Category Archives: Soups and Stews

Mad Mark’s New Chili Creation


There is nothing like getting the creative juices flowing on a Saturday afternoon in February and create a new chili recipe.  Like always when making chili the measurements are mainly approximate.  Always make the portions of spices to your liking.

2 lb ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
2 lb ground chorizo sausage
8 jalapenos chopped
2 large chili peppers chopped
1 medium onion chopped
1 40 oz bottle of cheap beer ( I used old english)
1 28 oz can crush tomatoes
2 12 oz cans tomato paste
1 12 oz bottle chili sauce
8 tbs chili powder (anotherwards lots of it)
4 tbs ground cumin
4 tbs red paprika
2 tbs garlic powder
2 tbs onion powder
4 tbs cilantro
4 tbs kosher salt
1 small pinch of ground ghost chili (optional)
Like with chili, measurements are approximate.  Serve with grated cheddar cheese, sour creme, and chopped onions if you want.  CHEERS !!!!!

Maryland Shrimp Bisque


It’s Super Bowl Sunday with snow in the forecast.  My Maryland Shrimp Bisque is an amazing soup to fix on this day.  Like all recipes certain ingredients are approximate.  Always prepare to your liking.

1/2 cup of butter
1 small onion
1 bunch of green onions
1 orange bell pepper
2 stalks of celery
1 can creme of mushroom soup
1 can creme of celery soup
1 can crem of corn
1 package of frozen corn
1 soup can of water
1 pint of half and half
3 pounds of medium shrimp peeled and devined
2 teaspoons of parsley
2 teaspoons of old bay seasoning
In soup pot, melt butter and add onions, green onions, celery, and orange pepper finely chopped and simmer until soft, approximately 5 minutes.  Add creme of mushroom and creme of celery soup, creme of corn, and frozen corn.  Add 1 soup can of water and simmer for approximately 15 minutes stirring occasionally.  Stir in half and half and parsley, shrimp, and old bay seasoning.  Reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper or additional old bay to taste, CHEERS !!!!

My Signature Beef Stew


Today is a cold snowy day so nothing beats a nice hot bowl of beef stew.  I have tried different spices and things over the years in beef stew.  This is the recipe I now stick to when making beef stew.  It is so good your tongue will slap the brain clean out of your head, Cheers !!!


3 lb beef chuck cut into cubes
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
2 onions wedged
3 carrots cut into small chunks
3 potatoes cut into small chunks
1 small bag of frozen peas
3 stalks of celery cut into small pieces
2 14 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic minced
1 40 oz bottle of beer of choice
1 12 oz bottle of spicy V8 juice
6 tablespoons of salt
3 tablespoons of pepper
2 tablespoons of ground thyme
2 tablespoons of paprika
2 turkish bay leaves
multiple dashes of hot sauce (optional)
Place beef and flour in freezer bag and shake real good.   In large soup pot heat up the vegetable oil.  Brown the meat and flour.  After meat is brown add beer, V8 juice, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, paprika, bay leaves and crushed tomatoes.  Simmer meat until tender approximately 45 minutes.   Add the remaining vegetables except the frozen peas and simmer  until the vegetables an3 soft and done.  It may be necessary to add some additional beer or water to thin it out a little.  Add the frozen bag of peas approximately 5 minutes before serving.  I then after fixing my bowl add the hot sauce.  Cheers !!!

My Version Of Italian Wedding Soup


There are days when it’s so cold outside that you feel like you might not make it from the car to your front door without obtaining a bit of frostbite.  These are the days that soup feels entirely perfect and comforting for dinner.  But can soup be considered a main dish?  When soup is placed on the table and my son and wife ask, “What’s for dinner?”  My response is, … some soups are meant to be main dishes.  This is one of them.”  And it is!  This soup is full of meatballs, pasta and vegetables.

1 lb of lean ground beef
1 egg beaten
4 cloves of garlic minced
2/3 cup of fresh bread crumbs
3 tbs of milk
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
a dash of salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1 cup diced carrots (about 3 medium)
1 cup diced celery (about 2 large stalks)
10 cups chicken broth
1 32 oz of crushed tomatoes
1 cup small pasta (I use ditalini pasta)
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
1 frozed bag of spinach or kale (either works well)
extra Parmesan cheese, for serving
Prepare the meatballs:  Place ground beef, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. 
Prepare the soup:  Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large stock pot. Add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add pasta to the simmering broth and cook an additional 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in spinach and cook for 1 minute, until spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

Award Winning Spicy Dark Chili


This is the recipe I entered into a chili competition in Waynesboro PA.  It won the people’s choice award.   For the competition I used pinto beans.  I call this dark chili because most of the key ingredients are dark in color like dark beer and brown sugar.  When tasting this recipe you should notice that it is hot clashing with sweet.  Please take note that when I make chili I don’t measure out ingredients.  You put the spices in to your liking.  The measurements given are approximate and you can use any kind of peppers you want.

2 lb chuck roast fat trimmed and cut into small pieces
1 lb of ground beef
5 links of chorizo sausage squeezed from casings and crumbled into small pieces
1 medium onion chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper chopped
4 habanero peppers chopped
2 poblano chili peppers chopped
6 jimmy nardello chili peppers
2 12 oz bottles of dark beer (guiness works great)
2 8 oz cans of tomato paste
1/4 cup of dark chili powder
1/8 cup of red paprika
1/8 cup of ground cumin
4 tbs oregano
4 tbs of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup of brown sugar
3 cans of beans  (optional)
In large soup pot add all the meat, peppers and onion.  Simmer for approximately 20 minutes until meat is cooked and vegetables are soft.  Add the 2 bottles of dark beer and continue to simmer for apporximately 10 minutes.  Now add the 2 cans of tomato paste, spices, and brown sugar.  Let simmer for at least 1 hour.  If you like beans in your chili add them before serving. 

My Signature Seafood And Corn Chowder


It’s very cold out right now so there is nothing to warm you up like a hot thick bowl of seafood and corn chowder.   You can use based on your likes or dislikes whatever seafood you want to put in it.  My youngest son doesn’t like oysters and clams which is why I don’t have them in this recipe.  I actually get some oysters and add them into my bowl  because I love oysters.


1 stick of real butter
1/4 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
12 oz heavy whipping cream
12 oz half and half
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 medium onion diced
2 stalks of celery diced
2 medium potatoes diced
1 frozen bag of corn
2 cloves of garlic minced
6 pieces of bacon
2 lobster tails
1/2 pound of shrimp chopped
1/2 pound of sea scallops chopped
1 piece of fresh cod chopped
1 can of crab meat (claw will work)
5 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper
2 tablespoons ground thyme
2 tablespoons parsley
In seperate frying pan fry bacon until crisp, remove the bacon and set aside.  In bacon fat cook onion, celery, and potatoes  until soft.  In soup pot melt butter and add flour until it forms a paste.  Add garlic, onion, celery, potatoes, garlic, thyme and parsley.  Add milk, half and half, evaporated milk and heavy whipping cream.  Now add the crab meat, shrimp, lobster, scallops, cod and corn.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Then add the bacon and simmer for about 15 minutes.   You now have a bowl of heaven.  Enjoy !!!


Awesome Ham And Bean Soup

IMG_0695During the fall I love to make soups.  There is nothing on a chilly day than a bowl of homemade ham and bean soup.  The secret to making it outstanding is what you use for the ham and broth.  You can use just ham cubes but I use ham hocks along with some country ham chunks.  The salt from the country ham and the bones from the ham hocks is what gives the broth the flavor.  You can use fresh beans that you need to soak but it is just as good if you use canned beans.


2 large ham hocks
1 pack of country ham chunks
1 medium onion
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 bay leaves
4 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
4 12 oz cans of great northern beans
In large soup pot put the ham hocks and cover with water.  Bring to boil then simmer for approximately 1 hour until the meat is tender.  Remove hocks and let cool.  When cool enough to handle pull all the meat off of the bones and chop into bite size pieces.  Add country ham chunks, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, garlic, thyme and pepper to the broth.  Then put the meat from the ham hocks back in the broth and simmer for approximately 1/2 hour.  Add the beans to the soup and simmer for another 1/2 hour. This is a great soup and there are many different versions of it.  I don’t like putting potatoes or dough balls in it but I have seen it done.  Enjoy !!!

My Version Of Pasta Figioli





There are alot of recipes for this wonderful Italian soup recipe on the internet.  After trying different versions I have come up with mine which takes the wonderful mixture of spices and beans yet add a few ingredients that set it over the top.  Pasta Figioli is a signature soup in Italian restaurants.  What I have changed to the standard recipe is sweet italian sausage, parmesan cheese, and hot sauce.  This is a wonderful soup to be used as an appetizer or a main dish.

1 pound of ground beef
1 pound of sweet italian sausage
1 large carrot
3 stalks of celery
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 15 oz of kidney beans with liquid
1 15 oz of canolli beans with liquid
1 12 oz can of spicy V 8 juice
1 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of black pepper
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of thyme
1/2 pound or half a box of ditali pasta
6 to 8 shakes of hot sauce
Brown ground beef and sausage  in medium pan, drain most of the fat.  Add onion, carrots and celery and saute for approximately 10 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients except the pasta and simmer about 1 hour.  Don’t forget the hot sauce.  After simmering add pasta and let simmer for about 20 minutes.   You are now ready to serve.  In individual serving sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top of the serving bowl.  Garnish with some fresh basil for the finishing touch.  You now have a bowl of Italian Heaven, CHEERS !!!


My Best Maryland Crab Soup


The signature dish of the state of Maryland.  Crabs are a staple here in the summer but I don’t know a person that lives here in Maryland that doesn’t like a hearty spicy bowl of crab soup.  Its not difficult because its like making vegetable soup except you put crab meat in it along with crab seasoning.  You can really use any kind of crab meat from claw to backfin it all works.  I am preparing a pot of soup today to give to my son’s marching band to sell on their concession stand at tonight’s football game.

2 cans of claw or backfin crab meat
1 medium onion
3 carrots diced
2 large potatoes diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
4 cups of beef broth
1 cup of frozen corn
1 cup of frozen green beans
1 cup of frozen lima beans
1 cup of frozen peas
old bay seasoning
3 bay leafs
salt and pepper
In large pot cook carrots, potatoes, and onions in boiling water until soft.  Add garlic, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, and bay leafs.  Add enough water to make it soupy.  Add frozen vegetable and old bay seasoning.  The amount of old bay depends on how strong you like it.  Simmer about 15 minutes and add the crab meat and beef broth.  Simmer an additional 10 to 15 minutes.  Taste and add more old bay plus salt and pepper until you achieve the taste you prefer.  Also add any additional water needed to get it to the thickness desired. 


IMG_0641It’s now fall, the temperatures or going down so it’s time to crank up the soups and stews.  I have tried many different recipes of beef stews and have put together all the best little tricks to what I feel is second to nobody’s recipe.  A pot of beef stew is the ultimate comport food on a cold day.   I prefer to cook it in a pressure cooker but if you don’t have one a large soup pot will work just as well.   It is also a great recipe to cook in a crock pot.  This recipe will fill your house with an amazing smell.


2 to 3 pounds of stew beef
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
1 clove of garlic crushed
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons of salt
2 tablespoons of pepper
1 tablespoon of ground tyme
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 12 ounce can of beer of your choice
32 ounces of beef broth
1 small can of tomato paste
1 small can of diced tomatoes
12 ounces of spicy V8 juice
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 large freezer bag
3 carrots peeled and sliced
3 stalks of celery diced
2 medium onions diced
2 medium potatoes diced
1 medium bag of frozen peas
1.  Preparing the meat, place the flour in a large freezer bag.  Put the meat in the bag and shake it up so the meat is completly coated with flour.  In large soup pot heat oil and take the meat from the freezer bag and put in the hot oil.  Cook the meat until it is completly browned.  Add 2 cups of water.  If cooking in pressure cooker seal and cook pressurized for about 1/2 hour.  If in a pot, simmer for about 1 hour until meat is tender.  If your cooking it in a crock pot, transfer to the crock pot.  This is the most important part of great beef stew.  Your ultimate goal is to get the meat soft and tender.
2.  After meat is browned add the beef broth, V8 juice, worchershire sauce and beer.  Add the onions, potatoes, celery, and carrots, diced tomatoes, tomato paste,  thyme, paprika, bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper.  
3.  If cooking in soup pot, simmer on low for at least 4 hours.  In a crock pot its obvious, set on 10 hours and come back after work to a bowl of heaven.  If cooking in a pressure cooker, bring to preasurized and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.   Add the frozen peas to the stew a few minutes before serving.  Remove the bay leaves before serving, CHEERS !