Russian Beans

I made my great-grandmother’s Russian Beans the other day. I wish I knew the specific origin of this recipe. My great-grandparents were German citizens who migrated to Russia to take advantage of the offer of free land. At least, that’s what I have heard since I was young.

What’s funny is that as I was growing up, all of the German recipes I loved were possibly not even German at all. Some were of German origin of course, like Bierock, but many had other origins completely. I wish I had more details about those recipes. I had asked my grandmother many times the name of some of those things. She would tell me the name in German but she didn’t know how it was spelled or what it meant in English, or even where it came from. Now I have these recipes that I’ve had to call something – something I had to make up! For example; she made little potato filled pockets that I can only call pierogis. She called them something else in German that I can’t recall. Many recipes I wrote down many years ago because I knew my grandmother wouldn’t be around forever. She didn’t have them written down! They were only in her head.

I have searched and searched and searched some more to find a Russian Beans recipe online and in cookbooks. I wanted to compare it to my great-grandmother’s recipe. I can only come to the conclusion that my great-grandmother must have adapted a Russian recipe to what she had access to or that she possibly just made it up and called it Russian Beans because she was in Russia! Haha! Maybe she made it up after they migrated to the United States. I haven’t a clue. In any case, this recipe and more from my great-grandmother Yunker, will be in my cookbook!

Yes, I’m still working on that blasted cookbook! I had hoped for it to be ready for print by Christmas 2022 but I never even made it to the recipe testing phase! I’m back to work at it and I will be asking for recipe testers this year. That is, if things don’t get in the way like last year.

By the way, Happy New Year! I hope 2023 is a good one for all of us!

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup Recipe

I was sitting here scratching my head, trying to decide what to write about today and thought, “Why not share a recipe?” I chose Salsa Verde Chicken Soup because it was something I made just a few days ago and it was delicious! I made a few changes to the original recipe and I am happy with the results. This is basically a dump and heat recipe and is much simpler if you have cooked, diced chicken in the freezer already. This recipe can be made in a crock pot or instant pot, but it’s so quick on the stove top that it’s hard to do it any other way! I regret not taking a photo of my soup but I hope you will try this recipe! If you do, let me know how it turned out!

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup


2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups salsa verde
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans corn, drained
4 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 – 1 1/2 tbsp. ground chili powder
4 -5 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. dried cilantro
Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional toppings: Tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, cheddar cheese

Add all ingredients, except for salt & pepper, and optional toppings. Cook on medium-high heat until hot and bubbly. Adjust seasonings to taste; you may want more salsa verde and less cilantro. You may want to thicken your soup a little with a masa-water slurry. Your taste is perfect for you!


A Loaded Potato Soup Recipe – To Die For!

I made this delicious potato soup the other day and I wanted to share with you all! I could kick myself for not taking photos but I have included the link to the original recipe below so you can see what it looks like. (It looks like you would expect it to look, in my opinion.) You can print it out and save it because trust me, you will want to try it!

My mom used to make a potato soup that was just water, potatoes, onion, milk and salt and pepper. It was HORRID. It wasn’t thick at all. Bland. Blech! Well, I’m telling you, this recipe is NOT my mother’s potato soup!

I recently got an Instant Pot and have been trying to cook something once or twice a week. Most things have come out pretty damn good, which to me is surprising. One thing I wasn’t thrilled with was the Mongolian Beef. It looked and smelled good but there wasn’t enough water in the pot and it was slightly dry and near the burning point. Oh, well. Noted for next time. I’ve also tried to make long grain rice in the damn thing (more than once) but I have to conclude that I am just not destined to make good rice, no matter what. I have never been able to make rice unless it was instant so I’m going to stick with what I know. Specifically, Boil-In-Bag Instant rice. Easy peasy.

Back to the potato soup…

I changed the recipe just a tad because I didn’t have any yellow onion. All I had was red onion and scallions. I didn’t want a lot of onion in it anyway. So, I used a little dried onion and sauteed it in a little more butter than the recipe called for; just enough for it to become fragrant. I added the garlic and sauteed it quickly so as not to burn it and give my soup a nasty flavor. I also used waaaaaay less salt than the original recipe called for. I thought 1 1/2 teaspoons sounded like an awful lot, and the recipe does say to taste. So, anyway…

When the potatoes were finished, I added the milk slurry, but after cooking a little more, it still looked like it was way too brothy. I thought, why not mash the potatoes? – not all of them, just a few smooshes with the potato masher, to help thicken it up. MISTAKE. I didn’t realize the potatoes would fall apart with further cooking – but the soup still had chunks of potato when finished and was absolutely to die for! There’s a slow cooker recipe as well as the Instant Pot recipe, and I’m sure you can make a pretty good version on the stovetop, too!

With toppings of crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese, and scallions, the soup was delish! The recipe is here over at Belle of The Kitchen. I hope you’ll try it. It’s easy and yummy! I’ve yet to try any of her other recipes, but there are a few I’ve got on my list for later!

A Recipe – Chicken Tortilla Soup

I don’t do much cooking these days unless it’s quick and simple because I just can’t stand in the kitchen anymore. Actually, I’ve discovered it’s not really the standing. It’s more the moving back and forth, side to side, gathering the things I need that really takes its toll. But I digress.

I make a lot of soups when it’s cold out. Sometimes I use the crockpot but when I want to make a big batch to freeze in portions, I cook it in a big pot on the stove. I think I made my last batch of soup for this year because it seems to be warming up quite nicely.

When I first wanted to find a recipe for a good Mexican soup, it was after I had been to a restaurant and had a bowl of delicious enchilada soup. Not knowing the difference between enchilada soup and tortilla soup, I looked it up. I was even more confused after that! Some folks said that tortilla soup is thinner and broth-based, while others said that it was thickened with masa harina. Some folks said enchilada soup was a cheesy, thick soup with enchilada sauce. One has corn, the other hominy. One is spicy and one is not. One tortilla soup recipe had beans and corn while enchilada soup didn’t. To make matters even more confusing yet another site said just the opposite! Well, pffttt….. What was I to do? I decided to just wing it.

I knew I didn’t want a really thick soup. I looked up several different recipes for each soup and decided what ingredients I wanted to put in mine. My recipe is for a thinner broth-based soup, with beans and corn, Mexican spices, lime juice and topped with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese! You can make this in the crockpot or on the stove, totally up to you!

You can call this enchilada soup or tortilla soup. You decide. I call it Chicken Tortilla Soup. The best thing is, you pretty much just dump it in the pot! I hope you like it!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 tsp. oil
1/2 lg. onion (or more, if you prefer.)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1  15 oz. can fire roasted, diced tomatoes, undrained
1  15 oz. can enchilada sauce
2 Tbsp. chopped green chilis
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed (I used great northern beans.)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 can Mexican beans, UNdrained
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cilantro
1 box low sodium chicken broth
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
4 Tbsp. lime juice

Toppings: crushed tortilla chips, shredded jack or cheddar, diced avocado, sour cream, etc.


First, in about 2 tsp. of salad oil, cook your chopped onion on medium heat until tender. Add the garlic and cook for just a couple of minutes.


Now, add all of the beans, the corn, green chilis, tomatoes, and enchilada sauce. Throw in the shredded (or chopped, doesn’t matter) chicken breast and all of your seasonings.


Almost done! Add your chicken broth and mix well. Let your soup come to a boil and then let it simmer for about an hour. After that hour, add the lime juice and stir. Let it come to a quick boil again and it’s ready to serve. Don’t forget the yummy toppings!

Note: You can increase or decrease the amount of spices and green chilis if you prefer.

I’m already missing my soups, and Winter just ended! What am I going to do?! I’ll have to find some new recipes to tweak and make my own, I guess! I hope you like this recipe! It’s one of my faves!

Bierock Casserole

Bierock was always a favorite of mine growing up. My German grandmother used to make them all the time. The funny thing is, I grew up thinking they were of German origin since my great-grandparents were German. To tell you the truth, I think my grandmother thought they were German as well because she never told us otherwise. I learned later in life that they are actually of Eastern European, possibly Russian origin. My great-grandparents immigrated from Germany to Russia many moons ago (I don’t have the exact year off the top of my head) when Russia was offering free land to immigrants. I’m sure they learned the local cuisine and adapted their own recipes, too, while they were there. Eventually, they came to the US and brought those wonderful recipes with them!

Bierocks were always so fun to eat! They’re just dough pockets filled with beef, cabbage, and onions. Simple ingredients but delicious! I made them many times as my kids were growing up and I miss making them (and eating them) to this day! I just can’t stand in the kitchen and make them anymore. It’s a lot of work making individual pockets!

Several years ago, I needed to make this recipe work for me in my dilapidated (hahaha!) state. It may have been a “thing” already, but I turned the original Bierock recipe into a casserole! It doesn’t take much time to get it all together. It’s something that I can even do now if my pain level isn’t too high.

I’ve decided to start writing down all of my recipes and taking photos of the end result so I can write my first cookbook. I’ve often thought about doing this, but never really got very far. This morning, after trying to recall another family recipe to give to my son, I figured I’d better get to it before I forget them all! I really had a hard time remembering the recipe! I have so many rattling around in my brain, they’re destined to get lost if I don’t write them down! It may take me some time to accomplish this task, but it’s one of those things like cleaning and decluttering that must be done!

So, without further hesitation, here’s my Bierock Casserole recipe! Be sure to let me know what you think!

Bierock Casserole


1.5 lbs. ground beef
1 medium head of green cabbage, shredded
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 roll of refrigerated pizza dough
Pan spray

Preheat oven to 350*.

Brown ground beef in a large pot. When browned, drain fat. It will be ok if there’s a little fat left because the onion and cabbage will need this to cook down. (You just don’t want it to be swimming in fat!) Add onion and cook until slightly tender. Add cabbage, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often until cabbage is tender. While the cabbage is cooking down, get your casserole dish ready.


In an 8” x 12” glass casserole dish, spray your choice of pan spray on bottom and on the edges of the dish. Remove the pizza dough from the packaging. With the 12″ side of the pan facing you, unroll the dough, stretching it and pressing it down to cover the bottom of the pan. You will want about half of the dough hanging over the edge of the pan. When your cabbage mixture is completely cooked down and hot, spoon it into the casserole dish, on top of the dough.


Pull the remaining dough up and towards you, stretching it over the top of the mixture, and tucking in the edges. Spray top with pan spray.


Turn oven down to 325* and cook the casserole for 20 minutes uncovered. When the top of the dough starts to turn golden brown, cover it with foil. Cook for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven.


Cut and serve! 6-8 servings.


I hope you’ll like this recipe and give it a try yourself! Happy cooking, my friends!