New England Style Clam Chowdah

Jump right in, the chowder is warm, lol! Not exactly a New Year’s Resolution-type recipe featuring copious amounts of detoxifying veggies and no sodium… however, I used light cream instead of half and half and added chopped celery which the original recipe didn’t call for. It may not be the healthiest meal choice but it makes me happy and gosh-darn it, that’s a goal for 2019 too! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Serves 6 – 8

  • 4, 6.5 ounce cans of chopped clams in juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 slices of low sodium bacon cut into lardons
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 – 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 3 cups light cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • milk for thinning
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • tabasco, if desired
  • oyster crackers for garnish

Directions:

  1. Drain clams and reserve the juice.
  2. In a large enamel coated pot with lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the bacon and cook until bacon starts to crisp.
  4. Add the onions and celery and cook until onions are translucent, celery softens and bacon is almost fully cooked.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and add the potatoes. Mix well, partially cover and cook for five minutes.
  6. Sprinkle mixture with flour and stir to coat.
  7. Add reserved clam juice and mix well until there are no lumps.
  8. Slowly add the cream while stirring continuously.
  9. Add the thyme and bay leaves, reduce heat and let simmer, partially covered for 15 – 20 minutes.
  10. Season with salt, pepper and tobacco to taste. Use milk to thin the soup if desired/needed. Remove bay leaves.
  11. Turn heat off, add clams and mix well. Let stand 5 minutes.
  12. Stir once more and ladle chowder into soup bowls and top with oyster crackers.

*Adapted from Anne Burrell

Monday Minestrone

Sometimes I find it difficult to cook on Monday nights… just because it’s Monday, after all!? But this easy Minestrone soup comes together quickly, feeds a small crowd and will leave you not only full but proud of how you started off your week of suppers!

Ingredients: Feeds 6 – 8

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1, 15 oz can diced tomatoes with juice (I like Muir Woods, Fire Roasted)
  • 1, 15 oz can dark kidney beans, drained
  • 1 bunch of celery, chopped
  • 3 – 4 carrots chopped
  • 1 cup chopped kale (I use Lacinto)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta (something small in size like Pipette)

Directions:

  1. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta and cook according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, combine the other ingredients and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes or until veggies are fork tender. Remove rosemary stem.
  3. Drain pasta and add to the soup. Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper if desired.

Suggestions:

  • This soup can be made ahead and reheated. If planning on doing so, leave out the pasta until you’re ready to reheat and serve or it will soak up all the liquid!
  • Try adding additional protein like meatballs! Leftover meatballs work great but if not, I always have Trader Joe’s mini party meatballs in my freezer and they work like a charm!

 

Best Butternut Squash Soup

The added apple and cayenne pepper elevate the flavor and add a kick to this simple butternut squash soup!  It’s the perfect weeknight supper, paired with salad or sammies!  Start to finish, you can have it on the table in 40 minutes with only 10 minutes of active prep!

Ingredients: Feeds 4-6

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped (approx. 6-8 cups)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped (I use Gala)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven or enamel coated cast iron pot, sauté onion, celery and carrot in butter over medium heat until the onion is soft.
  2. Add the squash and apple, the cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne.  Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Simmer on low until veggies are tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove the soup from the heat.  Using an immersion blender, purée the soup to desired consistency.

Suggestions: 

  • Off heat, stir in sour cream to make it more creamy before you purée the soup.
  • Alternative spices include smoked paprika and/or cumin to give it a more middle eastern flair!
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche, parsley, cilantro or chives… and don’t forget the toasted pepitas!

* Adapted from Simply Recipes, Butternut Squash Apple Soup

 

Fabulous French Onion Soup

I woke up this morning to snow falling yet again… and the first thing I thought of was French Onion Soup!?  This is how my foodie mind works lol; the colder the weather, the greater my cravings for comfort foods like this rich, cheesy and flavorful classic!

Ingredients: 6 bowls of soup

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 4 small sprigs of fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 8 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 8 oz of gruyere cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and a dash of salt and pepper.  Cook the onions until they soften and begin to caramelize (about 20 minutes).
  2. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the alcohol to cook off, leaving the onions almost dry.
  3. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Reduce heat to low and dust the onions with the flour.  Cook mixture for 5 minutes or so to allow the flour to incorporate.
  4. Add the beef stock, raise the heat and allow soup to simmer for 10 minutes.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, slice and toast the baguette under the broiler.  Place a toasted slice in the bottom of each bowl.
  6. Ladle the soup into each bowl.  Top with an additional toasted baguette slice (or two)!  Sprinkle with a small handful of gruyere cheese. Place the bowls of soup on a baking sheet and under the broiler for a few minutes allowing the cheese to bubble and begin to brown.
  7. Serve immediately, keeping in mind the bowls will be hot (and the soup will be delicious)!

Comments:

I chose to use Spanish onions because I love their sweetness.  And.. I went with a Pinot Noir because that’s my favorite kind of red and it’s what I opened and sipped while I cooked!  Feel free to follow your own tastebuds!

*Adapted from Tyler Florence

Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I am literally in the process of making a crock pot full of this soup for my kids to bring to youth group tonight!  It’s so easy to make and never disappoints, especially if you are a loaded baked potato fan!  I actually added riced broccoli to the original recipe the first time I made it to try and sneak in an extra veggie without my kids knowing, and no one suspected a thing!  And of course it’s not fully loaded until you add the bacon!!!

Ingredients: Makes 4 – 6 cups / 6 – 8 bowls of soup

  • 6 large potatoes*, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups riced broccoli
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter, sliced
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra
  • 3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped plus extra
  • 8 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
  • sour cream

Directions:

  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients (potatoes – pepper) in a large crock pot.  Cook on LOW for 8 hours (until potatoes are tender).
  2. Mash the mixture using a hand held immersion blender.  Then stir in the cream, cheddar cheese and chives.  Let cook 5 more minutes.
  3. Serve each cup/bowl with a dollop of sour cream, crumbled bacon, cheese and chives!

Comments:

  • I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes for this recipe.  However, I ran out of them this morning and had to add 2 large baking potatoes to the mix!
  • You can cut the cooking time in half by cranking your crock pot to HIGH for 4 hours.  The reason I typically go with LOW heat is because I am a firm believer in “low and slow” when it comes to crock pot cooking.  And… I get a weird kick out of starting something cooking in the morning, tending to it and smelling it as it cooks throughout the day, and then finally getting to feast on it at 5:00!?!

Original Recipe from geniuskitchen.com

Winter Minestrone

A friend shared this recipe with me, and I am so glad she did!  It’s originally from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten herself, but of course I tweaked it a bit to make it my own.  It feeds a small army and still allows for leftovers.  Next time you’re snowed in… give this hearty and satisfying soup a try! You’ll be glad you did…

Ingredients:  Feeds 6-8 easily

  • olive oil
  • 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups diced carrots (I used the pre-sliced carrot “coins”)
  • 2 cups diced celery (3 ribs)
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (I used store bought and pre-cut)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake
  • 26 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1, 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (something small)
  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp prepared pesto
  • grated Parmesan for serving
  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat and add pancetta. Brown the meat, stirring occasionally.  Add the onions, carrots, celery and squash.  Add the garlic and thyme.  Cook until the veggies begin to soften, stirring occasionally.  Add the kale and cover the pot to allow kale to wilt a bit.
  2. Add tomatoes, stock, bay leaf, 1 tbsp of kosher salt, 1 tsp fresh pepper and the red pepper flake.  Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer on low for 30 minutes, partially covered.
  3. Discard bay leaf, add the beans and the pasta.  Add the wine and the pesto.  Cook a few more minutes uncovered to allow all the flavors to come together.  Soup will be thick.  If too thick, add more stock at this time.
  4. Serve in shallow bowls, top with Parmesan cheese.

Comments:

This soup will fill you up!!! I served it with garlic bread and it made for a wonderful snow day family supper.  Like I said, the recipe makes a lot of soup!  I was able to feed my family of four and freeze approximately 2 servings for another time.

Suggestions:

  • I added the red pepper flake because I like a little heat!
  • You could swap the kale out and replace it with any leafy green like spinach (that’s what the original recipe called for).
  • I also feel like the pasta could be left out if you were looking to lighten things a bit and reduce the number of carbs.
  • Don’t nix the wine!!! I was hesitant at first,  but it added a whole other dimension of flavor to this soup.  It’s a must for sure!

*Recipe adapted from barefootcontessa.com