Winter Cookery

Winter.  Ugh.  After Christmas is over, I’m kind of done with it.  Recently we had a snow storm that shut down our Southern city for a few days, so I took that time to cook.  So, not all bad.  I’ve been neglecting that part of my life lately, so was nice to get back to it, even if it was forced.

Snow Cream!

So easy, you don’t need a recipe!  Stick a big bowl outside to collect fresh falling snow.  When full mix with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.  Scoop into a mason jar and garnish with snow if you want to be bougie.

I find myself really stepping up my pasta game in the winter, since it’s heavier and sticks with you in the frigid 40 degree temps of the Carolina tundra.  I found this recipe while searching for one to take to a friend who was in need of a casserole and a visit.  It was pretty to look at and yummy!

To view the recipe, head over to Very Best Baking



  • 1 box (12 oz.) dry tri-color rotini or spiral shaped pasta (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot medley
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded Italian cheese blend or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 tablespoons jarred or refrigerated pesto with basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


COOK pasta according to package directions, adding frozen vegetables to boiling pasta water for last 2 minutes of cooking time; drain. Return pasta and vegetables to cooking pot.

MEANWHILE, COMBINE evaporated milk, cheese, pesto and black pepper in medium saucepan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

POUR cheese sauce over pasta and vegetables. Add ham; stir until combined.

Winter is when I’m ready for carbs.  These potatoes are simply delicious.  Seriously.  Not a lot of ingredients, and the hardest thing is slicing the potatoes thinly, but I have a mandolin so that was just plain fun.

Oh, and I forgot to snap a picture of this when it was done.  Curses!  But here’s the cookbook where I tried the recipe:

Potatoes Dauphinoise


  • 6 medium russet potatoes (2 1/2 lbs)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, plus more for baking dish
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)


  1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Scrub and peel potatoes, then cut them into 1/8 inch thick slices.
  2. Combine potatoes, milk, butter, salt and white pepper in a large saucepan.  Bring to simmer over medium heat.  Add the garlic; partially cover pan and simmer until potatoes are almost tender when tested with point of small sharp knife, about 20 minutes.
  3. Pour potatoes with liquid into a buttered 13×9 inch casserole dish.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake until sauce has thickened and cheese is melted and golden brown, about 35 minutes.



Super Soups

As fall weasles its way into the Carolinas, it’s time to start thinking about soup.  Here are a few of my very favorites:

Paula Deen’s French Onion Soup

Paula Deen's French Onion Soup
Paula Deen’s French Onion Soup


  • 8 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 2 cups grated gruyere


  1. Saute onions and garlic in oil over low heat until tender and golden yellow.
  2. Sprinkle flour over onions, cook a few minutes more, browning the flour well.
  3. Add stock and wine and bring to a boil, add thyme and bay leaf.
  4. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 20 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, slice French bread into 3/4-inch slices and butter both sides. Toast slices on griddle until golden brown.
  6. Ladle soup into an ovenproof bowl, add toasted bread and cover with cheese.
  7. Place ovenproof bowl on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees 4 or 5 minutes under a hot broiler.



Chicken A la Reine Soup


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup finely diced green pepper
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
  • 1 cup half-and-half, heated
  • salt
  • white pepper
Chicken a La Reine Soup photo


  • Heat butter in large pot and cook vegetables until tender over low heat, stirring occasionally.

  • Add flour; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

  • Do not brown.

  • Gradually stir in broth until blended.

  • Bring to a boil, cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes.

  • Add rice and chicken and heat another 5 minutes.

  • Stir in hot half and half.

  • Heat, but do not boil.

  • Season to taste and serve.


Minestrone soup is an Italian classic.  This one is simple and flavorful and warms you up on a cold winter evening.

Minestrone Soup


  • 1 lb sweet sausage or 1 lb hot sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 (10 ounce) cans beef bouillon
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans
  • 1/2 cup rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup red wine
Minestrone Soup photo


  • Saute sausage until brown.

  • Add onion, garlic, carrots, and basil and cook for 5 minutes.

  • Add zucchini, tomatoes with liquid, bouillon, cabbage, salt, and pepper.

  • Bring soup to a boil.

  • Reduce heat and simmer covered for an hour.

  • Rinse beans. Add the beans, rice, and wine.

  • Cook for 30 minutes, or until rice is done.

  • You can eat this now and top with cheddar cheese, but it is even better the next day.


    Cream of Broc soup


    Cream of Broccoli Soup With Cheddar Cheese


      • 2 cups milk
      • 3 tablespoons butter
      • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
      • 3 tablespoons flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
      • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
      • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
      • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
      • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
      • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
      • 1 cup cooked finely chopped broccoli


    1. Cook onions in butter until tender. Blend in flour and seasonings and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add boiling water and bouillon cubes and cook slowly until thick, stir in milk until smooth. Add the cheese and broccoli and heat through. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.