Category Archives: Soups

Chicken and Potato Corn Chowder

I whipped up this hearty chowder from pantry and freezer staples and a leftover chicken breast in less than 30 minutes.

I whipped up this hearty chowder from pantry and freezer staples and a leftover chicken breast in less than 30 minutes.

Since we’re gearing up for a huge winter blizzard in this part of the country, my mind has shifted towards soup.  Steaming hot, hearty soup – chowder even!  I had a few minutes to organize my refrigerator and freezer this morning, so I pulled out some ingredients to whip up a small chowder (seriously, I say small because this was only two servings – so adjust accordingly for your family size).  I had a leftover Meyer Lemon Dijon Mustard Chicken breast, spied some red potatoes and frozen corn – thus my inspiration.  Here is how I did it, and as I often do, I did not really measure.  So the amounts are approximate and the ingredients are flexible, which means you can improvise to your taste.  I hope you will be creative and dish up a chowder that’s perfect for you.

Ingredients:

Any blend of minced onion, celery, and sweet and/or hot peppers.  Because I always process lots and lots of peppers in the summer into frozen ice cube or mini muffin tin sized “cubes” (see The Big Pepper Freeze), adding them for flavor, color and extra vitamins to a soup is a snap.  This is what I pulled out of my freezer this morning:  1 “cube” each Vidalia onion, green bell pepper, sweet red bell pepper, hot red Hungarian wax pepper.  A cube is approximately 1 tablespoon.

1 to 2 cups low sodium chicken broth

Sliced carrots – approximately 1/2 cup

2 red potatoes, peeled and diced

Frozen corn – approximately 1/2 to 1 cup

Pinch of garlic and dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste

1 – 4 ounce cooked or baked chicken breast, diced small (seasoned, plain, whatever you have – mine was tangy and lemony, which gave a fresh zip to the chowder)

Low fat evaporated milk

Directions:

Simmer the veggies with garlic and thyme in 1 cup of broth approximately 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and additional broth to just cover the potatoes.  Cook until almost tender, then add the corn.  Add broth if necessary, but you really only want the broth to cover the potatoes so that when you add the milk it will be a chunky, hearty chowder, as opposed to a thin and brothy soup.  When the potatoes and corn are tender, add the cooked chicken.  Heat through.  Smash up a few cubes of potatoes to thicken the soup if desired.  Add the evaporated milk to the soup in the pan until it is your desired consistency.  Heat through.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and some freshly ground black pepper if you like.


White Bean Tomato Soup

It’s so cold today!  Gray, cloudy, icy, snowy…  Soup weather!  I made this soup last November but did not take the time to post.  It seems like the perfect dish to catch up on today – so here’s hoping I can remember how I made it…. This is a quick soup, thanks to the delicious, well-seasoned tomato juice I made in September.

Ingredients:

1 quart – tomato juice

(I used tomato juice that I had seasoned with garlic, onion, celery and basil, so it was very flavorful going into the soup pot.  If you are using plain tomato juice, this is a perfect time to use those Litehouse brand freeze-dried herbs I am always talking about – I would say… about 2 teaspoons of red onion, 1 teaspoon of garlic and 1 tablespoon of basil.  You could add a little fresh minced celery, too, maybe 1 tablespoon.  If you don’t have the Litehouse products, use whatever style of seasoning you like – I would say… about the equivalent of one clove of garlic,  2 tablespoons minced onion, 1 tablespoon minced celery and hopefully you can find fresh basil – use about 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil.  Another trick for more flavor is to use V-8 juice instead of tomato juice, then you can skip all the seasonings except the basil.)

1 quart – low sodium chicken broth or stock

1 to 2 cubes – diced hot peppers (optional – you can check out The Big Pepper Freeze for more info on this ingredient)

2 each – potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 each 15.5 ounce can – white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well

Fresh spinach, chopped (as much as you like – I did not measure)

Directions:

Simmer the tomato juice, broth, peppers if using and potatoes for about 15 minutes.  Then add the beans and spinach and simmer for another 15 minutes or so.   Taste for seasoning – I usually don’t add salt because this is so flavorful, but that is up to the taste-tester!

Variations:

I made a very similar soup today, but I substituted chopped artichoke hearts for the white beans and added some leftover diced chicken breast.  I added both those ingredients after the potatoes had cooked for about 15 minutes.  Adding chicken to any soup is easy if you have Shredded Chicken (Shortcut Cooking) on hand in your freezer.

See how creative you can get…


Butternut Squash Soup

Almost every year I land a few butternut squash from my friends.  I like to bake them and then puree for soup.  This is a low fat soup that is delicious with or without the added brown rice and shredded chicken.

Ingredients:

2 to 3 Cups (approx) – pureed butternut squash

1 32 Ounce Carton – low sodium chicken broth

Sliced Carrots – I used two

Minced Celery – I used 1 small stalk

Onion and Garlic – 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced and about 1/4 cup minced onion

Hot Peppers, finely chopped (optional and to taste) – remember, we like it hot!  That’s why I do the Big Pepper Freeze – I use them all year long.

Optional – 2 Cups (approx) – cooked brown rice (a great way to use up leftover rice)

Optional – 1 to 2 Cups – cooked, shredded chicken – this is a great way to use up leftover roast chicken, or if you have Shredded Chicken (Shortcut Cooking) on hand.

Directions:

Squash looks intimidating, but it’s really pretty easy once you know a few tricks.  First, wash and dry the outside.  Then carefully slice off a small piece from the side so it will lay flat on your cutting board.

Squash is hard to cut through and this will keep it from rolling on your cutting board.  Then cut off the top and bottom.  Finally, slice in two, lengthwise.  Scoop the seeds out and place the squash, pulp side up, in a baking pan.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for an hour (approx) or until the  squash is tender.

Scoop the roasted squash out of the shell.  (If you are roasting a lot of squash, you can freeze at this point for future use).

Puree the squash (I use an immersion blender, but you can also do in a food processor).

Add the carrots, celery, garlic, onion and chicken broth to the pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10  minutes or so.  Add the pureed squash and cook another 10 minutes or so.  Add the chicken and rice and cook another 10 minutes or so, just until flavors have blended and carrots are tender.

I like to serve with shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top.

Note:  If you don’t have cooked rice and you still want to add rice to this soup, use about 1/3 cup raw brown rice and give it a head start cooking in the soup pot with about 2 cups of water for 15 minutes.  Then add the chicken broth, carrots, celery and seasonings and continue as above.

Also, if you want a creamier soup, you can stir in some hot lowfat or fat free condensed milk right before serving.  Heat through in the soup pot until the soup is hot and steaming, but not boiling, then serve.


White Turkey Chili

Okay, this is a crazy recipe post!  There is absolutely no measuring whatsoever!!!  It’s a “just go for it” kind of thing.  I love to make white chicken chili whenever I have leftover roast chicken.  So I decided to use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving to make this.    This is how I did it.

I made the turkey for the family get-together on my side, so after Scott carved it that left  me with the “carcass” – you know, the bones – though there was still some skin, meat bits and so on stuck to them…  So I threw it all in a pot with some water, celery, carrot, onion, garlic and simmered it on the stove – a few hours later, I had oh, less than 2 quarts of stock/broth (stock is from bones; broth is from meat – ergo my stock/broth ingredient) that I strained into a pitcher.   A lot of effort for not so much stock/broth, but it’s rich and tasty and really, I didn’t have to do anything except rearrange the bones occasionally in the pot as they simmered….   So – once in the pitcher, the fat rose to the top.  I put it in the fridge overnight to harden the fat and make it easier to remove.   The next day I removed the fat and plopped the stock/broth into a pot (yes, plopped – the stock/broth becomes fairly solid in the refrigerator from the gelatin in the bones – it will turn to liquid as soon as you heat it).   I added some water, and a little chicken broth because the stock/broth all by itself did not look like it would make very much soup.   I also added:

Leftover turky (white meat!)

Chopped Jalapeno and Serrano peppers (The Big Pepper Freeze)

Salsa Verde (Salsa Verde) – I add this for extra flavor and the tomatillos also add a little body (thickening) to the soup

Sweet Corn (I used frozen but you can also use canned white shoepeg corn – Green Giant)

White Northern Beans (I used canned, very well rinsed)

Fresh Mushrooms, diced

I brought it to a boil, then simmered it for 30 minutes or so.   The stock/broth was very rich so I cut up some lemon wedges  and put a squeeze into the soup bowl.  (I would have used lime, but I did not have any – the lemon surprised me – it was very good in the soup)  I added some shredded cheese and tortilla chips.  Sour cream and diced avocado are also perfect condiments for this soup.


Cauliflower Soup

Once October rolls around – and the air gets crisp and the leaves start to crunch underfoot – I begin to make soup.  I was at the local grocery and saw a gigantic head of cauliflower – beautiful and white – for only $1.99 – with the words “locally grown” on the produce label.  What’s not to like about this? Extreme-quality cauliflower, I was supporting the local economy, and getting a bargain price to boot.  Cauliflower soup was soon simmering on the stove….

This recipe is guilt-free.  It’s quick cooking, uses no/low fat, no salt added,  and includes carrots and peppers for color and extra nutrients.   The rough puree method leaves the soup slightly chunky and thick, so no extra thickening (fat or calories) needed.   Evaporated milk instead of cream or half and half adds nutrition without extra calories and fat. 

Beautiful, large and locally grown!

This technique can be used for most any veggie – squash, broccoli, carrots, and so on – it is a healthy technique to soup – gives the impression of a cream soup without the added fat and calories. 

Soup’s on!!

 

 

Ingredients:

Cauliflower – washed and rough chopped

Low-sodium Chicken Broth – I used the 32 ounce carton because I had such a large head of cauliflower – you may only need the 14.5 ounce can.

Carrots – I used about 4 carrots (would probably only use 2 for a smaller head), peeled and sliced (you can cheat and use the prepared baby carrots if you like)

Hot Peppers – See the post “The Big Pepper Freeze” – I tossed in about 3 pepper cubes because I like a little zippiness and heat – If you don’t like the heat, you can use finely chopped sweet bell peppers – or none at all

Garlic – 1 fresh clove, minced – or freeze-dried Litehouse – about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste

Onion – I was out of onion, so I used freeze-dried Litehouse red onion – a teaspoon or so

Dried Thyme – for some reason, I think thyme really complements the flavor of cauliflower – I used about 1/4 teaspoon

Evaporated Milk (fat free or low fat) – I used one can

Directions:

Place the cauliflower, carrots, peppers, seasonings, in a large soup pot.  Add the broth and additional water to fill the pan about 1/3 of the way up.  You are not covering the cauliflower – really, more like steaming it.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer about 20 minutes or so until tender.  Stir occasionally – the cauliflower will break up nicely.

Use an immersion blender (just put it right into the soup pot) and pulse it on and off to puree the cauliflower and carrots.  Don’t puree to a super smooth texture – this is not a “liquid velvet cream soup” – leave it a little chunky and thick.  Stir in the evaporated milk and extra chicken broth to the consistency you prefer.   Return to a low heat and stir until very hot and beginning to bubble.  Ladle into soup bowls and top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I know… I just added some fat, didn’t I?  How can I resist cheese with cauliflower!!!)

The cauliflower puree before adding the evaporated milk. Easy to freeze for later!

Here’s a “make ahead” trick for you – since the cauliflower I purchased was such a large head, this made way more soup than my husband and I wanted to eat at one time.  And though I love the convenience of leftovers, I can only eat them once or twice.  So before adding the evaporated milk, I scooped the excess puree into a freezer container.  The next time I crave cauliflower soup, I’ll simply thaw the puree, bring it to a boil and add a can of evaporated milk.