Categories
Side Dish

Roasted vegetables will be the ‘bell’ of the ball this summer

Southwest Potatoes
Southwest potatoes combines potatoes, bell peppers and onion with plenty of herbs and spices for a delicious summer side dish that’s easy to make and looks pretty on the table.

Even though I try not to heat up the house with my oven too often in the summer, I am definitely willing to make an exception for the right recipe.

Last week, that exception came when I decided I didn’t want one of the typical cold summer sides like coleslaw, potato salad or a green salad to go with our dinner, and I stumbled on a delicious-looking recipe that combined potatoes and bell peppers. It sounded like a fantastic summer side, especially with all the brightly colored peppers included.

It fit the bill perfectly, and not only was I happy with the flavors but it also ended up being a great meal for leftovers later on.

This comes from the blog “Will Cook for Smiles.” You can find the original post at https://www.willcookforsmiles.com/southwest-roasted-potatoes. I added extra spices and vegetables in my version.

Southwest Potatoes
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Southwest Potatoes

Southwest potatoes combines potatoes, bell peppers and onion with plenty of herbs and spices for a delicious summer side dish that's easy to make and looks pretty on the table.
Course Side Dish
Keyword bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, potatoes, summer side dish, yellow onion

Ingredients

  • 2 large Russet potatoes
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a large, rimmed baking sheet by lining it with foil.
  • Cut potatoes and onion into about one-half-inch pieces. Cut the peppers into about one-inch pieces.
  • Add all of the vegetables to a large bowl or directly onto the baking sheet to combine with the other ingredients.
  • Add the oil, herbs and spices to your vegetables and mix well until they are evenly coated in the mixture.
  • Evenly spread out the coated vegetables on your prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Serve hot.

If you’re into something a bit spicier, you could easily toss in some hot peppers or maybe some cayenne pepper in the mix for this. But I will say this combination of spices was definitely flavorful while still being a crowd pleaser.

It was also super gorgeous on the table. I would highly recommend this one for a gathering if you need a good side dish this summer. We really enjoyed it.

And, in the grand scheme of things, heating up the kitchen was very much worth it. There’s something about roasted bell peppers that I absolutely love, even if I have to sweat just a bit to get them.

This piece first appeared in print on June 9, 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

Meat is ‘naan’ essential for this potato and chickpea curry

Potato and chickpea curry is spicy and full of lots of flavors from a variety of spices. It is also vegan, giving those avoiding animal products a great, quick meal to enjoy.

Quite a number of years ago, when we put our house on the market, our realtor gave us some tips for keeping our home ready for showings.

In addition to keeping things clean and organized, he encouraged us to pin back the curtains for plenty of natural light and begged us to take a break from cooking anything that would have strong, lingering smells. Specifically, he said we should stay away from curry.

I thought about that this week when I decided to try a vegan curry recipe I found online. Personally, I think the smell of spicy curry would be a selling point for a house, but I’m sure it’s not for everyone.

This recipe was fantastic, and if you’re trying to cut some meat out of your diet, I highly recommend it. It was filling, extremely flavorful and very pretty, to boot. It was also on the spicy side, so if that’s not your favorite, I’d skip this one. I think it would be a bit difficult to make this one completely mild.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Well Plated” by Erin Clarke. I added extra garlic in my version.

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Potato and Chickpea Curry

Potato and chickpea curry is spicy and full of lots of flavors from a variety of spices. It is also vegan, giving those avoiding animal products a great, quick meal to enjoy.
Course Main Course
Keyword cayenne, chickpeas, coconut milk, cumin, curry, diced tomatoes, garam masala, garlic, ginger, peas, potatoes, rice, turmeric, vegan, vegetarian, yellow onion

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger or ginger paste minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 pounds potatoes diced (I used Russets)
  • 14 ounces canned chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 14 ounces diced tomatoes in juice
  • 14 ounce can light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Prepared white rice for serving
  • Naan bread for serving

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven or stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onion to the hot oil and saute until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and ginger, and saute for about 30 seconds. Add in the curry powder, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt, and continue to stir for about a minute.
  • Once the mixture smells really nice, stir in the potatoes and chickpeas to coat them with the spices.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes and coconut milk, and stir well to combine.
  • Bring the mixture to a very low boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring regularly to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot, for about 15 minutes.
  • Once the potatoes are fork tender, stir in the sugar, lemon juice and peas. Let the mixture heat over low until the peas are hot.
  • Serve the curry over top of white rice and with a side of naan bread.

I absolutely loved this one. Joey was out of town for the evening, so he had to settle for leftovers later in the week, but he also gave it a thumbs up.

It does make quite a bit of food, and it stretches even further with rice, so if you want to feed a crowd on the cheap, save this one for the future.

Plus, our whole house smelled like warm, delicious spices for a couple days, so I suppose it’s a good thing we aren’t trying to sell it right now.

Of course, with the way the housing market is moving right now, I doubt it would even matter.

This piece first appeared in print on May 19, 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
Breakfast

You don’t have to work hard for ‘egg’cellent pizza

Breakfast pizza is easy to make and gives you all the flavors of sausage gravy, eggs and fried potatoes in one, handheld meal.

In January, Joey happened upon a post for a local restaurant that was going to serve breakfast pizzas for their New Year’s Day brunch.

We weren’t able to make it, but he kept mentioning it over the next few weeks—noting that we could surely figure out how to make a fantastic breakfast pizza ourselves.

After all, we are pretty good at breakfast at our house. Of course, we mostly just eat it for dinner, opting for boring items like granola bars and cereal in the morning, but I think it still counts.

One of our favorites is making biscuits with sausage gravy, and that became the base for our breakfast pizza idea. After some brainstorming, we came to a consensus and created this week’s recipe.

As you will see, it’s simple to customize. You can easily make it spicy or substitute some frozen hashbrown potatoes in place of a fresh spud. You can even use a gravy mix, if you like. I won’t tell anyone.

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Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast pizza is easy to make and gives you all the flavors of sausage gravy, eggs and fried potatoes in one, handheld meal.
Course Breakfast
Keyword cheese, eggs, pizza, potatoes, premade crust, sausage gravy

Ingredients

  • 2 packages pre-made pizza dough I used 7.8-ounce crusts
  • 1 pound sausage I used sage
  • flour amount will vary, see directions
  • milk I used skim (amount will vary, see directions)
  • 1 medium potato thinly sliced
  • an egg for each person
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 2 cups shredded cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to whatever temperature is listed on your pre-made crusts. Roll them out onto pizza or sheet pans (place them on parchment paper for easier cleanup).
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat, saute the sausage, crumbling it as it browns.
  • Once the sausage is cooked through, do not drain the fat from the pan. Sprinkle flour into the pan, a little at a time, while stirring. Add just enough flour to soak up all of the fat in the pan. You’ll know you have enough when the sausage is no longer shiny.
  • Cook for a couple minutes, and then add about one cup of milk. Stir, scraping the bottom of the skillet as you do to get any cooked on bits.
  • Add more milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until you reach your desired gravy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I also normally add some more sage and some cayenne pepper to mine.) Remove it from heat.
  • Spread the gravy out on the crusts to within about an inch of the edge. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the gravy, and then top with potato slices.
  • Carefully crack one egg for each person you’re feeding toward the center of the pizzas and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Bake the pizzas for the amount of time on the crust packaging.
  • Cut into slices and serve.

We really enjoyed this for supper. It kind of combines all the great flavors of breakfast into one easy-to-eat meal. Plus, it reheated really well, too.

Variations we thought about were you could wait until halfway through the pizzas baking to crack the eggs on top to get a runny yolk, and we’re going to go out of our way to use spicy sausage next time, too.

It’s always nicer when somebody else cooks for you, and if we get a chance at some restaurant-made breakfast pizza sometime, I’m sure we’ll take it. But now that we know how to make this ourselves, staying home for dinner is pretty great option, too.

This piece first appeared in print on Feb. 10, 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

Potatoes and ground beef make dinner a done ‘dillo’

Picadillo con papas, or ground beef with potatoes, is a hearty, simple meal that is great for the whole family.

Not long ago, I saw a spirited discussion on Facebook about online food bloggers. 

The general consensus was that nobody wanted to read the person’s back story and long-winded tales from the kitchen—they just wanted the recipe.

Honestly, that made me a little sad. Not only because I was sure that means they are definitely not fans of anything I write but also because I tend to really like the stories that accompany food. To me, food and recipes bind us together as community—across all kinds of divides.

That’s why I really like the blog this week’s recipe comes from. It is written by Sonia Mendez Garcia, who grew up learning how to cook from her parents, who owned a taqueria in Texas. She explains on her website that the goal of her blog is to help maintain the legacy of her family recipes. It’s a very sweet tribute. Plus, if you read a bit, you find out that she has a pretty impressive resume as a cook.

The recipe I tried this week is one of her mother’s. You can find the original post on her blog, “La Pina in La Cocina,” at https://pinaenlacocina.com/moms-picadillo-con-papaground-beef-in-fresh-tomato-sauce-with-potatoes/. I added some extra seasonings to my version below.

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Picadillo con Papas

Picadillo con papas, or ground beef with potatoes, is a hearty, simple meal that is great for the whole family.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword garlic, ground beef, picadillo con papas, potatoes, Roma tomatoes, Serrano, yellow onion

Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup olive or canola oil
  • 1 large Russet potato diced
  • 1 small onion diced (I used yellow)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes cut into chunks
  • 1-2 Serrano chiles cut into chunks

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cover the pan, stirring every five minutes or so until the outsides are crispy and the insides are fork tender.
  • Remove the potatoes from the pan and let them drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.
  • Add the onions and ground beef to the skillet. Saute until the beef is cooked through and drain off any fat from the pan.
  • Add the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, and garlic, and stir to combine well.
  • While the ground beef is cooking, add the tomatoes and Serranos, along with 1/4 cup water, to a blender or food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth, and then pour it into the pan with the drained beef mixture.
  • Bring the entire mixture to a boil. Add more salt and pepper, if necessary, and stir in the cooked potatoes.
  • Reduce heat to low, and allow the sauce to thicken for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and serve over rice or with tortillas, along with your favorite taco toppings.

This was delicious, and the leftovers were awesome, too. It was a filling, flavorful meal. 

We opted to eat our picadillo on tortillas, along with some fresh spinach, but as Sonia explains on her site, you can eat it all kinds ways, so just pick your favorite (or whatever you have on hand in your pantry).

I suppose, in the grand scheme of things, I can accept that not everyone wants to read little stories about every recipe they try. I mean, when you’re hungry, you’re hungry.

But the nice thing about food—especially family recipes—is whether you know the back story or not, eating connects all of us.

This piece first appeared in print on July 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
Air Fryer Appetizer Side Dish

Fryer lets you ‘air’ in the side of less oil

Air fryer potatoes are seasoned simply and made using very little oil.

When I first moved out on my own, one of the first items I acquired for my kitchen was a deep fat fryer.

I’m a sucker for anything fried, but I could eat French fries every day and never get sick of them. Joey makes fun of me, because if there is any kind of variation of fries on a menu, he knows I’m probably going to get it.

Philly cheesesteak fries? Yep. Chili cheese fries? Of course. Fajita steak fries? Yes, please.

Of course, using a deep fryer on the regular is a pretty terrible idea, so my well-loved appliance finally went in the donation pile in September. It was time to say goodbye and not give into deep frying temptation.

But then I got my hands on an air fryer, and while I have managed to stay away from the French fries for the most part, getting to make “fried” foods with very little oil has been extremely appealing.

This week, Joey and I were collaborating on a meal. He was cooking the main dish, and I took on our side. After glancing a few times at the bag of yellow potatoes on our counter, I decided it was time to use the air fryer, but since Joey was making pork chops, I figured fries weren’t quite fancy enough, so I turned to the Internet.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “40 aprons” by Cheryl Malik. You can find the original at https://40aprons.com/air-fryer-potatoes/. I changed up her seasonings a bit.

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Air Fryer Potatoes

Air fryer potatoes are seasoned simply and made using very little oil.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Keyword air fryer, garlic salt, potatoes, rosemary

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary

Instructions

  • Cut the potatoes into about one-inch pieces. You don’t need to peel them unless that’s your preference.
  • Toss the potatoes in the oil and seasonings until they’re well coated and add them to the basket of the air fryer.
  • Cook the potatoes on the “fry” setting at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring the potatoes halfway through. Once the potatoes’ outsides are browned and they are fork tender, remove them from the air fryer and serve immediately.

Making these potatoes was really simple, and the flavors and texture were out of this world. The potatoes were soft and creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. It was awesome. Plus, it was so much quicker than making them in the oven, and it didn’t heat up my whole kitchen in the process.

This recipe will definitely be going into my recipe box to make again sometime, and even though they weren’t French fries, they still earned my vote.

I guess I’ll just have to admit I don’t just have a French fries obsession—it’s probably just potatoes in general. But, just like with my deep fat fryer, I’ll have to keep myself in check to keep myself eating healthy.

This piece first appeared in print on July 23, 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
Crockpot Main Dish

Parsnips can help keep your pot roast rooted

At the start of the stay-at-home order, Joey and I made our normal trip to the grocery store, planning to get ingredients for some meals that would yield plenty of leftovers for our freezer and keep us out of the public for a couple weeks.

We already had a roast in the freezer, so we were on the hunt for ingredients to put with it in the crockpot for a good, old-fashioned crockpot.

Unfortunately, we weren’t the only ones who made a trip to our local grocery store that day, and we found ourselves staring at a lot of empty shelves, especially in the produce section.

I was surprised to see there wasn’t a single potato to be had, and while I’d normally add carrots to my roast, there was only a tiny package of shredded carrots left, and I didn’t think that would do.

We weren’t sure how to pivot until Joey began examining the shelves for what was still available and wondered aloud what we could substitute for potatoes or carrots in our recipe.

A quick Google search yielded the solution: parsnips.

I’ve never cooked with parsnips before, but there they were, on the shelf, in abundance, so we bought a big bag and decided to see what would happen.

So, this week, I’m sharing with you how we normally put together a pot roast and highly recommending that you give parsnips a try.

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Pot Roast with Parsnips

Pot roast is a versatile dinner. This roast was made using parsnips instead of potatoes and carrots due to quarantine shortages.
Course Main Course
Keyword beef, carrots, crockpot, mashed potatoes, onions, parsnips, pot roast

Ingredients

  • Chuck roast we normally get a 3- to 5-pound roast, thawed
  • 4 to 5 stalks celery cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small yellow onion cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 to 5 carrots cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2 pounds potatoes or parsnips cut into 1-inch pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3-4 cups beef broth or a medium to dark style of beer

Instructions

  • While you prepare your vegetables, pull the roast from the refrigerator to get it closer to room temperature.
  • Start with adding the roast to the center of your crockpot and then sprinkle in the vegetables, herbs and spices around it. Pour over the broth and Worcestershire sauce and place the lid on the crockpot. You don’t need to have the broth all the way to the rim or completely covering the roast, but I’d recommend having it at least three-quarters of the way up the meat and veggies.
  • Cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for about three to five hours. (The cook time will really depend on how big your roast is, but that’s pretty standard.)
  • For proper doneness, a pot roast should be at least 145 degrees in the thickest part.
  • Check the doneness of the vegetables by piercing them with a fork. If they’re done to your liking, serve the roast by slicing it and then spooning lots of vegetables with it. We like to eat ours in a bowl so we can serve it with some of the juices from the crockpot.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Make sure you include juice in the containers, too. It will help it stay moist when you reheat it.

If you’re curious, a parsnip tastes a bit like a carrot but with a bit more of an earthy, nutty flavor. We didn’t miss the carrots or potatoes too much with the addition of the extra flavor.

There are probably a million ways people make pot roast. I have a friend who uses French onion soup mix, water and frozen, mixed vegetables in hers.

A lot of folks also like to thicken up the juices to make gravy and serve the roast over top of mashed potatoes.

The best part is that it’s a flexible dinner to make, and as we discovered, despite potatoes generally being considered a staple with pot roast, you can even get away with leaving those out, too.

Our local store is certainly returning to normal for the most part, but if nothing else, I suppose this quarantine has taught me how to be flexible—both in life and in the kitchen.

This piece first appeared in print on April 23, 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

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

Be ready to fall for a casserole with autumn flavors

Fall casserole has squash, potatoes and spinach in addition to cheese and plenty of great herbs.

As the leaves began falling off the trees recently, I got the chance to spend some time with my now two-year-old niece.

She’s in love with being in the backyard, so we went outside for awhile, and she showed me the crunchy leaves laying in the grass.

She would carefully pick up each one she found, hold it where the two of us could both hear and then roll it in her hand, saying, “Crumple, crumple, crumple.”

Fall is my favorite time of year, especially when it comes to the squash and cinnamon and other warm flavors it immediately becomes in vogue to cook with.

In that vein, I found the perfect fall recipe by Andi Gleeson, which comes from the blog “The Weary Chef.” You can find the original at https://wearychef.com/fall-potluck-casserole-with-turkey-and-squash/. I changed up the spices and the amounts of some of the ingredients.

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Fall Casserole

Fall casserole has squash, potatoes and spinach in addition to cheese and plenty of great herbs.
Course Main Course
Keyword butternut squash, cheese, ground turkey, potatoes, spinach

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds butternut squash diced
  • 12 ounces frozen spinach thawed and drained
  • 1 1/2 rounded cup of frozen hashbrowns shredded or diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-1/2 cup milk I used skim
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Prepare a 9×13-inch baking pan by coating it in cooking spray and set it aside.
  • Cut up the vegetables and make sure you squeeze all of the excess moisture out of the spinach. Combine the squash, spinach, and hashbrowns in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • In a skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat and saute the onions until they’re soft. Add the ground turkey and salt and pepper and cook through, crumbling it as you go. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, sage and parsley and saute for another couple of minutes.
  • Sprinkle on the flour and stir. Let it cook for about a minute to get rid of the flour taste and then add the milk, stirring to bring up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Let the mixture simmer, stirring often, until it thickens into a gravy-like consistency.
  • Remove the turkey mixture from the heat and add it and one-half cup of parmesan cheese to the mixing bowl. Stir to combine all the ingredients and dump it into the prepared pan.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until the squash can be pierced easily with a fork.
  • Spread the remaining cheese on the top and bake for about five more minutes to melt it, and then serve.

This was an amazing dinner, and as we were eating, we discussed how good it would be with a runny fried egg on top as well, which is how we ended up enjoying the leftovers the next morning for breakfast.

It would also be a great side dish on a Thanksgiving table, if you’re looking for something new.

And I’d especially recommend making this for dinner on a night when you can go outside and crumple leaves with a two year old.

It beats raking any day.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 7, 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

Expand your ‘chorizo’ns with potato tacos

Chorizo con papas, or chorizo and potato, tacos are a crowd pleaser with tons of great flavor.

My sister and I have a fundamental difference in opinion when it comes to potatoes in Mexican food. 

I’m in the “absolutely” camp, and she’s in the “never, ever” camp. I discovered this philosophical divergence one day when I recommended a local restaurant’s chorizo and potato fried tacos to her, and we were both shocked by the other’s preference.

But since she is absolutely wrong, I decided to make a homemade version of chorizo and potato tacos without the fried shell this week, and they were awesome.

If you’re not familiar, chorizo is a sausage that is full of lots of great spices. For this recipe, you’ll want to get the Mexican kind that is raw rather than the Spanish kind, which generally comes already cooked. It’s also a beautiful color, and I always enjoy cooking with it, since it creates this gorgeous red hue in the pan.

And if you’re not well-versed in Spanish, “con papas” just means “with potatoes” in this recipe’s title.

The recipe I used comes from the blog “In Mama Maggie’s Kitchen” by Maggie Unzueta. You can find the original post at https://inmamamaggieskitchen.com/chorizo-con-papas-or-mexican-chorizo-with-potatoes/. I added more spices and some peppers to my version. I also eliminated the oil in the recipe, since chorizo generally has plenty of grease on its own, but if you have trouble with it sticking, you might add that back in. Finally, I just cooked the potatoes in the pan rather than boiling them first to eliminate dishes.

Print

Chorizo con Papas

Chorizo con papas, or chorizo and potato, tacos are a crowd pleaser with tons of great flavor.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chorizo, potatoes, tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Mexican pork chorizo remove casings, if applicable
  • 1 small onion diced (I used yellow)
  • 1 jalapeno diced (remove ribs and seeds to decrease spiciness)
  • 1 Anaheim pepper diced
  • 1 pound potatoes diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 packet of Sazon Goya seasoning
  • garlic salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large skillet with a lid, brown the chorizo, breaking it apart. Once it is cooked through, transfer the chorizo to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
  • Leave only about one tablespoon of grease in the pan and add the onion, peppers, potatoes and spices.
  • Stir to coat the ingredients in oil and cover the pan. Every few minutes, remove the lid and stir, scraping the bottom to remove any bits.
  • If the pan becomes too dry, either add a little oil or add a little water (which is what I did) to help steam the vegetables.
  • Once the potatoes are fork tender, add the chorizo back into the pan and stir. Let the chorizo heat back up and then serve in your favorite taco vessel. (We used flour tortillas.)

We served our tacos with shredded cheese, fresh spinach and some avocado. The recipe author suggests fresh cilantro, too. Really, anything that you like on other kinds of tacos will probably be good on these, although I saw no need for any salsa or tabasco sauce on these, since they had a great amount of flavor on their own.

We also had a lot of leftovers from making this recipe, and the tacos reheated really well in the microwave, which made for some good lunches for us to take to work.

The only regret I have is my sister will never realize just how delicious a batch of chorizo con papas can be, but you can’t win them all, and I can’t help it if she doesn’t know what’s good.

Maybe someday she’ll come around.

This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 8, 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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