Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Some New Recipes...

It is that great time of year for one of my favorite food groups--SOUPS :o) I have a bunch that I've been making lately that I love, and I am happy to share... Enjoy!

Clam Chowder

This easy, New England-style chowder is my Grandma Verna's recipe, who passed away a few years ago, and I always think of her whenever I make it. When we went to Boston as a family back in November, we walked FOREVER to get to this restaurant that supposedly had amazing clam chowder. Jeremy took one bite and said, "This doesn't come close to Grandma's." I think it's the curry powder that makes the difference...

Grandma Verna's Clam Chowder
1/2 C diced onion
1/2 C diced celery
1 8-oz. can minced clams
4 C chicken broth
1 C diced, peeled potato (peeling is optional)
1/2 C flour
1 C milk
1 C half-and-half
Dash each of thyme, salt, pepper, & curry powder

In a large saucepan, saute onion and celery in 2 TB melted butter until transparent. Add liquid from clams, chicken broth and potatoes; simmer until potatoes are tender. In a separate pan, melt 1/4 C butter and stir in flour until smooth (this is called a roux)--do not brown. Gently stir butter mixture into soup. Add chopped clams, milk, and half-and-half. Stir gently until thickened, then add thyme, salt, pepper and curry powder. Makes about 6 servings.

**This recipe is great on its own, but also lends itself well to chives, bacon bits, oyster crackers--whatever you like on your chowda...

White Chicken Chili

This one is from my friend, Natalie. It's become one of our family favorites--a great alternative to tomato-based chili, which we love too :o) It's fun to play with this recipe, if you like to do that. You can add or subtract ingredients, depending on your preference!

Natalie's White Chicken Chili
1 Tbs. oil
1 lb. chicken
1 C chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 C chicken broth
2 cans canellini (or any white) beans
2 4-oz. cans green chilies
1 pkg. frozen white corn
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
2-3 Tbs. lime juice
Toppings: cheese, avocado, green onions, sour cream, tortilla strips or chips, etc.

Cook chicken, onion and garlic in oil just till onion is soft--chicken will continue to cook in broth. Add remainder of ingredients; bring to boil and simmer for 15-30 minutes. Serve with whichever toppings you like!

**I like my chili a little bit thicker than how this recipe turns out. I like to mix together a little bit of cornstarch and cold water, then add it gradually to the soup until it comes to the thickness I prefer. You can do this with any soup recipe without changing the flavor or the fat content!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love throwing this one in the crock pot and coming back to it 6 hours later... I also like doing a combination of white and dark meat. Just gives some variety--chicken breasts can get really boring after a while, you know???

Chicken Tortilla Soup
4 skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 4-oz. can green chilies, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 C chicken broth
1 tsp. ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
4 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 avocado, cubed
1 lime, juiced

Put chicken in crockpot. Combine chilies, garlic, onion, tomatoes, 1/2 C broth and cumin in small bowl; pour mixture over chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or on HIGH for 3 hours, until chicken is tender. Adjust seasonings, adding additional broth if necessary. Just before serving, add tortilla strips and cilantro to crock pot; stir to blend. Serve in bowls, topping each serving with cheese, avocado, and a squeeze of lime juice.

Tuscan Bean Soup

This recipe is great for a quick, healthy meal... It comes from an old vegetarian cookbook I can't find anymore, but I copied the recipe before I lost it :o) Smart thinking!!!

Tuscan Bean Soup
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 1/2 C vegetable (or chicken) broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 C small pasta shells (any small pasta works well)
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 15-oz. can canellini (or any white) beans
1 tsp. dried sage or basil

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot; saute about 3 minutes. Add broth and 2 1/2 C water; cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, and pasta. Cook uncovered for 5-8 minutes or until pasta is tender but firm to the bite (al dente). Stir in tomato sauce, beans and sage; heat through. Serve hot--pasta will soak up broth after a little while. 

**This recipe is wonderful with a little fresh parmesan on top and crusty bread on the side!

Ravioli Soup

My mom makes this soup every Christmas Eve--it's red and green, but more importantly, it's fast and easy on a night when moms have much more to worry about than dinner :o) We made this for our friends one Christmas, and now she makes it about once a month--proving that it's good any time of year!

My Mom's Ravioli Soup
3 C water
1 18-oz. can tomato juice (V-8 is great)
1 1/2 C beef broth
1 C sliced carrots
1 C diced potatoes
1/4 C chopped onion
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 15-oz. cans ravioli in sauce (my mom always uses Chef Boyardee)
1 bunch fresh spinach (discard stems first)

Combine all ingredients except ravioli and spinach. Simmer on medium heat until veggies are tender and liquid is a little thicker. Then add ravioli and spinach; heat through and serve with parmesan cheese on top. 

Black Bean Chili

This EASY one speaks for itself...

Black Bean Chili
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cubed
16 oz. chunky salsa
3 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 C chicken broth
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano

Put cubed tenderloin in crock pot. Add remaining ingredients; cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Just like with the white chicken chili, you can top this with whatever suits your fancy: sour cream, avocado, tortilla strips, etc...

Greek Salad

This one is from a friend from our BYU days. She and her sister-in-law were both in our married student ward, and they have a fantastic recipe blog, Edwards Edibles. Check it out for more good recipes, but this one caught my eye--and it's SO good.

The Ultimate Greek  Salad
6 Tbsp olive oil (or less)
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano

1 head lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
3 large plum tomatoes, sliced thin
1 English cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, cut into thin rings
1 small green or red pepper, cut into thin rings
3/4 C kalamata olives
3/4 C crumbled Feta cheese

Whisk dressing ingredients together till blended; season to taste. Layer in order (or just combine) all salad ingredients in large bowl; pour dressing over and either toss or leave it for everyone to do individually.