Monthly Archives: January 2012

Italian Vegetable Soup, with ground turkey (adapted from Sunset All Time Favorite Recipes ‘Garden Fresh Vegetable Soup’)




4 slices center cut bacon, uncooked, diced

1/2 lb ground turkey (or hamburger) optional

3 Tablespoons butter or olive oil (if not using bacon)

1 large onion, chopped

2-4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed

6 cups of prepared vegetables (such as diced or sliced celery, carrots, green beans, mushrooms, potatoes, peas, corn, zucchini, or yellow squash, etc)

2 quarts beef broth

1 can (15 oz. kidney beans) (I didn’t use these)

1/2 teaspoon each dry basil, dry oregano and dry rosemary leaves (I used smaller amount of dry and added fresh of each of these at the end)

1 can tomato sauce (I used half a small can of tomato paste instead, it was left from another recipe)

2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I used one 15 oz can of diced tomatoes in their own juice)

2/3 cup dry elbow macaroni (I used dry whole wheat angel hair pasta broken into small pieces)

2 cups shredded cabbage, chard or spinach (I used 2 large handfuls of large spinach leaves roughly chopped)

salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Cook minced bacon over medium/low heat to render fat, remove when crispy and set aside leaving fat in bottom of large soup pot.

Add ground turkey and break up as it begins to cook. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms and stir as they saute and begin to brown over medium/high heat. Add the rest of the vegetables and saute a few minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to loosen browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add broth, dried herbs and reserved bacon and beans if using, and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and pasta cook for another 10 minutes. Add cabbage or spinach and cook until wilted. Add fresh herbs (if using) and remove from heat. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

To serve, ladle into bowls and sprinkle with grated Parmesan Cheese. Great with crusty french bread and red table wine.


Tuscan Beef Stew (From The Wine Lover’s Healthy Weight Loss Plan)




1 Tablespoon olive oil

3 lbs boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes

2 large onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

2 Tablespoons tomato paste (mine had Italian herbs in it, a mistake but it worked)

1 1/2 cups dry red wine

2 cups tomato sauce

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, as garnish

1/4 cup grated Parmesan, as garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat large (large enough to hold all the meat in one layer) ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When ready to start browning meat add the oil then cubed meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the juices have evaporated and the meat is browned, 20-25 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium and stir in onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is soft but not brown, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, cook for 1 additional minute. Add the wine; bring to a boil and over tightly.

Bake in the oven until the meat is tender and almost all of the wine has evaporated, about 1 hour. Stir in tomato sauce, sage, and oregano; return the pan to the oven. Continue baking until the meat is soft enough to cut with a spoon, about 1 hour longer. (You may add assorted seasonal vegetables this last hour of cooking. I added 2 potatoes peeled and cut in large cubes and 3 carrots peeled and sliced in large chunks.)

Serve garnished with parsley and cheese. Serves 6

Notes: Serve with creamy polenta or whole wheat pasta and sauteed greens. Use leftovers as a pasta sauce.

Recommended Wine

Barolo Sarmass 1999

Brezza Giacomo e Figli, Barolo, Italy


Nebbiolo or Sangiovese

We enjoyed a table red blend from Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill, Ca; Cavalcade California Cellar Red, Cork Equity #32 May 21, 2011 affectionately called Wedding Wine because it was left over from our daughter’s wedding reception in November 2011.