communion, Mother’s Day, and a certain someone turning 4…(he asked for a dirt cake with trucks, and I was happy to oblige because, um, dirt cake is delicious.)

Not to mention the obvious barrier to productivity…being pregnant with twins. (Here I am at 16 weeks.)

It was another whirlwind weekend but something tells me it won’t be slowing down any time soon. I shudder to have the year-from-now-Katie look back on last-weekend-Katie and say, ‘girl, you don’t know what busy is’ because babies are always easier on the inside. But at least I have stumbled on my favorite Mother’s Day gift that is easy and delicious:

All the festivities as of late had me dreaming of summer, and we had a bbq with corn on the cob and potato salad. (I made this one in case you are curious). My guess is you and yours *might* have a similar weekend sometime soon and you could have some of these lovelies left over…

If so, this recipe is for you. And even if you don’t have left over, pick some up just to make this delicious chowder. It is so simple, and it feels like comfort food in a bowl. I like my soups on the healthier side, so I am calling this ‘Light Corn Chowder’ but lets be real…bacon and shredded cheddar cheese hardly make anything light. But since those are entirely up to you as toppings and not the base of the soup, light it is.

My mom is a really amazing cook, and one of her tricks is to add cream cheese to cream soups, since it adds a little tang, a ‘what is that flavor?’ intrigue that makes you want to take another bite. I like that I always have some in the fridge, unlike half and half or cream, and it helps make the soup thick and creamy, so you can use light milk. If you want you can use whole milk, cream, or  cheddar cheese instead, which also gives this soup a nice tang to it.

In these in between spring days, this soup warms you up on a chilly rainy day, but is still light enough to eat on a warmer day.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Light Potato Corn Chowder (printer version here): 


2 Tbsp Butter

2 T flour

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

3 cups of corn (frozen or fresh, if fresh equals about 4 ears)

3 large or 4 medium potatoes

6 cups chicken stock

4 oz light cream cheese (neufchatel)

1 ½ cups milk (I use 1% but you can use whole for creamier soup)

2 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Toppings: Crumbled Bacon, Shredded Cheddar Cheese (I used light), scallions, chives


Melt butter in large heavy bottomed pot. Add onions, and stir, soften for 3-5 min. Add minced garlic clove and cook for 1 more minute. Add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Add corn, potatoes, and stock, and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat, and add cream cheese and whisk until melted. Then add milk and whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper, adding more to taste.

Top with favorite toppings and serve.


Giada’s ‘House’ Soup

January 27, 2017

Oh, January. You’re so cold. And you make me want to curl up on the couch and watch TV and eat popcorn. Which then makes my pants feel tight.

Luckily, you also make me crave a big bowl of steaming soup.

I recently got Giada DiLaurentiis’ new cookbook, Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count without Stressing Out.

She is not the first chef to point out how lovely it is that soups are so flexible and can use up odds and ends in the fridge, but she had me at kale and sausage, and even more when she added lemon and Parmesan cheese rind to the broth (one of my very favorite cooking tricks – it adds instant umami).

She calls for farro which I often have a hard time finding – (I finally found a source though and I can’t wait to make David Leibovitz’s Farro with Mushrooms and Bacon). So I used lentils instead, and I loved it. It would be great with white beans, rice, chick peas, Northern Beans…you get the idea.

The lemon and the Parm in the broth makes this soup so comforting and flavorful. And of course, you feel great after you eat it.

Also – if you saw my Instagram Story about how I made strawberry fruit leather, I got the recipe from this cookbook. But you can find a similar recipe here and a video here though I love that Giada uses 2 T. agave and 2 T. lemon juice with 1 pint of fresh strawberries and it tasted so fresh and bright and good.

So look out, February. I’m coming for you. And I have a big pot of soup that will fuel me through.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie



Giada’s “House” Soup (printer version here): 

Gilda’s Note: This soup was created to use up odds and ends, so feel free to substitute the grains, beans, pasta, and veggies with the ones you want to use up. Just don’t omit the cheese rind or lemon; they give the soup a lovely savory flavor.

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 leek white and tender green parts, washed well & finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped (Giada recommends 1 sliced and 1 chopped)

½ fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped

Kosher salt

½ t. Crushed red pepper flakes

¾ c. dried small white beans, such as navy

½ -¾ cup lentils (Giada’s calls for farro but I wanted to use lentils)

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 quarts chicken broth

2-3 fresh thyme sprigs

1 (2×3 inch) piece of Parmesan rind

½ lemon

13 oz. turkey kielbasa or any kind of sausage (I used chorizo), cut into half-moons

4-5 large leaves of Tuscan kale, ribs removed, chopped

Freshly grated Parm for serving

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the leek, carrots, and fennel, season with about ½ t. salt and the red pepper flakes, and saute slowly until very soft but not browned.
Add the beans and the lentils and toast for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes with their juices and the chicken broth, thyme, Parmesan rind, and half lemon. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a steady simmer and cook for about 40 minutes or until the beans are tender but not mushy. Season to taste with salt.
Add the kielbasa, kale, and sliced carrot. Cook until the kale and carrot are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove and dicard the thyme sprigs, Parm rind, and lemon (squeeze into the soup before discarding). Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parm if you like.

Healthy Eats & Wellness Ideas

January 10, 2017


Happy New Year friends! After our time away in the mountains we came back about as refreshed as you can be skiing with 4 kids (my husband is seriously passionate people!). My husband had lots of work trips as soon as we got back, and I have had almost constant solo parenting which is why he is sending me away this weekend with my best friends. The spa appointments are made and that point of relaxation with girlfriends and wine is what I am thinking about during this LONG stretch of cold winter weeks.

I am trying to bring that Spa-like mindset into our days despite the cabin fever tendencies. Long books, bubble baths, essential oils, spa-like food and music playing. Something to make up for the void from all the delights of the senses in December. Plus I hate feeling deprived as I get healthy and so do my kids. So I am trying to find things to add to our surroundings that make us feel better instead of reminding us of what we are going without, you know, like sunshine and sugar.

So here is the list I’ve come up with of things that are helping me – and the kids. I can’t believe how much each one of these things has been met with great results with them! I hope they help you and your family too.

1. Afternoon Snacks –

The window after school is a tough one for me. I feel like I have the same conversation over and over again about sugar and nutrition. I was on a mission to find things they wanted but weren’t horrible. Mostly they ask for ice cream and cookies.

So here is our substitution for Ice Cream – we keep these stashed in the freezer. All flavors work but they loved this one. (They still get real ice cream sometimes after dinner).


And cookies:


They are loving both of these! The muffins are made from this pancake mix which is full of whole grains and protein, and I add fruit in too.image


1b. Honorable Mention: We also got a Sodastream and they are loving it! I can get healthy-ish flavors or a little juice to add to the water and we don’t have to have a conversation about sugary drinks. Target sells them along with the flavor enhancements and it has been a health and $$-saving bonus.

Ok, next up, let’s talk about vehicles for Veggies.

2. Soups:


Soup is winter’s answer to all those salads and raw veggies we eat all summer.

My kids love this soup – something about the comfort food factor I think. They totally forgot they were eating cauliflower. But the key to this soup is you can use ANY VEGETABLE and it will still taste good.

Think of this recipe below as a templet, and then improvise.

You can throw handfuls of the bottom of your veggie drawer and it will still taste good if you sauté onions, add broth, simmer for 20 and puree. I just tried this one Skinnytaste’s Cookbook, and it is a gem. (I actually just went to get you the link to her website and her latest post is almost this exact recipe + some Brussel sprouts thrown in.) So experiment and have fun. Tweak it to any diet you are doing – Whole30 or Gluten-Free, leave out the flour, leave out the onions, if you do the other things, trust that warm salty veggies in pureed form will still taste good.


Skinnytaste’s Cauliflower Soup (printer version here): 


1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp unbleached flour (all purpose is fine too)
1 medium head cauliflower – chopped
1/2 cup chopped onions
4 cups fat free chicken broth (veggie broth or chicken bullion + water work too)
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter on low heat. Add the flour and stir about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, onions and cauliflower and set heat to medium. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes.) Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (from

I like it with some of the whole roasted veggies on top so I will make soup with one head and roast another at the same time for salads etc.


Here are some other soups and salads we love:

  1. Lemon and Dill Soup from A Life From Scratch (Hi Courtney!)
  2. Crockpot Lentil Detox Soup from A Pinch of Yum (and prayers for their sweet baby’s passing).
  3. Chicken Gnocchi Soup
  4. Chicken Tortellini Soup – this is a go to for us, since I buy rotisserie chicken every other week. I make a broth with the bones, cut up the meat for the soup, and just add tortellini and whatever veggies are in the drawer.
  5. Giada’s Creamy Artichoke Soup – I live on this soup. Especially when I am PMSing since I crave salt and potatoes. Leeks are a diuretic so they help flush out water retention too.image

3. Salads: 




This Cannellini Bean Tuna Salad is my go to since I always keep everything on hand. It is everything canned + some fresh herbs, olive oil and lemon juice. This concept can be stretched in a million ways but this is my favorite: cannelloni beans, artichokes, tuna, and red onion, with some parsley, evoo and lemon juice, s&p.

  1. Winter Spa Salad with Lemon Chicken
  2. Lentil Quina Salad
  3. I can’t wait to try this gorgeous beet salad from Manger. (At the end of the post).
  4. Making this Bahn Mi Salad (or maybe this Bahn Mi Bowl) tomorrow night.
  5. Every one of these 10 salads from Real Simple look amazing. I am just loving dressing greens simply now with lemon juice, olive oil and vinegars, salt & pepper too.

4. Other Greens:


Now that my herb pot is covered in snow, I always make sure I keep lots of herbs on hand (you can wrap them in damp paper towels and put them in ziplock to keep them longer.) I use them up in making stock, but I hate having everything on hand for a recipe except for fresh cilantro and rosemary. It keeps reminding me that the winter will thaw, and we will have herb pots again.

I also try to buy some fresh new houseplants to make up for all the greens we take down after Christmas.


5. Isagenix –


I know there are a lot of diet companies out there, and I was SO completely skeptical about this program when I first heard about it. But then I had the luck of having my whole circle of friends try it, and now it is spreading through my kids school. And moms are just losing weight and feeling great. I feel like the nutrition in their shakes is just the best, though I know people who love Shakeology and Arbonne, which I have tried and are good too, so do whatever works for you. I also know some people who swear by not drinking their meals, and more power to them too. I just had the best results with being able to grab nutrition in a jiffy sometimes and this shake makes me feel the most nourished out of all the ones I have tried.

I didn’t stress about holiday eating because I knew after vacation I was just going to hop back onto my shakes for breakfast and with the hope of clean eating most of the time. The reality was we had pizza and fast food last weekend. But this program has 2 day cleanses that really reset your brain and your belly, and let you get back on track. I am on my second day of fasting (with specially designed drinks and amino-acid rich chocolate wafters that make your brain feel like you are getting a boost) and I feel great. Mental clarity + loose jeans after a holiday is why I love this program!

What are your favorite ideas when you try to get your family healthy? I am all ears.

Happy (Healthy) Eating!

xoxo, Katie


Swiss Pumpkin

October 20, 2016


Now that the leaves are starting to look like the color of pumpkins, I am so excited to share this recipe that I actually guest posted on the Ella Claire Blog last year. It is so so good.

I found this recipe in Ruth Reichl’s food memoir Comfort Me with Apples (a sequel to Tender at the Bone). I am a big fan of food memoirs at the moment since I am writing one of my own about growing up in a big Irish family in Chicago (I am one of eight) and we had a huge passion for food. In Comfort Me with Apples, one of the lasting images I had was how her husband said he wanted a divorce, and all she could do was make Cream of Mushroom soup. I just feel like food does that healing thing. She ended up being the editor for Gourmet Magazine and remarrying and having a son. So her story ends well.image

Happily, when I made this recipe it was a great story. I made it for my husband for a date night at home. The smell when you take this out of the oven is like nothing else – a mix between pumpkin pie, creamy squash soup, and French onion soup. The fragrance will transport you. After we took the first bite, we just looked up at each other, silent, the fire roaring, and then in unison went, “mmmmhhh”. Or something close to blubbering adults. It warms your insides like nothing I have ever had – the pillow soft pumpkin, creamy buttery soup, and nutmeg infused bread tastes like heaven, all mixed with the saltiness of the gruyere cheese. It is such a special dish. The best part? I wrote all this a year ago, and I can still go back to that exact moment we tasted this and I am there.






This dish is perfect for Holiday parties or special family winter dinners. I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year but if I was, everyone should start with a little Swiss Pumpkin on their plate. But it also seems like something you could easily bring to a family with an illness or a new baby since it has its own (disposable) transporting vehicle.


I hope you get to taste it. Or at least read Ruth Reichl. Happy fall everyone!

xoxo, Katie

Savory Baked Pumpkin (serves 4) 

**Slightly altered from Ruth Reichl’s original recipe.

2 small pumpkins (about 6 – 8 inches in diameter)

Sliced French bread; several pieces, toasted

Grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese (about 4 oz)

Half and half, about 2 cups

2 eggs

1 1/2 t. salt, 1 t. pepper

1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg (makes all the difference)

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off of your pumpkin leaving the stem intact. With a spoon, scrape out the innards of the pumpkin and discard. (You can reserve the seeds if you like for a latter use.)

Next, rinse the pumpkin both inside and out and pat dry. Place a layer of your toasted bread on the very bottom of the pumpkin cavity. If you need to break up your toasted bread to fit, that is fine. You just want a light layer; you do not need to pack it in. Over the top of your bread sprinkle a bit of your cheese; just enough to cover the bread. You will want to repeat this until you fill the cavity of the pumpkin to its rim, about 2-3 times.

Then, pour the half and half mixture over the layered bread and cheese and into the pumpkin cavity. I like to do this slowly to be sure the half and half is filling in the crevices and not ready to overflow the pumpkin filling. Place the pumpkin top you cut off back onto the pumpkin and place on a baking sheet.

Finally, place the pumpkin on the baking sheet into the center of your oven for about 2 hours. Your baking time will depend on the size of your pumpkin and how much you fill it, so I always check it after one and a half hours of baking. You want to bake it until a knife can easily pierce through the flesh of your pumpkin. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and wait about 15 minutes before serving.