Monday, January 15, 2018

Italian Wedding Soup

  I love to have a pot of hot soup on the stove and the aroma filling the house.  Italian Wedding Soup got it's name from the Italian phrase si sposono bene, which means two things are married.  The marriage is of the meat and the greens in a clear broth.  Here is a simple and tasty recipe that serves 6.

 For convenience, I suggest making meatballs and baking meatballs in advance.  I mix and form the meatballs and bake in a 13x9 foil pan lined with aluminum foil and sprayed lightly with cooking spray.  When slightly cooled, put in a freezer bag and you can put right into your soup when ready to make.  Simple!  

For meatballs you need:
1/2 pound ground pork or turkey
1/2 ground beef
1 slightly beaten egg
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons parsley (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine in a bowl and mix ad for with your hands into small meatballs.  Bake at 350 for approximately 45-50 minutes or until done. Freeze if not using immediately.  Thaw in a zip lock bag as many as you will use for your soup in the refrigerator overnight if frozen.  

For soup:
2 teaspoons extra virgin oil
1 cup prechopped onion and celery
4-5 cups chicken broth
Approx. 2 cups small pasta like shells, orzo,  or ditalini pasta
1 package (5 ounces) baby spinach (can use frozen if fresh not available but I suggest using half box)
1/2 finely grated Parmesan cheese

To Make:
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add celery and onions and cook, stirring until softened.  Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan and increase heat to medium-high.  Add broth and 2 cups water and bring to a boil.  Stir in as many meatballs as you would like (suggest 12-15) .  Stir in pasta and cook, stirring occasionally until just tender.  6 - 7 minutes.  Gradually stir in spinach and cook for about 2-3 minutes more.  Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese until just combined.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Ladle into soup bowls and top evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.  . Serve with a hearty Italian bread and your favorite white wine.  Buon Appetito! ! 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Customize Touchdown Nachos

Football is big at our house (ok,  my husband is a huge fan of both college and pro). If you drop by to watch the game at our house, you can usually count on tasty food snacks to get you through the highs and lows of the games. I try to keep it healthy but I'm not making promises! I always keep the makings for nachos in my pantries. Whether they are made with ground beef, chicken, beans or plain ole cheese, I make them tasty and serve them in a fun fashion. One of my favorite ways to serve nachos is a make your own nacho bar to customize your nachos your way.  Here are some simple tips for you to do.

Easy cheese to make in your slow cooker recipe:
Cubed velveeta cheese, 1 jar milk taco sauce, 1 sour cream. 
Place in slow cooker and cook for 3-4 hours stirring often. Add milk to thin if necessary. Serve in the slow cooker.

Make seasoned ground taco meat the day ahead and heat and serve in a slow cooker.

Toppings choices to serve are chopped tomatoes, quartered limes, jalapeno slices, salsa, sliced avocados, sour cream, drained and rinsed canned black beans, sliced black olives & shredded monterey jack or the spicier pepper jack cheese. Serve the toppings in assorted bowls and tortilla chips in baskets. 

How do you like your nachos?  May your favorite team win!

~Special tenth wedding anniversary wishes to our son & daughter in law. We're so proud of you. Congratulations with all our love!~

Monday, January 8, 2018

Four Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese in the Slow Cooker

  This ideal comfort food is quick to fix and cooks in the slow cooker.
The recipe below makes 6 servings. Here's all you need to make this dish for supper tonight.

1 1/2 cups dry macaroni
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb. sliced Velveeta cheese (I grated extra to put on top)
1 quart milk

Combine macaroni, butter and salt in slow cooker.  
Layer the cheese on top.
Pour in the milk.

Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until macaroni is done.

*Your kids would love to help with this recipe.  Let them measure and pour.  Won't they be proud to see the result?

**Modify ingredients portions if you need more or less portions

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Few of my Favorite Things

This Christmas was a holiday my family & I anticipated with eagerness.  Several members of our family had surgeries this past year and it seems everyone is once again healthy as we look ahead to a happy 2018.  Our Christmas was not just a day or two filled with family, food and stories.  It was our village tree lighting we attend together, the annual showing of Bing Crosby's White Christmas at our local theater, watching Home Alone over and over before we drive to the actual house to take our pictures in front followed by breakfast at our favorite cafe.  It was watching our granddaughter sing holiday songs in her school show, watching our infant grandson see Christmas tree lights for the first time or watching holiday movies with my husband in the evening with our glasses of Bailey's.  Or cookie baking with my daughter. 

Our family presented each other with thoughtful and personal gifts around the tree and everyone was grateful for taking such time to choose so carefully.  Here are just a few of my favorite things and I hope you all had a nice holiday.  

My Dad surprised us with this beautiful chocolate sleigh centerpiece filled with candy, nuts and goodies.

My accent pillow from Shutterfly featuring pictures of our new grandson.

Our frame with a new picture of our grandchildren's sweet faces.

A long overdue custom facial with my favorite esthetician Katt, owner of Grafinskinandbeauty.

A couples massage for my husband and I at the hotel spa when we travel to Michigan in a few weeks and we can't wait!

My husband bought me this gorgeous outfit from JJill along with an itinerary for a weekend trip to New York this Winter to enjoy a couple of shows, concerts, and great dining. What a surprise and it should be so much fun. 

I'm shifting gears to organizing, finding a new workout class and hopefully slowing down life just a little bit.  May you all have a healthy 2018 and thanks for reading this little part of my life I share with you, my friends!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Soup and Snow

The sunrise and snow present a tranquil scene

 We live in the Midwest and are in the middle of a deep freeze with temperatures hovering near 0 each day.  These are perfect soup days to warm and nurture the soul.  

This cream of wild rice soup is delicious and easy to prepare. This recipe will make 10 servings (about 2 1/2 quarts). It's a hearty soup full of chicken, fresh vegetables and wild rice.  

You need:
1 large chopped onion
1 large shredded carrot
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
8 cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup cubed cooked chicken breast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup fat free evaporated milk
1/4 cup minced chives (optional)

In a large saucepan, saute the onion, carrot and celery in butter until tender.  Stir in flour until blended.  Gradually add broth.  Stir in the rice, chicken, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in milk; cook 3-5 minutes longer. 

 Crusty rolls served in your favorite basket is always a nice side. Thanks for reading!


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Coffee & Frangelico




 Here's a favorite drink of mine I like to serve when I am entertaining over the holidays. On New Year's Eve it looks and tastes festive for the coffee lovers at your party. The recipe is found on marthastewartliving. and it requires just 4 ingredients and a few hours of time for freezing.

Makes 4 servings but modify for a larger party.


4 cups strongly brewed chilled coffee ( I used 5 tablespoons of ground coffee for a stronger flavor)
1 cup Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
2/3 cup heavy cream
4 - 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup


Stir 4 cups strongly brewed chilled coffee and 1 cup frangelico in a medium bowl.  Transfer to freezer until slushy but slightly frozen, about 5 hours, stirring once or twice.

Whisk heavy cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form.  Add pure maple syrup and whisk until soft peaks return.

Divide coffee mixture among 4 large glasses, top with whipped cream.

Your family and friends will want to make this their new holiday favorite!

Cheers to you and yours and may you all have a safe & Happy New Year.



Thursday, December 28, 2017

Celebrate News Year's as a Family

Ring in the new Year as a family at home this year with these simple and fun ideas.  

Buy party hats, poppers and confetti

Watch home movies while eating cheese fondue together . If you don't own a fondue pot, you can use a slow cooker to create your fondue. (recipe below found on
Tradition says you may have to give the person on your left a kiss or hug if you lose your bread cube in the pot:)

Get on your favorite pajamas, grab your pillows, blankets and sleeping bags and enjoy a family slumber party.

What's a slumber party without your favorite board games?  Watch movies all night long.

Do you have a favorite family tradition for the New Year?  At our house, we have a handled bell that has been in my husbands family for years.  We go outside at midnight and ring the bell and shout Happy New Year.  My husband and his sister rang it when they were little, our children rang it as little ones and now our little grandchildren ring in the New Year.  

May you have a Blessed New Year filled with happiness, health and blessings.  Thank you for reading Lakehouselyn.

~Cheese Fondue Recipe~
(makes 10 servings)

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cheese soup, 1/4 cup apple juice (use white wine for no kids parties), 2 (8 oz.) packages process swiss cheese slices, chopped, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.  
If using slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 3 hours and stir.  Can keep in slow cooker on low for 1-2 hours.  Be careful not to burn.  
If using Fondue pot, put in all ingredients and stir over flame.

Suggested Dippers:  cooked or roasted potato wedges, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, crisp apple and pear slices, seedless grapes, cubes of crusty breads such as multigrain, rye, sourdough or french baguettes.  Dip and Enjoy! Happy New Year.