Chicken and White Bean SoupHere’s a soup that will promote second helpings. I was proud to make the “Chicken and White Bean Soup with Herb Swirl,” from the March 2009 issue of Bön Appetit. Fresh herbs are a thrill and are flexible (I swapped fresh oregano for the rosemary). Using canned tomato purée and canned beans is always so easy. Instead of using chicken broth, I used vegetable-bouillon broth. The best part was simmering the partially sauteed pieces of chicken breast directly in the assembled soup -- again, so easy.

The soup’s flavor was great. I added 2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper to the mix. The exercise of making the “herb swirl” resulted in a negligible addition. In other words, the soup did not need this swirl. Do treat yourself to this simple homemade soup. It’s a complete triumph.

Vegan Corn BreadReady for another superstar recipe? I made the moist and flavorful “Vegan Corn Bread,” from All Recipes. The recipe uses no dairy, no butter, yet tasted rich and boasted a great texture. I used coarse grits/cornmeal with success.

I “greased” my 9-inch heart pan with Spectrum Organics all-vegetable shortening. Instead of using soy milk, I used organic rice milk. This was fine. The bread was simple to assemble and a joy to produce and to eat. I was proud of the vegan accomplishment and of the knockout flavor, here. Make this bread and be happy. It’s so easy!

RECIPES: How’s your homemade soup repertoire? This one will win over some fans. And cornbread? Oh boy, this will result in a party!
PREP TIMES: eat soup in an hour; bread will be ready in half that time
TASTES: hearty soup stock is enhanced by tomato and herb flavors and by the chicken; cornbread is “buttery” and moist, beautiful and delicious

Next time, I want to make the “Garlic-and-Herb-Braised Squid,” from the January 2009 issue of Gourmet, along with the “Fennel in Wine and Honey,” from All Recipes. I hope this is another fun trip. Come back to my site on Thursday, July 23, to see what happens with my meal.