minestra polpetta

Inspiration for meals sometimes comes when I'm browsing for ways to use an individual ingredient, and this time I was actually looking for something to so with the ground turkey in my freezer. On further consideration, I decided to try this in a vegetarian soup to be able to share with my husband. So the inspiration ingredient doesn't even show it's face in this soup!

Minestra was not a name I was familiar with until looking through a Trader Joe's cookbook. Minestrone, yes, but not minestra. It fits though! Minestra Polpetta literally means Italian meatball soup.

Tip: If celery, zucchini, and cabbage aren't your style, substitute in leeks or fennel. Or add a combination of all 5! Just adjust the veggie quantities so the amount of broth still gives you a good soup consistency.

serves 2

theredkitchen: minestra polpetta
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1t olive oil (I used a basil flavored olive oil I had on hand)
  • 1/2t poultry seasoning
  • several dashes crushed red pepper, depending on your spice sensitivity
  • cabbage, 1/2" round slice, chopped
  • small zucchini, cut in 1/2" rounds and each in 6 pieces
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 oz tomato sauce , no sugar added preferably (half of a small can)
  • 12 Trader Joe's Meatless Meatballs, slightly defrosted
  • sprinkle of Parmesan Reggiano
  • several kale chips for garnish (optional)

Heat soup pan and add oil over medium heat. Add the celery, garlic, and poultry seasoning, pepper flakes, and sauté, stirring regularly until celery is tender. The zucchini and cabbage can go in next, cooking for several minutes.

Add the chicken broth and water and return the pan back to a low simmer. Gently pour in the tomato sauce to prevent splattering. Give everything a good stir and place the meatballs in the center of the pan. From this point out, be careful not to displace the meatballs too much when stirring, or they will fall apart. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the liquid reduces slightly, all the veggies are tender, and the meatballs are fully warmed.

Scoop into soup bowls, add a curl of parmesan, and a few kale chips. Enjoy!

kale crisps

theredkitchen: kale crisps

Kale is something I was required to eat as a child, raw from the garden after weeding duty. My siblings found clever ways of disposing theirs (throwing it out the window while driving, etc). I was not a fan. So when I started seeing recipes for Kale Chips, I poo-poo'd the whole idea. "I don't like kale, it is like chewing on waxed paper." But more and more friends I trusted were trying it... so one day when a bunch of kale was on sale, I gave in. "Worst case scenario, I try it out and still don't like it, and I'm only out 99 cents." Lo and behold, it's all about how it's prepared! and I liked it! I did a little experimenting to find a combination of methods that made my perfect crisps. Special thanks to some friendly advice from Jasmin who makes kale salads, Emilia who suggested liquid aminos, Fitandfabby40's video tutorial, and Dara who makes a spicy version.

  • 1 bunch of kale, trimmed from its stem, or half a bag of pre washed pieces of kale (like the ones at Trader Joes)
  • 1T olive oil
  • 4-6 sprays of Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • seasonings of your choice. some combinations:
    • nutritional yeast (also known as brewer's yeast) and onion powder
    • Italian seasoning
    • I'd like to try a spicy sesame seed version

In a large bowl, place kale and drizzle olive oil over it. Now massage the kale! make kneading motions through the leaves. You'll notice after a few minutes, the coloring changes and the amount of kale shrinks down somewhat. This makes the kale more like crisps than chips, melting in your mouth when you eat them.

Place a silpat or other baking sheet liner (parchment paper may work) on a large cookie sheet. Spread the kale out as evenly as possible. Spray the liquid aminos over top evenly. Add salt and pepper, and any additional seasonings you would like.

Bake in a preheated 250 oven for 20 minutes. The low temperature will dry out the chips without browning them. After 20 minutes, use tongs to lightly toss the chips, flipping them over a bit, and put them back in the oven for another 10-20 minutes. Taste them to see if they are to your liking to determine if they need more time.

Enjoy these as a side to a sandwich, a mid-day snack, or even on top of a bowl of soup! (tip, I've got a recipe coming that does just that!)


Curry Celery Soup

Fried Chicken Soup has been a family favorite that I've revised to make healthier. And now, I went one step further to make it more of a brothy, flavorful soup, instead of the thick creamy version. It still features the nice neutral flavor of the celery, fried up with curry, and then blended with the liquids.

curry celery soup


serves two.

  • 2C celery (200g by weight), chopped
  • 2t olive oil
  • 1t curry powder
  • 1t garam masala (optional)
  • 2C chicken stock
  • 2C almond milk (unsweetened plain)


  • pan-fried Vegetarian meat (we use fri-chik) and/or grilled chicken breast
  • peas for garnish (optional)

Place celery and oil in a medium saucepan and heat to medium-low. Sprinkle on some of the curry and garam masala (if using), a small portion at a time. Fry this spiced celery up until nice and crisp, adding additional spice every few minutes and stirring.

Add liquids, and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes to bring the flavors together. Remove from heat and use a blender or immersion blender to liquefy the mixture. Return to heat if desired.

Serve with cooked meat in the bottom of the bowl, topped with soup, and finally peas if desired.


chicken celery salad

Simple meals with only a few ingredients are a great thing to have in your cooking arsenal! This is a great combo of a lean protein and veggies to power your body. You can swap out some of the celery for fennel and/or onions for variation.

chicken celery salad

serves one.
  • fresh or frozen and defrosted chicken breast, boneless and skinless (pick a size that will cook up to about 6 oz)
  • 2 t lemon pepper
  • dash of kosher salt (optional)
  • 1 T light mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 C celery, diced

Sprinkle lemon pepper and salt over the chicken breast to season it. Prepare a grill or a grill pan or (my preference) a George Foreman grill. Cook the chicken until the juices run clear and no pink remains in the center. Take chicken off and let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into small chunks.

Put chicken into a mixing bowl with the mayonnaise and celery and stir well to give everything a small coat of the mayo.

Garnish with herbs, if desired.


five spice stir-fry

theredkitchen: five spice stir-fry
theredkitchen: five spice stir-fry

Stir-fries are so customizable and easy to enjoy while sticking to a healthy diet. This marinade idea worked well for both vegetarian and meat eaters alike, and these veggies are lower on the glycemic scale for people watching their carbs. Spices are a great way to add flavor with less fats, and the sesame oil has a rich flavor that makes the amount go further.

serves 2.

Marinade: whisk together the following:

  • 1T balsamic
  • 1t soy sauce
  • 1t sesame oil
  • 1/2t five spice
  • 1/2t dried orange peel
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2T fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2c water, vegetable broth, or chicken broth

Protein: use any combinations to equal 2 servings of the following:

  • 1 fresh or frozen/defrosted chicken breast (to equal about 6oz cooked weight)
  • 1 package firm tofu, pressed to remove moisture and cut into cubes
  • 1 package extra firm sprouted tofu, cut into cubes or wedges

Place each type of protein in its own casserole dish. Add 1 cup of the marinade with each protein serving. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to allow absorption.

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until liquids around tofu are bubbling and reduced or until chicken has no pink in the center.

Vegetables: this combination is enough to go with 2 servings of protein.

  • 1/3 head of cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 cup drained bean sprouts (or mung bean sprouts)
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced in strips
  • 1 stalk celery, cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin (optional)
  • 1/2 jicima, sliced thin
  • 1 package shiritaki noodles (spaghetti style), rinsed and drained several times.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add 2t sesame oil. Add vegetables, and toss/stir often. Add a small amount of water to help steam the veggies. Add the shiritaki towards the end of the cooking process. Add a dash of soy sauce and lemon pepper for flavor. Cook all until tender

To serve, put half of the veggies on each plate. Top with the protein serving. Optionally, add some sauce (teriyaki, peanut sauce, or hot sauce) and peanuts for flavor.


Soyrizo Polenta

This recipe was inspired to find another use for polenta. I adapted a recipe from San Gennaro, the makers of the polenta in our local stores. Soyrizo is a type of vegetarian churizo - you can find it with the tofu in many grocery stores, or Trader Joes. When you fry it up, it gets a similar crispness to the bacon in the original recipe.

  • 1 sm tube of polenta
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/4 tube soyrizo or more
  • 1c marscapone cheese
  • 1T maple syrup
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Craisins

Saute finely diced pepper in oil with a dash of salt. Add churizo and cook for 5 mins until almost crispy. Remove from pan. Put pats of butter in pan and add slices of polenta. Cook several minutes until butter is absorbed. Turn with little more butter. Put chorizo mixture on top and cook until bubbly.

Wisk marscapone with maple syrup. Serve with marscapone dollops and craisins sprinkled on top

Shortbread Sprinkle Bites

1 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 1/4 cup cornstarch 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2T colored sugar or sprinkles Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Whip butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Beat on low for one minute, then on high for several more minutes. Add the sprinkles and mix to combine. Using a small cookie disher or a spoon, drop 1T round onto a cookie sheet. Cut these in quarters and rearrange them to allow space for them to grow. Tip: using a silpat or baking sheet on your cookie sheet allows for more even baking and they are easier to get off when they are cooked. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool on racks.

links for 2011-09-12

links for 2011-08-30

  • interesting idea, could I make some style boards of my fav outfits and accessories? does it allow custom elements?
    (tags: style fashion)

links for 2011-08-24

links for 2011-08-20

links for 2011-08-19

links for 2011-08-17

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links for 2011-04-17

Super Sweet Potato Fries

This is a great way to use sweet potatoes or yams during the fall because they are generally on sale. It's healthier because you are choosing what fat and how much, and tastier because they are all seasoned up!

3 large Sweet Potatoes or Yams, peeled and cut into pieces
1/4 cup Olive Oil, extra virgin preferred
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons paprika
dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Note: when cutting up the sweet potatoes, the pieces will be rougher than a normal potato. This is okay! Just be careful with your fingers, and work to "crack" the sweet potato with your knife rather than trying to slice.

Put all ingredients in a large resealable bag. Toss to mix and coat. Put into a large baking dish - I use an 11 x 15 glass pan because it's easier to turn.

Bake for about 45 minutes, flipping the pieces every 15 minutes. Check for doneness with a fork, the pieces will start to fall apart as you flip them and you'll know they are ready.

Updated Fried Chicken Soup

This recipe was originally added to theredkitchen in April 2003. Since that time, I've made some modifications to be slightly healthier and to work better with the blending steps.

My dad had something similar to this at a restaurant and decided to try to recreate it. It makes the whole house smell of curry powder, and is delicious!

2 cans chicken broth (4 cups)
4 cups skim milk
1/2 cup flour (either whole wheat or all purpose)
1/2 cup butter + 1T for celery
5 sticks of celery, sliced into small pieces
curry powder to taste (1-4 Tablespoons)
3 chicken strips from the deli or baked chicken
frozen peas (garnish)

Melt 1T of butter in a frying pan. Add celery and and sprinkle on curry powder. Sautee the celery, periodically adding additional curry powder until the celery is crispy and full coated. The celery will decrease in size during this process.

At the same time as the celery is cooking, you can start the thickening roux. In a large soup pot, melt remaining 1/2 cup of butter. Add flour and cook to bubbling. Slowly add broth and then milk and cook over medium-low, stirring regularly, until boiling.

Remove from heat and add celery to the soup pot. Use your stick blender or a traditional blender (in batches) to cream the soup fully.

Return to heat and boil. Stir constantly until thick.

Chop chicken stripes or vegetarian meat into bite size pieces. Put soup in bowls and garnish with frozen peas and the meat pieces.

Serves nicely with a fresh baguette (long loaf of bread) torn off instead of cut.

Apricot Cardamom Cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped dried apricots
1 tablespoon cardamom

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water, or more as needed
1 drop yellow food coloring
1 drop red food coloring

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Slowly add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cardamom, and mix to combine. Add ginger and apricots.

Using a cookie scoop or lightly greased hands, make small scoops or balls of dough onto baking pans (non-stick or use silpat baking sheets).

Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden. Let stand on cooking sheet at least 5 minutes before moving to cooling racks.

For glaze, mix all ingredients, and add more water if needed to make a drizzly substance. Use a fork to quickly add a small amount of glaze to each cookie.

Butternut Noodles

1 small butternut squash
2 cups uncooked pasta
1 1/2T butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2T shredded parmesan reggianno cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cube a butternut squash into small, bite-sized pieces. Spray a pan with cooking spray or olive oil and put the cubed squash on top. Sprinkle salt to taste and grind fresh pepper over the cubes and spray with cooking spray on top. Roast for 1 hour, checking periodically to toss the pieces with a spatula. Poke cubes with a fork to ensure doneness.

Toast walnuts in the oven for 5 minutes - this can be in the oven with the butternut squash.

Boil water with some salt. Add 2 cups of pasta - whole wheat preferably - as instructed on the package.

Make a white sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add flour, nutmeg, and more fresh ground pepper, and cook until bubbly. Add milk and wisk regularly until thickened (about 5-10 minutes on medium-low heat).

Add cooked pasta and cooked butternut squash to the white sauce, folding gently as the butternut squash may break apart if you move it too much. Move this to a baking dish. Top with tablespoonfuls of ricotta. Sprinkle on cheeses, walnuts, and extra nutmeg.

Bake covered with lid or foil for 20 minutes and then 5 minutes uncovered to crisp at the end.

TV season 2007-2008

Welcome back to my annual TV preview. I’ve been doing this since I was in college on paper, and then publicly on my blog since I started blogging. Sometimes, it’s fun to look back at what I was looking forward to watching each year in the past. (2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001)

This coming season, I’m looking forward to a nice mix of new and old series, because many of my last year shows are back. I’m interested in checking out some new things even if I don’t continue watching them all season just because there are some interesting concepts coming out this fall that I might want to really enjoy, but I won’t really know until I see.

Recent books

I’ve been reading a lot lately. A combination of Christian fiction and knitting reference books. I’ve been finding new and old Christian authors, which is really great. I was instrumental in getting Christian fiction in the library... back when I was 12, I volunteered at the library for 2 1/2 years. At the time, I was the youngest volunteer that they ever allowed, but I was a home-schooler, and very well read, and they trusted me enough to order all the books I suggested. So a lot of the Gilbert Morris, Janette Oke, and Bodie and Brock Thoene, among others, were series that they started because of me smile

Along the way, I’ve found that I really enjoy helping keep book lists up to date, and where better to do that than wikipedia. So I’ve been editing several topics for some of the authors and improving and standardizing a bit on the formatting. It’s really fun.

Here’s some of the authors and series I’ve been reading:

Tracie Peterson (wikipedia):

Beverly Lewis (wikipedia)

  • parts of several series

Gilbert Morris (wikipedia)

Lori Wick (wikipedia)

As you can tell, I’m really enjoying being able to read again. And these are just a few of the ones I’ve been reading, too. It’s become quite a joy in my evenings to be able to spend time before bed absorbing myself in a book again. I used to do this all the time when I was a teenager, and now I’m back into it and feeling very proud of myself for not only reading the books, but tracking them as well!

i <3 vox

I’m doing almost all of my blogging over there. Sure, a little link blogging here and there, but most of it is there. I couldn’t help but play with the new link code today to help tell everyone about the fun that is Vox! smile

boobie-thon 2006


Did you know that this week has been the 2006 Boobie-thon? It’s a great event for a great cause. I’m proud to have been a part of it every year. Plus, it made me more aware than ever about breast cancer, and all the things that charities like Komen can do to help. AND? Bloggers are amazing, participating in an event that raises this much money every year, woooo!

You should go check it out and help finish up the donations with a bang! The end of the event is tomorrow, so hop on over before that!


TV season 2006-7 preview

I have a habit every year around this time of putting together a list of TV shows I’m excited about for the fall premieres. last year, year before, and even the year before (there’s probably more back further than that, these ones were just easily accessible when I looked in my archives laughing ). Looks like I’m getting an early start this year, but so are some of the premiere dates (3rd week of August!) For some reason, I was down on myself for being BEHIND on this favorite task of mine!

  • Prison Break: FOX, Mondays at 8pm (8/21)
    Very possibly most most anticipated returning series for me. The ending just had me so enthralled last season. I love these brothers, and I loved them before they were on this show. (TV.com)
  • Lost: ABC, Wednesdays at 9pm (10/4)
    I’m not quite *as* excited about this as I was last season, and I’m not sure why. Maybe I will get more excited as the previews start showing; it’s still early. (TV.com)
  • The Nine: New! ABC, Wednesdays at 10pm (10/4)
    I’m sure I’m not the only person who giggled at the idea of having Matthew Fox and Scott Wolf with shows back to back. But really, this looks like an interesting concept. It also has Lourdes Benedicto on it (she was on the short lived Titans with Ingo) and the girl who Sucre loves on Prison Break (Camille Guaty). And John Billingsley who has been on Angel and Stargate among other things. It’s probably the new show I’m most interested in seeing. (TV.com)
  • Bones: FOX, Wednesday at 8pm (8/30)
    I can’t help it, I really did enjoy this last season. I was surprised it got picked up for a 2nd season, because umm, fox usually gets me addicted to shows and then cancels them. I guess we’ll see how far this gets. smile I do so love David Boreanez. (TV.com)
  • Numb3rs: CBS, Fridays at 10pm (9/22)
    This is a feel good show that I love to watch with E. Plus, they ended it with a romance just waiting to find out what would happen and I’m so anxious to see where they go with that! (TV.com)
  • The Office: NBC, Thursdays at 8:30pm (9/21)
    We’ve been watching reruns this summer, and they are JUST as hilarious again. And OMG, I can’t wait to see what happens. The one piece of news I do know is that another Daily Show correspondent, Ed Helms, is joining them and that is sure to be hilarious. (TV.com)
  • Dancing with the Stars: ABC, Tuesdays at 8pm
    I haven’t heard anything about who the dancers will be this season, but I’m firmly hooked on this. (TV.com)
  • Battlestar Galactica, Fridays at 10pm (10/6)
    Now it it’s new non-adjacent-to-stargate-timeslot!!! I can’t wait, seriously!
  • Stargate SG-1, Fridays at 9pm (already started)
    AND the best part about this season? Richard Dean Anderson is coming back for some episodes! Woo! The 200th episode should be interesting, and Morena Baccaran is up for a guest role too.
  • Stargate Atlantis, Fridays at 10pm (already started)
    Yay new episodes! Just great stuff, all around, I don’t love this show as much as I love SG-1 yet, but I do love it an awful lot!
  • And, as always, I watch little shows in between, here and there like Good Eats, Mythbusters, and What Not to Wear.

And then there are the "maybe" shows... (see extended part of post)

There aren’t a lot of fall guides to the upcoming season yet, but these are the ones that I used so far:

I’m guessing that zap2it and TV.com will have their own features, too and I’ll add to this post when I see more.

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kristine is a giggly geeky crafty girl, growing in faith and hope.

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