Categories
Soup

Cannellini beans and garlic make a soup that’s just ‘white’

Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup
Rosemary garlic white bean soup is made with cannellini beans and herbs to create a vegetarian, flavorful dish that is best served with some crusty bread.

Last week, I knew I was going to be doing dinner on my own one evening, because Joey was going to be gone for a bowling tournament.

I immediately combed through my saved recipes on Pinterest, trying to decide what new recipe I’d try while he was away. I originally chose something I knew he wouldn’t like, but when I found myself finishing up at the office after 6 p.m., I decided I better switch gears if I wanted to eat before 8 p.m.

On a second glance of my “recipes to try” list, I found a quick and easy vegetarian soup that I knew would come together quickly and easily, and it did not disappoint.

This recipe comes from the blog “Budget Bytes.” You can find the original post at https://www.budgetbytes.com/easy-rosemary-garlic-white-bean-soup/. I added extra garlic and thyme in my version.

Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup
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Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup

Rosemary garlic white bean soup is made with cannellini beans and herbs to create a vegetarian, flavorful dish that is best served with some crusty bread.
Course Soup
Keyword cannellini beans, garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme, vegetable broth, vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 15- ounce cans cannellini beans
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Pour one can of undrained beans into a blender or food processor and blend until they are smooth.
  • In a large pot or Dutch oven with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about two minutes or until the garlic just starts to get some color.
  • Drain the other two cans of beans, and add them along with the bean puree, broth, rosemary, thyme red pepper flakes and pepper to the pot.
  • Stir well, and place the lid on the pot. Turn the heat to medium-high heat to bring the soup to a low boil.
  • After the soup starts boiling, turn the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered, and stirring occasionally.
  • Add more pepper and some salt, if desired, and serve with a thick slice of bread.

If your local grocery store doesn’t have cannellini beans on the shelf, you can easily substitute great northern beans instead.

The herbs in this recipe were a great combination with the beans and garlic. My only complaint about it was that it’s probably best as more of a side dish to a sandwich or as an appetizer than as a main dish on its own. It just wasn’t as filling as I hoped it would be. But it did reheat really well and was nice to eat along with a grilled cheese later on.

For once, Joey actually got to enjoy one of the recipes I tried while he was away, and he was happy that he came home to the lingering smell of garlic instead of broccoli, which is normally the case.

Next time he’s out for the evening, I’ll have to make sure to get my work done earlier so I can try something a little more interesting—and something that will ensure I get all the leftovers to myself.

This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 17, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Crockpot Main Dish Soup

‘Peas’ your tastebuds with a spicy crockpot soup

Spicy black-eyed peas are a great way to warm up on a cold day and are even better with some fresh cornbread on the side.

There is enough debate about black-eyed peas that there’s actually an article about them on the Library of Congress website.

It starts out very simply, asking, “Are black-eyed peas really peas?”

The answer is simple: “No.”

The article then goes into a very technical, scientific explanation of how peas, beans and legumes are classified and named. It’s great reading if you want to take a nap.

But I suppose no matter what their official classification, their presence in our house every New Year’s Day is a constant, as they are supposed to create good luck in the coming year.

Obviously, with all the craziness over the past year, I must have not cooked them quite right in 2021, so I’m hoping this year’s recipe was a better one.

I decided to go with a spicy version of black-eyed peas this year, mostly because I had some jalapeno peppers languishing in my crisper drawer already. You can leave those out and just add another bell pepper and cut out the cayenne if you want to try this recipe and you’re not much of a spice person, but if you like a little heat, you’re really going to like this one.

This recipe from Trisha Haas comes from the blog “Salty Side Dish.” You can find the original post at https://www.saltysidedish.com/slow-cooker-black-eyed-peas/. I added extra spices in my version.

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Crockpot Spicy Black-Eyed Peas

Spicy black-eyed peas are a great way to warm up on a cold day and are even better with some fresh cornbread on the side.
Course Main Course
Keyword bacon, bell pepper, black-eyed peas, cayenne, crockpot, cumin, garlic, ham, jalapeno, oregano, slow cooker, soup, spicy, yellow onion

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces dry black-eyed peas
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bell pepper diced (any color)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers diced (remove the seeds for less kick)
  • 1 cup ham chopped
  • 6 slices bacon chopped
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add the beef bouillon cubes to about 1 cup of hot water. Smash the cubes before adding them to a large crockpot along with five more cups of water, and then add all of the rest of the ingredients, as well. You do not have to do anything to prep the peas. Just dump them in.
  • Give the mixture a good stir and then cook on high for six hours or until the peas are cooked through.
  • This is fantastic served with fresh cornbread.

The photos on the recipe’s website show a mushier-looking soup without a lot of broth. I had a decent amount of broth with mine, so it’s really more about what you prefer with yours if you let it cook down even longer to really get the liquid thinned out. Personally, I love having broth with soups like this so I have something to soak up with my cornbread.

This was so, so easy, since it was as simple as just dumping everything in the crockpot. It literally took no cooking skills whatsoever, which I appreciate sometimes.

Now, with our bellies warmed, supposedly Joey and I are covered for 2022 and all the luck life can bring us. I’m not sure if it worked, but I have some leftovers in my freezer just in case we need a boost in the coming weeks.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 13, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Soup

Soup recipe lets me tell counter leftovers ‘see you tater’

Potato poblano corn chowder is creamy and filling, especially with the addition of shredded chicken and extra potatoes.

They’ve just been staring at me.

Four potatoes have been sitting on my kitchen counter since Thanksgiving, and as the days passed, they literally were growing some eyes to look at me with.

So I knew I needed to make something to use them up, and with the weather finally hitting a dreaded cold snap, I decided to pull out a chowder recipe I’ve been meaning to try.

Of course, I had to do some tweaking, including making it a bit heartier by adding chicken and increasing the spices and vegetables, too.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian recipe, just leave out the chicken, use some vegetable broth and throw in even more potatoes. It’ll still be delicious.

The recipe I tried, by Ivy Manning, appeared in “Fine Cooking” magazine in 2018. You can find it on their website at https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/potato-poblano-corn-chowder.

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Potato Poblano Corn Chowder

Potato poblano corn chowder is creamy and filling, especially with the addition of shredded chicken and extra potatoes.
Course Main Course
Keyword baked potatoes, broth, carrots, celery, chicken, chowder, coriander, corn, cumin, mashed potatoes, poblano peppers, soup, yellow onion

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 poblano peppers diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk I used skim
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes diced
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 2 cups corn kernels I used frozen
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, carrots and celery and saute until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the coriander, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper and flour, and stir to combine. Saute for a couple minutes to cook out the flour taste. Stir in the tomato paste, and then add the broth, milk, potatoes, chicken and corn to the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a low boil, and then turn the heat down to low and simmer, with a lid on the pot, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fork tender.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and cayenne pepper and then serve immediately.

Add as much or as little cayenne as you want to this to control the spice level. Poblano peppers tend to be on the milder side, but if you’re nervous, make sure you remove the ribs and seeds when you dice them up, too.

This had a creamy taste and was a good belly warmer. I actually ended up doubling the recipe so I could store the leftovers as quick weeknight dinners in our freezer.

I was glad to finally get some of my counter space back just in time for all my holiday baking. But I have a feeling that when I’m staring down a mountain of treat containers over the next few weeks, I’ll really miss those potatoes.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 23, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Soup

Spicy ramen makes ‘miso’ happy

Spicy garlic ramen comes together in about 15 minutes, has lots of levels of flavor and is extremely easy to customize with your favorite ingredients.

One of the first meals Joey and I had inside a restaurant after we were officially vaccinated for COVID-19 was to try out some local spicy garlic ramen we heard about online.

The restaurant serves its spicy ramen in levels, with each level getting progressively hotter. Joey started off asking for a relatively high number, and the sweet girl at the counter just shook her head at him and asked if he was sure. He went with a lower option, just in case.

We really enjoyed the ramen. It was flavorful and just the right amount of spicy. It made for a great meal, so of course, we decided we had to figure out how to make some spicy garlic ramen for ourselves at home.

If you’re not into spicy flavors, I’d recommend starting with less of the sambal oelek, which is a spicy chili sauce. I used only one tablespoon the first time, and in the four or five times I’ve made this since, I added a second tablespoon, and it gives it a good “makes your nose run” heat.

This comes from the blog “40 Aprons” by Cheryl Malik. You can find her original post at https://40aprons.com/15-minute-spicy-ramen/. I added extra garlic in my version.

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Spicy Garlic Ramen

Spicy garlic ramen comes together in about 15 minutes, has lots of levels of flavor and is extremely easy to customize with your favorite ingredients.
Course Main Course
Keyword garlic, gingerbread, miso paste, ramen, sambal oelek, sesame oil, soy sauce, spicy

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1- inch knob fresh ginger cut into fourths
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons sambal oelek
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • dash rice wine vinegar
  • 2 blocks ramen
  • Optional toppings: soft-boiled eggs sliced green onion, sesame seeds, fresh sliced mushrooms, etc.

Instructions

  • Combine the broth along with one cup water in a medium-sized pot. Toss in the ginger, garlic, miso paste, sambal oelek, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar and stir to combine.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, letting the flavors meld for 10 minutes.
  • If you are serving this with soft-boiled eggs, place your eggs in a pot and just cover them with cold water. Bring to a rapid boil and remove from heat after six minutes. Drain the eggs and immediately plunge them in a bowl of ice water, and set them aside while your ramen finishes.
  • To finish off the ramen, remove the slices of ginger, and bring the broth back to a low boil and drop in the blocks of noodles. Cook for two minutes or until the noodles reach your desired level of doneness.
  • Serve with whatever toppings you choose.

This was so, so good. I don’t normally make something again, let along numerous times, before I share a recipe with you guys, but this one was so good that it has its own card in my recipe box already. 

It’s so easy to add extras, too. You could add shrimp or chicken or tofu, too, if you want some protein in there.

And the nice thing about controlling the spice level yourself is even if you guess wrong, you don’t have to deal with the judgmental eyes of a cashier, silently telling you, “I told you so.”

This piece first appeared in print on April 29, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Soup

Make a great week even ‘Moroccan’ with veggie stew

Moroccan butternut squash chickpea stew is a vegetarian dish that is chock full of fall flavors.

Despite some of the balmier days lately, I’m certain autumn is upon us after seeing multiple “It’s fall, ya’ll” signs around town.

Fall is always my favorite time of year, mostly because I’m excited to have slightly cooler temperatures that let me pull out my favorite sweatshirts, and I can start cooking up soup as much as I want without judgement. On the first cold day of this season, Joey and I immediately made a pot of chili. We couldn’t help ourselves.

This week, Joey asked if we could have something with butternut squash in it, so I started looking through recipes to see what we should try. I was kind of surprised to see that there isn’t a lot of variety out there when it comes to butternut recipes, but after a little hunting, I finally found something that looked super interesting: a Moroccan stew.

The recipe comes from the blog “Vanilla and Bean,” which contains only vegetarian recipes, so if you’re looking to include more veggies in your life, check out her site. You can find the original post at https://vanillaandbean.com/moroccan-squash-stew/. I subbed in more broth instead of water and added extra garlic in my version.

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Moroccan Butternut Squash Chickpea Stew

Moroccan butternut squash chickpea stew is a vegetarian dish that is chock full of fall flavors.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Moroccan
Keyword butternut squash, carrots, chickpeas, crushed tomatoes, Moroccan, stew, vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion diced (I used yellow)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic minced
  • salt to taste
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups carrots sliced into rounds
  • 3 cups butternut squash peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 15 ounces chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • Coconut Greek yogurt for serving optional

Instructions

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for seven to 10 minutes or until they’re soft.
  • Add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, garlic and salt. Stir and saute for a couple minutes until the garlic starts to smell nice.
  • Pour in the broth, tomatoes, carrots and squash, and stir. Bring the soup up to a boil and then turn the heat to low and put a lid on the pot. Let simmer for about 25 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.
  • Add the chickpeas and cook for another five minutes to heat them through.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and serve with coconut-flavored Greek yogurt on the side or spooned over the top.

This was the ultimate fall soup. It literally tasted like autumn in a bowl, and we loved it. 

And we did try it with the coconut yogurt. (Be careful not to get one that’s blended with vanilla. I don’t know that it would be a great combination.) We each had a cup of it on the side, since we were too wimpy to dump a whole scoop of flavored yogurt into our bowls, but after trying several bites of the two together, I can definitively say it was really yummy. It added a completely new flavor element.

So, if the bevy of leaves filling your yard hasn’t been enough of a signal to you that fall is really here, I encourage you to break out the butternut squash and chickpeas and get to cooking. This one will instantly put you in an autumnal mood. 

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 12, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Appetizer Soup

This soup is clearly the best way to start a meal

Japanese clear onion soup is incredibly simple but an amazing way to start a meal.

The National Museum of American History notes that Americans started looking for different ways to enjoy outdoor grilling after World War II.

Part of the craze was impacted by people who traveled around the world and discovered they enjoyed the tropical flavors of the Caribbean and of Southeast Asia, which meant that the hibachi grill came into vogue, with some restaurants popping up that allowed diners to cook their own meals on the flat-top grills and people using the small cooktops in their backyards and even their apartments.

Personally, I love dishes that are in the “hibachi” style. They have a little char on them, and I adore the flavors of Japanese cooking.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing the components of an Asian-inspired meal I made for Joey and myself, including a fried rice and orange chicken recipe, so this week, I wanted to share the final component, a soup we both love to get as an appetizer at our favorite Japanese restaurant: clear onion soup.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Living Chirpy,” which features gluten-free and sugar-free recipes, so you might give them a look if that interests you. It’s by Roche Woodworth, and you can find the original post at https://www.livingchirpy.com/japanese-clear-onion-soup/. I adjusted the ingredients and instructions a bit to suit our tastes.

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Japanese Clear Onion Soup

Japanese clear onion soup is incredibly simple but an amazing way to start a meal.
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword cream of mushroom, gluten-free, onion, soup, sugar-free, vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon oil I used extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion diced (I used yellow)
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 large celery stalk cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 large carrot peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms sliced thinly (I used white mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup green onions sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat and add the diced onion. Saute until the onion is browned and soft.
  • Add broth, celery, carrot, garlic, ginger and sesame oil and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the burner down to low and put the lid on the pot, simmering for about 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  • Strain the vegetables from the broth, and return the broth to the pot.
  • Add the mushrooms and green onions and let the soup cook for another five minutes or so.
  • Serve immediately as an appetizer for your favorite Asian-style dinner.

Joey and I discussed this soup a bit after our meal and agreed that it’s the perfect appetizer. There isn’t much to it, and it would never make a meal for someone (unless they were on a restricted diet or eating very little), but it’s a good way to get ready for your main course.

I used chicken broth in my version, but just a switch over to vegetable broth can make this recipe completely meat free, too. There’s a ton of flavor in this for such a simple recipe.

I recommend serving it in small bowls. It’s a fun way to start a meal, and now that you have all three of the components for the meal we tried, you can do it, too. It was definitely something different, and we enjoyed it immensely.

And, considering Americans have been enjoying the flavors of Asian cuisine for many, many decades, I suppose it’s a good way to celebrate our own history as well.

This piece first appeared in print on May 21, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Soup

Leftovers may necessi’tater’ cooking some soup

Leftover mashed potatoes can be easily transformed into a creamy, filling soup.

Well, I can officially say I survived my first experience with hosting Thanksgiving dinner. 

I floated the idea a little over a week out from the big day to my mother-in-law, not wanting to step on her toes but also knowing she’s been extremely busy at work lately and could likely use a break from cooking all day—especially with family coming from out of state to stay with them.

And she took me up on my offer, which meant I took a deep breath, made an overly detailed list, and got to work.

The meal was a little late, since I wasn’t very good at timing out my side dishes on my first attempt, but everyone walked away full and seemingly happy, and it’s already been announced that the Young Family Thanksgiving meal is mine for the foreseeable future.

And while hosting is definitely an exhausting experience, it does have its benefits, namely: leftovers. While that’s arguably one of the best parts of Thanksgiving, it also gets tough to get creative with eating the same meal again and again over the next week, so I have an option for you if you, like I, had plenty of leftover mashed potatoes.

This is from the website “Thrifty Fun.” You can find the original post at https://www.thriftyfun.com/Leftover-Mashed-Potato-Soup-1.html. I added more seasoning to my version, but remember to take the amount of seasoning you did to your mashed potatoes originally into account when adding spices. I normally season my potatoes pretty simply with salt, pepper, milk and butter only. The amount of each of the ingredients depends on how much leftover mashed potatoes you have, but your rule of thumb is to add the amounts listed in the directions for evert two cups of potatoes. In my case, I had four cups leftover, so I doubled all those amounts as I made my batch of soup.

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Leftover Mashed Potato Soup

Leftover mashed potatoes can be easily transformed into a creamy, filling soup.
Course Main Course
Keyword bacon, leftovers, mashed potatoes, soup

Ingredients

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Milk I used skim
  • Chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • Butter or margarine
  • Celery salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded cheese
  • Cooked crumbled bacon

Instructions

  • You will add the following ingredients to every two cups of mashed potatoes you have—do so in a large cooking pot—1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup broth, 4 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon celery salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the mixture over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the soup is hot and creamy.
  • Serve with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon on top. (Cook up about a strip of bacon per bowl of soup you’re serving.)

This was a great belly warmer for a cold day’s dinner, especially paired with some leftover Thanksgiving cornbread.

And, ironically, if you have leftover soup, it reheats nicely, too, which is a nice bonus.

I’ll probably be making another batch of this soup in the coming weeks, since I, for some reason, made enough potatoes to feed the family four times over.

Cooking for Thanksgiving made me extremely thankful for all of the wonderful cooks who have provided that same spread for me over the years. It’s a lot of work, but seeing family enjoying themselves around the table makes the sore back and aching feet seem worth it.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 5, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Soup

Chicken mushroom soup is ‘chowder’ this world

Creamy chicken mushroom chowder is a hearty soup for a cold night’s dinner.

Thanks to this column, I’m constantly on the lookout for recipes I have never tried. If you look at a lot of food blogs and recipe books like I do, you’ll find several common words and phrases in the titles of recipes.

There are quite a few that include the descriptor “Amish” in the title, and while I’m not necessarily qualified to say what makes a recipe particularly Amish or not, there are some I wouldn’t peg as particularly authentic.

And, of course, people love making recipes that claim to be like “crack.” I’ve also always found that one strange, considering that the bios of most of these online chefs don’t seem to indicate drug problems on their end.

But this week, Joey and I ended up trying to figure out what makes a “chowder” a “chowder,” and after searching online quite a bit, I’m not sure if that isn’t just another random adjective cooks use. The only official explanation that seemed to show up more often than not was that a chowder must be cream based, but folks differed on that rule, too.

I found this recipe on the blog “The Chunky Chef.” You can find the original post at https://www.thechunkychef.com/creamy-chicken-mushroom-chowder/. I changed the amounts of some of the ingredients in my version. I also actually doubled the recipe below to give me some leftovers for the freezer.

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Creamy Chicken Mushroom Chowder

Creamy chicken mushroom chowder is a hearty soup for a cold night's dinner.
Course Main Course
Keyword chicken, chowder, mushrooms, potatoes, soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 3 carrots peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms sliced (I used baby bellas, but use what you like)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4- cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 5 medium-sized red potatoes diced
  • 3 cups shredded or cubed chicken cooked
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream or half and half

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large pot.
  • Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until they’re soft (about five minutes). Add the mushrooms and garlic and stir, cooking for about two more minutes.
  • Add the salt and pepper, thyme and flour and stir to soak up any liquid in the pan. Let the flour cook for about one minute.
  • Stir in the stock, making sure the scrape the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the potatoes, chicken and bay leaf and bring the soup to a very low boil. Let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are to your desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cream and let the soup simmer until it’s hot again.
  • Serve.

I went about this a little differently by boiling my chicken in the broth to cook it to start and making my veggies in a saute pan on the side. I did all the steps up to adding the broth in the saute pan and then dumped my veggies in with my cooked chicken that was already boiling in the stock pot.

If you do it that way, you will probably need to add a little water or more broth to the pot.

And while the recipe is called a chowder and does meet a lot of the definitions of what a chowder should be, I’m still not sure if everyone would agree.

What I can tell you is that I’m pretty sure it’s not Amish, it certainly doesn’t mirror any drugs I’m aware of, and it’s an extremely satisfying, good soup, especially when served with a thick slice of crusty bread.

I may never figure out what a chowder is, but it won’t stop me from eating seconds until I figure it out.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 14, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Soup

Ring in winter with bell pepper soup

Italian sausage and pepper soup contains lots of fresh vegetable flavor along with deep Italian herbs and spices.

This past week, we went north to Iowa and Minnesota for a newspaper conference and to visit some friends.

One of my wonderful friends, who has inexplicably given up her Kansas roots for the big city of Minneapolis, assured us that Minnesota is generally pretty mild in October, so we were excited to experience some nice, fall weather.

But, as often happens, Mother Nature had other plans, as we endured rain—and eventually snow—and some cold winds while we visited. It was still a great trip, but when the northerners are bundling up and complaining, you know you hit a weather anomaly.

We still had a great visit, despite the cold, and upon coming home, it reminded me that soup season is most definitely just around the corner.

With that in mind, this week’s recipe comes from “Parade” magazine and is by Donna Elick. You can find their original post at https://parade.com/217706/donnaelick/30-minute-italian-sausage-and-pepper-soup/. I added extra tomato paste to use an entire can, put in extra garlic, and I got rid of the added olive oil, since I figured the sausage would have enough grease for the pan on its own. I also added some more herbs.

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Italian Sausage and Pepper Soup

Italian sausage and pepper soup contains lots of fresh vegetable flavor along with deep Italian herbs and spices.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword peppers, sausage, soup, spicy

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spicy Italian rope sausage casing removed
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4 bell peppers get a variety of colors, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 6-8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2, 14.5- ounce cans Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil roughly chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley roughly chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

Instructions

  • Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Saute the sausage in the pan, breaking it apart as it browns, and add the onions as well. Stirring regularly.
  • Once the sausage is cooked through, add the peppers and cook to your desired tenderness, continuing to stir often. Add the garlic and cook for an additional two minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and broth, and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any cooked-on bits.
  • Bring the soup to a low boil. Add the salt and pepper, basil and parsley and allow to boil for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Serve with crusty bread.

The flavor of this soup was fantastic, and it was a really quick meal to make, too. It was a bit of a thin soup overall, though, so it would be a great side dish, or you should definitely serve it with some big, thick bread or rolls. Of course, it’s that same quality that makes it a good, lighter lunchtime option.

We didn’t end up ordering any soup while we were up north, opting instead for everything from a delicious Ecuadorian restaurant to coal-fired pizza and fresh fish and chips.

What we’ve learned about Minnesota over the years is you definitely can’t predict the weather, but you can count on some really good meals.

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 17, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Soup

This soup is ‘dumpling’ you should try

Chicken and dumplings come together in about half an hour and make a delicious, hearty dinner.

As I was poking around our local grocery store’s clearance bin about a month ago, I stumbled on a box of “dumplings.” I was a bit confused, since they really just looked like really wide noodles, and it certainly didn’t fit my internal definition of what constitutes a dumpling.

But they were cheap.

So Joey and I tried “chicken and dumplings,” made with the recipe on the back of the box, which consisted of these noodles, canned chicken and a can of peas and carrots. It was fine.

But I wanted to give a more traditional dumpling a try, so I hunted for a recipe and found one that purported to create a delicious, homemade soup in only 30 minutes.

I have rarely made myself gasp with a kitchen creation, but let me tell you, I celebrated out loud when I pulled the lid off my soup and saw beautiful dumplings floating on the surface. This recipe was a complete slam dunk for me, and while the noodles we tried before were good, this recipe was the winner.

The blog “The Slow Roasted Italian” is quickly becoming one of my favorites, and this recipe came from there. It was created by Donna Elick. You can find the original post at https://www.theslowroasteditalian.com/2012/11/chicken-and-dumplings-in-30-minutes-2.html. I played around with her seasonings a bit in my version.

Print

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings come together in about half an hour and make a delicious, hearty dinner.
Course Main Course
Keyword chicken, dumplings

Ingredients

Soup Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk I used skim
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas and diced carrots

Dumplings Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup milk I used skim

Instructions

  • In a large pot with a lid, heat the chicken broth, water, butter and seasonings over medium. Cover the pot and let it come to a boil.
  • Cut the chicken into about one-inch pieces and add them to the pot and cover again.
  • In a large sealable container, combine the flour and milk. Seal and shake until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour mixture to the pot slowly, stirring as you do so. Add the vegetables to the pot as well and put the lid back on.
  • While the soup is cooking, combine all the dumpling ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • Stir the soup really well, scraping the bottom with your spoon to make sure the flour mixture isn’t sticking to the bottom.
  • Then, using a tablespoon-sized scoop (or eye-balling about that amount with a normal spoon), add scoops of the dumpling mixture to the soup. They’ll sink like rocks, but don’t worry, that’s what they’re supposed to do.
  • Once all the dumpling mixture is in the pot, cover it again and reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the soup cook for 10 minutes. It’s done when the soup coats the back of a spoon.
  • Remove from heat and serve.

Oh, boy, was this a hearty dinner for us. And we were able to freeze the leftovers for later, too, which has been a nice treat on busy evenings. 

I know there are a lot of complicated types of dumplings out there, but this recipe is not one of them, and you definitely get the “wow” factor with those beautiful balls of dough floating in the top of a creamy soup.

And I still haven’t found any evidence that the noodles I used technically counted as dumplings, but I guess now that I have a really good recipe, it won’t matter much—unless I find another really good sale.

This piece first appeared in print on Sept. 26, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

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