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Creamy Cauliflower Chowder

Baby its cold outside (in the North, actually here in Mexico too, trust me on this one…). Great time for a hearty chowder – vegan if you leave out the bacon!

It calls for a whole head of cauliflower, but here we can but 1 lb. packages of florets which simplifies the recipe. I think you’ll really like this one my friends…great start to the New Year!

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Creamy cauliflower chowder

Prep Time: 10 minutes         Cook Time: 30 minutes       Yield: 4-5 people

Creamy Cauliflower Chowder is a healthy, easy, comfort food recipe and ready in under 30 minutes. It’s gluten free, low carb and keto friendly.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup diced Onion
  • 5 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup diced Carrots
  • 1 Whole Head of Cauliflower (cut into small florets)I bought a one lb. bag of florets
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • Salt to taste

Olive Oil and cooked bacon (4 strips) for topping

 Instructions

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat butter and add onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are soft.

Add carrots, cauliflower, vegetable broth, pepper, oregano and salt to the pot. Bring this to a boil, and slow the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or so till the cauliflower is tender.

Switch off the flame and using a blender, blend the soup partly in the soup pot. If you don’t have a hand blender, pour half the soup into a blender and pulse a few tips till creamy.

Switch the flame back on and add a cup of water or broth along with the cream cheese. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and switch off the flame. Feel free to thin the soup further if  you like with some more broth or milk. Top with olive oil and bacon and serve hot.

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Turmeric and Ginger Chicken Soup

Ok…its a little chilly out there, depending on where you live. Actually it’s chilly in Mexico where the temperature last night dropped to 13 C. Forget Christmas…LOL. It’s chicken soup time! Dig in (to the soup, NOT the snowbanks).

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Turmeric and ginger are excellent additions healthwise BTW.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs , skin removed
  • 12 cups cold water 
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro stems or fresh parsley stems
  • 2 shallots , quartered
  • 2 carrots , coarsely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic , smashed
  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh turmeric (unpeeled), thinly sliced
  • 1 piece (1/2 inch) fresh ginger (unpeeled), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (approx.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves or fresh parsley leaves
  • OPTIONAL – 1 liter of Campbell’s Chicken Broth

METHOD

In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine chicken, water and vinegar; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; simmer for 30 minutes, skimming and discarding froth.

Stir in cilantro stems, shallots, carrots, garlic, turmeric and ginger; partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from heat; using tongs, transfer chicken to cutting board.

Using 2 forks, shred into bite-size pieces; sprinkle with salt.

Strain broth through fine-mesh sieve into separate large saucepan; discard solids.

I prefer my soups chunky, so I used my immersion blender to chop up some of the veggies before I added the chicken back to the pot. At this point I also added the liter of chicken broth.

Return chicken to broth; stir in cilantro leaves. Season with salt to taste.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Per each of 6 servings:

Sodium 493 mg

Sugars 0 g

Protein 30 g

Calories 171

Total fat 5 g

Potassium 611 mg

Cholesterol 155 mg

Saturated fat 1 g

Total carbohydrate 0.0

 

Green Mango Salad

Our neighbours introduced us to Green Papaya Salad, a favourite Thai salad with crisp vegetables. Alas, no green papayas to be found. Why not Green Mango Salad? The green refers to the unripeness, not the outside colour. Stefano Faita, one of my fav Canadian chefs and CBC personality had published this recipe…great colour! FYI…you could use firm nectarines in place of the mango.

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As always, my changes are shown in red.

Green Mango Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 large to 3 small green or under ripe mangoes, julienned

1 carrot, julienned (substitute 3 red radishes)

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup each mint leaves and Thai basil

1 tbsp. sweet spicy chili sauce

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. fish sauce, or to taste

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

Mint or Thai Basil, for garnish (optional)

PREPARATION

Add green mangoes, carrot or radishes, red onion, red pepper, mint, Thai basil and chili sauce to bowl. Toss to combine.

Combine lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce and vegetable oil in small bowl. Stir to combine. Toss with salad. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

What to do when you buy a Costco or grocery store rotisserie chicken and have leftovers? SOUP.

DSC_0003-2  This will easily feed 4 to 6 people as a main course. The ingredients list seems long, but it can be simplified by making the changes noted in red.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Rotisserie chicken (half chicken is enough)
  • 1 15-ounce can Black beans (drained)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 3 tbsp Cilantro, fresh
  • 2 cups Corn, frozen (1 small can or corn or more)
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Lime, wedges
  • 1 cups Peas, frozen (1 small can of peas)
  • 1 Poblano peppers (Optional)
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Reserved red onion
  • 28-ounce can Tomatoes
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Taco seasoning (see elsewhere o the blog for homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil, extra-virgin
  • Crispy tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and sauté until the vegetables start to become tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the Poblano peppers and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 6 to 7 minutes more. Add the jalapeño and garlic, and continue to cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
  2. Season the vegetables with the taco seasoning, then stir in the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until a good flavor develops, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken, black beans, corn and peas. Return the soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla strips and just maybe, a touch of sour cream.

Thai Basil Beef Bowls

Thought I could Thai one on since it is now summer…LOL. Sorry that there is no photo, but we were travelling and no camera available.

Thai Basil Beef Bowls

Yield: about 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice or long-grain white rice for serving
  • 1 lb. flank steak, sliced against the grain into thin strips
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, diced into 2-inch strips
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (roughly chop larger leaves), plus more for garnish
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp Sambal Oleek, or more to taste (optional)

Directions

  • Cook rice according to directions listed on package.
  • For the sauce:
  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together soy sauce and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in water, fish sauce, oyster sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and Sambal Oleek if using, set aside.
  • For the beef and veggies:
  • Toss beef with 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp cornstarch. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet or wok over moderately high heat. Add beef and cook until browned on both sides but still slightly under-cooked in the center. Transfer beef to a plate while leaving oil in skillet. Reduce heat slightly, add bell pepper, onions and garlic and sauté until crisp tender, about 2 – 3 minutes (if needed you can add another 1 tsp of oil to the skillet). Add carrots, whisk sauce mixture once more then pour into skillet and allow to simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 1 minute. Return beef to skillet along with basil leaves, toss until basil has just wilted. Serve immediately over cooked rice garnished with small basil leaves and sesame seeds if desired.
  • Recipe source: Cooking Classy

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

I LOVE chicken pot pie! I dont make crusts…LOL. Nor can I buy the store-bought crusts here. With some leftover Costco roasted chicken, I yearned for pie. FYI…Bisquick isn’t available here either. Turning to my trusty Pinterest, I found this recipe. It was awesome!!!! I left out the mushrooms and added chopped red pepper… The diced veggies looked great so I added a photo of them too!

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CHICKEN POT PIE SOUP

COOK TIME: 15 MINS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 4 ounces button or baby Bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, diced (I used a can of diced potatoes)
  • 1 cup frozen corn (I used a small can )
  • 1 cup frozen peas (I used a small can)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • oyster crackers (instead of the crust)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat butter in large stockpot over medium-high heat until melted (or heat the olive oil until it is shimmering).  Add onion, carrots, peppers and celery.  Saute for 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add in the garlic and mushrooms, and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Stir in the flour until it is completely combined, and saute for an additional 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Gradually add in the chicken stock and milk, stirring frequently.  Stir in the chicken, potatoes, corn, peas, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until combined.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer (be careful not to bring it to a boil!), stirring occasionally so that the bottom of the soup does not stick to the pan.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering the soup for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are soft and cooked through.
  4. Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Serve immediately, with crackers on top or on the side, if desired.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Who does not like shepherd’s pie? There are several variations out there. Sometimes it is called Cottage Pie. This one was a snap! The only tricky part was the roux, melting the butter and adding the flour. Make your life easier and use instant potatoes!

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Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  • 4 cups Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 12 oz. Frozen Peas and Carrots, thawed (Use a can of mixed peas and carrots)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add ground beef, onion and garlic.
  • Cook until browned and drain.
  • In another skillet or pan, melt putter and add flour.
  • Cook roux for 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in Worcestershire and milk.
  • Cook for 1 minute to thicken.
  • Combine beef mixture, gravy and thawed vegetables.
  • Place in baking dish.
  • Top with mashed potatoes and place in oven for 20-30 minutes until heated through. In the last few minutes sprinkle the cheese on the potatoes.

 

Beef Stir Fry with Brussels Sprouts

A 2008 survey by Heinz shows that Brussels sprouts now take the most-hated prize for Americans in general, with eggplant faring slightly worse among kids. Brussels sprouts seem to be universally loathed, practically: They make it to the top five in surveys of the most-hated vegetables around the world. From Just Disgusting, by Andy Griffiths…. check out the following link – Brussels Sprouts

I happen to be a big fan of these little gems. A simple little meal is a bunch of Brussels sprouts in a bowl with a few drops of water, microwaved with a little salt, pepper and butter. This time I decided to take it up a notch and use them in a stir fry (Thanks again to Pinterest). As Mikey would say…Try it and you will like it!

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Oriental cooking is all in the preparation…so lets get chopping!

Beef Stir Fry with Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

4 Servings

  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 8 ounces flank or skirt steak, thinly sliced against the grain
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 scallions, whites chopped, greens sliced (Substitute green onions if you like)
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger or fresh grated
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1 Fresno chile or jalapeño, sliced into rings OPTIONAL
  • Steamed rice (for serving)

Preparation

Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl; set sauce aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussel sprouts and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate; wipe out skillet.

Season steak with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add steak in a single layer; cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until nearly cooked through, about 30 seconds. Add to Brussel sprouts.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add scallion whites, garlic, and ginger and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute, adjusting heat as needed. Add carrots and chile and cook, tossing occasionally, until carrots are slightly softened, about 2 minutes.

Return Brussel sprouts and steak to skillet and add reserved sauce. Cook, tossing occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve with steamed rice and garnish with scallion greens.

 

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup

Costco strikes again! I bought the double package of tortellini when I really only needed one for a previous recipe. What to do? Find a recipe on Pinterest to use the one that was left. Eureka! Pinterest! Not only did it look yummy, it was…

 

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup

Author: Karina – Cafe Delites    Serves: 10

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Ingredients

  • 500 grams | 1 pound ground Italian sausage (or ground chicken, turkey or beef), browned*
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoon beef bouillon powder (or chicken)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups beef broth (or chicken or vegetable broth — I use low sodium)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch mixed and dissolved in ¼ cup water
  • 3x 340 gram | 12-ounce cans full fat evaporated milk or half and half
  • 1x 340 gram | 12 ounce packet three cheese tortellini (I used one of Costco’s, remember)
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach (whatever amount works for you)
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Place the browned sausage, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, beef bouillon powder, salt, and broth in a 6-quart / liter slow cooker bowl. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours.
  2. Uncover and skim any fat that is sitting on the top of the soup with a spoon; discard. Stir in the cornstarch mixture with the evaporated milk (or half and half or cream). Add the tortellini and mix well. Cover again and cook on HIGH heat setting for a further 45 minutes until the soup has thickened, and the tortellini is soft and cooked through.
  3. Add in the spinach, pressing the leaves down to completely submerse into the liquid. Cover again for a further 5-10 minutes until the leaves have wilted.
  4. Pour in milk in ⅓ cup increments, as needed, to reach your desired thickness and consistency (I needed 1 cup); taste test and season with extra salt ONLY if needed, and pepper to suit your tastes.
  5. Serve with crusty warmed bread

Thai Style Chicken Pumpkin Soup

Just in time for your Thanksgiving dinner! Make ahead and refrigerate. Serve as your first course!

Thai Style Chicken Pumpkin Soup

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. minced fresh ginger
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • ½ cup mango nectar
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup peanut butter (or more)
  • 1 liter low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water

Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook about three minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Transfer chicken to crock pot. Add celery, carrots, pumpkin, nectar, lime juice, peanut butter, broth and water. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours,

After the time is up, stir in the following –

3 Tablespoons rice vinegar

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Mix ½ cup heavy cream  and 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch together.Stir into soup and turn cooker to HIGH for  10 minutes or less until soup thickens.

Serve over white rice which has been previously cooked. Sprinkle with more chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts.

 Source – Crock-Pot Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes.