Welcome to Cooking with Chef Jeff

Hi and welcome to my blog. Here you'll find meal ideas that are made from primarily whole natural foods. I try not to use any sugar or sweetener in any of the recipes. At the bottom of the page, you can see a list of the cookbooks that I use. I do vary some from the cookbooks, usually not a whole lot. Feel free to read along and even post some ideas/comments to help me to improve in the kitchen.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pumpkin Sausage Soup

Ok, I know. It sounds weird. But, the flavors really go well together.  It is a great winter dish. Too bad we made it for the first time in the spring. This would be one I can see us making at least once a month.

3 carrots, finely diced
4 stalks celery, finely diced
1 onion, diced
7 cups chicken broth
2 cans of pure pumpkin (15 oz each)
2 pounds pork sausage
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the carrots, celery, and onion.
2. Add the ground pork and seasonings.
3. Sautee until the pork is cooked and veggies are a bit tender.
4. Add in the chicken broth and pumpkin and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Check seasoning and tweak as needed.
6. Simmer until needed or for another 20 minutes.

We put some sour cream in our soup and that really added a nice, creamy touch.  It was a great balance between a bit of spice and some smooth cream.  A few tweaks I am thinking about for next time is adding a splash of heavy cream while cooking and adding in some avocado as a garnish.

This recipe was found online and passed through multiple iterations and people before I got it. I don't know who the originator is. I found it on the Active Low-Carber Forum.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Smothered Chicken

This is a very good meal that does take a bit of effort to put together, but is really worth it. It's a bit heavy on the dairy, but oh-so-good. There are 3 parts to the recipe, so I'll try my best to get everything in the right order. Make sure to read through the entire recipe and portion out everything before starting.


6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
10 slices mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp seasoned salt
1 tsp pepper

Creamed Spinach:
1 large bag spinach leaves
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp onion, minced
2 tbsp olive oil

Sauteed Mushrooms:
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat Oven to 350
2. Mix the garlic powder, seasoned salt, and pepper together and coat the chicken.
3. Bake the chicken for 16 minutes

4. While the chicken is baking, heat the 2 tbsp of oil for the creamed spinach in a large pan over medium-high heat.
5. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes
6. When the onions are sauteed, add the spinach and garlic and cook until cooked through. The spinach will reduce to a small amount.
7. When cooked through, add the cream cheese and shredded Parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
8. Set aside the the creamed spinach.

9. In a fresh skillet, melt the butter and oil.
10. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned all over.
11. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan.
12. Add in the garlic, salt, and pepper.
13. Cook until most of the wine is cooked off.

14. At this time, the chicken should be done baking.
15. Remove the chicken from the oven and turn over in the pan.
16. Add the creamed spinach to the top of the chicken breasts.
17. Add the sauteed mushrooms on top of the creamed spinach.
18. Place 2 pieces of the mozzarella cheese on top of each breast.
19. Cook another 12-14 minutes or until the cheese is browned and the chicken is done.

That's it.  A lot of steps, but it was very yummy. We ended up using the broiler to get the cheese a bit browner at the end, but you may not need to.

This recipe was from a blog called: baconbuttercheesegarlic

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

Here's a wonderful cauliflower casserole that will meet your baked potato desires. It is delicious.

2 lb cauliflower florets
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided 6 oz and 2 oz
8 oz shredded Monterrey jack cheese, divided 6 oz and 2 oz
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp heavy cream
1 cup green onions, chopped
2 clove garlic, grated
salt and pepper to taste

1. Steam cauliflower until tender.
2. Soften cream cheese and mix with the heavy cream.
3. Mix 6 oz of cheddar and 6 oz of jack cheese into the softened cream cheese.
4. Stir in onions, garlic, salt, and pepper.
5. Drain cauliflower, smash with potato masher, and then add in the cheese mixture and mix all together.
6. Pour into 2-3 qt dish and sprinkle on the last of the cheddar and jack cheese.
7. Cover with foil and bake 25 minute at 350.
8. Remove foil and bake until cheese is bubbly and brown on top.

This is best served like loaded mashed potatoes and topped with potato toppings like bacon, sour cream, butter, etc.  It is a wonderful side dish for just about any meal.

When we made ours, we put the bacon in the cheese mixture, but it made it kind of soggy, so we recommend adding to the top like bacon bits on mashed potatoes.

This recipe is based on one from Louanne's Kitchen.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chicken Fricassee

This works great as a normal meal or as leftovers/served the next day. Letting it sit for a while will let the flavors blend and make it even more tasty.

3 celery stalks
1 carrot
2 tomatoes
2 leeks
1/2 head of cabbage
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp chopped tarragon
1 tsp celery seed
1 bay leaf
3 cans (14.5 oz) chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare the veggies. Cut the celery and carrot into 1" pieces; quarter, skin, and seed the tomatoes; wash and trim the leeks, removing the tough green end, split them, then cut into 1/2" pieces; chunk the cabbage into 4-6 pieces.

2. Grease a 5 qt pan with cooking spray and lightly brown the chicken breasts on each side.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper before browning. We used whole breasts this time but will try them with each breast cut into 2-3 pieces next time.

3. Add the leeks, celery, garlic and wine and cook for 5 minutes

4. Add everything else, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until vegetables are done, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with parsley, cheese, or anything else you would like.

This recipe was based on one in the 501 Recipes for LC Life book.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Stir-Fried Ginger and Brandy Beef

This is a quick, simple stir-fry that turned out to be one of the best ones I have ever made. Next time I will be adding mushrooms and broccoli.

16 oz sirloin steak, slightly frozen
2 inch ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp brandy
1 1/2 tbsp liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp beef broth
2 scallions, sliced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

1. Slice the sirloin steak into thin strips, about 1/4" wide or less and put in a shallow bowl.
2. Add the ginger, brandy, liquid aminos, cornstarch, and pepper and coat the steak.
3. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until very hot.
4. Add the beef and cook for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add in the wine and beef broth and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes or until done.
6. Serve immediately and garnish with scallions and cilantro.

This recipe was based on one in the 501 Recipes for  Low Carb Life book.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pork Kebabs with Salsa Verde

Tonight's dinner turned out to be one of the easiest and best meals I have made in a while. The whole family loved it.  Takes about 10 minutes prep and 15 minutes to cook.

2 large pork tenderloins (3 lbs total)
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves, lightly packed
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp water
salt to taste

1. Put cilantro, parsley, onion, and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
2. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and water and process until it is about like a thick paste.
3. Cut the pork tenderloins in half and then crosswise into 1" chunks.
4. Toss the salt on the tenderloin while still on the cutting board to season well.
5. Mix 2/3 of the salsa into the pork tenderloin so the pieces are covered.
6. Fill up 6 or so skewers of the tenderloin grill about 6 minutes per side. Use the rest of the salsa to cover while grilling.

This recipe was based on one from the Atkins Best Recipes cookbook.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Grilled Asian Pork Patties

Dinner tonight was a great take on Asian Pork. The recipe was found by accident when my wife wrote down the wrong one out of a cookbook. I wanted the other one on the page. It turned out to be very good. It's very quick to make and very easy too.


2 lbs ground Pork
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tsp chopped garlic

1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp chopped green onions
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chopped pealed fresh ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp sesame seeds

1. Combine the patty ingredients into patties (anywhere from 6 to 10) and put in the fridge.
2. Combine the ingredients for the sauce and put in the fridge.
3. Cook the patties on the grill, griddle, frying pan, or broiler.
4. Serve the patties with the sauce on the top.

That's it. It's that simple and yet so tasty. This recipe was based on one in the Atkins Best Recipe Book.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chili Rubbed Ham Steak with Zucchini Salsa

Dinner tonight was excellent.  A nice quick dish that takes about 15 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook. I changed the original recipe a bit and took out the apricot jam that went on the steak and added the cilantro.  I also used the griddle to fry the ham steaks instead of a fry pan.


2 zucchini, diced into 1/2" to 1/4" pieces
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro, minced

2 ham steaks, about 1 pound each (or 1 larger one)
1 tbsp chili powder


1. Rub the chili powder on the ham steaks and let them sit while doing the rest of the prep work.
2. Mix all of the salsa ingredients together in a bowl and put in the fridge
3. Grill or fry the ham steaks until done.
4. Serve immediately with the cold salsa on the hot ham.

This recipe was based on one from the Atkins Best Recipes cookbook.