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Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

…is such a comforting type of food, particularly in the Winter.  Lately, I have been attempting to devise some original recipes, and came up with my own version of a turkey and corn chowder.  We made a batch last weekend, and it is actually pretty tasty!

For my turkey and corn chowder you need:

  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 chipotle peppers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high and cook the onion and garlic until slightly browned and tender.  Knock the heat back to medium and stir in the wine to de-glaze the pan.

Bump the heat back up to medium-high and add the turkey, cooking until almost no pink is left.  Stir in the peppers, adobo sauce, and spices.

Mix in the stock, regular corn, and tomatoes.  Cover the pot and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, until the turkey is finished cooking through.

Finish up by stirring in the creamed corn and cream.  Bring the soup to a bubble, stirring constantly.

We made some delicious spicy broccoli to serve alongside the chowder.  You need:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 chipotle en adobo, chopped
  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • 1 bunch broccoli, chopped (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 450.  Beat together the butter, garlic, chipotle pepper, and lime zest/juice.

Toss the broccoli in the oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the veggies out on a large baking sheet and roast until they begin to brown and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Combine the roasted broccoli with the butter mixture until the butter melts.  Place the mixture back into the oven for another 10 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.

Serve a bowl of chowder with spicy broccoli alongside.

This is a great meal to come home to on a cold day!  It is incredibly warm and cozy and simply tastes downright delicious.  Now, I know that broccoli looks absolutely burned and gross.  But, you must trust me–it is absolutely fantastic!

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Chili…

…is nearly impossible to mess up, if you ask me.  I don’t think I can remember eating a bad bowl of chili.  Sure, some have been less memorable than others, but when it comes down to it, chili makes one tasty dinner and we love trying new versions of it.  Most recently, we made a REAL winner–Rachael Ray’s Cajun chili with scallion corn cakes.  This soup is absolutely packed with delicious flavor and is quite easy to throw together.

For Rachael’s Cajun chili you need:

  • 1 package corn bread mix
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • butter, for frying corn cakes
  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground pork
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 4 shakes hot sauce
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 bottle of beer
  • 14 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • Handful of chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt to taste

Start by making the corn cake batter.  Simply follow the directions on the box for corn cakes and stir in the chopped scallions.

Meanwhile, heat a big pot over high heat and add the pork.  Magzi, if you are reading this, I am sorry.  But, the pork really was delicious…Anyway, season the meat with the chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce.  Brown for 5 minutes, then toss in the onion, peppers, garlic, and celery.  Cook the mixture for another 3 minutes to soften the vegetables and stir the pot occasionally.

Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high and melt a bit of butter.  Wipe off the excess and pour the corn cake batter into the skillet to form about 4 pancakes for the first batch.  Cook the cakes until they begin to bubble, then flip and cook another minute until the edges are dry and crispy.

Add the beer to the meat sauce and stir up the bits from the bottom of the pan.  Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro, season with a pinch of salt, and bring the soup to a bubble.

Serve a bowl of chili topped with a corn cake.

We enjoyed every single bite of this meal–it is a perfect balance of sweet and salty.  We rarely ever repeat recipes, but this one is definitely going to be a chili we eat time and time again!

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Minestrone…

…has been on my list of must-tries for awhile, particularly since it is Winter and my mother and sister-in-law are vegetarians.  Minestrone, I am told, is an absolute must-have for the cold of Winter and is actually a great idea for a regular staple in the vegetarian diet, as it is warm, comforting, and hearty.

For Rachael Ray’s Must-Have Minestrone you need:

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, 3/4 chopped, 1/4 finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 15-oz. can red kidney beans, drained
  • 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained
  • 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped/chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • Parmigiano-reggiano, for topping
  • Toasted bread, for serving

Heat a large pot over medium heat with the oil.  Add 3/4 chopped onion, the garlic, carrots, celery, and bay leaf to the oil.  Season the veggies with the oregano, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Saute the mixture for 8-10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.

Add the beans, rosemary, and a bit more salt and pepper.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes until the mixture smells a bit sweet.  Pour in the wine, cook it down for a minute, then mix in the stock and 2 cups water.  Wilt in the kale and bring the mixture to a bubble.  Toss in the pasta and cook to al dente, about 8 minutes.

Serve a bowlful of soup topped with a bit of oil, the raw onion,  and some cheese.  Make sure to serve some bread alongside to mop up the delicious broth!

I can’t wait to make this for Schatzi’s family–it is delicious!  And, while it is quite hearty, it was a nice break from all the heavy holiday eating we did last week.  Whip up a big bowl of minestrone for your family this week to ward off the cold.

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…are perfect days to spend playing in the kitchen!  The weather was pretty terrible last Thursday, and our roads remained untouched most of the day, so Schatzi and I stayed curled up inside and decided to be productive by making a soup to help clean some clearance out of the fridge.  Our end product, which turned out to be delicious, was the result of throwing a bunch of Thanksgiving leftovers in a pot with some orzo.  We had the intention of making turkey soup, but ended up with delicious risotto instead!

For Thanksgiving clearance risotto you need:

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 package of orzo
  • 2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
  • leftover gravy (our recipe is a few posts back; I’d say use about 3/4-1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • salt and pepper

Start by melting the butter in a Dutch oven or large soup pot.  Add the orzo and toast for a couple of minutes, until slightly golden.  Then, add the shallot and celery and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes, until a bit tender.

Next, add about a cup of stock, the turkey, gravy, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until the liquid is absorbed, then pour in the beer.  Cook this mixture until the new liquid is also gone, then slowly continue adding stock while constantly stirring.  We realized about halfway through our cooking process that we didn’t actually have enough liquid for a soup, so by continuing to add what liquids we did have slowly and in small amounts, we ended up with a perfect risotto!  True risotto is made by toasting the rice in butter, then slowly adding ladlefuls of liquid, stirring until it is all absorbed.  What a pleasant surprise for us!  When the liquid stops being quickly absorbed as you add it and the rice is not crunchy when you test it, your Thanksgiving risotto is ready to eat.

Serve up a bowl of risotto seasoned with a bit more salt and pepper to taste.

It never ceases to amaze me what delicious things you can make by clearing out the fridge!  This is a delicious meal that I know we will enjoy each year in the aftermath of Thanksgiving!

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…is one of the recipes that made Julia Child quite famous, and for good reason!!  My obsession with food and cooking developed around the same time the movie Julie & Julia premiered, and of course I wanted to see it–a movie about cooking?  Yes, please!  Of course, it is a delightful movie and I instantly wanted Julia’s first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  My mother-in-law was so kind as to surprise me with a copy for my birthday, and I finally got around to reading a bit of it and made a dish featured in the book.  I decided my first attempt would be the beef stew with red wine, onions, bacon, and mushrooms, and wow.  It is divine!

For Julia’s famous boeuf bourguignon you need:

  • A 6-oz. chunk of bacon (still on the rind)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 lbs. stewing meat, cut into cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 2-3 cups beef stock
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or mashed
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • The bacon rind
  • 18-24 small (pearl) onions, peeled & braised (recipe follows)
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, quartered & sauteed (recipe follows)
  • Parsley

This is definitely not a weeknight recipe, so make sure to plan for it on the weekend!  You need several hours to cook it well and correctly.  Begin by removing the rind from the bacon and cutting it into lardons/sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long.  Simmer the rind and lardons in 1 1/2 quarts of water for 10 minutes.  Drain the meat, dry it, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450.  Cook the bacon in an oven-safe Dutch oven (or large casserole) and the oil over medium heat for a couple of minutes, just until lightly browned.  Remove and set aside.

Reheat the oil in the pot until it is almost smoking.  Meanwhile, pat the beef dry.  Julia was huge on drying meat, as it browns much better when dry.  Saute the beef  in the bacon drippings, working in batches, until it is nicely browned on all sides.  Place it with the bacon.

Add the sliced veggies to the pot and saute them until browned.  Pour out any excess fat.

Put the meats back in the pot with the veggies and add the salt and pepper.  Sprinkle in the flour to coat the meat.  Place the pot in the oven for 4 minutes, then toss the meat and let it continue roasting for another 4 minutes.  When a nice, light crust has formed on the meat, take it out of the oven and reduce the heat to 325.  Then, add the wine and just enough stock to barely cover the meat and veggies.  Stir in the tomato paste, spices, and bacon rind.  Bring the stew to a simmer, then cover the pot and place it back in the oven, on the lower third rack.  Let the meat simmer gently for 2 1/2-3 hours (it is ready when the meat pierces easily with a fork).

Meanwhile, make the mushrooms and onions.  Heat a large skillet with 2 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. oil over high heat.  When the butter foam dies down, add the mushrooms, spreading them out as much as possible.  Occasionally stir the mushrooms until they are nice and brown, about 5 minutes.

For the onions, melt 1 1/2 tbsp. butter and 1 1/2 tbsp. oil in a skillet.  When the liquids bubble, toss in the onions and roll them around a bit for 10 minutes, until browned.  Then, pour in 1/2 cup red wine or stock, season with salt and pepper, and add a bay leaf, some parsley, and thyme.  Cover the skillet and simmer the onions for 40-50 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated.

When the meat has finished, pour everything into a sieve over a saucepan to strain.  Return the meats and veggies to the pot.  Simmer the sauce for a few minutes to thicken, skimming fat off the surface as it arises.  If the sauce is too thin, bring it to a rapid boil; if it is too thick, add some stock.

Mix the mushroom/onion mixture with the meats and pour the sauce over everything.  Serve a plate or bowl of stew with some boiled potatoes and garnish with a bit of parsley.

While it takes a bit of effort, this is a fun meal to cook and the payoff is tremendous.  And, Julia wasn’t kidding when she said the beef is even better the next day–it just gets more tender and flavorful!  The next time you are feeling adventurous and want to put a super meal on the table, look no further than the genius of Julia Child.

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…are horrible for you, let’s just face it.  We made Rocco’s Chicken and Dumplings last weekend, and I think he puts it best: “This is a southern comfort food dish that some say came straight out of the Great Depression as a way to stretch a little bit of chicken to feed a big family.  Flour and fat are combine to form a dumpling (such a sweet name for such an insidious food, don’t you think?) that is then cooked in broth.  In real life, those sweet little dumplings are calorie bombs that call for a healthier version–like this one.”

For Rocco’s delicious, healthier dumplings you need:

  • 1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large celery stalks, sliced thin
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked/shredded chicken
  • 2/3 cup Bisquick (heart-healthy version)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Whisk together the cornstarch, chicken broth, and milk.  Pour the mixture into a large pot and bring it to a boil while whisking constantly.  Add the veggies and season with salt and pepper, returning the mixture to a boil.  When it’s bubbling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Add the chicken to the vegetable mixture and raise the heat to medium-low.  Cover the pot and bring the soup to a simmer.

Meanwhile, combine the Bisquick and buttermilk to make a soft dough.  Drop 12 spoonfuls of dough into the soup pot, spreading the dumplings out as much as you can.  Cover the pot again and simmer until the dumplings have cooked through, about 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the dumplings with the parsley, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and ladle the mixture into a soup bowl.

Dumplings can be tricky and time consuming, but these come together super-fast and are absolutely fantastic!  And, of course, you can feel way better about eating a bowl of Rocco’s dumplings:

fat before: 50g           fat after: 6g

calories before: 845     calories after: 269

We had been wanting a comforting bowl of chicken and dumplings, but didn’t want to put in the work (or suffer the calorie punch!).  We were quite glad to find Rocco’s recipe and were very happy to eat it! The dumplings are absolutely delicious and hit the spot without a doubt.

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Papa Lawson’s chili…

…is getting quite famous.  In fact, we have now had to change the delicious recipe’s title to “Award-Winning Chili.”  That’s right, Papa Lawson won the grand prize in a chili cook-off for his vegetarian version of this very chili.  I am quite excited to share this recipe–you must try it, especially as the cold of Winter sets in!

For Papa Lawson’s Award-Winning Chili you need:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef or chuck (for veggie, sub veggie crumbles)
  • one onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 14.5 oz. cans “Chili-style” diced tomatoes
  • 1 pouch regular chili seasoning
  • 1 pouch mild chili seasoning
  • 1 27 oz. can pinto beans
  • 1 large bag egg noodles

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook the noodles according to the package directions.  Then, move on to cook the meat in a large skillet over medium heat, chopping it finely as it cooks.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in another skillet and cook the onion until soft, about 5 minutes.

In a huge pot (we are talking the biggest one you have), combine all of the tomatoes, beans, and seasonings.  Bring the mixture to a bubble, then stir in the meat.  Dad does not recommend draining the meat first, but we do…sorry, Dad.

Serve up a bowl of noodles dowsed in delicious chili and your favorite chili toppings.  For this dinner, to quote Dad, “eating isn’t eating without a goodly amount of noodles.”  As for toppings, we think cheddar cheese and sour cream are absolutely the way to go.

If you have never eaten chili over noodles (as I had not before I became a member of the ingenious Lawson clan), this is the recipe to start with.  It is no wonder this chili won an award–it is ridiculously easy, and you won’t believe how good it tastes!

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