Thursdays Are For Cooking….

| January 20, 2022

Well, it’s the “dead of winter” and while the mayhem in the streets has wound down to late evening street shootings on Chicago’s South  Side, and news that the so-called administrations in various states are serving the indigent and homeless better by letting them flourish in alleys, dark corners and on the sidewalks of major cities such as New York City and Lost Angels, (yeah, pun intended), the rest of us can apparently just shut up and get on with things.

The more they try to tighten their grip….

While prices are going up on various categories of items, from what appears to be some kind of dullard experiment in finding out how patient the General Public can be, as I indicated a week ago there are many, many container ships waiting on all coastal areas to unload. But while that makes no sense, we can assuage our annoyances by trying out some good, healthy food, made on the cheap, and happily stuff ourselves while the Idjits of The Swamp natter on and on. Theirs is a tale told by idiots, signifying nothing. (Sorry, Will, couldn’t resist.)

So my first item is onion soup, hence the lovely purple onion surrounded by garlic buddies in the photo.

Onion Soup classic recipe:

The subject is soup. Soup – the stuff that Immortals dream of.

Well, they just wish they could cook as well as mortals, which is why the Immortals always show up with an empty bowl and a spoon and that sad look in their eyes.

Soup of any kind is good. Onion, beef-based veggie, chicken noodles w/veggies (and I do mean noodles!), cream of potato, cream of mushroom.

So here’s a good and simple recipe for Onion Soup:

One onion per person

Beef broth

Salt, pepper, thyme and oregano, plus a bay leaf or two

Red or white wine is optional, but you do want to make soup, not get stewed, so be gentle with the wine.


Croutons, sliced baguette and cheese (Swiss, gouda, mozzarella – all good!)

Peel the onion the easy way: cut it in half, pull off the skin and outer layer. Slice each half on the mandolin if you have one; if not, then just do a coarse chop.

Put the onion into a pot, add the beef broth to cover. How much beef broth? How hungry are you? One 28 ounce box of broth should suffice for a couple of servings. If you want a lot of onion soup (yes, please!!!), add more. The broth and sliced or diced onion cook together, so that the onion can weep tears into the broth to season it, and the broth can throw thyme and oregano at the onion to comfort it. Salt and pepper are to taste, always, and you can throw in a bay leaf if you like.

It is okay to cook the onions to a softened state before you put them into the pot. That’s a personal choice. But it’s also okay to just simmer them slowly in the beef broth without sautéing them first. If you want this for lunch, start after breakfast. If you want it for dinner, start after lunch. Very slow simmer, lowest temp or flame on the burner, put a lid on the pot to keep the broth in the pot. Yes, you are allowed to peek and test the flavor levels.

The croutons you can buy already toasted and ready to use. The baguette slices go on the top of the onion soup, with the cheese (sliced or shredded, your choice) on top of the baguette. To get the nice browning, 1 to 2 minutes in the broiler at 375F to 400F with the door open, or bake it at 375F  for 3 to 5 minutes in the oven, on a tray. Or if you’re in a hurry, a judicious approach with a blowtorch may work as well.

The Kleenex is for when you peel the onions the hard way instead of ripping the outermost layer and skin off the bulb, or for when you’re trying to slice them across the bulb by hand. Use a kitchen slicing thingy.

Get more onions now.

Second, and meant as a follow-up to the soup, is a nice casserole.

Cheesey Bacon Penne:

2 cups of uncooked penne pasta

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon of black pepper

2 cups of 2% milk

3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, divided

½ of crumbled cooked bacon


– Cook the pasta according to package directions.

– Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute the garlic in butter for 1 minute.

– Stir in the flour and pepper until smooth, gradually add milk.

– Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened.

– Reduce heat, stir in 2 cups of shredded cheese until melted. Remove from heat.

– Drain the pasta: add pasta and 1/3 cup of bacon to cheese sauce.

– Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish.

– Cover and bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

– Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese and bacon.

– Bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.

And for afters? What could be better than apple pie with vanilla ice cream and hot drinks?



Category: Cooking, Economy

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num num num! Ya had me at cheese and bacon…but, I guess you knew you would. “1/2 of crumbled cooked bacon”? I’m gonna say that’s 1/2 pound at a minimum, tho it could be 1/2 side of bacon? No such thing as too much bacon!

I’m out of vanilla ice cream and apple pie fixins’, but do have some caramel butter pecan and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Will that work?

Thanks Ex…Let’s eat!


Thank You, Ex, for sharing two more great recipes…Yep, perfect winter meals/dishes for those of us who are surrounded by current cold temperatures.

As KoB shared, there is no such thing as too much bacon…😊😉😎


Sounds too easy… but I guess it could work. It has not been the best winter for finding decent onions, in New England.

Made a couple of batches of soup this week and ended up using the pressure cooker to get the onions, potatoes and celery right where I wanted them.

Twenty eight ounces is about four cups and that ought to be just about right to pressure cook about eight of those “yellow” onions that come in nylon sack. Could help with cutting back on sautéing time, as well.

When I was young, ambitious and gave a flying fhck I’d actually caramelize the onions and “get cheese” to make it perfect! ROTF… now, I have onion powder, butter and if it all goes south, Tabasco Sauce.

In the old days you used to be able to buy cracked wheat bread. I’d make a sammich to go along with the onion soup with cracked wheat bread, cream cheese, chopped green onions and bean sprouts. (toast points were extra!)

Mike Gunns

Made some Beef Stew today in the crock pot today.

2# stew beef

(2) Rutabagas cut into 1 inch cubes

(6) carrots sliced about 1/2 inch thick

1 medium or large Yellow Onion

Seasonings of choice…I used a pack of McCormick beef stew seasoning, a half cup of flour for thickening, parsley and some Montreal’s steak seasoning.

Let it cook for about six hours or longer.


We can’t get rutabagas in New England, have to make do with turnips. As well as I know, I may have never tasted a rutabaga. How is the texture, if there is a way to describe it?

Mike Gunns

I’d say they are much like turnips. My wife, who is from Maine, has always called rutabagas, turnips. So they probably are available up north.

Turnips in our area are smaller and a purple and white color, while rutabagas are larger and a light brown color, with a wax coating for shipping.

I use a meat cleaver to cut them into smaller chunks before resorting to a large paring knife to finish cubing them up. They also take a good while to cook.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Will print up recipe and am working on whats left of the 5 vacumme bags of your garlic lingune


For those who like to cook under pressure:

Onion Soup:

  • 3 pounds onions, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup sherry
  • 7 cups beef broth, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 loaf baguette, sliced
  • ½ pound sliced Gruyere cheese, or as needed

Instructions in next post.

  • Directions: Turn on a multi-functional pressure cooker (such as Instant Pot®) and select Saute function. Add onions, butter, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Cook and stir about 4 minutes. Add wine; close and lock the lid. Select manual and high pressure and set timer for 20 minutes. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for pressure to build.
  • Step 2 Release pressure carefully immediately after timer goes off using the quick-release method according to manufacturer’s instructions, about 5 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid. Add sherry and select saute mode. Cook for 3 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Step 3 Add 6 cups broth and bay leaf to the pot. Close and lock the lid; select manual and high pressure and set the timer for 6 minutes. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for pressure to build.
  • Step 4 Meanwhile, mix flour and remaining 1 cup broth together in a bowl.

Directions part 2:

  • Step 5 Release pressure carefully immediately after timer goes off using the quick-release method according to manufacturer’s instructions, about 5 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.
  • Step 6 Set pressure cooker to saute and remove and discard bay leaf. Add flour-broth mixture, and cook and stir until soup is thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Step 7 Set an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven’s broiler.
  • Step 8 Ladle soup into oven-safe serving bowls and top each with slices of baguette and Gruyere cheese. Broil soup bowls until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, 1 to 3 minutes.

Dave’s PHP setting for character length of posts makes posting recipes challenging. 🙂


1. Thanks for the onion soup recipe that is always wanted and the instant pot stuff is always awesome you post great stuff.
2. There was discussion in the other thread about me posting the Astroid of Insults. That thread has been put on hold until further notice for updates but your point is taken about maximum text on posts I may have to do some significant gyrations to get 10 pages of insults on here going forward. 🤨😳😭 🤔


Pressure Cooker Chicken Bacon Penne in a Garlic Cream Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 lb. chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 garlic cloves minced or pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (14.5 fluid ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 package (1 pound) penne pasta
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded plus more for serving
  • 1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning

Pressure Cooker Chicken Bacon Penne in a Garlic Cream Sauce

  1. Add chicken, paprika and Italian seasoning to a Ziploc bag and toss to combine. Set aside.
  2. Select Sauté and add the bacon to the pressure cooking pot. Fry for about 5 minutes until crisp, stirring frequently. Transfer the bacon to a plate, leaving the bacon fat in the pot.
  3. Add the butter to the pressure cooking pot. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add the chicken to the pressure cooking pot and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the chicken broth and deglaze the pot if necessary. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Add enough water to cover the pasta, about 3 cups. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 3 minutes cook time. When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Use a quick pressure release, or if necessary, use an intermittent release to prevent liquid from coming out of the valve.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Bacon Penne in a Garlic Cream Sauce

Directions (part 2):

When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Stir the mixture and taste penne for doneness. If needed, select Simmer/Sauté and cook for a few minutes more, stirring often, until the pasta is tender. Stir in the half and half and Parmesan a little at a time until cheese melts. Stir in the bacon, spinach, and grape tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.



From Ex-PH2’s onion soup recipe:

It is okay to cook the onions to a softened state before you put them into the pot. That’s a personal choice. But it’s also okay to just simmer them slowly in the beef broth without sautéing them first.

While it is a personnel choice, I would counter that with onions being mostly water, sauteeing them gets the started on disappearing in the broth while slow cooking.

I would recommend not sauteing the onions and put them in in two batches – one for flavor and then halve / 3 quarters of the way through, add the rest for texture as well.

But she is right – that is a personnel preference and I would never ever tell someone to do it any way other than what makes them happy.



I like to cook tomato sauce in a crock pot and then freeze it.

When I do that I add meat, sausage, peppers and onions. I

It is funny how that after 8 hours of slow cooking, the onions are gone. They just melt away which is why I made my comment.

For me, I want the flavor of onions in the soup, but I also want some onions in there. My dad taught me the “half now, half later” trick and it has always worked well for me. 🙂