Bean and Bacon Soup

Just when I was about the say that I was DONE with the Pioneer Woman, I found this delicious recipe. I don’t usually have time to soak beans overnight and then pre-cook them for a recipe. I used canned cannelloni beans for this recipe and they worked just fine. Another handy item to have in your cabinet is tomato paste in a tube. Many recipes call for a tablespoon of paste. Yes, you can buy a small can of tomato paste and then put the remainder in a container and freeze, never to be found or used again. It’s just another thing to do. I can hear your eyes rolling. Buy the tubes on sale, you will thank me. Just to remember to refrigerate the tube after opening. I recently found a container of chicken stock that He Who Will Not Be Named put in the cabinet instead of the fridge. I may need therapy. It wasn’t pretty.

2-15 ounce cans of cannelloni beans

4 cups of chicken stock (store bought works great)

1 lb. bacon cut into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, diced (or 2 if you love onions like me)

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

salt and pepper to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 whole Bay leaves

minced parsley, to taste

Open the cans of beans and rinse. I take one can of beans and mash them up. Use a fork and a potato masher. Just break them up. Don’t over think this!  This helps thicken the soup a little. Put all the beans aside, in a bowl.

Put the bacon in a stock pot and cook until crisp.You should take the bacon out of the pan and place it on a plate with a paper towel, to drain. You will be adding some of the bacon back in the soup, and will reserve some for a topping. You can use less bacon.

Drain some of the bacon fat out of the pan and add in the onions, carrots, and celery. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt on the vegetables and cook until softened. Remember to put the hot bacon fat in a heat resistant container, or else it will explode. It happened to, um, a “friend” of mine. Oops. If you need more oil, add some olive oil to the pan. Stir, stir, stir. Add the garlic and tomato paste. Let this cook for about a minute. Stir, stir, stir. Add the chicken stock, bay leaves,  2/3 of the bacon, and beans. Give it a good stir, and put the lid back on. Simmer the soup for about 45 minutes. If you want less liquid, after 45 minutes, you can remove the lid and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes to reduce the liquid. Keep an eye on the soup. You don’t want too much liquid to evaporate and scorch the pan. Not good!

When ready to serve, taste and season if needed. Serve with the remaining bacon sprinkled on top with the parsley. Unless you eat bacon everyday, don’t worry about it! Enjoy the damn soup!

Here’s the original recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I’ve slightly altered the recipe. She’s got pictures, if you need them.

Note: You can use vegetable stock. But why? I am assuming turkey bacon would work. You are no fun!

Flatbread Pizza with Spinach, Caramelized Onions, and Feta!



I know I have posted this before. This recipe absolutely deserves to be revisited. What do you make when you don’t feel like cooking? THIS! You can eat in 30 minutes.The hardest part is caramelizing the onions. If you can thinly slice onions and turn on a burner, you are almost done! If you are good at planning (not particularly, thank you) you can make the onions the night before and then put them in the fridge. You can do this while cleaning up dinner dishes, or throwing in some laundry. It will take about 15-20 minutes. Pour olive oil in a hot pan, place thinly sliced onions into pan. Sprinkle salt on onions. Stir. Stir. Stir. When the onions start to soften, put a lid on the pan and lower the heat a little. Check them after 5 minutes. They should start to brown. Cook until they are as brown and soft as you like. You can Google other ways of doing this. Easy!

Naan or other flat bread

Alfredo Sauce

Fresh Baby Spinach

Cooked chicken

Caramelized onions (I use two large onions)

Feta cheese

Layer the above ingredients on the flatbread/naan and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. I start with the Alfredo sauce on the flatbread/naan. There are no measurements. You can be as heavy-handed as you like! I like to use rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. If you don’t like Feta, I don’t wanna hear it. Change your cheese. Any of your favorites will do. The spinach wilts, the Alfredo heats up… is so simple and delicious. So make this for goodness sake!

Here’s the original recipe from Our Best Bites.


You don’t like meat? I make you pork!


I am always happy when it’s grill season, but happier when it’s time for a hearty winter menu. It’s all about something simmering on the stove or baking in the oven for me. Right now there is a family of wild turkeys in my front yard. I am thinking turkey soup. No? Now that my nest is almost empty I find myself cooking differently. I still cook several things on Sunday for the upcoming week. My weeknight meals are easier, simpler and delicious.

I stumbled upon this recipe in the New York Times Food section. It’s a treasure of delicious recipes. I like the simple, few-ingredient ones. Why buy ingredients that you will probably never use again? I have to clean out my fridge of half-used bottles of one-time used ingredients. Some of the recipes were good, some were failures.

This pork recipe by Mark Bittman is easy and delicious. Definitely a keeper. It’s called “Twice -Cooked Pork Tenderloin”. I was afraid it would be dry, but it was anything but dry. You could make this as a weeknight meal, or entertain with it on the weekend. It looks fancy on a platter. I like to serve it with roasted red potatoes and green beans. Delicious. I love red potatoes because there is no peeling involved. Hallelujah! My Oxo peeler gets a rest! If you need apples with your pork, make an apple pie! Apple pie is the epitome of Fall cooking!

Let’s cook!

1 boneless pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)

salt and pepper

4 tablespoons of butter, extra virgin olive oil, or a combination

1/4 cup cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Step 1

Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Put a large skillet over medium high heat for a minutes. To test if the pan is hot enough, run your fingers under your faucet and splash water onto the hot pan. If the water rolls and evaporates, it is ready  for cooking! Add 2 tablespoons of butter and/or olive oil. When butter foam subsides, or oil dimples, add meat. Brown it well on all sides. Those bits of color in your pan is flavor for the sauce! Turn off the heat, remove meat from pan, and let it sit on a cookie sheet or large plate. When skillet has cooled a bit, proceed.

Step 2

Cut meat into inch-thick slices.The center of the meat will be pink. That’s what you want. Once again, turn heat to medium-high, add remaining butter and/or olive oil and, when it’s hot, add pork slices to pan. Brown on each side, about 3 minutes each. You can slice into a piece to check if it’s done. It should not be pink. Turn heat to low and remove meat to a CLEAN, warm platter.

Step 3

Add 1/2 cup of water to pan, turn heat to high, and cook, stirring and scraping, for a minute. You want to loosen all those delicious flavor bits from the bottom and sides of your pan. Lower heat slightly, add cream and cook until sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in mustard, then taste and adjust seasoning. Serve meat with sauce spooned on top and garnish with parsley, if you wish.




Hot time in the summertime…..

I made these today on a very hot summer day. I used a rotisserie chicken and jarred jalapeño peppers. It’s even easier and I think it tastes better! I added these changes to the recipe.The house did not heat up and I have leftovers for lunch!

Knosh and Knit: the world according to Nora

I made these the other day before that summer sun heated up my house. Of course, I forgot to take a picture! Don’t despair, this recipe was lovingly adapted from this Easy Chicken Enchilada recipe. Here’s a picture of them ready to be cooked!


Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe is super easy. I often cheat and used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. If I have any leftover chicken, that goes right into the pan! You can make this as spicy or as mild as you’d like. This kind of meal doesn’t require a precise recipe, but some guidelines. I just eyeball the amount of chicken I use. You top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce. If you don’t think you have enough sauce to cover them, just add a splash of water or a little more of the cilantro base. The top is covered with cheese, so you don’t…

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Overnight Oats!!!



  Grab and Go Breakfast

I’m late to the Overnight Oats rage! Whenever I thought about it, my throat closed and I would start to gag. Soggy, cold oats…oh yum? Really? People like this sludge? Well, I had a lot of time recently. So I researched, and researched and beat the fun right out of this food. I wanted to have something different for breakfast or lunch that was fast and healthy. Fine. I tried it. Nora likes it! This overnight sensation is fantastic. I followed the basic Very Berry Overnight Oats recipe on the Quaker Oats website. You can also Google a bazillion other recipes. I want to try a peanut butter and banana one soon, maybe adding some chocolate chips!

What I like about the concept is you make it the night before and put it in the fridge. I recently brought some to work for a luncheon meeting, hoping I would be asked to leave. I was not asked. But I had a great lunch! It’s very filling.

The recipe includes Chia seeds. Calm down. It’s not a Christmas-time commercial, nor will they grow grass in clay. Chia seeds are a “super food” that have fiber, protein and Omega-3. Can that be wrong? I was hesitant about the Chia seeds, so I just bought a little at Whole Foods, from their bins. They are not that expensive this way.

I made this in some canning jars I had. They hold, maybe, 10-12 ounces and are wide-mouthed. You can use any container. Some people like to make a week’s worth at once. Ewww. I cannot imagine letting them sit in the fridge for several days, so I make a container each night. It takes minutes and it’s easy.

Let’s make some breakfast!

½ cup milk

½ cup Quaker Oats (not 1-minute)

½ cup of Greek yogurt (Vanilla is my favorite flavor, pick your own!)

1 tsp. Chia seeds

1 tbsp. honey

½ cup + of blueberries or any fruit

Add oats to container. Pour in milk. You can use almond milk, soy milk, any milk you prefer. Then I add the Chia seeds, yogurt, honey and then fruit. You want the Chia seeds to absorb the liquid, so add them on top of the milk and oats. I love blueberries so I often use them. I also like to add other fruits with or instead of blueberries. You can even use frozen fruit since it will be in the fridge overnight. I almost fill the jar with fruit, because the oats expand when they absorb the liquid. I don’t even mix this. I just screw on the lid., and put it in the fridge. I like to bring some almonds for lunch too. Who doesn’t love a salty finish to lunch? Just don’t try to each just one almond at a time. Just. Don’t.

If you are taking it to go, don’t forget your spoon. I stir the oats mixture and then happily consume.


Dark chocolate makes the very best…..broooowwwn-ies!

These are perfect for the Fourth of July cookout you’re having. Rich and delicious. Cut them in small squares.

Knosh and Knit: the world according to Nora


The Baked Brownie

I somehow stumbled upon this fabulous Brooklyn bakery while cruising along online. I have several of their cookbooks. They are droolish-ish. I have made several things, all chocolate, and am very pleased with their recipes. So, chocolate you say? Well, my favorite chocolate is milk chocolate…..ummmm…semi-sweet chocolate.. errrrrrrr……white chocolate. Well, let’s say I love most chocolate but dark chocolate. Until now! The original brownie recipe calls for all dark chocolate, but I used a blend of dark and semi-sweet chocolate. I was scared of too much dark chocolate. Of all things to be afraid of…..this fear stopped me cold. What if I didn’t like these brownies after using 5 EGGS? I hate when things don’t come out right. I mentally calculate the wasted ingredients and mope. This is the first recipe that I can say, beats out any brownie mixes I’ve used. I’ve…

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It’s not you. It’s me.



I read many newspapers every day online. Nothing brings me more joy than the Wall Street Journal’s Saturday edition. Don’t be confused and think I read articles on politics, I lean towards the personal interest and style stories. Reading these articles bring me to my comfortable spot of self-loathing and mocking of others. It’s complicated.

Today’s newspaper had several articles that were gems. Perhaps I’m just not in their target market. There is an article about how men do not have the same choices in casual wear as women. I cannot agree or disagree. Where I work, there aren’t that many men and we all have our own interpretation of casual. But none of us have the fashion taste of the WSJ readers. They suggest that instead of a jersey sweatshirt, men could wear a jersey fabric jacket. The cost is a mere $1295. And what do you wear under this fashion jewel? You wear a featherweight merino tee. This costs only $68. So reasonable! Buy two! The merino wicks away moisture like magic. I’m not sure what featherweight merino is, but I am SOLD!

The next article that caught my attention was one about ivory toned jeans. Keep in mind there are also crème de la crème colored jeans. Jeans that are not denim colored. I cannot even imagine. What’s the point? Aren’t those just called pants, or perhaps khakis? Not since the Great Menstrual Cycle of 1974 have I worn any light colored pants OR skirts. Here’s a valuable lesson to you younger ladies…. always have a sweater/sweatshirt to wrap around your waist.

Am I jealous or did I just shake my head too hard when reading these articles?  Where do you wear these clothes? I would be afraid to leave the house. I’m sure the ladies at the grocery store, library and the bank drive-thru would be in awe of my style.

The last article flabbergasted me. Dish towels. I have a lot and hate when they get ratty and smelly. These go right into the rag bag. But the dish towels in the article were made from “fine European linen and remarkable Egyptian cotton” with a starting price of $130. It claims you won’t need many. Really? I won’t need any, thank you. You can make 29 a month instead of 30. I am all set. I would have to frame it as a piece of art.

Maybe I should start reading the New York Post?