Soup

Greek Avgolemono Soup

greek-avgolemono-soup

The only bad thing I have to say about this soup is the spelling of the name.  Isn’t it anxiety-inducing? I have to say that even as a person with a pretty high aptitude for spelling/reading/pronunciation, this one stumps me. I wonder how many people don’t order this soup at restaurants because they don’t want to say it out loud.

I think, THINK, it is pronounced a-vo-lem-en-o.

Anyway, wow! Love this soup and it’s so easy. This is a simple version, as I think some versions can take hours and hours. I truly can’t imagine what happens during those hours to make it that much better, although I love the idea of living in a small seaside town in Greece spending my days eating Tzatziki sauce and making Avgolemono soup.

Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5-6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • Dill, for garnish

Cook the onions in oil until cooked through. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, and add the orzo.  Cook the orzo according to instructions (bring down the boil once it’s done).  Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the lemon juice.  Once the pasta is cooked and the heat is on low, you will need to temper the eggs before adding to the broth.  Slowly add a couple ladle fulls of broth into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Turn off the heat for the soup.  Slowly whisk the tempered eggs into the broth. Keep heat on low and do not boil the soup again (this will cause the eggs to clump up – it will still taste fine but will look more like greek egg drop soup).  Season with pepper, serve, and top with fresh dill.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

broccoli-cheese-soup

You won’t find this recipe in Cooking Light. But I also don’t
think you’ll find it in ‘Fattest Recipes Monthly’ either, if that exists.  But it will make you a hero among friends and family. I don’t know
anyone that doesn’t like cheesy broccoli soup, and if you like broccoli, this
soup is loaded with it (this must significantly cut down the caloric
count).  It is also loaded with cheese,
and I had to use some half and half to give it a wonderful rich creamy flavor.  I did NOT use much butter, and I used more chicken
broth than cream…making this a really good balance – – delicious but won’t tip the scale. I don’t think (I guess I’ll find out).

If you want to be a drag go ahead and sub the half & half
for whole or 2% milk.  Up to you.
Recipe
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 5 tablespoons flour (or corn flour if GF)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • About 3 small-medium crowns of broccoli florets, chopped (5-6 cups)
  • 1 cup carrots, slivered
  • 8 oz cubed cheddar (I did half sharp and half medium)
  • 2 pinches nutmeg (maybe ¼ teaspoon)
  • Pepper to taste
Start by cooking the onions in a large soup pot, about 10
minutes. Turn the heat to low, and whisk in the flour to create a roux.  Add the chicken broth, half & half,
and skim milk, whisking to remove clumps.  Let simmer on
low for about 10 minutes to thicken. Add in 2 crowns worth of the broccoli florets and the
carrots and simmer for 20 minutes or so, until tender.  Use an immersion blender to very lightly
puree the soup to turn it into a nice silky creamy pot of goodness (small
chunks of broccoli should remain). Alternatively, use a blender or a food
processor to break down the broccoli).
If you don’t have an immersion blender, it is PERFECT for soups like
this. It blends it to the perfect amount of creaminess, without totally
pureeing it into a liquid.  We love
broccoli in our house, so I steamed another 1-2 cups (crown #3) and threw them into the
soup to leave some nice big pieces.
Stir in the cheese, nutmeg, and pepper, and cook to
incorporate.  Popovers highly
recommended!!!

Cream of Jalapeno Soup

cream-of-jalapeno-soup

Years ago,  John introduced me to the cream of jalapeno soup at one of our favorite restaurants, Half Shells. Being a relatively new Texan, I thought this sounded weird, gross, and unnecessary.  Why add those spicy things to a soup that tastes perfectly delicious with plain things like potatoes and corn?  Well, it turns out there are a lot of reasons.  For one, the spiciness is a perfect complement to the rich creaminess. For two, it’s a fun change from the norm. And for three, it clears up your sinuses. Yep, your sinuses. I don’t have that problem, but my husband does.  So when he was practically bed-ridden with a terrible allergy attack last weekend I decided to try the cream of jalapeno soup at home.  And it’s easy! And it’s delicious! Make it!

Recipe

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup shredded/finely diced carrots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 5 jalapenos
  • 1/4 heaping cup corn flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 3 cups shredded  Monterey Jack
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan
  • S&P
  • 3 more tablespoons of butter***

Finely chop the carrot, onion, and jalapenos (you will want to remove most of the seeds and veins to reduce the heat, but if you want some good spice I would leave the seeds of one jalapeno in there).  Add each into a food processor one by one to chop into very fine pieces (do not turn into a paste).  Add the vegetables and 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil into a large saucepan.  Saute to soften for a few minutes, adding salt and pepper to season, then transfer to a bowl.

In the same pan, add the remaining 3 T butter to melt.  Whisk in a heaping 1/4 cup of corn flour (or regular flour), to create a roux.  Slowly add in the chicken broth, using a whisk to remove any chunks. Whisk in 2 tablespoons corn starch.  Pour in the half and half (you could use heavy cream for a richer soup), and bring mixture to a low simmer. Stir in the cheese to melt, then add back in the vegetables.  Season with fresh cracked pepper, and about 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Cover and cook for at least 30 minutes.

***Note: you are at a decision point here. Continue on with this relatively light (I said relatively) creamy soup, or add 3 more tablespoons of butter here before serving. I did it. I added more butter. It was Sunday and I just wanted a touch more indulgence…and the butter did the trick. But I would have been totally happy without it, so you be the judge.

Oh, and we topped with a pinch of shredded cheddar.

Chicken Corn Chowder

chicken-corn-chowder

Despite the constant 75 degree weather in Dallas, I’m declaring it soup season. It gets down to 50 at night, and in Texas, that’s cold.  Tonight we might even make a fire.

I was watching food network last weekend and saw Trisha Yearwood making this Chicken Tortilla Soup for their family’s Halloween celebration, so I decided I would do the same because I love the Garth Brooks-Trisha Yearwood family.  Do you ever watch them? They are so fun and really like food and each other. I like to think Trish and I would be really good friends if we ever met.

Anyway, the chicken tortilla soup idea was quickly squandered when my husband demanded corn chowder instead. And by demand, I mean very enthusiastically pronounced his obsession with corn chowder and how delicious it would be if we added chicken. Despite being completely unaware of his corn chowder passion, I decided I could get on board. I’m a fan of all creamy soups and it’s a great excuse to eat a bread bowl.

I still plan to make the chicken tortilla soup in the near future, but for Halloween, it was chicken corn chowder for us.  It might have been the second best decision we ever made, right after our decision to get married. John claimed it was his favorite thing yet! This will definitely become a staple recipe for us- it was fast, easy, and light for a creamy soup.  The key to making a flavorful creamy soup without all the fat is to thicken it using plenty of flour with chicken broth and low-fat milk, and adding a touch of half and half and/or butter for flavor.  It is worth adding the little bit of half & half and butter – you can’t get that creamy sweet flavor anyway else.

Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 baking potato, skinned and diced
  • 3 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup corn flour (or regular flour)
  • 4 cups corn (fresh or canned), divided
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (or more for added spice)
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • Salt to taste

Start by cooking the onion in the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot. Add the carrots and celery, and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the potato and saute for several more minutes. Whisk the corn flour with 2 cups of the chicken broth.  Add it to the pot, stirring to mix and thicken (keep heat around medium).  Mix in two cups of the corn (we used fresh corn for 2 of the cups, and canned for the rest).  Then, either using a food processor or an immersion blender, blend the remaining two cups of corn with 1/2 cup of the skim milk to create a chunky corn puree.  Stir it into the soup.  Add in the bay leaf, herbs, Worcestershire, sugar, and spices. Simmer for 10 minutes or so, then turn the heat to medium-low. Whisk in the remaining broth, skim milk and half and half, and finally add the chicken (I boiled two boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you could use rotisserie chicken from the store).  If you want to thin out the soup a bit, add more broth/milk to your liking.  Add salt to taste (if you use low-sodium chicken broth, you’ll need to add at least a teaspoon or two).  Simmer on low for another 15-20 minutes to let the flavors blend. Remove the bay leaf. I believe creamy soups belong in a bread bowl, but that’s up to you.  Top with chopped cooked bacon, cheddar cheese, and chives.

Chili

chili

I miss the days when chili was just chili. There was one version. Mom was making chili for dinner, and you knew exactly what you were getting.  Now, there are 1,456,999 chili recipes and they all claim to be the best. You need to add hot sauce, make it with turkey, add some beer, use maple syrup, include a pinch of sugar, and the list goes on. Googling chili recipes is about as overwhelming as pinterest. What the $%#@ am I supposed to make?

So I decided to make a basic ground beef chili, and I just added ingredients that I thought would taste good. I added a beer because I like how beer/wine smells when it’s cooking, I added a teaspoon of cocoa powder because I like chocolate, I added the corn flour because I like thicker soups, and I added corn because John made me. You will also notice the absence of beans. We don’t like them.  And other than that the recipe is pretty standard. We both scraped our bowls clean and went back for seconds, so I think it’s pretty good. I won’t tell you it’s THE BEST, because I don’t want to send you on the emotional roller coaster that I went through choosing this ingredient combo. But, we really liked it and will probably continue making it this way just so I never have to google the word ‘chili’ again.

Recipe

  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can beer
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1/4 cup corn flour 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (can use up to 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like spice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large pot, brown the beef.  Add in the chopped onion and continue to cook for a few more minutes.  Pour in the beer, and simmer for about 10 minutes or so, then add the tomato sauces. In a separate bowl, whisk together the corn flour and water; stir it into the chili to let it thicken. Add in the corn and all remaining ingredients.  Let simmer for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve with cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream.  We ate this with John’s famous Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches.

 

healthy-broccoli-and-cheese-soup
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fabulous holiday. I froze myself in the northern states of Wisconsin and Illinois, which has resulted in a less than healthy start to 2013 for me.  The good news about being sick is that it’s a great excuse to eat lot’s of soup.  Not that you ever really need an excuse to eat soup.
Last night I was craving cheesy broccoli (from Panera in a bread bowl)…but I wasn’t in the mood for the 4000 calories that is in theirs (why did no one tell me that in college??!).  This recipe did just the trick – really delicious and mild, this soup is perfect for someone who doesn’t like Gruyere on their grilled cheese or Blue Cheese on their burger (…my husband, my father…).
My husband had 2 giant bowls, I had 3.
Recipe
  • PAM non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • Pinch minced garlic
  • 3 cups lower sodium chicken broth
  • ~ 20 oz frozen broccoli florets
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/3 cup flour (or ~ 1/4 cup corn starch)
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 8 oz 2% Velveeta cheese (light Velveeta), cubed
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Sharp Cheddar, for topping (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and cook for several minutes. Add in the chicken broth and broccoli, and bring to a low simmer – about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, and nutmeg.  Reduce the heat to low, and whisk the milk mixture into the broth mixture. Cook for 5-10 more minutes to thicken. Remove from heat, then stir in the Velveeta and Parmesan, allowing it to melt.  Transfer about 1/3 of the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree – or use your immersion blender (that’s what I did)!  Pour the pureed mixture back into the pot, and stir to combine. Garnish with shredded cheddar, if you want (which you do).

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