Tag Archive for Onion

Drunken Cheesy Bread

Drunken Cheesy Bread

Our good friend Maria brought this Drunken Cheesy Bread to Winefest.  I can promise you that it tasted as good as it sounds. It would be great as an appetizer…but it’s also one of those dishes that would be good at about 1:00 a.m. after “a long night” :). 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 10 min; Cook Time – 15-20 minutes


Butter for Pan

1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

3/4 c. white wine

1 1/2 c. grated Gruyere or high quality Swiss

1/2 baguette, cut into 2 in. slices

1/8 pound thinly sliced cooked ham

1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preparing Drunken Cheesy Bread:

Heat oven to 400 Degrees. Place bread in a lightly buttered casserole or baking dish. Scatter the onion and ham over the bread. Pour the wine over the onion and ham and sprinkle with the pepper and cheese. 

Drunken Cheesy Bread

Bake until cheese has melted and begins to brown on the edges, about 20 minutes. Spoon onto individual plates and enjoy!

Drunken Cheesy Bread


Simple French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

I had some onions I wanted to use up and thought I’d make some onion soup. I normally use beef consommé but this time I used mostly beef broth with just two cans of beef consommé. It’s all part of my well stocked kitchen experiment so I had to use what I already had! 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 15 min; Cook Time – 1 1/2 – 2 hours


4 sweet onions, sliced

4 T. salted butter

1 T. fresh thyme

1 tsp. EACH salt and pepper

1 T. sugar

64 oz. beef broth

2 10 oz. cans beef consommé

3/4 cup port wine

4 slices baguette (lightly toasted)

4 slices Swiss cheese

Preparing Simple French Onion Soup:

Sauté onions in butter and thyme for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over onions and mix well.

French Onion Soup

Add salt and pepper. Add beef broth and beef consommé. Stir well. Cover and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add port wine. 

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. Spoon soup into serving bowl. Add baguette and top with one slice of cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven CAREFULLY and enjoy!!

French Onion Soup

Important Tips:

Don’t rush the onions. Let them cook and take their time!

but sugar is cheating….low, slow, caramelization – Melissa

I wasn’t going for caramelized, just wanted to sweeten them a bit. – Denise


Gruyere cheese is traditional but Swiss is what I had on hand.  

Lasagna Bundles

Lasagna Bundles

I wanted to make a new pasta dish for my family and came up with these little lasagna bundles. They are a bit time consuming to prepare, but once they are in the oven, you can sit back and relax knowing that a great dinner is on it’s way!

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 30min; Cook Time – 45 min.


Cheese Sauce:

4 T. salted butter

1/4 c. all purpose flour

4 c. fat free milk (you can use whole milk, but I try to cut the fat)

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 grated parmesan

pinch of salt


1 lb. ground beef

1/4 c. onion, chopped

1 T. fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 T. fresh rosemary, finely chopped

3/4 c. your favorite marinara sauce


1 T. olive oil

1 package lasagna noodles

1 c. mozzarella cheese

2 T. grated parmesan

Preparing Lasagna Bundles:

First, make the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth, whisking for about a minute. Gradually whisk in milk and salt until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking often, until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cheeses. Set aside.

Next, make the filling: Brown the ground beef in a large sauté pan along with the onion. When the meat is brown, add the thyme and rosemary. Drain.  Put into a mixing bowl and add in the marinara sauce and mix well. 

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Boil a large pot of water and cook the noodles for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pat dry and lay out on a work surface. Pour about 2-3 cups cheese sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 in. baking dish. Place about 1 spoonful of filling on an end of each lasagna noodle.

Lasagna Bundles

Roll up and place seam side down into the cheese sauce on the baking pan. Repeat until the dish is full.

Lasagna Bundles

Top with more cheese sauce, 2 T. parmesan cheese and 1 c. mozzarella cheese. 

Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until the cheese starts to brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving!

Lasagna Bundles


You can stuff the lasagna bundles with whatever ingredients you like, add some mushroom, make it vegetarian, or use a different meat.

Got Leftovers?:

This reheats very well, so make sure you save the leftovers!

Mexican Chicken Soup / Sopa de Pollo

Mexican Chicken Soup / Sopa de Pollo

Yesterday was a tough day. Denise and I attended the funeral for the husband of one of our “mentor teachers.” You know what I’m talking about. The teacher who connects with you in such a special way that it changes your life trajectory. We’ve all had that person in our lives and if we are lucky, we’ve had several of them. This was one of ours. A woman who was tough but always fair. One who could inspire you or hold you tight as you cried. Well, yesterday, Denise and I had the blessed opportunity to return the favor as she grieved for the sudden loss of her dear, sweet husband who loved her so much.

As part of my upbringing, I was taught to never go to someone who is grieving without food in hand. For this occasion, it was decided a simple and fresh chicken soup would be just the thing. Even if she did not have an appetite, soup would be something she might be able to tolerate when told she had to eat.

Remember, if you have that special mentor in your life, even if it is from over 20 years ago, seek them out and let them know what they did for you. You never know how much they might need to hear what you have to say at that exact moment…and don’t forget the soup!

As it turns out, soup really can feed your soul.

sopa de pollo


2T olive oil
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 chili peppers of your choice. (I use Hungarian Wax Peppers because they are not spicy and have a wonderful tanginess to them)
2 onions, diced
1T ground cumin
1T chili powder
1t red pepper flakes
*all of the spices are to your taste
5 fresh tomatoes, large diced
2 – 32oz containers of low-sodium chicken broth or make your own broth
Whole poached chicken, shredded (don’t have time, get a rotisserie chicken and remove skin and all fat and shred)
Juice of 8 limes plus additional limes to serve fresh with the soup (don’t use packaged lime juice – it’s not the same!!)
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped


Add olive oil into large soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic and sauté until tender. Add spices and stir. Add tomatoes and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add juice of limes. Add broth and 1/2 of the cilantro. Taste. Add salt, pepper and spices as desired. Add chicken and warm until the soup is hot.

Serve with a couple of slices of fresh avocado, wedge of lime and a pinch of fresh cilantro.

For another great ‘garnish’, take some flour tortillas, cut them into strips, fry them in vegetable oil, drain on paper towels and salt immediately when removed from the oil. These things are crazy addicting and not healthy (shocking, I know, what addictive things are healthy?!).

Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad

Salad with black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeños

Southwestern Black bean and corn salad is a side dish I often make for a crowd when having a Mexican themed dinner. It is easy, cheap, colorful and serves a lot of people. You can kick up the spice by adding more jalapeños or tone it down by adding less.

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 20 min; Chill time: At least an hour


2 cans of sweet corn (not creamed corn)
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
6-8 fresh jalepenos, seeded and chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, washed and snipped
1/2 red onion, chopped (see how to chop an onion )
1 tomato, chopped
Juice of 4-6 limes
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparing Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad:

Empty the corn, WITH the liquid into mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.

Salad with black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeños

Important Tips:

Remember to use a serrated knife when chopping or slicing a tomato. Also, don’t forget to wear gloves when seeding the jalapeño. If you need a knife, try one of these. Melissa’s favorite is Henckles:

Got Leftovers?:

When I have leftovers of this, I will often put it on a salad with some leftover chicken and make my own version of a taco salad.

How to Dice an Onion with Video

how to cut an onion

This is a fundamental skill to so many recipes! Time to become an expert at it. Here is a video to help make sense of it.

How to Dice an Onion Video

Below are the basic steps as well.

How to Dice an Onion:

1. Chop off the top of the onion.

2. Slice through the ‘hairy’ end of the onion.

3. Peel the outer skin from the onion and discard

dice an onion

4. Turn the onion with the ‘hairy’ end to your non-dominate hand. For right handers, the hairy end should be in the palm of your left hand.

5. Make vertical slits from the top of the onion following the natural ridges –  through to the cutting board. Be careful to leave the hairy end in tact.. This will keep the onion together as you dice it.
How to slice an onion
5. Carefully, make 2-3 horizontal slits, again making sure you don’t slice completely through the onion.
How to dice an onion
6. After the slits are made, slice the onion. The onion is diced into nice fine pieces.
how to chop an onion
7. Optional – if you don’t want to waste the remaining uncut portion of the onion, turn it on its side and use a rocking motion with your knife to cut it into the desired size dice.

how to chop an onion

Important Tips:

Keep your fingers in a ‘claw’ shape as you hold the onion and use your knuckles as your knife’s guide. This will help you not cut yourself.