Tag Archives: Soup

Eat, and Be Merry!

Twice this week I have prepared soup and I make no apologies for this. The weather has been crappy and there is nothing better on cold, blustery days than a good bowl of soup to warm the soul. Isn’t that what eating is all about? I know that it is probably about nutrition too… But seriously, if nutrition was the only thing we focused on then we would not have sweets or French fries! Think about all the things you eat, because you like them or crave them, which have NOTHING to do with nutritional values. You eat gummi bears, caramel popcorn, or pizza not because it is good for you but because it makes you happy; it warms your soul. There are so many people out there writing about how to eat this or that and make all these healthy substitutions and that is great. I love to make healthier substitutions from time to time. What I am writing about is the cooking I was taught, which is more about loving what you eat but not eating so much of it you feel like you will explode. Honestly a great small bowl of soup is much more satisfying than a huge bowl of watery diet soup. Just my opinion… Quality not quantity…

 

Corn Chowder Final

I will be open and honest that I am working to take off some weight. (Honestly I always wanted boobs, but these girls of mine are starting to take over, and I am not having that.) Looking at my recipes I can understand how my saying I want to lose weight could confuse people. I pay very close attention to how much I eat and making sure that everything is balanced. During the day I eat small meals that are healthier, like that wonderful bowl of fiber I eat in the morning. I am usually not hungry for lunch so that meal usually consists of some fruit; I cannot eat if I am not hungry, I get sick. Dinner, dinner is my time to splurge. I count points instead of calories and I am cognizant of what my balance is come dinner time. So a cup of a good soup (with cream, butter, or both in it) takes a good chunk of those points I count, but what a WONDERFUL way to spend them! Sometimes eating a rich (and points expensive) meal means I cannot eat my favorite desserts and have to opt for some fruit instead or nothing at all; I understand this concept. So many of us have forgotten these simple rules of portion control, so I feel it is important to remind people of that. This is what is working for me and as long as I remember to keep my portions reasonable I do okay. At the time of this writing I am .4 pounds away from my first weight goal!

Corn Chowder

corn chowder beginning

1 bell pepper

1-2 carrots chopped

1-2 celery stalks chopped

4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 (4 cups) Chicken Stock

2 cups half and half or Milk

½ pound of cheddar (could use another cheese or reduced fat cheeses, I like the 2% cheese)

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups (1 family bag) White and Yellow sweet corn

1 stick of butter (I usually use the half sticks and tell myself they are full sticks, but use a full stick for the roux.)

Make Roux

Melt 1 stick of butter add bell pepper, carrot, and celery, sarouxuté for a few minutes. Add flour, make a roux. (Roux is a very old way of thickening sauces and soups. Commonly used in French or Cajun cooking) Cook roux until it is lightly brown, remove from heat.

Soup Base

Combine potatoes and chicken stock in large soup pot. Bring to boil, simmer 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Half ways through simmering add the corn. Spoon small amounts of the stock liquid into the roux and stir smooth rouxor whisk vigorously to avoid lumps forming. Once the mixture is smooth, add roux to potatoes, corn, and stock. The soup will become thicker at this point; slowly add half and half, then cheddar, stirring as you add. Season soup mix with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; you may be tempted to leave out the nutmeg (I was when someone suggested it) but it really does make this soup! Add slowly and to taste. When cheese is fully melted serve! corn chowder after cream

You can freeze leftovers of this soup and use them on nights you don’t feel like cooking! Various members of my family and friends top this soup with different things such as bacon bits, a dollop of sour cream, more cheese, hot sauce, and plain pork rinds. Yes you read that right pork rinds. They add a different texture to the soup and really are not that bad. Feel free to experiment!

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Creamy Chicken and Spinach Tortellini Soup

This recipe just came to me one night!  I swear!   Everyone (I think) grows tired of cooking chicken the same way over and over and over again.  My fridge was full of stuff just nothing I thought I could use to make something new and exciting. HO HUM.  Then it occurred to me that I could make a soup.  This soup became one of my all time favorites! My family is not big on soup eating; this dish has changed all that!  After I made this soup the first time it was requested weekly for several months! 65336_1678376721971_1314103698_1789242_3549814_nThen I added other soups to my repertoire! (I love my recipe for Corn Chowder.) This recipe is done the way I typically cook, by taste.  My measurements are usually approximations. You should always taste anything you are cooking and adjust as you see fit.  Never, ever, be afraid to make a recipe your own, if it is horrible and burnt then… Chinese takeout is always phone call away, or in my sad little case (ie: broke), grilled cheese is the backup plan.  Over years of trial and error though I generally do not have grilled cheese nights anymore.  Every now and then you will hear horrible expletives rupturing forth from my kitchen, usually followed by loud crashing noises….  On those nights no one is surprised to see me emerge with grilled cheese for everyone.  Occasionally the family takes pity and we splurge on pizza, but my point is that you should never be afraid to experiment!  Just go for it!

Creamy Chicken and Spinach Tortellini Soup

4-6 Chicken Breasts (trimmed of fat and gristle pieces, then cubed)

1-2 bunches of Baby Spinach OR 1-2 bags of baby spinach (I find I end up picking through either one of them so I save money by buying the bunches, the amount of spinach you use depends on your taste for spinach…. I love spinach)

1 1/2 pint of heavy cream or half and half

1 large package of cheese tortellini (I use the one you find in the refrigerator section usually next to the cheese)

1 box of Chicken Stock

1/2-3/4 cup lemon juice (more or less depending on your taste)

Dill (dried or fresh, I use probably two tablespoons because I love dill)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Garlic Powder to taste

Basil (fresh is best) optional, again to taste

1/2 stick of butter

How to:

Bring a LARGE soup pot filled 1/4 to 1/2 way with water and chicken stock.  (I throw in a couple of chicken bullion cubes to intensify the chicken flavor.)  How much water you use depends on how soupy you like your soup to be and how many people you are feeding.  Place over high heat.  Once boiling put cubed chicken in water/stock mix.  Allow the chicken to cook in the water/stock.  Put butter in the water when chicken is half way done, allow to melt.  Mix in cream or half and half, lemon juice, and seasonings.   Bring liquid back to boil and drop in tortellini.  Do not over cook the tortellini; it will get mushy and fall apart!  When tortellini is almost “al dente” you can tear the spinach and mix it in the pot or use the leaves whole.  Spinach cooks fast! Much more than dunking the spinach in the soup can over cook it. I usually give it about 2-3 minutes in the soup.  Make sure you have tasted the soup as you cook to make sure the flavor agrees with you.

I always end up with extra soup, typically 2-3 extra servings, they freeze well and reheat straight from the freezer on those nights you just don’t want to cook.

I love to dunk bread in my soup; I recommend ciabetta bread or crusty French rolls.

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