Cauliflower Chowder

Cauliflower chowder is not one of the more popular chowders out there, but after making this recipe I hope it will be as popular in your home as it is in mine.  It is really easy to make and is mild flavored but full-bodied at the same time.  I love the creamy texture and it’s just so comforting to eat.

I know it’s almost  summer time, but fast forward 7 or 8 months and imagine a bowl of this hot chowder in your chilly hands as you sit on the couch, watching the rain fall on the windows.  Yeah, sounds good huh?!

Please don’t wait 8 months to make this though.  Make it today, it’s good anytime of year.

Start by sauteing diced onion, carrots and celery until soft.

Chop up one head of cauliflower.  You don’t need to be super precise, since it all breaks down and crumbles in the soup anyway.

Once tender, add in the chicken broth or vegetable broth if you want to stay vegetarian.


In a smaller pot, melt butter and add flour to make a roux.  Add in half and half once the flour is cooked a bit.

Pour the milky roux into the vegetables and it will thicken as it cooks.

Lower the heat to low and cover, stirring every 10 minutes.  The chowder is ready to eat now, but will only taste better as it sits longer.

To make this into a one pot meal, I like to add chunks of cooked chicken breast.  Better yet, buy one of those rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and just add the meat to this chowder.  Can’t get much easier than that!

The best thing about this soup is that I can actually get my daughter to have vegetables for dinner!!  She loves the flavor and texture and doesn’t even realize she’s eating 4 kinds of vegetables with each spoonful.  Gotta love it!

Cauliflower Chowder

1 stick Butter, Divided

1/2 Onion, Finely Diced

1 whole Carrot Finely Diced

1 stalk Celery, Finely Diced

1 large Cauliflower Head (roughly Chopped)

2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley

2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth

6 Tablespoons Flour

1 cup Half-and-half

2 teaspoons To 4 Teaspoons Salt, To Taste

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown.

Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine.

Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt the other 4 tablespoons butter. Add the flour  and whisk to combine and cook the flour for one minute.  Add the half-and-half  to flour mixture and whisk until thickened. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

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Creamy Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup

What is the perfect thing to have with a warm Italian panino?  Of course………..tomato soup.  But, not just any tomato soup.  This is creamy tomato and red bell pepper soup with fresh basil.  I made this for some of my girlfriends for lunch and it was a nice way to round out the panini sandwiches and fun conversation.

The way to start any soup is to begin with aromatics, which adds depth of flavor.  That comes from the onions, garlic, dried thyme and tomato paste.  Layer in salt and pepper as you go.

When the onions are soft, add two cans of whole tomatoes.

Break up the tomatoes with your wooden spoon and add one can of chicken broth.  Let that come to a boil and then cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Drain the roasted peppers and dump them in.

Let that come to a boil.

Add in the 10 leaves of chopped fresh basil.  Test the soup for salt and pepper and then let it rest for about 10 minutes, to cool.  I also added some sugar to tone down the acidity a bit.

Slowly ladle half a blender full of the soup and let it blend until smooth.  Do the same with the remaining soup and dump it all back into the pot.

Here’s where the creamy comes in.  The half and half just gives the soup a great smooth mouth feel.  It also tones down the bite of the tomato.  Overall , if you like tomatoes and soup then you will absolutely love the flavor of this soup.  And the best part is, I make extra because soup always tastes better the next day!

Creamy Tomato & Roasted Pepper Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp dried thyme

2 Tbsp tomato paste

Salt, pepper

2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes

1 can chicken broth

1 (12oz) jar roasted red bell peppers

10 leaves fresh basil, chopped

2 tsp sugar, optional

1 cup half and half

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy pot on medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, thyme and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and cook until incorporated, just 1 more minute.

Add tomatoes, red peppers, and chicken broth and let simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and the sugar, if needed. Add basil, and puree using blender until smooth. Add half-and-half and stir.

Makes 8-10 servings.

White Chicken Chili

So, I got tired of the run-of-the-mill red chili.  Here’s a chili that caused me to redefine chili altogether.  It’s really mild, but full of flavor.  It’s made with chicken instead of ground beef.  It uses white beans instead of red kidney beans.  It’s a nice change from the usual.  And, I like change!

I got this recipe from my MOPS group cookbook.  It was put together by our seasoned moms (older mentor moms) to pass down to us younger moms.  The cookbook is filled with treasures that are easy to make and are good for a household of young children with picky palates.

This chili was a hit in our house the first time I made it.  It doesn’t have the spice and bold flavors of red chili that put preschoolers off.  The chunks of lean chicken breast meat and mild white beans are a great source of protein for the little ones too.  It does have a small can of diced green chiles, but the little hint of it blends well with the chili as a whole.  Add some crunched up tortillas chips on top and you’ve got a quick easy meal fit for any family member, young or old.

White Chicken Chili

1 large sweet onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

olive oil

2 cans small white beans (S&W brand), drained

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups shredded chicken breast meat

4 oz. diced mild green chilies

2 tsp cumin

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large pot, sauté onion until transparent; add garlic and sauté.  Add beans, chilies, broth, cooked chicken, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook uncovered at a simmer for 45 minutes.  Add cheese and stir constantly until cheese is melted.  Remove from heat and add sour cream.

Creamy Spinach Soup

This spinach soup not only packs a lot of nutrients into a small bowl, it also delivers a punch of flavor.

I’m not sure about all the vitamins in spinach, but I’m sure there’s a lot.  All I know is that it helped Popeye fight Bluto and he always won, so it’s gotta be good for ya’, right?

The velvety mouth-feel of this soup makes it so easy to eat (or drink) and I paired it with a crusty Italian panino, which is a wonderful texture contrast.  The cayenne pepper really wakes up your palette.

The next time you want to serve a simple but elegant soup, try this.

Or, the next time it’s a busy weeknight and you want something flavorful and easy, try this…………right out of the pot!

 

 

Creamy Spinach Soup

Adapted from pioneerwoman.com

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

16 ounces, weight Spinach

2 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced

4 Tablespoons Butter

1/2  Medium Onion, chopped fine

1/4 cups Flour

3 cups Half & Half

2 cups Skim Milk

2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

1/4 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper (Optional)

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

4 ounces Gruyere Cheese, Grated (other Cheeses Are Fine)

In a large skillet, heat olive over over medium heat. Add spinach and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, or until wilted. Add spinach to a blender or food processor. Pour in 1/4 cup hot water and pulse until pureed. Set aside.

In a large soup pot, cook onion in butter over medium heat until onions begin to soften. Sprinkle flour over the top and stir to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes, then pour in milk, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in pureed spinach, then cook another 3 to 5 minutes until thickened.

Check seasonings, adding more salt, pepper, or cayenne as needed. Serve in a bowl. Add a little grated Gruyere.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

When you scroll down to the bottom of this post and see the recipe to this soup, you’ll know why I love making this for my family on a busy week night.  One-third of the ingredients come out of a can!

Don’t get me wrong, I am still cooking here.  There is still baking, chopping and sauteing going on.

You will be amazed at how much flavor develops from this soup in only one hour of cooking.  Soups always taste better the next day, but this one is pretty darn tasty, piping hot the same night.

I must apologize for this bowl that I took the picture of the soup in.  I got so excited to eat and the family was hungry, so it didn’t occur to me to take the photo until I spooned the soup into this glass bowl for my hubby’s leftover lunch the next day.

 

 

The nice thing about the glass bowl is that I can you see all the ingredients swimming around in there, playing nice with each other.  Aren’t they cute?

By the way, my hubby did confirm……….the soup tasted even better the next day!

 

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 tsp minced garlic

15 oz can diced tomatoes

15 oz can pinto beans, drained

15 oz can black bean, drained

15 oz can cream style corn

15oz can sweet corn kernels

1 package taco seasoning mix

1 package dry ranch dressing powder

½ tsp cumin

6 cups chicken broth

 

Place chicken on a baking pan and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Put in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until cooked.  When cooled, shred the chicken and set aside.

Add olive oil to a stock pot and sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic until soft.  Add in all the remaining ingredients and stir.  Allow it to come to a boil and turn down to medium heat and cover for 30 minutes.  Add in the shredded chicken and cook for another 30 minutes.

Enjoy soup hot with tortilla chips and toppings such as sour cream, avocados and shredded cheddar cheese.

Italian Wedding Soup

There is nothing better than a really yummy bowl of soup to perk me up on a rainy day.

If you’ve been anywhere near a television and have been watching the news about the horrible rain and flooding we’ve been having in Southern California, you’ll know that this weather definitely calls for a good soup!

I know soup won’t stop the rain or flood, but it may put you in a better mood to deal with it all……..just a thought!

Not only is this soup tasty, it’s also pretty healthful too.  The meatballs are made from ground turkey and the leafy greens are packed with vitamins too.

The orzo is just fun to eat and I can always use a little fun……….can’t you?!

 

Italian Wedding Soup

Meatballs:

1 pound ground turkey

1 small onion, grated

1 teaspoon garlic, grated

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 large egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 slice fresh bread, crust trimmed, bread torn into small pieces

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

freshly ground black pepper

 

Soup:

12 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 pound coarsely chopped kale

2 eggs

½ cup orzo pasta

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

To make the meatballs:  Mix together all the meatball ingredients.  Shape the mixture into 1-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil over the meatballs and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

To make the soup: Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook the kale until tender, about 8 minutes. Whisk the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl to blend. Stir the soup in a circular motion. Gradually drizzle the egg mixture into the moving broth, stirring gently with a fork to form thin strands of egg, about 1 minute. Put in the orzo pasta and cook until pasta is done. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

This is the a perfect soup for the cool autumn weather………..we should be having.  In my town, we are experiencing temperatures in the 80’s, no joke!  I know, it’s so wrong.

Even though the calendar says autumn, the weather says summer.  But, I say “soup!”  I wait for the cool weather all year, just so I can make soup and by golly, I did.  Regardless of the weather, this soup is still very tasty and simply easy to make.

It took me a long time to reach out and buy a butternut squash.  It just looks kind of odd and I was unsure of the flavor, but my fears were calmed after I had this soup for the first time.  It is velvety in your mouth and the pops of curry and thyme keep it interesting.  I also just love the color, like autumn in a bowl!

 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

2 butternut squash (medium size)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup half and half

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, thyme, bay leaves and salt. Cook and stir until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane.  Cut into cubes and add to pot.

Pour the chicken broth into the pot, and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook an about 30 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and ladle the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Remove the small cover insert from your blender lid and hold down the lid with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender. Puree in batches until smooth.

Return the soup to the pot, stir in the half and half, and reheat.  For garnish, drizzle half and half with sprinkle of thyme leaves on top of soup.

Serves 8-10