Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!

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Simple Taco Soup

My  high school friend and facebook buddy, Chad posted a recipe last week.  Simple Taco Soup from  I made it and improved on it a little. thought I would share.  It is easy to make.  My son, who is 8 years old kept going back for more – I think in the end he had 4 bowls of the soup!  Changes I made: I added chopped garlic to the meat browning process, used chicken broth (and more of it) instead of water, used roasted peppers and a can of green chilies instead of the tomato/green chili combo, and black beans instead of chili beans.. so basically it was nothing like the original in the end, but it was very good!!  I topped the soup at the table with freshly sliced avocado and Monterey Jack cheese.  Thanks for sharing Chad!


Simple Taco Soup

adapted from

Serves 6-8

2 pounds ground beef
1 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
4 cups chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (10 ounce) can diced roasted tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
sliced Avocado
Heat a large saucepan over high heat.  Brown the ground beef and season with salt and garlic toward the end of he cooking time.  Drain.  Add remaining ingredients.  Heat through over medium high heat.  Serve.  Top individual servings with cheese, avocado or sour cream if desired, but the soup will be tasty without as well.



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Italian Sausage over Pasta

Quite a few years ago, we had dinner with some friends and they made a wonderful sausage dish that can easily adapted to what you have in your fridge.  It works really well with peppers, onions, zucchini, but also could go with mushrooms or eggplant.  Feel free to change it to suit your own family’s tastes.  It looks lovely over tri-color Rotini Pasta.

Italian Sausage over Pasta

Serves 6

  • 1 (12 oz) box tri-color Rotini Pasta, or other pasta
  • cooking oil
  • 6 mild Italian Sausage links
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (yellow, or orange or red) sliced thinly
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced into coins
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping


Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Heat a large non stick skillet, over medium high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp of cooking oil to the skillet and brown the Italian sausages, turning from time to time to brown until cooked through.  Remove the sausages and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the skillet if needed.  Saute the onion, bell pepper, and zucchini until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are cooked to your liking.  Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Heat through.

To serve: Top the pasta with cooked sausage and ladle the vegetable tomato sauce over the sausage and pasta.  Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

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Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

Here is a recipe from  It is one of the best recipe sites on the internet in my opinion.  Recipes are rated by members and if you choose a 4 or 5 star recipe you have a pretty good rate of success.  In my organic produce box, I had a nice head of cauliflower.  I don’t LOVE the vegetable, but this recipe is good.  I think next time I will add cooked crumbled bacon to the dish just before broiling the Parmesan cheese.  My husband supports that idea, as all things are made better with bacon!  I did not have fresh parsley on hand and omitted it.  For the original recipe click on the allrecipes link above.  I included the change with the bacon (which I didn’t actually do this time, but think it would work nicely).

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

adapted from

Serves 6

  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 6 large cloves)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 450F.  Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.

Combine the minced garlic, olive oil and cauliflower in a large zip-lock bag and shake to mix.  Pour the cauliflower into the casserole dish.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bake the cauliflower for 25 minutes, stirring half way through cooking time.  Stir in the bacon crumbles and top with Parmesan cheese.  Broil under high broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is golden.

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Easy Banana Bread

My friend and mentor Mom, Carol is a fantastic cook.  Here is an easy recipe for Banana bread that uses ready made biscuit mix to make it.  It does not use any oil either, which is nice.  Bake it a loaf pan.

Carol’s Easy Banana Bread

Serves 12

3 cups Bisquick Mix

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

3 (very) ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts)


Preheat oven to 375F.  Spray the loaf pan with cooking spray (or coat with butter).  Mix all the ingredients together.  Pour into a loaf pan and bake at 375F for 45-60 minutes or until the cake tests done, when you insert a toothpick (mine usually is done around 45 minutes).  For an extra twist you can sprinkle about 3/4 cup chocolate chips on the loaf when you pull it out of the oven, wait a few minutes for the chocolate chips to melt and spread them.  Allow the loaf to cool and slice into 12 slices.  Yummy for breakfast or anytime.

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Eggs in a Hole

I remember having this several years ago – I don’t want to go into how many years that was, because then I will just get depressed.. let’s just call it several years ago.  Pioneer Woman featured this breakfast in a recent episode on the Food Network and it reminded me of it.  Enough to want to make it again.  So this was breakfast, especially since I have three dozen eggs to use up!  It is really easy enough for a beginner to make!

Eggs In A Hole

Serves 2 (2 eggs size)

  • 4 pieces of toast
  • 4 eggs
  • butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


Melt butter in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat.  Cut rounds out from the center of each piece of toast with a biscuit cutter.  Place the rounds and toast into the butter and allow to brown on both sides a little.  Crack an egg into the center of each toast. Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Use a spatula and turn the toast and egg over.  Cook 2 more minutes.  Remove to plate.  Serve with toasted bread rounds on the side.

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Homemade Pasta

I have wanted to make this for a few years now, and even attempted it a few times (before I got a Kitchen Aid Pasta attachment for my mixer), but never successful enough to blog it… today I did it!!  I was so excited and nervous about trying this.   But hey, I can make pasta! Who knew?  Well, some of you are saying oh sure you can!  But I had my doubts~ I learned what not to do next time too!  I used the recipe that came with the Kitchen Aid booklet.  You could substitute semolina for a portion (or all) of the flour if you wanted.  I even made Ravioli with the pasta, but that is another blog post!

One key to making pasta is allowing the time to let it rest before you roll it out.  The Kitchen Aid Pasta Attachment is a good investment if you plan on making your own pasta in the future.  I do like being able to control what goes into my pasta (especially filled ones) – not only from a taste standpoint, but from a health standpoint – using ingredients I can pronounce… well most of them!  The mixer does all the hard work and you are free to use both hands to feed the pasta through rather than having to crank with one hand on a manual pasta maker and only having one hand free to feed and catch- unless you have the assistance of an eager child.

link to Kitchen Aid (click on Pasta Roller and Cutter for recipe)

Here it is:

Kitchen Aid’s Recipe for Basic Egg Pasta

4 large eggs

1 Tbsp water

3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

In the bowl of your Kitchen Aid Mixer, place the eggs, water, flour, and salt.  Use the flat beater to beat the combination for about 1/2 a minute (level 2 power).  Change the flat beater to the dough hook and continue to beat (level 2 on mixer) for about 2 minutes.  Remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand for a few more minutes.  The dough will look pretty ragged still.  Cut the dough into fourths and place a clean damp kitchen towel over the dough to prevent it from drying out.  Rest the dough covered for at least 20 minutes.  In this time you can make the filling if you are making Ravioli.

Clear a large counter so you have room to work (I used the length of my island as I am lucky enough to have one).  Make the pasta according to instructions on the machine.  Start with the width of the pasta roller at 1 and feed one portion of the pasta through the roller.  Fold the pasta into thirds, and feed through the machine again.  Repeat about 3 times.  After that it should be about the right shape for you.  Increase the number on the pasta roller to 2 then three and so on feeding the pasta sheet through the machine after each adjustment.  I stopped at number 7 for my ravioli, but could have gone 2 more notches for even thinner pasta.  Use the pasta cutter attachments to make linguine or spaghetti. 

I used a ravioli stamp I had purchased to make ravioli.  Since it was my first time I learned a lot.  First of all, do NOT stack the ravioli on each other as you make them… they would be best if you put them on a floured board and let them dry a little.  If you do what I did, and stacked them all on top of each other you will end up cooking the whole mass together and then cut it into two or three portions… some of the pasta will be al dente and others will break open if you try to separate them (don’t ask me how I know this- it is … well, just don’t!)

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Homemade Ravioli

I looked at several recipes online to see what went into the filling of Ravioli and made up my own recipe from that.  Using some good ideas and adding seasoning that I like… The filling I came up with is pretty good though.  Feel free to exchange cheese and make it yours.  Fontina melts nicely and has a good flavor, but Mozzarella will also do the job nicely.  I happened to have Prosciutto ham in my fridge, but it is not cheap, cooked sausage or seasoned ground beef will do the job. I did not add salt to the filling as the prosciutto has a nice salty flavor, but if I used a milder meat I would season with salt as well.

Becky’s Ravioli Filling

  • 1 (15 oz) container Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten with a folk
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Fontina cheese (this one melts nicely and I used the small grate on my box grater)
  • 1 cup deli sliced Prosciutto ham, diced

Combine all the ingredients and stir to combine them.  Refrigerate until you are ready to fill the pasta.

To make the ravioli, I used one sheet of pasta, dotted the lower half with the filling and folded the pasta lengthwise over the filling and sealed with water.  Stamped the ravioli out with my ravioli stamp (or you could use a knife and cut them that way)  I had a lot of wasted pasta between the ravioli, and next time I think I may lay a second pasta sheet on two rows of ravioli instead of folding one sheet in half over the pasta, but it turned out great. Just check that they have sealed properly and pinch the sides where they are not sealed.

Lesson I learned:  DO NOT stack the ravioli on each other as you make them… they will stick together.  For best results lay each ravioli on a dry floured pastry board.  Flash freeze them for later use (What is flash freeze? Place them on a sheet pan and freeze them in your freezer.  Once they are solid you can package them into bags for later use – this way they won’t freeze to each other.)  To cook bring salted water up to a boil.  Add the ravioli to the boiling water, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes.  Serve with Parmesan cheese or your favorite sauce.

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Chicken A La King

We have had a busy few weeks at our home.  Two weekends ago, I had friends visiting from Austria, my son turned 8, and my daughter decided that that weekend would be a cool time to need surgery to have her appendix removed. My husband and I took 12 hour shifts at the hospital to see her through.  She came out fine and has even returned to school!

This week was much tamer, but I still had friends over because their daughter is about to leave for England to attend College and we won’t see her for a while.  I made ribs and chicken.  With plenty of chicken left over I wanted to use up a bulk of the leftovers.  Chicken A La King is one dish the whole family enjoys.  Since you use cooked chicken it does not take very long to prepare and is flavorful.  Chicken A La King is chicken in a white gravy served over toasted bread.  You can also use the base of this recipe to use up left over turkey.

The recipe is adapted from a book called Kitchen Keepsakes (pg 148 Book 2)

Chicken A La King (or Turkey A La King)

Serves 8

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups warm chicken broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4-5 cups chopped cooked chicken (or turkey)
  • 1 (3 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1/2 cup pimiento, chopped
  • Toasted bread

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Saute the carrots, celery and onion until tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the flour and salt and stir constantly until the flour is no longer raw.  Reduce the heat to medium and slowly add in the chicken broth whisking it to get the mixture smooth.  Add the half and half, stirring constantly until heated through and slightly thickened.  Add in the chicken, mushrooms and pimientos and heat through.  Taste and season with more salt if desired. Serve over toasted bread.

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Slow Cooked Swiss Steak

Slow cooked Swiss Steak is a comfort dish. I also love to make this for friends who have had surgery or a new baby. It has a few steps to get it into the crock-pot, but it is worth the effort and the meat is tender and just falls apart. The flavors are good. I like to serve mine with garlic seasoned rice and green beans.

Slow Cooked Swiss Steak
Serves 6

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 lbs thinly sliced round steak
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 (12.5 oz) can cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 Tbsp beef bouillion granules


In a shallow bowl, combine flour, pepper and salt.

Dredge the slices of beef in the flour mixture.

Preheat a skillet to medium high heat and add the oil and butter.  Pan fry each piece of beef in the butter mixture, about 2 minutes on each side and put in the crock-pot.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and pour the mixture over the browned steak.  Turn the crock pot on to low, cover and cook for 8-9 hours.

For the garlic seasoned rice: I bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add 1 Tbsp garlic seasoning, 1 tsp butter, 1 tsp salt.  Add one cup of Jasmine rice.  Bring to a boil again.  Stir.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Then turn off heat and let sit another 15 minutes.

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