Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

This is a thick and creamy chowder without all the added fat that chowders are usually prepared with.  Using a combination of chicken broth and low-fat milk lowers calories, and blending part of the soup helps thicken it.

Great flavor is achieved by sautéing lots of celery and onion in a small amount of butter till softened, then adding the flour and cooking to incorporate it.  Add the corn, diced potato, chicken broth and seasonings and cook until potatoes are tender.  Then about 1/3 of this mixture is blended in a blender and returned to the soup kettle along with the milk and shrimp.

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To make this a gluten-free meal, omit the flour.  The soup may be a tiny bit less thick, but still deliciously seasoned and filling.  This makes four generous servings with calorie count only 394/serving, and fat at 8g.

We love this soup, and summertime is the perfect time to make it with summer corn at it’s sweetest.  However I made it recently because I ended up with an opened package of frozen corn to use up.  Mr. D. suggested I make corn chowder, so that’s the back story of why I made it now.  Although frozen corn is not ideal, it still gave thickness and corn flavor that was satisfying.

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At serving time I added some chopped green onion, (green parts only) and chopped celery leaves for garnish.  A salty cheese would also be good sprinkled on top such as queso fresco, cojita or feta.  This will add calories and fat so be mindful of that if you are counting calories.

SHRIMP AND CORN CHOWDER

Yield:   Makes 4 servingsIMG_9182

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 3 medium or 4 small potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepperIMG_9184
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 bunch scallions, green parts only, chopped
  • celery leaves, chopped

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Directions:

1.  Melt the butter in a soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Stir in the celery and onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until they begin to soften.

2.  Stir in the corn and potatoes, then stir in the flour until incorporated.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, thyme and bay leaves, plus 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Cook until potatoes test done.

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3. Remove bay leaves;  transfer about 1/3 of this mixture to a blender and puree until smooth, then return to the pot.

 

IMG_9187 Return to a simmer, add the milk, and shrimp.  Reduce heat to low, and cook until shrimp are pink, about 4 minutes.  Season with additional salt if needed.  Soup may be thinned with additional chicken broth if it’s too thick.

4.  Divide among serving bowls and sprinkle with chopped scallions and celery leaves.

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

 

SOURCE:  a major adaptation of a recipe from Cooking Light

 

Shrimp and Avocado Chopped Salad

Shrimp and Avocado Chopped Salad

Shrimp and Avocado Chopped Salad

Chop, Chop, Chopped!   This is not about the T.V. show Chopped, but about a salad.  Where salads are concerned, “chopped” is the new buzz-word.

“Tossed” is the word most often associated with putting a great salad together.  A very enjoyable jumble of greens and vegetables comes out of this technique.  Then there’s the “composed” salad, a thoughtful work of art; leaves placed just so on the plate form a base, with slivers of vegetables, fruits, nuts and other delightful ingredients carefully arranged over them, with the dressing drizzled on like splatters of paint.

But the “chopped” salad is perhaps the most satisfying creation that can come out of a salad bowl.  All it takes is a sharp knife and you can cut lettuces, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, avocado, chicken, shrimp—anything you want—into a mixture of delectable morsels.  Coat it all with dressing and the whole thing becomes infused with flavor.  When you take a bite, the full impact of a chopped salad hits you:   each forkful has a snippet of all the ingredients.  You get the perfect bite every time.

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So get out your knife and cutting board for this crazy-good summer salad that features two favorites;  shrimp and avocado.  Healthy fats (avocado) and protein (shrimp) insures that you will be satisfied and all for less than 400 calories / serving.

The shrimp can be cooked outdoors on the grill, for an added smoky flavor that plays well with the bacon.  To me, this is the perfect meal to eat outside on the deck on a warm summer evening.  If calories are not a concern, you might want to add a warm crunchy roll or rustic bread with this salad.

 

SHRIMP AND AVOCADO CHOPPED SALAD

Yield:   serves 4

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh dill ( or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed)
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Puree the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Set aside while you prepare the salad.

Shrimp and Salad:IMG_7488

  • 1 pound raw shrimp ( 21 – 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red cabbage
  • 3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup assorted cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 slices crispy cooked bacon, diced

1.  Preheat grill to medium or heat a grill pan over medium heat.

2.  Toss shrimp with 2 teaspoons oil, lime zest, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3.  Grill the shrimp, turning once, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes, total.  Transfer to a cutting board.  Chop the shrimp into bite-size pieces.

4.  Combine lettuce, cabbage, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, avocado and bacon in a large bowl.  Add the shrimp and dressing;  toss to coat.  Season with pepper to taste.

Each serving is about 2  1/2 cups,  398 calories.

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SOURCE:   Eating Well

 

 

 

Zucchini and Onion Gratin

Zucchini and Onion Gratin

Zucchini and Onion Gratin

I know that later in the summer we will be so overwhelmed by the amount of zucchini that is available, we won’t know what to do with it all, but right now the thought of making a zucchini baked dish with some tender young zucchini, seemed like a good idea to go with my grilled chicken menu.  And later on when all those zucchini show up on my doorstep, I’ll be returning to this recipe again, and again.

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The use of the term gratin in food preparation means that an ingredient is topped with a browned crust that can be made from breadcrumbs, grated cheese, eggs or butter.  A gratin is usually prepared in a shallow dish, then baked or cooked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish, a gratin dish.

This recipe pretty much meets that description.  Using just a few key additives to enhance the rather bland flavor of zucchini, it turns out to be wonderfully flavorful.  Pre-broiling the zucchini helps to get them browned, and sprinkling a small amount of Parmesan cheese on top further forms a browned crisp crust.  You can serve this dish hot, but it’s also great at room temperature.

ZUCCHINI AND ONION GRATIN

Yield:  serves 6    ( Note:  1 serving is about 1 cup and equals 92 calories and 7 gm carbs.)

Ingredients:IMG_7565

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1  1/2 pounds zucchini, diagonally sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

Directions:

1.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add onion; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in tomato paste, cook 2 minutes.   Stir in lemon rind, thyme, 1/8 teaspoon salt and  pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sauté onions and thyme, then add tomato paste and lemon rind.

Sauté onions, then add tomato paste, thyme and lemon rind.

2.  Preheat broiler to high.

3.  Arrange zucchini on a jelly-roll pan.  Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; toss.  Broil 7 minutes or until lightly charred.  Sprinkle with remaining salt.

Lay zucchini slices out on a baking sheet for broiling.

Lay zucchini slices out on a baking sheet for broiling.

4.  Preheat oven to 375*F.

5.  Spread onion mixture in a 2-quart gratin dish.  Arrange zucchini mixture over onion mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover and bake at 375*F. for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Arrange in a baking dish and top with grated cheese.

Arrange in a baking dish and top with grated cheese.

6.  Uncover zucchini mixture; broil 1  1/2 minutes to lightly brown the top if needed.   Note:  I thought mine was adequately browned after baking, so I omitted this step–use your judgement if it’s needed.

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SOURCE:   Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

Oven-Fried Tilapia with Warm Spinach Salad

Oven Fried Tilapia

Oven Fried Tilapia

Fish of some sort is on the menu at least once a week around here, sometimes more often than that.  During the Lenten period especially, fish and seafood is attractively priced at the supermarket, so that is another reason why we have it more often.  One fish that we particularly like and is very easy to cook is tilapia.  It is mild flavored and can be enhanced by a variety of sauces or cooking methods.

This recipe is called oven fried, although there is no frying involved.  I think the meaning is that it will appear to be fried and have a nice crisp, crusty coating on it.  This is achieved by using panko crumbs and toasting them before dredging the tilapia with the seasoned crumbs.  The fish is tender and flaky inside the crust.

I usually serve this fish with rice or noodles and a salad. This time, however, I served it with my potato-fennel hash and a warm spinach salad that I think goes very well with this dish.  Nutritionally speaking this is a very low fat, potentially low carbohydrate (depending what you serve with it), and low calorie meal.

Potato-fennel hash.

Potato-fennel hash.

Warm Spinach Salad

Warm Spinach Salad

OVEN-FRIED TILAPIA

Yield:   4 servings

Ingredients:IMG_6997

  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray
  • lemon wedges for serving

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.

2.  Place panko and next four ingredients (through pepper) in a large skillet;  cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently.

3.  Place panko mixture in a shallow dish.   Combine 2 Tbsp. water and egg in a shallow dish.  Place flour in another shallow dish.

4.  Season fish fillets by sprinkling with the salt.  Dredge fish in flour; dip in egg mixture, then place fish in panko mixture, turning to coat.

5.  Arrange in the prepared baking dish.  Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes or until it flakes easily and is done.  Serve with lemon wedges.

WARM SPINACH SALADIMG_7009

  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

1.  Place the spinach leaves in a large bowl.

2.  Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and swirl to coat.  Add the minced garlic and grape tomatoes; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly . Add the cider vinegar, honey, black pepper and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Sauté tomatoes in oil and seasonings.

Sauté tomatoes in oil and seasonings.

3.  Pour vinegar mixture over spinach and toss to coat.  Serve while warm.

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SOURCE:    Cook Yourself  Thin

 

 

 

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

A cold stormy day calls for hot soup. We were hit with an unexpected snow storm the other day that threw everyone into a tizzy. What is it that is so often said about the last day of March, “out like a lamb”?  Not this one. The lion roared again and tied up traffic for miles with multiple accidents. What did I do? I stayed home and sent a barrage of e-mails to the Weather Goddess. Enough is enough, Mother Nature. Check your calendar; it’s Spring!!  😀

Mr. D was so thankful for a steaming hot bowl of soup. He said it hit the spot. This soup is healthy and light. It has a creamy texture from the cauliflower and would lead you to think it was loaded with cream, but there’s not a drop of cream in it. I served it with a drizzle of olive oil on top. It would make a light lunch or first course or serve with a sandwich for a full meal as I did.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top.

A serving of this soup is 1 3/4 cup, with 93 calories, 3 g. fat, 12 g carbohydrate.

CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Very few ingredients.

Very few ingredients.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, (vegetarians can use vegetable broth)
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower chopped into florets (1 1/2 – 2 pounds)
  • kosher salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan or soup kettle, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook about 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Add the chicken broth and cauliflower and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes.) Turn off the heat.

Cook the cauliflower in the chicken broth.

Cook the cauliflower in the chicken broth.

3. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth, or use a regular blender and puree in small batches. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Puree the cooked cauliflower with a blender.

Puree the cooked cauliflower with a blender.

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

 

SOURCE: adapted from Skinny Taste

30-Minute Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

This version of the well loved dish, chicken enchiladas, may be quick to make, but is no less delicious than its lengthy and more calorie laden name sake.  Some traditional chicken enchilada recipes can have more than 1000 calories per serving, while this one comes in at under 400 calories per serving.  Yikes!

The points of this recipe that I particularly liked include using part of a rotisserie chicken, instead of cooking chicken breasts for the filling.  You also make your own tomato-based enchilada sauce, so you can control the salt content, and the spiciness, and eliminate all other unnecessary ingredients.  If, like me, you have someone who loves extra spicy and someone who likes it mild, you can serve chopped jalapeños on the side, or some hot sauce.

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This recipe serves 6 with a serving size being two enchiladas and 1 tablespoon of sour cream weighing in at only 374 calories.  That seems like a great bargin to me.  I made half the recipe for two of us and got seven enchiladas.  The only change I made was to use flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas as we like them better,  and I sprinkled on dried cilantro since I couldn’t get fresh cilantro.

30-MINUTE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

Yield:   Serves 6

Ingredients:

Have all ingredients laid out before starting to put it all together.

Have all ingredients laid out before starting to put it all together.

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  (15-ounce) can unsalted tomato sauce
  • 3 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1  (15-ounce) can unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 12 ( 6-inch) corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • 3 ounces shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 Tablespoons sour cream

Directions:

1.   Preheat broiler to high.  Coat a 13 x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray.

2.  Combine the first 9 ingredients in a medium saucepan; stir with a whisk.

Beginning to make the sauce.

Beginning to make the sauce.

Bring to a boil over high heat; cook 2 minutes or until thickened.  reserve 1  1/2 cups sauce mixture.  Add chicken and beans to pan; cook 2 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly heated.

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3.  Stack tortillas; wrap stack in  damp paper towels and microwave at HIGH for 25 seconds.  Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla; roll up.  Arrange tortillas, seam sides down, in bottom of prepared baking dish.  Top with reserved sauce and cheese.

Rolling up the tortillas with filling.

Rolling up the tortillas with filling.

4.  Broil 3 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and sauce is bubbly.  Top with tomato and cilantro.  Serve with sour cream.

Cheese topping gets nicely browned under the broiler.

Cheese topping gets nicely browned under the broiler.

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Top with chopped tomatoes and cilantro.

Top with chopped tomatoes and cilantro.

These are really good!

These are really good!

SOURCE:  Cooking Light

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Fresh asparagus are now appearing in the produce aisles of the market, and I look forward to its reappearance each year.  This is one vegetable I really love.  When I first start cooking it again I usually just steam it briefly so it’s just crisp tender and serve it with a little butter or spritz it with lemon juice.  But after having it that way a few times I start looking for ways to dress it up and offer more variety.

So pretty when plated.

So pretty when plated.

This recipe is a new and different way that I have found to prepare it.  The asparagus is cooked briefly, and while that’s going on you make a sauce out of olive oil, garlic, grape tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.  When you serve it, sprinkle goat cheese over the top.  This makes a great side dish to go with almost any entree I can think of.  Every bite provides some crispness from the asparagus, some tartness from the balsamic tomato sauce, and then some creaminess from the goat cheese.  What a mouth sensation!!   I was so happy to see that there was some leftover, because I’m having it again tomorrow with a poached egg for my lunch.

Can you also believe that you can get so much pleasure and goodness for only 69 calories and 6.5 g carbohydrates/serving?  Yes,  my kind of dish, indeed.

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ASPARAGUS WITH BALSAMIC TOMATOES

Yield:    4 servings

Ingredients:

Just a few ingredients needed.

Just a few ingredients needed.

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1  1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic ( 1 small clove)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
  • dash black pepper

Directions:

1.  Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.   Drain and keep warm.

2.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes.

Sautéing the tomatoes and garlic.

Sautéing the tomatoes and garlic.

Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes.  Stir in salt.

Add in balsamic vinegar and salt.

Add in balsamic vinegar and salt.

3.  Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light;   April, 2011

Turkey Sausage and Peppers

 Turkey Sausage with Peppers

Turkey Sausage with Peppers

I’ve had a craving the last few days for sausage and peppers in a rich tomato sauce, preferably served over pasta.  When I get an idea like this I can’t forget about it until I make it.  The problem is this is one of the those weeks when I have limited time to spend cooking up a storm in the kitchen.  Luckily I have this recipe for just such occasions.

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Italian turkey sausage takes the place of pork sausage, but still provides all the flavors I love.  The whole meal can be made in about 45 minutes, but tastes like it’s been simmering for hours.  Your family will love it! There are several national brands that make good quality italian turkey sausage, such as Shady Brook Farms,  Jennie-O and Purdue if you don’t have a good butcher nearby.  The variety of peppers I include make this a colorful dish and provide a nice taste contrast to the sausage.  Diced tomatoes with added seasonings are the basis for the sauce.  Served with a salad, this can be a stand-alone entree, or serve it over pastas if you want to round out the meal.

This entree, minus the pasta, comes in at just 388 calories, with only 21 g carbohydrates.  A real bargain if you’re looking to limit calorie intake, but still get big flavor.

TURKEY SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS

Yield:   makes 4 servings

Ingredients:IMG_6546

  • 1  1/4 pounds lean Italian turkey sausage
  • 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 3 assorted bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 tsp. dried
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, optional
  • 1  15-oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped, or use dried basil to taste

Directions

1.  Preheat the broiler.  Pierce the sausages all over with a fork or sharp knife, arrange on a baking sheet and broil, turning halfway through, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.  (They will not be fully cooked.)  Transfer to a cutting board and cut each one in half, or in thirds, on the diagonal.

Sausages pre-browned under the broiler.

Sausages pre-browned under the broiler.

2.  Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the bell peppers, fennel and onion and cook, stirring, until they soften slightly, 3 minutes.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, the garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes and fennel seeds.  Cook, stirring 1 more minute.

Peppers, onion and fennel in the pan.

Peppers, onion and fennel in the pan.

3.  Stir in 1/2 cup water, the tomatoes and basil.  Reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.

Add tomatoes and seasonings.

Uncover; add the sausages and cook through, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add an additional splash of water if the sauce gets too thick.   Top with more basil to serve.

Sausages added.

Sausages added.

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Serve over pasta for a complete entree.

Serve over pasta for a complete entree.

SOURCE:   Food Network Magazine

Roast Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Roast Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Dear readers, this soup  is absolutely delicious!!  Roasting the squash creates a rich, caramelized flavor that in the finished soup is amazing.  You can go ahead and cook the squash in the chicken broth, but it won’t be the same,  I’m telling you.   You will not believe the creaminess of this soup without the use of heavy cream.  And don’t even think about skipping the Parmesan croutons…..even it you use packaged ones instead of homemade.

I realize I’ve swooned over other soups,  but, with each new soup I make, I think it’s the best and it becomes my favorite, and the one last week is like “broccoli who?”.  January will best be remembered as soup month around here, and just in case you think I’m being a little over dramatic and that I need to go to some kind of soup-overload-rehab, you’re only thinking that because you haven’t made this one yet.

Even though the soup is perfectly seasoned according to the recipe, you may want to further perk up the flavor, by adding a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of garlic powder, being careful as to the amounts because each of these items can be quite strong.

BUTTERNUT SOUP WITH PARMESAN CROUTONS

YIELD:  Makes  2 quarts or about 8 servings

Butternut squash, onion, garlic, celery and chicken broth, plus seasonings.

Butternut squash, onion, garlic, celery and chicken broth, plus seasonings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes**
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • herb mixture, such as Fine Herbs, Italian Herb mix, Herbs de Provence
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh sage, or 2 tsp. dry rubbed sage
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz. each) reduced sodium chicken broth (vegetarians may substitute vegetable broth)
  • Croutons:
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage or 1 tsp. dry rubbed sage
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cubed French bread ( 1/2-inch cubes)
  • cooking spray
  • additional grated Parmesan cheese, optional

**As a small savings in time, you may want to use precut squash cubes from the market.  I prefer to peel and cut my squash because I feel that it is fresher when purchased whole, and not as likely to be dried out.

Directions:

1.  Place squash in a 15-in. x 10-in. baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon oil; sprinkle with pepper, and sprinkle on a small amount of herb mixture.  Toss to coat.

Dice squash, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and herbs, then bake.

Dice squash, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and herbs, then bake.

Bake, uncovered, at 425*F for 30-35 minutes or until tender, stirring every 15 minutes.  Set aside.  This will smell wonderful when it comes out of the oven and you will want to eat it, but please don’t.

Roasted squash pierces easily and has some browned edges.

Roasted squash pierces easily and has some browned edges.

2.  While squash is roasting, in a Dutch oven, saute the onion, celery and sage in remaining oil until tender.

Slowly sauté the onions, celery and garlic.

Slowly sauté the onions, celery,  garlic and sage.

Stir in the broth and squash.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.  Cool slightly.

Add squash and chicken broth to Dutch oven.

Add squash and chicken broth to Dutch oven.

3.  In a blender, or with an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.  Return to the pan;  heat through. This makes a thick mixture.

Puree the mixture for a thick, wonderfully flavorful soup.

Puree the mixture for a thick, wonderfully flavorful soup.

If you prefer a thinner soup, add some additional broth, and rebalance the seasoning if necessary.

4.  For croutons, in a small bowl, combine the cheese, oil, sage and garlic.  Add bread cubes and spritz with cooking spray; toss to coat.  Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

5.  Bake at 425*F. for 5 – 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle each serving of soup with croutons and additional cheese if desired.

Top soup with Parmesan croutons and enjoy.

Top soup with Parmesan croutons and enjoy.

Nutritional Profile:  1 cup of soup with 1/4 cup croutons equals 179 calories, 8 g. fat, 1 mg cholesterol,  541 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber,  5 g protein.

SOURCE:   Adapted from Taste of Home

Pork with Fennel and Potatoes

Pork with Fennel and Potatoes

Pork with Fennel and Potatoes

This morning I found a package of boneless pork chops in the freezer that had been in there for a while and needed to be used.  The usual question arose—how shall I cook them?  Boneless chops can be quite dry since they have little or no fat on them, so I wanted something that would make a sauce or gravy for moisture.

In looking through my file of “pork recipes” I came across this one that called for using pork tenderloin that by serving time would be sliced anyway,  so why not substitute the chops  instead?   So—that’s what I did.  As I hoped, this dish turned out to be very flavorful with thyme as the seasoning of choice, and moist with its sauce made of chicken broth and heavy cream.  YUM!

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The potatoes and vegetable get cooked along with the pork making this almost a one-pot meal.  I sautéed some sliced apples in butter to serve with it.  An added bonus is that one serving equals 482 calories.  Not bad!  It tastes richer than that.IMG_5659

PORK WITH FENNEL AND POTATOES

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 pounds pork tenderloin (1 large or 2 small) trimmed

    Pork chops, fennel and red-skin potatoes, a good blending of flavors.

    Pork chops, fennel and red-skin potatoes, a good blending of flavors.

  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 tsp. dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound small red-skinned potatoes quartered
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or equal amount chicken broth)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Halve the pork tenderloin crosswise; sprinkle with 1 tsp. thyme (1/2 tsp. dry thyme) and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper.  Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pork and cook, turning, until browned all over, about 5 minutes.

Browning up the chops.

Browning up the chops.

Transfer to a roasting pan, roast until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 140*,  12 – 15 minutes.  I cooked the chops for 12 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the fennel, garlic, potatoes, wine and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper.  Stir, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are almost tender, 15 minutes.

Add fennel and potatoes to the skillet.

Add fennel and potatoes to the skillet.

3.  Uncover and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the broth and the remaining 1/2 tsp. thyme (1/4 tsp. dried thyme).  Simmer until slightly reduced, 1 minute.  Add the cream; increase the heat and gently boil until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Add in the heavy cream and cook to thicken a bit.

Add in the heavy cream and cook to thicken a bit.

Season with salt and pepper.  Slice the pork and serve with the vegetables and sauce.  Top with chopped parsley.

Served with sautéed apples, a wonderful week night meal.

Served with sautéed apples, a wonderful week night meal.

SOURCE:  Cooking Light