Category Archives: soup

Nacho Mama’s Corn Chowder

I rarely make soup. Not really sure why. I guess it’s probably because Eric won’t eat it. According to him, soup is not a meal. That’s crazy talk, as far as I’m concerned. Bowl of soup, add a salad, maybe a piece of bread and you’ve got yourself a great meal! Nope. Not to him. Boo!

So I figured I just make some for myself and freeze the rest. Why not, right? When I spotted this Nacho Cheese and Corn Chowder recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I thought it sounded DELISH!

A little secret about me…I refuse to cook with heavy cream. With the exception of ice cream, if a recipe calls for heavy cream, I’m moving on. With ice cream, I already know I’m going to watch my portion size and only eat a little bit so I can avoid any ill effects. But with a main dish, I tend not to be as careful. Then, uh oh…upset tummy city! In order to avoid this unfortunate circumstance at all times, I just don’t cook with cream. I’m always on the look out to satisfy those creamy cravings without all the fat and calories of cream that I can’t deal with. This sounded like just the thing!

Sooooooo….the end result. I thought it tasted really good. I liked the flavor a lot. Cheesy and spicy. The problem was the texture. There was something off about it. It was probably one of three things or a combination of all of them. Number 1, I used 1% milk. I’ve used low fat milk in the past with good results. I used it last week in my parm penne I made and I used it in Ina’s Grown up Mac and Cheese. Maybe because this recipe calls for so much milk (6 cups total), 1% just doesn’t do the trick.

Number 2, you will notice the recipe calls for 12 oz. of shredded American cheese. Unless I’m looking in the wrong place, I’ve never seen an actual block or a bag of American cheese. Besides blocks of Velveeta and Kraft Singles, I was at a loss on where to find such a thing. So I debated in the store…do I buy sliced cheese and tear it up and throw it in? I just didn’t see that working for some reason. Or do I bite the bullet and use the Velveeta? At least it’s supposed to be melted! So I went with that. I bought the one made with 2% milk to save a little on the fat. It’s only once in a blue moon that I would ever use Velveeta for anything, but I swear I’ve noticed this before…it separates. And then gets a skin on top. Sigh…

Number 3, I think I overcooked it. There was a layer of burnt on crap at the bottom of my dutch oven. It was like the milk went beyond creamy to almost curdled. I don’t know….I’m guessing it was a combination of all three of those things that threw off my soup’s texture. I saved some in the fridge for lunch tomorrow and then froze the rest…we’ll see what we get, I guess. I really did like the flavor but I’ll need to make some serious adjustments if I’m going to make this again.Β  I’d be open to suggestions on how to improve it!

NACHO CHEESE AND CORN CHOWDER (Recipe Source: Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook)

  • 3 medium onions, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tsps. instant chicken bouillon granules
  • 3 cups frozen whole kernel corn
  • 3 cups (12 oz) shredded Colby jack cheese
  • 3 cups (12 oz) shredded American cheese
  • 1 4oz can green chilies, drained

Optional toppings:

  • salsa
  • tortilla chips
  • hot pepper sauce

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a 4 1/2 to 5 quart Dutch oven combine onions and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 5 minutes until onions are tender. Do not drain.
  2. Gradually whisk 2 cups of the milk into the flour until smooth. Stir into Dutch oven with remaining milk and bouillon granules. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
  3. Stir in corn, cheeses and chilies. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through. If desired, garnish each serving with salsa and a few tortilla chips. If desired, pass the hot pepper sauce.

ENJOY! πŸ™‚

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Cool, (no) Beans!

Raise your hand if you have a hubby who says he doesn’t like beans. Yeah, me too.

When I was a kid, I’d pass on anything that had beans in it, but now that I’m older I find myself liking them more and more. Eric will pick them out of everything so I rarely cook with them. I wish he’d learn to like them because they are so good for you! And filling!

So, I really really like chili. Actually, I’d say I love it. Sadly, I’ve taken to making it without beans in order to please the ever-picky hubster. I had some extra chicken breasts that I poached on Monday night after using a portion of the package in another dish. When I got home from work tonight, I started gathering up the ingredients to make a chicken chili….sans beans, of course. Now, with chili, there has got be something of substance in with the meat. When I make it with ground beef, I serve it up over pasta. Who wants to eat a bowl of meat and nothing else? That’s way too blah! I was in the mood for something different and, since I couldn’t include beans, I decided to mix in some healthy brown rice to fill it out.

The results were very yummy! I can tell when Eric likes one of my made up dishes by how much he eats. If he says it’s good but leaves about half his portion, that means he’s not that thrilled. If he says it’s good and eats every bite, that means he really does like it! Tonight, Eric got a gold star for being a member of the Clean Plate Club! πŸ™‚

BROWN RICE CHICKEN CHILI (Recipe Source: Me)

**Note:** You will notice I don’t include measurements for the spices I used. It’s really open to interpretation. I was just seasoning as I went along, tasting and adding more as needed. I bet some chipotle chilis would really punch up the flavor of this dish. Mmmmm…I didn’t have any on hand so I had to skip that! Next time! πŸ™‚

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 poached chicken breasts (I poached mine in chicken broth, half an onion cut into large chunks, and seasoned it with oregano.)
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • Half a medium onion, diced
  • Half a green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 8oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained (If you prefer your chili more soupy, you can add the entire can. This is just a personal preference for me…I despise soupy chili so I drained off the liquid!)
  • Half a bottle of beer (Feel free to treat yourself to the rest of the bottle…I know I did!)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Oregano
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • Shredded cheese, for sprinkling!

DIRECTIONS:

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy sauce pan. Add onion and bell pepper, cooking until soft. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add chicken and allow to heat through, stiring frequently. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and beer. Season with spices. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and add additional seasoning, if needed. Add cooked rice, simmer 15 minutes more. Serve with a generous sprinkling of cheese on top!

ENJOY! πŸ™‚

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No Soup For You!

Well, maybe just a taste if you ask nicely. πŸ˜‰

So, technically it’s not soup season yet…but rules are meant to be broken, right? We are starting to get those first chilly mornings that are the true sign that fall is on the way. I can’t believe Monday is September! Summer is officially over. That does make me a little sad…because once it gets to be fall that means winter is close behind. I do love fall though! The food, the smells, the leaves, the pumpkins. Hooray!

On to the soup! About three years ago,Β Eric bought me a big book of pasta recipes. I wasn’t as big into cooking back then and looking through the book intimidated me like no other. Everything seemed to be way over my head! I put it in my cookbook drawer and basically forgot about it. In doing some kitchen cleaning/reorganizing this week (no computer = must be productive during the day), I hauled out the book again and started flipping through it.

Since I’m much more confident in my abilities these days, I immediately bookmarked a whole bunch of stuff in the book. I’m looking forward to trying more! Kinda funny that the book was a gift from Eric and I’m sure his intention was that he would benefit from me having it. As it turns out, the first thing I try from it was something that I knew he wouldn’t care for on a night he wouldn’t be home for dinner because of class! LOL!

I loved that this tomato soup recipe used all fresh ingredients. It is tomato season, of course, so this was the perfect way to usher in the fall. The fresh flavor was great. Be sure to season liberally with salt and pepper. I thought it was slightly bland the first time around, so I seasoned up my leftovers a bit more and after chilling overnight and reheating, it was FANTASTIC! Yum! I always go easy on the salt. Too easy. There have been too many a-meal ruined in this house because of too much salt. So I blame myself, not the recipe, for the slight blandness the first time around. You could probably also add additional garlic and maybe some crushed red pepper to punch up the flavor a bit.

TOMATO SOUP WITH PASTA AND BASIL (Recipe Source: The Essential Pasta Cookbook)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 large, very ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup shell pasta or macaroni
  • Additional basil leaves and parm cheese for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Score a small cross in the top of each tomato. Plunge into boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then into cold water. Peel skin down from the cross and discard. Remove the seeds and roughly chop.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan and cook the onion, garlic and red pepper, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add tomatoes and cook another 10 minutes.
  3. Add the stock, tomato paste, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add basil leaves.
  4. Allow mixture to cool slightly before processing, in batches, in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return to the pan and reheat gently.
  5. While the soup is cooking, add the past to a large pan of rapidly boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Drain, add to the soup and heat through. Garnish with basil leaves and parm cheese.

ENJOY! πŸ™‚

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Filed under soup, veggies