Category Archives: Dinner

Potato Soup with Milk and Honey Bread

March in New England is a fickle beast.

Temperatures in the 60’s with sunshine one week and 18 inches of wet, heavy snow the next, (great book reading weather!)

I just finished a great little novel by Jenna Woginrich. The $4.99 ebook is called Birchthorn.  It’s suspenseful with great characters and plot twists. There’s a scene in it where one of the characters, Eli, has a pot of potato soup on the stove.

Now, I have potato soup on the brain.

Since every great soup has to have a great accompaniment, we will start with bread.

Milk, honey and a little butter are warmed and yeast is added.

This mixture is combined with flour and salt.

While Marcy sleeps next to the radiator, I work the dough in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

It’s then covered with a towel and placed in a warm place to rise.

Next, potatoes are peeled and cubed.

We add just enough water to cover the spuds and season with a bit of salt and pepper.

Then, comes the bacon…


A post shared by Jodi Rhodes (@homemadeandwholesome) on

Listen to those three halved pieces of glorious bacon sizzle.

Every potato soup needs a gorgeous little purple onion.

After an hour, the dough has risen and we are ready to knead.

It only takes a few flicks of the wrist to get a smooth soft ball of dough.

That ball of dough is placed in a cast iron skillet and allowed to rise again while the oven comes up to 350 degrees.

Once the potatoes are done, they are lightly mashed along with the water that didn’t evaporate.

A couple tablespoons of butter, the bacon-fat-sauteed chopped onion and that glorious bacon  are added to the pot of potatoes.

All that’s left to do is add a little more salt and pepper and place the pot over low heat, stirring every now and then.

A warm loaf fresh out of the oven.

And a hearty meal.

Take that March, you fickle beast.

Petite Milk and Honey Bread

  • Servings: makes 1 small loaf
  • Print

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)

Place milk, butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup and heat for 90 seconds. Sprinkle yeast over top and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly.

Stir flour and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Pour milk and honey mixture over top and mix with a wooden spoon and fully combined.

Place a tea towel over top of the bowl and let rise until double in size, about an hour.

Once risen, on a floured surface, knead dough until smooth, about a minute.

Preheat oven to 350F. Place the ball of dough in a cast iron skillet and make a cross on top to let the fairies escape. Place the tea towel over top to let the dough rest while the oven comes up to temperature.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Slice/ break and serve.

Potato Soup

  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • sharp cheddar for serving (optional)

Place peeled and cubed potatoes into a medium sized pot and cover with water just to the top of the potatoes. Add some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, turn burner down to medium-high and let simmer until soft.

Meanwhile, cook bacon slices in a skillet until crispy. Cut into pieces. Place diced onion into bacon grease left in the skillet. Saute on medium-low until translucent.

Mash cooked potatoes with remaining water, leaving some chunks. Add milk, butter, bacon and onions to the pot. Stir to combine and place back on the burner set to low, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you like.

Serve with shredded cheddar and warm bread.



Minestrone Soup


The sun was shining this morning when we set out for the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, CT.

Three Red Trees, a school of natural living was holding a wildlife tracking class there. About a dozen people showed up for the monthly class, some with no knowledge of tracking while others held impressive qualifications.

We bundled up and set out to find signs and tracks of the amazing wildlife that surrounds us. We saw squirrel, bobcat, rabbit, raccoon and red fox tracks, all within a half mile or so.


Tracking is more than just following tracks, it’s as if you are interpreting for the earth.


We needed something warm and hearty once we returned home. Minestrone Soup was just the ticket.


Minestrone Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • handful of fresh green beans, chopped
  • handful of kale, chopped
  • 1 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups pasta of your choice
  • parmesan cheese and crackers (optional)

Pour olive oil into a large pot over medium heat. Place onions and garlic in the pot and cook 2 minutes.

Add celery, carrots, zucchini, kale and the can of tomatoes. Break the tomatoes up into small pieces with your fingers.

Add stocks and seasonings. Let soup cook on medium high heat until it comes to a boil.

Cook 15 minutes to allow carrots to become tender. Add pasta and cook 10 minutes or until al dente.

Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with crackers. Enjoy :)


Homemade Pasta

I never knew making homemade pasta would be so easy. A couple of eggs, flour and your time is all that is required.



2 eggs and 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided

Make a well with 1 cup of flour on a work surface and add eggs. Using your fingers, work the dough until it is smooth, adding flour whenever it seems too moist. Let it rest in the fridge for a half hour.


Roll dough out as thin as you possibly can on a floured surface.


My first attempt was to roll the dough and cut it, unfurling the dough afterwards.


That yielded some pretty shapes but it was hard work unrolling them without tearing the soft dough.


I had to enlist some help.


A pizza cutter made things go much smoother.


After drying on wire racks, the pasta is easy to store.


The finished product was fresh, flavorful and fulfilling, to say the least.  It takes just 5 minutes to cook at a rapid boil.

Try adding spinach, tomato or beets to your pasta dough to make a more wholesome meal.

Cauliflower Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Thanks to the Sandwich King, I have a new favorite sandwich. Who would have thought that cauliflower would make such a nice accompaniment to grilled cheese?

Start by cutting the cleaned cauliflower into slices. Season them with salt and pepper. Add a bit of olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F.


Flip them over and roast for another 15 minutes.

Add the slices to your favorite bread and cheese combination.


I find the cast-iron skillet to be a superior grilled cheese vehicle.

Cauliflower Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Homemade Chinese Food – Wonton Soup and Chicken Fried Rice


Wonton Soup

  • 32 oz. vegetable stock
  • 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 2 celery stocks
  • 35 wonton wrappers
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork or chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of ginger
  • a couple bok choy leaves, chopped
  • milk or egg for sealing edges of wonton

Combine ground meat, egg, onions, soy sauce, pepper and ginger. Place 3/4 of a teaspoon of filling in the center of wonton and seal using milk or egg. Click here to see how to wrap a wonton.

Once all wontons are ready, combine stocks and celery in a large pot. Let stock come up to a full boil and place wontons in one at a time stirring so they do not stick to each other. Add chopped bok choy leaves.

Reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.


I make this once a week, it’s a complete meal in one dish. Protein, vegetables, and starch.

I usually cook the chicken and rice the day before but you could do it all at the same time.

You can choose whatever vegetables you like. We use carrot, onion, and peas.


Saute’ the vegetables in a large pot with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Add cooked chicken and minced garlic.


Meanwhile, scramble the eggs in a skillet and add to the pot along with rice and seasonings.


Stir to combine and add the final ingredient: soy sauce.

Cook on medium high heat for about 10-15 minutes.


Chicken Fried Rice

  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1/4 of a medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup soy sauce

Saute’ shredded carrot, chopped onion and peas in a teaspoon of olive oil for about 2 minutes. Add chicken and garlic. Scramble the eggs. Add to chicken mixture along with rice and seasonings.

Cook on medium high heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Enjoy :)

Broccoli & Garlic Pasta

Broccoli and Garlic Pasta

I’m always on the look out for a new family favorite. I really enjoyed this dish. Ethan thought it was too spicy and Thomas is not a huge fan of garlic. I guess this won’t be gracing our table as often as this or this, but I will be sure to make it for myself from time to time. If you are in the mood for some delicious pasta, give it a whirl.


Here’s a way to use up the stalks of broccoli that we usually just toss into the compost.

broccoli garlic and red pepper flakes

The sliced stalks along with chopped garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes are sautéed in olive oil. This is combined with cooked broccoli and spaghetti to make a delicious main course. And go right ahead and add lemon chicken breast to the mix. You’ll be happy you did.

Broccoli and Garlic Pasta

Print Broccoli & Garlic Pasta Recipe

  • Large bunch of broccoli, cut into florets and the stalks sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Half pound of spaghetti (half a box)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 Tbs. parmesan cheese

Place the broccoli florets into a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove florets from water with a slotted spoon and place in a colander. Run cold water over broccoli. This will stop the cooking process. Remove the florets and pat dry.

Place the spaghetti into the same pot of boiling water. Cook until al dente, according to package.

Sauté the garlic, sliced broccoli stalks and red pepper flakes in olive oil. Cook on medium low about 7 minutes. Add broccoli florets and stir to coat with olive oil.

Drain the pasta and add to the broccoli mixture. Stir to coat with the olive oil. Increase heat to medium-high and season with salt and pepper. Pour lemon juice and mix to combine. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Meat and Veggie Loaf

It’s been one of those rainy, lazy, sickly sort of days. Ethan may or may not have the flu. Everything else is irrelevant when he’s sick. We’ve been pushing the liquids. Lots of tea, water and ginger ale. Vernors, that is. Thomas had the priviledge of tasting Vernors Ginger Ale in North Carolina while visiting with some very gracious friends. He tasted the sweet, barrel aged ale and knew he had to buy some when he got home for us to try out. Apparently, it’s the oldest surviving brand of soda in the US. It was created in Detroit by a pharmacist in 1866. The thing is, we have to order it online and have it shipped to us. Ethan loves it so much, he asked Santa for Vernors for Christmas. Santa came through with two 12 packs. That should last a couple months. (I hope!)

Dinner time came and we decided on meatloaf. Everyone has their own way of making it. There are many variations around the world. This recipe has been devised over several years to become one of Ethan’s favorites….who would of thought?

It starts with the vegetables. I use whatever’s in the fridge. Tonight, it was carrot, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and zucchini.


Then add ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper.

The rest

I like to use panko bread crumbs but ran out. I just toasted up some sandwich bread and diced it small.

Now the thing that makes this meatloaf is the ketchup and sugar mixture on the top and sides.

ketchup topping

Enjoy it with even more veggies and I’ll take those end slices…thank you very much!


Turkey and Vegetable Meatloaf

  • 1/4 cup each, diced carrot, onion, mushroom, green pepper, and zucchini
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine with your hands and shape into a rectangle on a sheet pan.

Cover the top and sides with ketchup mixture (1/4 cup ketchup and 1 tsp. sugar)

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 50-60 minutes.

I think the meatloaf helped because as I type, Ethan is bopping balloons and humming the New Super Mario Bros. theme songs. It’s the small victories in life that matter.

How do you make your meatloaf?

Venison Stew

Some people won’t eat venison simply because it’s deer meat. We conjure images of Bambi and just can’t comprehend using this beautiful creature as sustenance.

The meat I used to make this wonderful stew was a living 160 lb. doe just two days ago. I received this harvest from a co-worker who is an avid hunter. He shot, gutted and butchered this animal with respect and I am grateful for the many meals it will provide. This stew is very easy to make. It is flavorful and nutritious.

Place 2 Tbs olive oil in a stock pot or dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat. Coat the stew meat with flour and drop into pot. Brown on all sides. You might want to do this in batches so as not to crowd the pot.

I make this stew in a crock pot but you could continue with the pot on the stove.

Place the browned meat into the crock pot. Pour a 48 oz. can of beef broth and 1 cup of water over the meat. Place the crock pot on high.

Into that same pot, place 1 chopped onion, 3 chopped celery stalks, 2 diced potatoes and 2 large chopped carrots. Saute for a couple of minutes and transfer to the crock pot.

Add a tsp of pepper and a tsp of garlic powder and stir. Cook for 4 hours on high, stirring every hour or so. At the end of four hours, add a Tbs of cornstarch or flour that has been dissolved in about 1/4 cup of water to thicken the stew.

Marcy was hanging around for a while, hoping I might drop something :)

The Meatball

The meatball was once a mystery to me.

After many failed meatball meals, I have found the ingredients to make the best meatballs. They make a great sandwich as well as a steller pasta dish.

The Meatball Recipe

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup zucchini, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 4 small button mushrooms, finely diced
  • handful of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients and form one inch balls. Brown the meatballs on all sides in a medium heated skillet. Transfer the meatballs to a casserole dish and cover with your favorite tomato sauce. Bake in a 350F oven for about 25 minutes.

Inspired Chili

Like so many families, my parents divorced before I was old enough to remember them as a couple. The same holds true for my grandparents. My Gram remarried before I was old enough to know that “Grandpa” wasn’t my mother’s father. Of course, as I got older I was told this but he was and always will be, Grandpa.

My grandparents did a lot for us grandkids growing up. They took us to all the children’s theme parks in New Hampshire, like Storyland, Santa’s Village and Clark’s Trading Post.  They brought us for twist ice cream cones with rainbow jimmies at Dairy Queen in the summertime.

For Easter one year, they bought me my first bicycle. A purple Cabbage Patch Kids bike with training wheels. Grandpa taught me how to ride it.

In the picture you can see his truck in the driveway with a plate that says “I’d rather be dancing.” They used to love to go dancing. They liked going to the casino and playing the slot machines. Grandpa used to take Gram for Sunday drives to Maine to see the light houses.

My Gram made most of the meals but Grandpa had his chili. He made great chili. I once asked him for his recipe. I make mine with his in mind.

He was also the designated homefries maker for breakfast on the weekends. Now, everytime I make homefries, I’m striving to make them as tasty as he always did.

He was a heavy smoker for nearly fifty years and now has COPD. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease for him, is the occurance of chronic bronchitis in which the airways of the lungs become narrowed. He is on oxygen therapy full time. He has had some tough days and my Gram is always there taking care of him. There is no cure and he is tired a lot of the time. That is one of the symptoms along with shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, excess mucous production and a persistant cough. He isn’t able to do a lot of the things that you and I probably take for granted. He still has that smile that lights up his eyes though. I love you Grandpa and I’ll always be your “turkey”.

In honor of your great chili Grandpa, I’m sharing my recipe, which was inspired by yours.

This chili can be made in the crockpot or stove top. I’ve been using my crockpot a lot lately. It’s such a great invention :)

Start by browning a half pound of ground turkey. Add 2-3 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp black pepper and a shake or two of red pepper flakes.

Place the browned, seasoned ground turkey in your pot. Now just pile in a small onion, half a green pepper, large can of diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup of good quality homemade style salsa, a can of black beans and a can of red kidney beans.

If you’re using a crockpot, place it on high for 4 hours and stir every hour or so. If you’re using a pot on the stove, simmer for 2 hours on medium heat, stirring every so often. If you like your chili spicy, add a few drops of tabasco sauce.

You could serve it straight up or with shredded cheese and tortilla chips. Thomas likes his with saltine crackers. However you choose to eat it, I’m sure it will become a staple, especially in the winter months. Enjoy :)