Ham and Potato Soup

November 9, 2009

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I am always in the lookout for a simple soup recipe that is delicious, and preferably has both vegetables and meat in it. This way I can just add a salad or some sort of rolls or bread to go with it. This is actually a recipe that I have saved up for a while now. For time-saving tips, you can leave the skin on as long as you scrub them well before cutting. Red actually peeled the potatoes, although I wouldn’t have minded if he had left the skin on. I also did not have any beef  or chicken bouillon. Instead, I used low-sodium canned vegetable broth and it was still wonderful. I also used low-fat milk and couldn’t tell the difference.  This soup is very delicious, creamy, and flavorful–and my fave part of all, you can definitely tweak the ingredients as you wish. I am sure that you can use frozen potatoes or onions to save you time in chopping some of the vegetables. This recipe was a favorite at our house, and we will make again.

Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
3 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Directions
Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.
Yield: 8 servings
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Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

October 9, 2009

In attempt to use up the leftover vegetables in my refrigerator, I thought that I should whip up this classic comfort soup that again, fits into my ideal dinner in one bowl: lots of veggies, some sort of protein (and this one uses my fave, roasted chicken!), and aromatic broth. It also has leftover that serves as great lunch meal.

I wanted a classic version, without any special herbs or spices–and this recipe did the trick!

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Inspiration from AllRecipes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
1/2 pound chopped cooked chicken breast
1 1/2 cups egg noodles
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook onion and celery in butter until just tender, 5 minutes.

Pour in chicken and vegetable broths and stir in chicken, noodles, carrots, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings


Barefoot Bloggers: Cheddar Corn Chowder

October 8, 2009

I was very excited when I saw that the first recipe selected for September was this Cheddar Corn Chowder. I have been wanting to try a new soup recipe and this suggestion from Jill of My Next Life seems so appropriate. I love corn and bacon–so we were excited and ready to try this new soup! I must admit that since this soup makes a ton, I decided to half the recipe *just in case* that neither one of us cares for it. I also don’t usually like thick soup, although Red does.

We basically didn’t make a lot of changes to this recipe, we wanted to see how it plays out the way the original recipe calls for it and I really loved it. It has the perfect consistency for me, but just beware that I don’t normally like super thick soup (a.k.a chowder). The flavors were wonderful and comforting.

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Ingredients
8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half-and-half
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

Directions
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.


Chicken Chili

October 2, 2009

My work travel  schedule usually picks up toward the end of the year, which means that I try to start make meals that can be frozen and re-heated later.  I also love one-stop meal that has both the vegetable and protein in one big bowl so we can just throw in a salad or some sort of bread on the side, and we’ll be all set for dinner. We had a pretty good luck with this chili that we tried last year, adapting several recipes and made it our own. But I thought that I should also try to make a different variation, using chopped chickens.

This recipe has everything that I love in a bowl, big chunks of peppers, onions, roasted chickens, soaked in savory tomato broth! I especially loved this because it easily feeds 8-10 healthy appetite, although the recipe on the Food Network only says 6! I didn’t realize how much it would make until we literally had to use TWO different pots to complete cooking this chili. This is a perfect dish for a casual entertaining in the colder months.

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Adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s Parties.

Ingredients

4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

Yield: 12 servings


Zuppa Toscana Soup

September 11, 2009

I found this recipe on the internet about two and a half years ago, when I was looking for something that is easy to prepare and can be used as a one-stop meal during our first winter in Iowa. When I said one stop meal, I usually look for some sort of protein, carbohydrates and some leafy vegetables all into one dish. This recipe also introduced me and Red to our first taste of kale as well, and we absolutely loved how this recipe transformed kale into something so delicious!

The combination of the spicy sausage, bacon, and heartiness of the potatoes and kale in cream-broth was a winter solitude in a bowl. We loved this so much that this has became a weekly staple at our house in the winter. And in the Midwest where we live, that’s easily about six to eight months out of the year. Or at least it feels that way. We love serving this to our friends as well who quickly fell in love with this soup and started making it at their home–and made it their fave. Red had been asking for this soup when the weather started getting chilly last week.  As much as I don’t like the cold winter days (and evenings!), I know that at least we have this to look forward to.

Ingredients
1 lb spicy Italian sausage, crumbled
1/2 lb. smoked bacon, chopped
1 quart water
(2) 14.5 oz. cans (about 3 2/3 cups) chicken broth
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean, cubed
2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1 medium onion, peeled, chopped
2 cups chopped kale OR Swiss chard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown bacon; drain, set aside.
Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.
Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes.Add kale and cream to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat through.