Cold Weather, Hot Food

So I’m making my grocery list and it was such a happy menu, I thought I’d share.  Lotta bowls involved this week, lotta spoons.  Lotta happy, happy kids!  Save this one for your next shopping trip and voila!  A week of suppers.  Yeah, you’re welcome.  Grocery list at the bottom of the post.

Menu:  Taco Soup, Chicken and Dumplings, Greek Feta Chicken, Turkey Clubs and Tomato Bisque, Jambalaya, Brinner: Omelets and Fruit

Taco Soup

This soup just feels dirty.  It’s a potluck standby, the kind of food your picky niece would eat with fritos.  It’s like nachos you eat with a spoon.  Guilty pleasure!

  • 1 1.2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1 pkg. ranch seasoning
  • 2 cans rotel
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can beef broth
  • small block Velveeta, cubed
  • small tub sour cream
  • tortilla chips

Brown beef and onion.  Combine all ingredients EXCEPT sour cream in a large soup pot.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook and stir occasionally until cheese has melted.  Before serving, stir in sour cream.  Cook until heated through.  Do not boil.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Chicken and Dumplings 

So this is one of those recipes I use when I have plenty of time, not because it is difficult, but because there are several steps.  It makes a lot of food, perfect for a cold and drizzly kind of day.  Winnie the Pooh would like this if he didn’t have any honey available.

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 lb. chicken (you can use whatever parts of a chicken you want)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 t. dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pkg. frozen egg noodles
  • 2 c. Bisquick
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. thyme

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Brown in batches, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; reserve the pot.

Add the celery, carrots, onions, thyme, and garlic to the drippings in the pot and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken, bay leaves, and 10 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil a pot of salted water to cook the egg noodles.  Consult the package directions for cooking times.

Make dumplings.  Stir Bisquick, 1 t. thyme, and milk until soft dough forms.  Set aside.

Return your attention to the stew.  Discard the bay leaves and transfer the chicken to a plate. Shred it and return it to the pot (discarding the skin and bones, if necessary).

Drop dumpling dough by spoonfuls onto boiling stew; reduce heat. Cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes.

Scoop bowlfuls of noodles and top with stew.

Greek Feta Chicken 

This is a pretty darn easy, super tasty chicken dish.  I like to serve it with hummus and pita bread on the side, preferably with a good Greek salad. 

  • 8 oz. plain yogurt
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 t. oregano
  • 1/2 t. rosemary
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into palm-sized pieces
  • 1/3 c. feta
  • 1 T. chopped fresh parsley

Combine first 6 ingredients in a heavy-duty plastic bag and shake.  Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Reserve marinade, and place chicken in a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.  Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat (with oven door ajar), 7 minutes.  Flip chicken pieces over and spoon the reserved marinade over the top.  Sprinkle with feta cheese.  Broil 7 more minutes or until done.  Sprinkle with parsley.

*recipe adapted from Low Fat, High Flavor Cookbook

Bubba’s Jambalaya 

I haven’t tried this one yet.  Just feeling kinda Cajun, and this one got good reviews.

  • 6 slices bacon, crumbled
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. cubed cooked ham
  • 1/2 lb. cubed cooked chicken
  • 1/2 lb. cubed smoked sausage
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 2 c. beef broth
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 2 t. Cajun seasoning
  • 2 c. uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 lb. salad shrimp

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Add celery, bell pepper, and onion to the bacon drippings, and cook until tender.  Add the rice, stirring to coat with oil and separate the grains.

Add the ham, chicken and sausage to the pot, and pour in the tomatoes, beef broth and chicken broth. Season with thyme and Cajun seasoning.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.

Stir in the shrimp and bacon just before serving, and heat through. If you use uncooked shrimp, let it cook for about 5 minutes before serving.

* adapted from

Turkey Clubs and Tomato Basil Bisque

How about an easy soup and sandwich night?

The Bisque:

  • 2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Toppings: fresh basil leaves, freshly ground pepper, Parmesan cheese

Cook first 5 ingredients in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately with desired toppings.

The Clubs:

So this is easy-peasy.  You know how to make a sandwich, right?  A couple tips:  use the best bread you can find and the best turkey if this a main course for supper.  Pull out some good potato chips to go with.  And you can’t go wrong with fancy toothpicks and pickles!

  • 1 lb. deli smoked turkey
  • 1 loaf hearty white bread or torta rolls
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, cooked
  • 1 tomato
  • lettuce leaves

Toast the bread.  Assemble double-decker style if you wish, or just make a regular sandwich.


Because brinner is always a good idea, at least once a week.  


You should have everything you need left over for a nice omelette — eggs, cheddar, ham, green pepper, and onion.  Or go crazy and use feta and tomatoes for a nice Greek twist.  Serve with a bowl of fruit for a complete meal.

Your Grocery List:  


  • 4 sweet onions
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1 bag carrots
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 3 tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • lemon
  • garlic
  • fresh parsley and basil (to tell the truth, I’m just going to use dried)
  • fruit — your choice


  • 1/2 pound salad shrimp
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 1 pound ham
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 2 more pounds chicken parts— your choice
  • 1/2 pound smoked sausage
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. deli smoked turkey

Dry (Canned/Bottled)

  • 2 cans rotel
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 jar Kalamata olives
  • 24 oz. beef broth
  • 16 oz. chicken broth
  • 2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

Dry (Boxes/Bags)

  • 1 box Bisquick
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1 pkg. ranch seasoning
  • Fritos or tortilla chips


  • 1 loaf hearty white bread or torta rolls
  • pita bread (optional)


  • small block Velveeta
  • small tub sour cream
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 lb. shredded (or not) cheddar
  • 8 oz. plain yogurt
  • 1 cup feta
  • milk
  • buttemilk
  • hummus (optional)


  • 1 pkg. frozen egg noodles

Check Pantry:  Do you have…

  • dried spices: thyme, oregano, rosemary, pepper, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves
  • cooking spray
  • white rice
  • olive oil

3 thoughts on “Cold Weather, Hot Food

Add yours

  1. I forgot to paste in what I learned about Greek salads! You’d be wondering what those ingredients were doing on the grocery list. Here: Greek Salad — also called Horiatiki. In Greece, this “peasant salad” does not contain lettuce — but in America, it usually does. It does include red onions, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, cucumber, green bell pepper (or pepperoncini), and feta cheese. Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with olive oil.


  2. On “Cold Weather, Hot Food”: I would like to be at your table every night! But if you’re going to make the tomato bisque, you might want to add the ingredients to the grocery list! 🙂 I have made this soup and it is a wintertime favorite at our house, because it is so easy!!! Thanks, Catherine!


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