Beef Bourguignon: Classic Recipe, Streamlined

This take-off on Julia Child’s recipe uses a few shortcuts to make dinner easier. Bacon can be used, but is optional; the recipe’s still great without it! A pressure cooker will cook the meat tender in 40 minutes. Or, a slow cooker or crock pot can be used; meat cooks throughout the day and is ready to use in the recipe by dinner time. Serves 6.

Chuck roast, red wine, and veggies over pastaINGREDIENTS

  • 2 c. beef broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1 1/2 c. red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 lb. boneless chuck roast
  • Optional: 6 oz. diced, raw bacon
  • Olive oil, as needed, for browning
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lg. carrot
  • 1 lb. mushroooms
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 3 TBS. flour
  • 1 TBS. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. salt (or less if using salted broth)
  • Potatoes to serve with stew, or 1 lb. wide egg noodles, cooked


1. Begin to get broth hot in oven-proof pot, crock pot, or pressure cooker. Use: > 2 c. beef or chicken broth > 1 1/2 c. red wine > 2 bay leaves

2. Cut into 2″ cubes: > 2 lb. chuck roast

3. Heat a large iron skillet. If using bacon, cook the bacon in the skillet until somewhat browned but still tender: > 6 oz. diced, raw bacon (optional)

4. Pour off some of the bacon fat; add the bacon bits to the hot broth.

5. Brown beef cubes in the same pan, using a little olive oil as needed. Don’t crowd the pan or the beef won’t brown. As pieces get browned, add to oven-proof pot, crock pot, or pressure cooker. Set skillet aside to use for cooking the onions. Use: > the 2 lb. cubed chuck roast

6. Broth/red wine mixture should cover the beef in the pot. Cover the pot; let beef cook until tender. This will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours in a 375 degree oven, or 8 hours or so in a crock pot on low heat, or 40 minutes at medium pressure in a pressure cooker. While beef is cooking, sauté onions in the skillet used to brown the beef. To hot skillet, add: > Olive oil as needed > 1 lg. onion, chopped

7. Turn heat down, cooking onions slowly, until sweet and tender. At this point, the pan of onions can be refrigerated until beef’s done cooking, if using the oven or crock pot. When ready to assemble the dish, continue with remaining steps. To the cooked onions, add: > 3 garlic cloves, minced > 3 TBS. flour > 1 tsp. thyme > salt to taste (1 tsp. or so) > 1 TBS. tomato paste

8. Mix ingredients into the onion until smooth. Set aside.

9. Prepare carrots, cutting into rounds. In separate pan, cook carrots. Add water to the pan, letting them steam some. As they become tender, add olive oil, browning carrots a bit to develop their sweetness. Use: > 1 lg. carrot, sliced into coin-like pieces

10. Add cooked carrots to the onion mixture. Next, sauté mushrooms. Don’t crowd the pan or they won’t brown. Do batches, adding browned mushrooms to the onion/garlic/flour pan. Use: > 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced

11. When meat is done, pour some of the liquid into the the pan of veggies/flour. Mix until smooth, then add remaining liquid. Turn pan on and bring almost to a boil, so that the flour thickens it. Cook for 2 minutes. Mixture should look saucy (boil it longer to reduce liquid if it’s too thin).

12. Serve with potatoes, or over cooked pasta; garnish with chopped parsley.

Broccoli Potato Soup

Broccoli adds nutrients to a meal and potatoes are a healthy way to thicken the soup without using the flour typically used. It makes this a gluten-free recipe, and if you leave off the parmesan garnish, it’s vegan too! Serves 6-8.


  • 2 broccoli crowns (stems too, if available)
  • Optional: 1/2 c. leaves or tops of celery
  • 3 lb. potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 1/3 c. virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for garnishing


1. Cut broccoli into chunks, then add enough boiling water to broccoli in a pot to cover; simmer until tender. When done, reserve broth (you can then use that broth to cook the potatoes in, or save it to thin the soup out with later. Use: > 2 broccoli crowns (chunks of stems can be used for flavor, and discarded afterward) > Optional: 1/2 c. leaves or tops of celery

2. Also, in a separate pot, cook in hot broth or water (just enough to cover the potatoes): > 3 lb. potatoes, peeled, cubed

3. Remove any chunks of stems from the pot of cooked broccoli; process the broccoli tips, then add the cooked potatoes and puree the mixture some more. An immersion blender works well; if a processor is used, be careful not to process the potatoes for too long, as they can get too starchy if over-processed.

4. Blend or whisk into the pureed veggies: > 1/3 c. virgin olive oil > salt and pepper to taste

5. When ready to serve, reheat soup and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Tomato Basil Soup w/ Lemon, Orange & Bay Leaf

Not like the typical canned “Cream of Tomato” soup, this gluten-free recipe is a light and healthy variation. Leave the pesto out for a dairy-free, vegan recipe, if desired. It’s easy to make and has a fresh combination of flavors that complement the tomatoes. Serves 6 or so.


  • 1 lg. onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2-4 bay leaves
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 16 oz. can tomato pieces (or 2 c. fresh, skins off)
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/4 c. Virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 TBS. frozen orange juice concentrate (or zest of half an orange)
  • Pesto or fresh basil (or sub 1 tsp. dried basil)


1. Simmer until tender (1 hour or so): > 1 lg. onion, in chunks > 2 carrots, in chunks > 2 to 4 bay leaves

2. Set broth aside once veggies are cooked; remove bay leaves. Add to the pot: > Zest of 1/2 lemon

3. Process the above until smooth, using immersion blender or food processor. Add the following and process again: > 16-oz. can tomato pieces (or 2 c. fresh tomatoes, skins removed*)

4. Blend in (with immersion blender, or with processor running): > 1/4 c. olive oil > 2 tsp. salt > 2 TBS. frozen orange juice concentrate

5. Reheat the soup, thinning with water as needed. To serve, top with a spoonful of pesto, drizzled on, or add fresh chopped basil. Optional: Top with dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche, whirled in just a bit.

* To use fresh tomatoes, bring a half pot of water to a boil. Core tomatoes, score the bottoms with an “x”, plunge into the hot water for a few minutes, with the heat off. Pour off hot water and cool the tomatoes in a pot of cold water; skin should slip right off.

Jell-O Salad: Natural Style, Fruit-Juice Sweetened

When my granddaughter was quite young, I wanted to prepare a jello recipe minus the artificial colorings, flavorings and sugar. It would also be perfect for my elderly in-laws, who needed easy-to-chew foods. The recipe proved popular with all.

Grateful-Table-Jell-O-Mold-Jello-MoldWhen purchasing frozen juice concentrates, be sure to get 100% fruit juices. Use favorite flavors, but watch out for impostor juices that are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup.

Serves 8-10.


  • 1/3 c. (+ 1/3 c. more, or water, for less sweet) frozen cherry juice concentrate
  • 1/3 c. (+ 1/3 c. more, or water, for less sweet) frozen orange juice concentrate (pulp-free)
  • 1/3 c. (+ 1/3 c. more, or water, for less sweet) frozen grape juice concentrate
  • 5 pkg. (5 TBS.) unflavored gelatin total (1 for each of the three flavors, plus 2 for pineapple/cream layer)
  • 2 c. boiling water (1/2 c. for each of the 3 flavors, plus for the pineapple/cream)
  • 2/3 c.frozen pineapple juice concentrate
  • 1 c. cream
  • Grapes or berries for garnish, optional


1. For this recipe, let get to room temperature, in three separate ceramic bowls (large soup bowls work): > 1/3 c. frozen cherry juice concentrate (in one bowl) > 1/3 c. frozen orange juice concentrate (pulp-free) (in a second bowl) > 1/3 c. frozen grape juice concentrate (in a third bowl)

2. Soften gelatin by sprinkling into each bowl: > 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin for each of the three flavors

3. After 5 minutes or so, add to softened gelatin/fruit juice: > 1/2 c. boiling water

4. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Though adding boiling water, it is best not to bring gelatin mixtures back up to boiling, as a stronger odor may occur. Gelatin does have a smell, but that smell isn’t really noticeable once other ingredients are added. It does add protein, and it is valuable for setting up jello-style desserts. (Look for agar-agar to substitute for the gelatin, if desired.)

5. Last, add to each bowl: > 1/3 c. more of same concentrate, OR water, for a less-sweet jello

6. Pour each flavor into its own small loaf pan (5″x3″ works well). Let set up in refrigerator for several hours.

7. When jell-o loafs are firm, make the pineapple jell-o. Into larger ceramic bowl, measure and let get to room temperature: > 2/3 c. frozen pineapple juice concentrate

8. Soften gelatin by sprinkling into the bowl: > 2 pkg. gelatin

9. After 5 minutes or so, add to softened gelatin: > 1/2 c. boiling water

10. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Last, add: > 1 c. cream

11. Refrigerate the pineapple mixture just twenty minutes or so, to get to the consistency of thin yogurt. Cut the loaf pans of flavored jell-o into 1-inch cubes, gently folding into pineapple-cream mix, pouring into a ring-shaped mold. Let set up until completely firm, half a day or longer. (Make a day ahead, if desired) Before serving, briefly set the mold into a sink of hot water, just to warm the outside of the pan, moving quickly to invert it upside-down onto a plate. Garnish with grapes or berries if desired. Cut and serve!

PS I love this person’s review of Great Lakes Unflavored Kosher Gelatin on Amazon. From grass-fed cows; several notches above Knox gelatin…

Pecan Pear Salad w/ Poppy Seed Dressing: Upscale Waldorf

The Poppy Seed dressing below can be simply mixed up in a bowl, hand-whisking the other ingredients into the olive oil- no blender clean-up! Using the stirring method is convenient, especially when making a smaller batch of the dressing.

Grateful-Table-Pecan-Pear-Salad-w-Poppy-Seed-Dressing-Waldorf-StyleBosc pears have a firm, crunchy texture, although other pears or apples, or even dried fruits can substitute in a pinch. Vary the salad by leaving out the blue cheese or replacing with crumbled goat cheese. Serves 8-10  (with extra dressing).


  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. prepared Dijon, or similar mustard
  • 1 scant tsp. salt
  • 1 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • 2 bags of mixed baby greens
  • 2 or 3 thin-sliced pears, dipped in lemon (or sub apples)
  • 2/3 c. pecans, toasted (or raw)
  • (Optional) 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled


1. For dressing, heat 30 seconds in microwave, until sugar dissolves when stirred: > 3/4 c. sugar > 1/3 c. white vinegar

2. Use a blender (or immersion blender) to mix dressing, or hand whisk in a bowl. Mix well with the dissolved sugar/vinegar mix: > 2 tsp. prepared Dijon, or similar mustard > 1 scant tsp. salt

3. Last, blend in: > 1 c. olive oil > 1/2 Tbs. poppy seeds

4. This will make enough dressing for two big salads. Use about half of the dressing over the following, reserving the rest for another salad: > 2 bags of mixed baby greens > 2 or 3 thin-sliced pears, dipped in lemon > 2/3 c. pecans, toasted if desired > (Optional) 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Black Bean Chili: Easy Vegetarian Soup

Make extra of this to store in the freezer for quick last-minute meals; healthy, nourishing, economical, and tasty. Freeze portions in plastic wrap, and microwave later for soup or burritos. Add tortillas, perhaps avocados, cheese, and tomato, for a simple dinner.

(See notes below for a variation, using Pinto beans.)

Grateful-Table-Black-Bean-ChiliMany recipes call for canned black beans, but it’s easy to start them from scratch. Dry beans are most economical too, and organic beans are often available at health food stores. This recipe starts out thick; just add water when heating up, to desired thickness. Leave off any dairy products to make it vegan, or top with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chopped tomatoes as desired. This mix is versatile; use for burritos, tostadas, and enchiladas. Serves 7-8.


  • 1 lb. black beans
  • 3-4 c. chopped yellow onions
  • 2 TBS. minced garlic
  • Olive oil for sautéing onions
  • 1/4 c. dry basil
  • 1/4 c. dry oregano
  • 2 TBS. cumin seed
  • 1/2 c. tomato paste
  • 1 TBS. salt
  • 1 TBS. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • Optional: Grated Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and cilantro


1. Bring to a boil, then simmer 1-2 hours, until tender: > 1 lb. black beans > approx. 2 qt. boiling water

2. Strain cooked beans, return to pot and mash, leaving some beans whole. A potato masher or immersion blender works, or put on an oven mitt, cover that with a clean plastic bag, and mash the drained beans by hand. Set aside. In iron skillet, saute’ the following on medium heat until tender (an hour or so): > 3-4 c. chopped yellow onions > 2 TBS. minced garlic > olive oil (about 3 TBS.)

3. Meanwhile, in a hot, dry skillet, stir the following until toasted, setting aside when done: > 1/4 c. each, dry basil > 1/4 c. each, dry oregano > 2 TBS. whole cumin seed

4. Finally, mix the following all together: > Cooked, mashed beans > Sauteed onions and garlic > Toasted herb mix > 1/2 c. tomato paste > 1 TBS. each, salt and paprika > 1/4 tsp. cayenne

5. For Chili, add water to achieve desired thickness, sprinkling w/ grated cheddar cheese and sour cream, or use as is in burritos, etc.


For variety, substitute pinto beans (or other favorite) for black beans. Substitute 2 TBS. chili powder for the oregano, basil, cumin seed, cayenne and paprika. A delicious side dish (like healthy-style refried beans), or a comforting, nourishing soup (just add water).

Butternut Squash Soup: Easy, healthy soup recipe tastes rich!

A food processor or immersion blender works well to make this a smooth, creamy soup; the blend of spices is reminiscent of pumpkin pie (only healthier). Omit the extra water to serve this as a side dish. You can also omit the cream for a lower-cholesterol version. Adjust the recipe depending on the size of the squashes. If it makes extra, it does freeze well, making another great meal addition at a later date.

The spice mix is handy to make extra of; add to various dishes for quick seasoning. Add to rice or other stir fries, as well as using in this soup.

Serves 6 or so, depending on size of squashes.

Pumpkin Soup garnished w/ cranberries and orange zest


  • 2 to 3 med. lg. butternut squashes, halved
  • 2-3 apples, peeled and cored (or substitute frozen apple juice later in recipe)
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. cream (optional)
  • Optional, in place of fresh apples: 1/4 c. frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. “Spice Blend”
  • Dried cranberries for garnish
  • Parsley for garnish


  • 1 1/2 TBS. curry
  • 1 TBS. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 1/2 TBS. salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 TBS. nutmeg


1. Place whole squashes on heavy aluminum foil in roasting pan. Wrap the fresh, peeled, cored apples separately in aluminum foil, as they can be removed sooner from oven. Bake until quite tender, approx. 1 hour or more, at 375 degrees: > 2 to 3 med. lg. butternut squashes > 2-3 apples, peeled and cored (or substitute frozen apple juice later in recipe)

2. Take out of oven; set in bowl to cool, adding 1/2 c. or so of water and covering. The water will steam the squash some, helping to loosen the skin. Let cool until workable; remove seeds and skin. Process until smooth in a processor, or use an immersion blender. Add the following and blend again: > 1/3 c. olive oil > 1/2 c. cream (optional) > (optional: 1/4 c. frozen apple juice concentrate in place of apples) > 1 to 2 TBS. “Spice Blend”(see below)

3. Thin the mix out with enough hot water or chicken stock to make it of soup-like consistency. Reheat soup to serve; overheating for a longer time darkens the color somewhat. Garnish with the following: > Chopped parsley > chopped dried cranberries

4. To make a spice blend that can be handy for future batches of soup, mix the following together and store in a jar: > 1 1/2 TBS. curry >1 TBS. cinnamon > 1/2 tsp. cayenne > 1 1/2 TBS. salt (or to taste) > 1 tsp. cloves > 1/2 TBS. nutmeg

Barley Mushroom Soup: Whole Food, Easy, Vegetarian

This vegan recipe has a meaty, hearty texture, especially when “hulled barley” (found in health food stores) is used; “pearled” barley is a more processed version of this grain and will cook more quickly. Barley has two outer layers; for “hulled barley”, the outer layer has been removed, but it is considered “whole grain barley”, as it still has the inner hull on it.

A simple recipe; makes 6-8 servings.


  • 1 c. barley (not pearled but whole grain, hulled, if possible)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 qt. water
  • 1/2 lb. (or more) mushrooms
  • 1 TBS. fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 1 TBS. fresh, chopped garlic
  • 28 oz. can tomatoes
  • 2 TBS. fresh, chopped parsley
  • Optional: Jack or Cheddar cheese


1. Bring to a boil, then let simmer 1 hour or so, until tender: > 1 c. hulled barley* > 2 bay leaves > 1-2 qt. boiling water

2. Grill in some olive oil: > 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced

3. To cooked barley, add: > Grilled mushrooms > 1 TBS. fresh, chopped rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried) > 1 TBS. fresh, chopped garlic > 28 oz. can tomatoes > 2 TBS. fresh, chopped parsley > more water if needed, for right consistency

4. Ready to eat! Add some cubed Jack or Cheddar cheese just before serving, if desired.

* For pearled barley, half the cooking time

Fruit Kabobs w/ Pineapple Coconut Dip: Brighten Buffet Table

This tropical-style, healthy recipe is naturally sweetened and flavored with frozen pineapple juice concentrate and coconut cream. It can be served with bagel pieces or crackers, but fruit kabobs are especially colorful. Dip can be made a few days early. Serves 10-20.

Grateful-Table-Fruit-Kabobs-w-DipPineapple Coconut Dip


  • 2-4 TBS. coconut cream (or virgin coconut oil, to taste)
  • 1/4 c. frozen pineapple juice concentrate
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • Optional: 1/2 c. coconut flakes


In mixing bowl, add the following and whip until light: > 2-4 TBS. coconut cream (or virgin coconut oil, which will need to be melted first) > 1/4 c. frozen pineapple juice concentrate (or substitute 4 oz. dried, sweetened, chopped pineapple) > 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)

Put in a bowl to serve the dip. If desired, top with: > 1/2 c. coconut, toasted until golden in toaster oven

Fruit Kabob


  • 1 whole, fresh pineapple
  • 1-2 pints strawberries
  • 2 large mangoes (or melon or other favorite fruits).
  • 15-20 bamboo skewers


To arrange the kabobs, one can use the top part of the pineapple to stick the kabobs into. A half a melon (inside scooped out) can also work. Place the pineapple top (or melon) on a platter.

For the kabobs, use: > 15-20 bamboo skewers

Prepare fruits for skewering. A mixture of pineapple, mango, and strawberries are of good texture, and don’t turn brown, but other fruits can also be used. Cut fruits into bite-sized pieces: > Fresh pineapple > 1-2 pints Strawberries > 2 or so mangoes

Make kabobs, serve with the dip, and enjoy!

Italian Dressing Recipe for Awesome Green Salads

At The New Deli, we save time by processing a big batch of the garlic, salt, and herbs; then we freeze portions, which can quickly be mixed into olive oil and vinegar for an easy, fresh batch of the dressing. We love it on a Greek Salad; it’s good on most any other salad too.

The family is always especially happy when I make our home salads with this dressing. They’re spoiled- just plain oil and vinegar doesn’t quite cut it!

Greek Salad w/ Kalamata olives, Feta, Italian DressingThis classic dressing is also good in other green salads- add blue cheese, tomato, grilled chicken strips, and hard-boiled egg, for a “Cobb”. Or keep it simple, using the dressing on Romaine lettuce with crumbled goat cheese and pine nuts, or to dress a vegan salad.

An easy method: The dressing keeps well made as a concentrate; the garlic stays extra fresh. Just mix the first five ingredients into a paste, freezing portions for a later date. The paste mixes easily into oil and vinegar, and a “fresh” batch can be enjoyed.

This recipe stays fresh a month or so in the refrigerator (longer as a frozen concentrate). Makes 1 quart.


  • 2 TBS. fresh-chopped garlic (5-6 cloves)
  • 2 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 2 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 TBS. dried basil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 c. olive oil


1. Process the following with an immersion blender (or in a food processor): > 2 TBS. fresh-chopped garlic (5-6 cloves) > 2 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon > 2 1/2 tsp. dried oregano > 1 1/2 TBS. dried basil > 2 tsp. salt

2. Measure the following in a quart-size bottle or jar. If using a processor, pour the oil and vinegar back into processed ingredients in a slow, steady stream, with motor running, until blended well. One can also just whisk the mixture slowly into the chopped garlic/herb mixture by hand, or whisk everything together with an immersion blender. Use: > 1 c. red wine vinegar > 2 1/2 c. olive oil