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A Harvest Meal

Harvest Chili with Cheddar Apple Quick Bread

This meal looked so amazing to me that I asked Leah to blog it, because I think a lot of us are in the mood for Fall dishes. 🙂 – GC

First is the amazing Harvest Chili recipe. It’s actually from Better Homes & Gardens here. I’ll copy and paste for your convenience too, but they get all the credit except for the amazing, mouth-watering, picture of it that Leah took and all her work! 🙂

Harvest Chili

Chicken-apple sausage pairs with tangy-sweet cooked apples instead of that chili regular–tomatoes.

Serve this chili over hot cooked polenta.

Prep:30 mins; Cook:30 mins; Servings:8

Harvest Chili

Andy Lyons


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds cooked chicken-apple sausage links, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large red onions, chopped (3 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in 3/4-inch chunks (about 6 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut in 3/4-inch slices (**Leah notes that she chunks the apples instead of slicing, and she’s an amazing cook, so I’d definitely follow her example!**)
  • 1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained, and slightly mashed
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh sage or tiny sage leaves
  • Golden Delicious or other apple, sliced in rings


  • Step 1 In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon.
  • Step 2. In the same pan, cook onion and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender. Add the squash; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, salt, and cayenne; cook for 1 minute. Return the sausage to pan. Add broth; bring to boiling, then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 8 minutes.
  • Step 3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Cook apple slices in hot oil for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Transfer apples along with beans to chili. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until apples are tender. Top servings of chili with sage and apple rings.

Nutrition Facts 

Per Serving:356 calories; total fat 11g; saturated fat 3g; polyunsaturated fat 1g; monounsaturated fat 3g; cholesterol 60mg; sodium 944mg; potassium 699mg; carbohydrates 48g; fiber 8g; sugar 23g; protein 20g; trans fatty acidg; vitamin a 111IU; vitamin c 30mg; thiaminmg; riboflavinmg; niacin equivalents 2mg; vitamin b6mg; folate 44mcg; vitamin b12mcg; calcium 91mg; iron 3mg.© Copyright 2020 All rights reserved. Printed from 09/16/2020

Cheddar Apple Quick Bread (source not available)

And I’m going to do something unusual here. I’m actually going to post a pic of the recipe she was using, because of her hand-written notes where she adapted the recipe and it’s written up nicer than I can do using the new block editor on the blog without paying for an upgraded blog that allows for a recipe widget. I personally like that I can print the pic to have the recipe, instead of highlighting too, but I’m weird like that. Lol

I hope you enjoy the recipes and are staying safe during such incredibly turbulent times in the world! Hopefully a comforting Fall themed meal brings a little joy to your day, like it did mine. – GC

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup with Cheater Grilled Cheese Recipe by Leah

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This recipe uses fresh vine-ripened tomatoes and is a great way to utilize your bountiful tomato harvest.  The tomatoes are slow roasted all day in your slow-cooker, making a sweet and tangy soup with a velvety flavor.  Serve it with some Cheater Grilled Cheese for dipping.






Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

yield: a little more than 3 quarts




3 lbs vine-ripened tomatoes

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups tomato juice

1 cup cooking sherry*

3 Tbsp granulated white sugar

1 chicken bouillon cube

2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

2 cups heavy cream

optional: Parmesan cheese


  1. Wash your tomatoes and cut them in quarters.  Place them in a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Add the onion, tomato juice, sherry, bouillon, sugar, and chopped basil. Stir.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Carefully use an immersion blender to blend the tomatoes.
  5. Warm the heavy cream and stir into the soup.

Note: Broth can be substituted for the cooking sherry, although the flavor will be altered slightly.

Don’t Forget the Other Half!

As the name indicates this isn’t much of a recipe, just a shortcut.  One benefit is that it uses less butter than traditional grilled cheese, but the main reason I like to make grilled cheese this way is it allows me to make them more quickly for a crowd.  Get the sandwiches all made ahead of time and pop them on the griddle together so everyone gets a warm sandwich all at the same time.


Cheater Grilled Cheese


2 slices of sandwich bread


your cheese of choice



  1. Lightly toast your bread.
  2. Lay cheese slices on one side of each piece of bread and put the bread slices together with the cheese sandwiched in the middle.
  3. Butter the outside of the sandwich and cook the sandwich in a skillet or griddle until the cheese has melted.

Tuscan Vegetable Soup Recipe by Leah

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A simple and fantastic soup for a chilly day.  Tuscan Vegetable Soup is a pretty quick meal.  All you do is chop your vegetables and then you’re just throwing ingredients in the pot for a quick cook time.  This soup is definitely what you’d call heart-healthy and yet is flavorful enough that my entire family goes back for seconds.  It’s my go to when taking dinner to our shut-ins from church and is always well received.





Tuscan Vegetable Soup

yield: approx. 4 quarts



2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cups kale, chopped

2 cups celery, diced (about 4 stalks)

2 cups zucchini, chopped (about 2 medium)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried sage

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

2 quarts chicken broth (fat free & low sodium)

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes with juice

4 handfuls spinach (about 4 cups packed)


If you’re looking for some more protein add

2 (15 oz) cans low sodium canellini beans, drained, rinsed and smashed

3 cups shredded or diced chicken




  1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, kale, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, salt, pepper.  Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth and tomatoes (and chicken if adding) and bring to a boil.
  3. Add spinach leaves (and beans if adding) and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference.



Note: Many people I make this for can’t have Parmesan cheese but we think it’s excellent in the soup so I add fresh Parmesan to the individual bowls.

Mexican Corn Chowder in the Slow Cooker Recipe by Leah

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This Mexican twist on Chowder is creamy with just the right amount of kick to it.  It requires minimal effort – just chop your potatoes and dump everything in the slow cooker.  So easy!  We love it with cornbread or Cheesies.




Mexican Corn Chowder in the Slow Cooker

yield: approximately 8 servings



3 cups frozen corn

1 lb red potatoes, diced in 1/2-inch cubes

2 (4 oz) cans diced green chiles

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/4 tsp black pepper

1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup salsa

1/4 cup cornmeal

4 cups chicken broth

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 oz cream cheese

1 red bell pepper

2-4 Tbsp fresh lime juice

shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish

bacon bits, for garnish



  1. In a 5-6 quart slow cooker add the corn, potatoes, diced green chiles, spices, black beans, salsa, cornmeal, chicken broth, and chicken.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW about 4 hours.  The potatoes should be tender and the chicken cooked through.
  3. Remove the chicken breasts and shred or cut into bite-size pieces.  Add the chicken back to the slow cooker.
  4. Cube the cream cheese and add to the slow cooker.  Let it melt and stir again until totally melted.
  5. Dice the red bell pepper and stir it into the slow cooker.  Add a couple Tablespoons lime juice.  Taste and adjust lime juice and seasonings to your preference.
  6. Scoop the chowder into serving bowls and top with shredded cheddar and bacon bits, if desired.

Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese Recipe by Leah


My father loves this soup – absolutely loves it.  I cook for my parents a few times a week and every night he’ll thank me for my meal, compliment me on it (Most of the time. He’s become very picky as he’s aged), and then asks me when I’ll be serving “that tomato soup” again.  It’s become something of a joke but I do keep this in my regular rotation.  I keep thinking we’ll get tired of it but every time I serve it my children still greet it with excitement.  It’s rich and creamy with a savory tomato flavor, the Parmesan bringing a salty nuttiness.  It would be delicious with a french or garlic bread but we ALWAYS serve it with a Havarti Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  It doesn’t need a salad, but I try to serve lots of greens, so I’ll add a little baby spinach to the plate and top it with some balsamic vinaigrette.  Perfection!

Tomato Basil Soup with Parmesan

Yield: 3 quarts (about 8 servings)



1 cup carrots, finely diced

1 cup celery, finely diced

1 cup onions, finely diced

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp dried basil

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 (14 oz) cans diced petite tomatoes with juice

4 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup flour

1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1/2 cup butter

2 cups half and half, warmed

salt and pepper to taste



  1. In a large soup pot warm oil over medium high heat.  Add carrots, celery and onions.  Stir frequently for about 5 minutes.  When the vegetables soften and the onion becomes more translucent add in the garlic and the oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  Saute for 2 more minutes.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes with juice, chicken broth and bay leaf.  Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer about 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
  3. In a large skillet melt the butter over low heat.  Once melted slowly whisk in the flour.  Continue to whisk for 5 minutes.
  4. After the 5 minutes take about 3 cups of the soup and add to the skillet.  Whisk immediately.  Once thickened add the contents of the skillet back into the soup pot.  Stir to combine and your soup will begin to thicken.
  5. Add Parmesan cheese and whisk to blend.  Stir in warmed half and half.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Ladle into serving bowls and serve warm.

Havarti Basil Grilled Cheese Sandwich


good quality wheat bread

Havarti cheese, thinly sliced

vine-ripened tomato, sliced


fresh basil


Spread a thin layer of honey on each slice of bread.  Top half of the bread slices with cheese, tomato, 2-3 basil leaves, and another slice of cheese.  Place the final slice of bread on top.  Add a thin smear of butter to the outside of the sandwich and heat in a hot skillet or on a griddle.

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An Easy Beef Soup

Hi there!  I’ve been a little preoccupied with some medical issues, but I figured I’d get back into the swing of things with an easy recipe.  This is one of those one pot dump soups that utilizes canned items and leftover steak.  Living in the Midwest we have quite a bit of steak or even some grilled flank steak for fajitas that works perfectly in this soup.  You could always cook some bite sized stew meat, too, of course.  I wish I could put this recipe in that handy print format for you, but I have no clue how to do that with this blog.  lol I’ll write up the recipe below the main part, so it’s easier for you to copy and paste.

In a soup pot dump one can of yellow corn with juices (sometimes I even use a steamer bag of frozen sweet corn if I don’t have canned or if I want a little sweeter corn), a can of green beans with juices, and a can of stewed or diced tomatoes.

Beef Soup Beginning

Beef Soup Beginning

Add 2-4 cups of water (you’ll have to play with this recipe to see what your family prefers.  I like mine in between, so I go with three cups), 2-4 beef bouillon cubes (equal to the amount of water you use), and then fill one of your empty veggie cans with instant white rice and add that.  Didn’t expect that, right? *grin*  Add a dash of salt (optional, I tend to add about a teaspoon, although when I’m watching my sodium intake I don’t add any and I use no sodium canned veg too) and about a teaspoon of garlic powder, to taste.  You could add a bit of pepper, too, but I have a sensitivity to pepper, so I just set out the pepper for individuals to season their own bowl to taste.  By the way, you can totally use beef broth instead of the water and bouillon.  I usually have bouillon on hand, though, and have gotten to where I prefer the taste of it this way.

Beef Soup ingredients 2

Beef Soup ingredients 2

Next add your meat.  I had a baggie of leftover flank steak from fajitas, which I dumped right on top and then mixed it all together.

Beef Soup 3

Beef Soup 3

Put the lid on the pot and bring to a low boil on medium.  Once a boil has been reached lower the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes.  This time frame is so variable because it all depends on the rice.  At 30 minutes try your rice and see if it’s tender.  If it is, then it’s time to dish up!  I’ve noticed that sometimes in the winter when the house is cooler that it can take about 40 minutes.  Here’s how your soup should look when it’s ready.

Easy Beef Soup

Easy Beef Soup

It is so yummy and filling, perfect for a cool day and a great tasting way to get some veggies into your family’s diet (what can I say, I was a very picky eater when I was a kid and my mom started making this *grin*).  One thing that I want to warn you about so you don’t think you’ve done something wrong is that the rice will soak up most of the liquids after it sits a bit.  If you want to have a wetter soup, then add more broth/water and bouillon.  The rice is so plump and juicy from absorbing the broth that I kind of like it when it gets thick.  Here’s what it’ll start to look like.

Beef Soup 5

Beef Soup 5

I just don’t want anyone to worry when they go back for seconds or to warm up leftovers.  Make sure you don’t drain your tomatoes or veggies, though, in order to get the right flavor.

Well, there you have it.  Our secret to a hearty meal with minimal work.  *grin*  Below is the recipe itself for your convenience.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend and happy pampering!

Easy Beef Soup

Makes…plenty of servings? lol I have no clue.


1 can of green beans, not drained

1 can of yellow corn, not drained (or one bag of frozen steamer sweet corn, with juices)

1 can of stewed or diced tomatoes

1 can of instant white rice (just use one of the empty veggie cans, so no measuring cups to wash!)

2-4 cups of water (to preference)

2-4 beef bouillon (equal to cups of water used)

1 tsp garlic powder, to taste

1 tsp salt, to taste, optional

Leftover steak or diced stew meat (about a cup, but it’s to preference)

Put all ingredients into a soup pot, mix, and cover with a lid.  Bring to a low boil over medium heat, then reduce and simmer 30-45 minutes until rice is tender.

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