Winter Warmup with French Onion Soup

French onion soup sounds like one of those time consuming, only eat it in restaurants kind of dish.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  French onion soup is really easy to make and one of my favorite homemade winter day treats.  So break out the slow cooker and get started.

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup


  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 5 large onions, sliced thinly and separated
  • 1 tsp sugar, divided
  • 3 ½ pints beef broth
  • 4 tbsp ruby port
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup of your favorite melting cheese (provolone and/or mozzarella cheese, swiss, gruyere) grated
  • 6-8 slices sourdough bread, lightly toasted – I like to use a full baguette from the  bakery


onion soup 002




Cut the onions in half and slice the halves. Sliced Onions





Heat the butter in the slow cooker until melted.

Butter and garlic



Add the onions, cover and cook, on low, until the onions are soft and just beginning to brown.

onion soup 010





Next I add the port, beef or vegetable stock, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

Divide the soup into individual oven-proof bowls and place the bread slices to cover evenly.onion soup 014 Sprinkle with the grated cheese and put under the broiler about 6-inches from the heat until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.


Simple Sandwiches

I was having one of those days when I just wanted something simple, something light, something between two slices of bread, you know, a sandwich.  Now there is an infinte variety of sandwiches using an almost infinite variety of ingredients, but the main determining factor in my house is what I have in the refrigerator, and I can make a sandwich with just about anything that won’t slide off the bread.  Here are a couple of standards that use ingredients that I almost always have on hand.

Avocado-Tomato and Onion Sandwich

  • 1 perfectly ripe avocado, roughly chopped and mashed
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 1 ripe roma tomato, sliced
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread

Scoop the avocado into a bowl and mash roughly with a fork.  I like mine a little lumpy but you can do yours any way you like.

Slice the onion thinly and then slice the tomato.

Sandwich I

Spread the avocado on both sides of the bread, and top with onion slices on one side and tomato slices on the other.  Sandwich I



Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a pickle on the side.

Sandwich V




Another favorite of mine:

Mushroom and Cheddar on Whole Wheat Bread

  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced and chopped
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread

In a large pan, saute the mushrooms and shallot in olive oil until tender.

Mushroom & Shallot Sautee II




Lightly toast the bread and spread with 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Cover one slice of bread with the mushrooms and shallot mixture and on the other place a slice of cheddar cheese.

Mushroom, shallot & cheese sandwich

Put the slices together and enjoy.   It’s pure mushroom bliss.

Cheddar & Mushrooms on Whole Wheat




These are just a couple of the possibilities for creative sandwich making.  About once a week I do refrigerator inventory and pull out anything that has sandwich potential.  It’s a great way to plan lunch.




Summer’s End

I’ve started to see the long V’s of Canada geese flocking up to head south.  That usually means that fall is just around the corner and we’ve had a few cool days now, so I’m starting to think about some of my favorite  soup recipes.  We eat soup year round, but when fall comes it often becomes the main meal.  This week I made potato soup, and I make a lot of it because it makes a great addition to the lunch box too.  The recipe below is vegetarian, but you could certainly make it with chicken broth or add bits of ham or bacon.

Comforts of Home Potato Soup

This is a simple, easy to make soup that’s great hot, or even cold.
4 or 5 small to medium potatoes, peeled and cut in  1 inch cubes
4 cups vegetable broth or water
1 medium onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large carrot, grated
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup half and half (optional)
2 bay leaves
2 sage leaves (or use dried sage)
Salt and pepper to taste



In a large pot, cover the potatoes with broth or water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until tender.   In the meantime, add a ladle full of the broth into a saute pan and add the onion, garlic and carrots.  Saute just until the onions are slightly softened.  Add to the onion, garlic and carrots to the potatoes along with the herbs and salt and pepper. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  Lower the heat, and add the milk and half and half.  This is a good time to add a tablespoon or two of sour cream or non fat yogurt for creaminess. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher.  I like some chunks in my potato soup and a potato masher works perfectly.  Sprinkle with some chopped fresh dill and serve with a hearty bread.

Timesaver Tip
When you’re prepping your vegetables on shopping day, chop enough carrots, celery onions and peppers for the week and store them in containers in the refrigerator.  It will save time in preparing meals.  You can also prepare lunchbox items like carrot and celery sticks ahead of time for speedier lunchbox prep.