Tex Mex Potato Chowder

IMG_4548.JPG

To celebrate the start of “-ber month season,” I bring you this wonderfully hearty potato chowder recipe. This has became a fall time favorite as it is easy to throw together on busy school nights, and it is packed with flavor that lasts a couple of meals. This recipe is great as is, but I think that there are so many things you can add to customize the taste. The next time I make this I may add some jalapenos or maybe a serrano to heat things up.  I bet a topping of queso fresco and/or seasoned tortilla strips would set this chowder off as well. I’ve also considered adding extra broth and thickening it up with some Masa flour to enhance the dish with a “tortilla-esque” flavor. The possibilities are endless. I was inspired to give this dish a try by Aunt Bee’s Recipes which is a great recipe blog that I recommend checking out. Aunt Bee’s recipe (found through the above link) offers a slow cooker version of this recipe. If you are interested in making this in a slow cooker her recipe is the way to go. Keep in mind that her ingredients and directions will be slightly different from mine.

TIME: approx. 45 minutes

SERVES: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 (10oz) can of rotel tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28oz) bag of potatoes O’Brien, frozen not thawed
  • 2 (32 oz) cartons of chicken broth
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 8 oz bar of cream cheese, softened/room temperature
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, reserve a few sprigs to top when you dish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat oil over medium flame. Add the chopped onion, salt and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and minced garlic. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning, cumin, and chili powder until the beef mixture is well coated. Next, add rotel tomatoes, black beans, corn, potatoes, chicken broth and milk.
  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
  4. Simmer while covered for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in softened cream cheese and fresh cilantro.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Dish topping with the reserved cilantro and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Advertisements

Gnocchi and Vegetable Soup

IMG_3991.JPG

My husband and I recently returned from a dive trip to the Philippines. It was an amazing trip filled with great diving, good friends and TONS of delicious food and drink. That said, when we returned home from a week of lush eating and drinking we needed to incorporate a healthy dose of vegetables into the week’s menu. It is not necessarily soup weather where we live at the moment but I could not pass this recipe up. As is my pattern, this is a super easy dish to throw together. Seriously, the most difficult part is prepping the veggies. This recipe will be ideal for brisk fall and brutal winter nights to warm up your core and fuel your body with nutrients. This recipe was adapted from Umami Girl who hosts a wonderful recipe blog.

Serves: 8

Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of celery, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 (32 oz) cartons of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 (15 oz) can of white beans
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 16 oz package of gnocchi
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
  • crushed red pepper flakes to top

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium-hot heat. Add the onion and celery. Saute until tender/crisp (about 5 minutes) then add the carrots and garlic and cook until garlic becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  2. Add the three cartons of vegetable broth and Italian seasoning. Bring it to a boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to create a simmer.
  3. Once simmering stir in the white beans and spinach. Once spinach begins to wilt add in one gnocchi and cook it until it pops up to the top. I do this in order to taste the broth. Taste your tester gnocchi with a healthy spoonful of broth and veggies. Add salt/pepper to your taste at this point. Once you have the broth up to your standards add in the rest of the gnocchi and cook until they pop up to the surface of the soup.
  4. Dish the soup and top with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Hearty Hot and Sour Soup

11392970_10206593701819357_9218542832287838132_n 

My gosh this soup has so much flavor! With this recipe you’ll expect tons of veggies, tons of spice and such a savory broth. Don’t be surprised to find yourself slurping up every last drop of this stuff. I had started getting tired of the traditional vegetable soups. You know the usual culprits – barley vegetable, summer vegetable, root veggie puree. We desperately needed something different so I turned to my recipe companion, Pintrest. I fall so hard into the Pintrest web but have climbed my way out with some killer recipes, this being one of them. The original recipe does include tofu and mushrooms, but there are just some things I cannot stomach and those are two of them. So if you want to make this soup even more hearty then you will want to visit the original recipe posted at http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com.

Serves: 8     Calories: 200/serving     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (Add an extra one if you really like it hot)
  • 1lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced into disks
  • 1 small savoy cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 2.5 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 6-8 leaves bok choy, thinly sliced
  • 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the onions, ginger, and jalapenos Cook for a few minutes, stirring.
  2. Add in the carrots, and cabbage. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes, or until cabbage starts to wilt. Add in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt, pepper, cold water, and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add the zucchini, and bell peppers to the pot. Simmer until the veggies are tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the soy sauce mixture and stir until the soup thickens, about 8 minutes. Add in the bok choy and tomatoes and bring the soup back to a simmer. Stir in the sesame oil.
  5. Dish and Enjoy!

*Photo and video are originals belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com

Hearty Beef and Barley Stew

Image

I made this when Perry had been diving in the cold winter waters of the Pacific. I had never had barley, and because I grew up on chicken I never had a taste for beef either. This stew really opened my eyes to new flavors and we all absolutely loved it. It had a fantastic creamy broth and there were so many veggies I felt pretty guiltless eating it.

Serves: 10             Calories: 309           Time (including prep): 2 hours 

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1.5 pounds stew beef
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cup sliced celery
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup pearled barley
  • 1 (1lb.) bag of large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 2 tablespoons flour blended with 2 tablespoons cold water

Directions:

  1. I find it much easier to have veggies prepped first. Wether you do it the night before or chop and slice before you start your stew you’ll be thankful that you aren’t trying to stir the pot and chop an onion all at the same time. So do yourself a favor and prep your veggies/meats
  2. Cook bacon until crisp. Do not drain grease.
  3.  In a large bowl combine flour, salt and pepper. Add beef pieces to the flour mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Add the bacon (including the bacon grease) to the beef mixture.
  5. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add oil, celery, onion, and meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is browned and onion is transparent.
  6. Add beef broth and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over medium low heat for 45 minutes.
  7. After simmering add barley and carrots. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  8. After simmering add potatoes and repeat simmering process for an additional 25 minutes.
  9. Add frozen veggies and cook for an additional 10 minutes
  10. Dish and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe belongs to southernfood.about.com

Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

1522069_10202694994114101_1273669727_n

After being on vacation for 10 days it is now time to get back into healthy cooking/eating mode. We went all vegetarian this week and I have to admit I’m feeling pretty good about it. Perry requested that I try to make something that isn’t just vegetables on a plate, and what better way to do that then a veggie chili. The base of this recipe came from Betty Crocker, but I really built on her original recipe. I’m sure her chili is great but this recipe is better 🙂 We’ve packed this chili with three different kinds of beans to not only give an awesome taste and texture but to also increase our protein and fiber intake. To add a smokey flavor to our chili we used fire roasted diced tomatoes and it was absolutely delectable!

Serves: 6+     Calories: 387 per 3/4 cup serving     Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (if you like spice leave in the seeds.. Also Betty Crocker suggests serrano chiles if you do not like jalapeño peppers.)
  • 1 (15 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can of kidney beans (I used dark red), drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • .5 tsp kosher salt (+more to taste)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • If you want to have a thick broth have some flour on hand, or even better masa flour 🙂
  • Optional: Greek yogurt and fresh cilantro to top

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell peppers, garlic and jalapeños. Cook for 5-7 minutes until veggies are tender. Stir frequently as to not burn.
  2. Stir in beans, tomatoes +juice, water, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Cut in frozen corn and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer once more and cook uncovered for 5 minutes
  4. OPTIONAL: If your broth is too watery for your liking you’ll want to follow this step.  Scoop about a cup of broth from the saucepan. To that cup of broth add 1-2 tbsp of flour and mix until combined. Once combined add the broth back to the saucepan and mix it into the chili. Repeat this process until you find the texture you like. I had some masa flour on hand, which in case you are unaware is the flour used to make tamales. I used this instead of regular flour and it added an even more earthy corn taste that was perfect for this chili! Add additional salt to taste.
  5. Top with you favorite extras and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Betty Crocker inspired the base and the recipe for her chili can be found at http://www.bettycrocker.com/

Bangers and Colcannon with Guinness Gravy (Irish Sausages and Mashed Potatoes)

7257_10201185098167646_1319225196_n

Lately I’ve been struggling to find quality recipes and when I was about to give up on new recipes I found a fantastic site called yummly.com. It lets you choose a cuisine, diet, and even specific ingredients. You can really customize the type of dish you want to make and this week I decided to pick from the “Irish” tab. This recipe was one of the first to come up and it ended up being an amazing dinner. I could not get my hands on any English or Irish sausages like the recipe calls for so I had to use regular sausages. Nonetheless it came out amazing and the gravy is to die for! These are also the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever made. The cabbage and bacon (we used turkey bacon) complimented each other perfectly. This will be my standard St. Patty’s Day dinner for now on.

Serves: 4     Calories: 520 (I know that’s kind of high for what I usually cook)    Time: approx 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 lb bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces (We used turkey bacon to cut back on calories and fat)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter (we used margarine, once again to cut back on the bad stuff)
  • 1/4 small head of cabbage, sliced very thin
  • 4 green onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil (we used canola)
  • 1 lb sausage, Irish or English preferred (we used regular sausages since we could not find the Irish or English ones)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic (you know me, if it calls for one clove I use two haha)
  • 1 tsp thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 bottle of Guinness
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter (once again we used margarine)
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • milk to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add potatoes and simmer until tender (approximately 20-30 minutes)
  2. Cook bacon in a large pan over medium heat until it starts to curl. (about 3-5 minutes)
  3. Add 1 tbsp butter (or margarine) to the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Cook until it foams, about 1 minute.
  4. Add sliced cabbage to the bacon. Mix to coat and let cook until tender (approximately 10 minutes)
  5. Add the green onions to the cabbage mixture and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. In a separate pan heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  7. Add the sausages and cook until golden brown (approximately 2-4 minutes per side) and then set them aside.
  8. Add onions and sauté until tender (approximately 5-7 minutes)
  9. Add garlic and thyme and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute
  10. Sprinkle in flour and let it cook for a few minutes
  11. Add Guinness, mustard and worcestershire sauce and brown sugar along with the sausages and simmer for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove sausage again and continue to simmer until the gravy reduces by half (approximately 10 minutes)
  13. Drain water and mash the cooked potatoes. Mix in cabbage followed by 1 tbsp butter (margarine),  sour cream and enough milk until you get your desired mashed potato consistency.
  14. Spoon mashed potatoes, or colcannon if you want to be correct :), onto plates and top with sausages.
  15. Drizzle, or as Perry says “pour” gravy over top and enjoy!

*Photo is an original taken by me

**Original recipe found at http://www.yummly.com

Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash

ImageI’ve been trying to master more Hungarian dishes because supposedly I have rich Hungarian blood flowing through my veins. The only “traditional” dish I had growing up was paprikash so I’m pretty excited to be able to learn more about my ancestry and teach my son about it too. This dish was very flavorful and I would even eat it without the noodles. The only thing I would alter completely is the beef. Next time I will try chunks of meat instead of the ground beef. It was not awful with the ground beef but with a sauce that rich I feel it would be better with hunks of beef in every bite. I found this recipe in a cookbook where you will see a few more recipes pop up. I love love love slow cooker recipes!

Serves: 10   Calories: 90/ serving   Carbs: 9g

Ingredients:

-1 lb. extra lean ground beef

– 1 Lg onion, sliced

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 1/2 cup of ketchup

-2 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

-1 tbsp brown sugar

– 1.5 tsp salt

– 2 tsp paprika

– 1/2 tsp dry mustard

– 1 cup of water

– 1/4 cup of flour

– 1/4 cup of cold water

Directions:

1.) Place meat in slow cooker and over with onions.

2.) Combine garlic, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, paprika, mustard and one cup of water. Pour mixture over the meat.

3.) Cook on low for 5-6 hours

4.) Dissolve flour in 1/4 cup of cold water. Stir into meat mixture

5.) Cook on high 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

6.) Serve over rice, noodles or vegetables.

7.) Enjoy!

*Photo is an original taken by me

**Original recipe can be found on Pg. 63 in the Fix it and Forget it Lightly cookbook.