Chipotle Corn Chowder

We’re at that point in the year where we are craving warm weather (and we’re actually having super warm weather here) but the reality is that it’s still February and there is always the possibility of a cold snap in March (and even April).  This chowder, in my opinion, is the perfect meal for this time of the year.  It celebrates the produce that’s to come (corn!  zucchini!) yet it’s warm and comforting and totally appropriate for February (I can’t quite get behind eating hot soup in July).

I decided to make this recipe after noticing the abundance of frozen corn from our garden in the freezer.  I don’t want to let one kernel go to waste.  My aunt (Hey, Daphne!) was also in town and she’s a huge fan of soups so I thought this would be the perfect dinner to make while she was visiting.  On Monday evening, she was on baby duty (aka getting ALL the baby snuggles) and I set out to make dinner.  This dinner comes together super quickly once you’ve chopped all your veggies.

The potatoes, corn (if you don’t have any fresh-frozen corn I would go for frozen corn from the grocery store this time of year), onion, garlic and zucchini (I found some really pretty organic zucchini at Trader Joe’s) are sautéed in a little olive oil until tender.  Then add in the broth (I used chicken – but you can totally use veggie to make this vegetarian) and allow the pot to simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender.  Transfer about three cups of the mixture to a blender and puree and then add in the almond milk and chipotles (as much or as little) and blend until smooth.  Add the blended soup back into the pot with the remaining “chunky” soup and allow everything to warm.

cornchowder

To serve, top with some pesto and/or basil and slurp your way through this bowl of chowder.  It’s silky – as if you’ve added cream – with just the right amount of body.  The pesto and basil on top made this bowl of chowder for me and I loved the bit of heat that the chipotle peppers added to the whole bowl of deliciousness.

I hope you’re all having a great week – we’re still adjusting to being a family of three and I’m finding ways to make the time I spend pumping (almost 3 hours a day) a little more productive (aka – blogging while pumping).  I have high hopes for a Friday Favorites post tomorrow…but don’t hate me if it doesn’t happen.

 

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White Bean Soup with Garlicky Croutons

Any one else out there suffering from the “I can’t get warm” syndrome???  It’s been down right cold this week.  There’s no better cure for “chilled to the bone” than soup.  This soup is creamy and thick without being heavy.  And to contrast with the silky soup, crunchy, garlicky croutons on top.  

To start the soup, sauté chopped carrots and onion in a little EVOO until softened.  Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding in stock, water, salt, pepper and white beans.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, prep your croutons.  I used the last of Dave’s Killer Bread (my absolute favorite sandwich bread – and you can find it at Walmart) that we had and simply cut into cubes.  Toss with a little olive oil and salt and place on a sheet pan.

Once the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add in the kale (I used a baby green mixture), whole milk and parmesan cheese.  Let stand for 5 minutes while you broil the croutons.

Keep an eye on the croutons – you don’t want them to burn!

whitebeansoup

The soup is served with the croutons on top and I absolutely loved every single bite of this warm dinner.  It seriously warmed me up.

p.s. While it was frigid all week, they are calling for 60 degrees on Sunday.  BRING IT ON!

Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale

The snow is finally starting to melt!  It’s been brutally cold and despite the fact that we’re having a major warm-up towards the end of the week, I know that we still have some frigid days in our future.  Big Guy and I don’t eat a lot of soup because we really only enjoy it when it’s cold outside.  However, we both love peanut soup – a soup that is inspired by a West African recipe.

Last night was the perfect evening for soup.  After a day of driving back from Charlotte, we wanted something comforting and cozy yet healthy.  Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale comes together in a flash on the stovetop but the recipe has adaptations for both the slow cooker and the instant pot.  There’s no excuse not to make this soup (which is actually more like a stew because of the thickness).

To start the soup, onion, garlic and jalapeño is sautéed in olive oil until softened.  Then you add in the sweet potato.  I cut my sweet potatoes pretty small but you could totally do bigger chunks – especially if you’re cooking this in the slow cooker.  Allow the sweet potatoes to brown just a little bit and then add in the fire roasted tomatoes (juice and all), coconut milk, water, salt, curry powder and peanuts.  Trust me on the peanuts.

This simmers until the sweet potatoes are tender.  Add in the peanut butter and the chopped kale and allow to simmer until thickened and the peanut butter has melted into the entire pot of soup.

Serve with an extra sprinkle of peanuts on top.

peanutsoup

So delicious!  I know peanuts seem a little weird in soup but I can’t stress to you how incredible this dish tastes.

 

Hummus Soup

One of my favorite dips in soup form!  Y’all know I’m not a soup fan…until it gets cold.  And well this week it’s been quite chilly, especially with workers in and out of the house – I feel like I can’t keep the house warm.  But a warm bowl of soup can make even the chilliest of evenings a little bit cozier.

The soup is garlicky and smooth and seriously tastes likes your favorite brand of garlic hummus.  Onions and garlic are sautéed in olive oil before adding in stock and water, the base of the soup.  Bring that to a simmer and add in your chickpeas – the main ingredient in hummus.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  The mixture is then pureed in a blender until silky, smooth before adding in the tahini (I think Trader Joe’s makes the best) and lemon juice.  Whirl a few more times in the blender to mix everything up.

The soup is topped with feta cheese for a little saltiness as well as crunchy chickpeas.  I loved the contrast of texture that the chickpeas brought to the bowl of soup.  To make the crunchy chickpeas, simply cook a cup of chickpeas in a tablespoon of olive oil until crispy and browned.

hummussoup

I absolutely love this soup.  It’s garlicky, silky and absolutely warming to your soul on a chilly fall evening.

Acorn Squash with Sage-Cranberry Rice Stuffing

While I love the slow cooker, I sometimes don’t love that I’m left with massive amount of leftovers when I’m just cooking for Big Guy and myself.  This recipe is not only made for two people but it uses the slow cooker in the most ingenious way.

Aluminum foil is used to make two rings that are placed on the bottom of the slow cooker.  This is where you’ll place your acorn squash halves.  Not only will it keep your squash from tipping over but it will keep the acorn squash from over cooking.  You’ll also surround the aluminum foil rings with ice cubes to, again, avoid overcooking the squash.  The acorn squash halves, once cleaned of their seeds, are filled with a stuffing mixture that is a combination of brown rice, dried cranberries, green onions, olive oil, sage and salt and pepper.

The stuffed acorn squash cooks on low for about 6-7 hours or until the squash is tender all the way through.  Serve the squash with a sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts and fresh thyme.

stuffedacornsquash

Not only was this the perfect amount of food for two but clean-up was a breeze.  Big Guy claimed this meal tasted like Thanksgiving which is absolutely perfect for this time of year.  The dish was so comforting and I loved the sweetness from the dried cranberries and the crunch from the hazelnuts.

Oh, and it’s the perfect meal for Meatless Monday (wink wink).

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Curry

I never regret letting the crock-pot handle dinner. This crock-pot recipe requires no pre-cooking and you simply dump the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it do it’s thing.

And just because it’s “meatless” doesn’t mean it’s flavorless.  In fact, this curry is packed with flavor thanks to Thai red curry paste, garam masala, fresh ginger and turmeric.  By the way, turmeric is FULL of health benefits and we all should be eating more of it.  The creaminess comes from coconut milk that is added after the curry is finished cooking.  I’ve never cooked with red lentils before (gasp!) but I found that they almost “melted” into the curry and they weren’t detectable at all.

The curry is served over rice along with quick pickled red onions and cilantro for freshness.  Don’t leave the toppings off – they add life to a meal that’s literally cooked all day long.

curry

And you’ll have lots and lots of leftovers.  The recipe serves 8, so either invite some friends over or plan to eat delicious curry for lunch throughout the week.

Now if only we could teach the crock-pot to clean up the kitchen…

 

Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup

October is here and I’m officially ready for some fall weather.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that my favorite season has come to and end but I could do without any more sunburns (yes, my arms fried at the football game on Saturday).  In an attempt to lure fall to Eastern NC, I brought fall to the kitchen last night.

Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup not only has all the flavors of fall (without pumpkin) but it’s also incredibly comforting.  Sweet potatoes and white beans bulk up the soup and make it protein packed and filling while also being vegetarian.  The flavor comes from sautéed red onion, garlic and sage.  A little milk makes it super creamy.  Once blended, each bowl is topped with sweet, tart, and crunchy apples (Golden Delicious apples are my fav right now) and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

sweetpotatosoup

Now if only we could get our crisp, cool weather to stay past 9am.