Showing posts with label cheddar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cheddar. Show all posts

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Cream of Broccoli & Leek Soup

Spring has finally arrived here in New Jersey. I know that usually means that we usually pack away the soup pots for the summer, but I wasn't ready to let go! Spring trips to the farmers market brings new potatoes, asparagus and leeks! Spring leeks have the mildest flavor and pair perfectly with the broccoli in this soup.


I decided to keep this soup on the heartier side. Since it getting warmer, you can decide whether you want to add heavy cream or not. I went with the cream for this particular batch, then we went out for ice cream. It's all about balance!

One Year Ago: Jell-O Peeps (Easter must have been later last year!)
Three Years Ago: Perry's Ice Cream Factory Tour
Four Years Ago: Grilled Chicken & Potatoes
Five Years Ago: Rosemary Foccacia

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Soup Season & it's a Giveaway!!!

It's fall. Which means it's time for apple cider, miniature candies and soup. There is just one problem. Right now, my kitchen looks like this...



The boyfriend and I moved into our new house about six weeks ago. We have been painting, renovating and generally making a mess since the moment we got the keys. For this reason, I was so excited when I was contacted by Swanson Broths and asked to try out some of their new soup starters.



I got a sample of their Thai ginger broth soup starter last year (from the boyfriend who works in CPG sales) and absolutely loved it. Rather than having to add dozens of herbs and spices to create the necessary flavor for a Tom Yum soup, Swanson had taken care of it all. The Thai broth is currently out in grocery stores and totally worth a try. The new broth starters for this year are Tuscan Chicken and Louisiana Cajun.



I decided that yesterday was the day to finally make something in my new kitchen. We have been eating out just about every meal since the move and I was getting sick of it. Even with my kitchen in shambles, I was able to cook up this amazing soup for lunch. All I had to locate was a knife, cutting board and stockpot. Rather than going with one of the broth based soup starters, I chose to make a heartier potato soup and I used the traditional cream soup starter.



Out of sheer laziness and mild curiosity, I decided to use the recipe on the back of the carton. Generally I would have had everything I needed for this recipe in my house. However, since we are living in a construction zone and I haven't done a serious grocery run since August, I had to go to the grocery store. We needed everything except thyme, salt and pepper.



Even with my grocery run, this soup was done in under 90 minutes and oh my god was it amazing! It was a new sensation to have the house smelling of bacon, rather than paint. So good. Topping the soup with sour cream, cheese and more bacon made it unbelievably filling and the perfect lunch for this crisp fall day. I can't wait for my leftovers tomorrow!



Not only am I bringing you this delicious-looking recipe today, I've teamed up with Swanson Broths to bring you a "Soup-er" giveaway! (Ha! Sorry.)  Now it's your time to try out the new Swanson soup starters and get something gorgeous to serve them as well!

The first entry is just for stopping by today and finding this giveaway! Leave a comment in the usual place and let me know your favorite fall meal. You can earn additional entries by following the directions in the rafflecopter widget.  One lucky winner will receive the following...



One elegant, white soup tureen
Four white soup bowls (the same style as you see in the photos above)
Four chevron cloth napkins
One carton of each of the following Swanson products
   - Swanson Chicken broth
   - Swanson Chicken stock
   - Swanson Cream Starter traditional
   - Swanson Cream Starter, 25% Reduced Fat
   - Swanson Flavor Infused Louisiana Cajun Broth
   - Swanson Flavor Infused Tuscan Chicken Broth

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run from today (October 27) through November 3rd at 11:59pm. Rafflecopter will randomly choose a winner and I will contact the winner via e-mail. Swanson will ship out the goodies directly to the lucky winner! Sorry, this giveaway is only open to US residents.

Good luck everyone!

And BTW, our lunch may have looked lovely and serene. 



But pull back from the table and you see the chaos we've been living with! Yes, we're eating on a table that is meant to sit outside on our patio. And also yes, those chairs are completely splattered with paint. I can't wait until the house is finished!

Disclosure: I received a sample of these Swanson products for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. Swanson is also sponsoring this soup season giveaway. 

One Year Ago: Halloween Mallomars
Two Years Ago: Cheesy Polenta with Sausage
Three Years Ago: Povitica
Four Years Ago: Butternut Squash Soup

Loaded Potato Soup
Adapted from Swanson Broths

I started off planning to use the traditional cream starter. After I cooked up my bacon and saw how much grease they produced, I went with the reduced fat cream starter and cut it with some of the chicken broth. You can use vegetable broth if you want to keep the recipe vegetarian.

8 ounces thick cut, peppered bacon
3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large white onion, diced
3 stalk celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon thyme, crushed
1 carton (3 cups) cream starter, 25% reduced fat
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/4 cup sour cream

In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute bacon until crispy. Remove bacon from the pot and lew drain on paper towels. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.

Add potato, onion, celery and salt and toss to coat in bacon grease. Cook for 5 minutes, until potatoes pick up a little bit of color. Add garlic and thyme and saute for an additional minute.

Add cream starter and chicken broth and stir until smooth. Reduce heat to low and cover pot with a lid. Maintain soup at a low boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove lid and add half of the cheddar cheese and half of the bacon. Stir and let simmer for 2 minutes.  Portion out heaping ladles of soup and top with cheese, bacon, sour cream and chives. Serve with a chunky piece of bread for scooping up every last drop of soup!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Bother??? 2012 - Stocks

Welcome to the first post of the Why Bother??? 2012 challenge!  Have you had a look at the schedule of events for this year?  Do you have a post that you are already looking forward to?  I'm excited about this years challenge and I'm very happy that all of you were instrumental in creating it.  All of the challenges for this year were thought up and posted by you guys, whether it be here on the blog, on Facebook or through Twitter. 

While the challenges were set out by all of you, I took the liberty to choose when to complete each of these tasks.  Condiments and buns wound up in the weeks prior to Memorial day weekend so that you could make some for your own summer parties.  Jams are set to be prepared in the midst of the summer fruit season, when I can get the best produce from our local farmers market.  Stock was set for the first post of the year because we are in the midst of soup season, with months of winter left ahead of us.  Unfortunately, my friends in the southern hemisphere are on the opposite schedule as I am...  Maybe we can meet up in the middle, spring and fall?


Boyfriend and I spent this weekend at home in New Jersey.  We decided to relax at home and enjoy the nice weather in our town.  I spent much of last week reading my many cookbooks, researching stocks in all of their incarnations.  There are many options when it comes to making your own stock.  First you must choose what flavor you would like, chicken, beef, fish, vegetable?  Then you have to decide what your background notes will be, veggies, herbs, spices?

I decided to make the two stocks that I am always buying at the store, chicken and vegetable.  Once I completed all of my reading, I discovered that it is a very easy task to make stock.  Simply choose your flavors, cook them up in a big pot of water and strain to collect your stock.  Do you own an 8-quart pot?  Do you have some paper towels?  Can you purchase food at the grocery store?  If you said yes to those three questions, you can make stock.


The vegetable stock was beyond simple to make.  I chose a variety of vegetables and some of my favorite herbs to make a flavorful stock.  Fennel is used as the major flavor in this stock, with celery, onion and carrot as the milder flavors.  The house smelled of herbs and anise while this stock was simmering.  Boyfriend asked if I had spilled a jar of pepper on the floor.  After simmering for two hours, filtering of the stock gave a golden colored stock with a pleasant aroma.  I used this stock as the base for my cheese potato soup.


For the chicken stock, I decided to stick with classic flavors - celery, carrots, onions and parsely.  My only concern was simmering the stock long enough to cook the chicken and impart the right amount of flavor into the stock.  After averaging the times in each recipe, I decided that between 90 minutes and two hours was the right amount of time to cook the chicken and make good stock.  This stock needs to sit overnight to allow you to skim off the chicken fat, so make it one day ahead of time.  You'll see this stock in use this weekend in a tasty Thai-style soup.


Would I make stock at home again?  I definitely would, the flavor varieties offered by making your own stock has made me a convert.  However, I don't really need to make or buy more stock for a while.  Each pot of simmering ingredients gave me about ten cups of stock.  My freezer in now well stocked...


Monday, May 23, 2011

Casatiello

I’m a big fan of the two-in-one. As a kid I had a massive collection of skorts. You know, skirts with shorts sewn into them? Actually I have a ton of them still, but I wear them when I teach Bodystep classes… Skorts are awesome.



I know we’re all big fans of the printer/scanner/copier! I mean, what did we do before we had them? Walk to several different machines to do our printing, scanning and copying? Crazy talk. That’s like having multiple remote controls for all of your TV attachments, silly.

Now who has a cell phone that is just a phone? Even my not-so-fancy Palm Centro (it’s blue!) is a phone, computer and lets me play solitaire. Love the multi-tasker. Someday I’ll have a fancy phone that lets me start my car from another state, maybe I’ll have to get a fancy car first. One step at a time!


The bread that I made this weekend from the Bread Bakers Apprentice is just that, a multi-tasker. It’s also a time saver! It’s bread, cheese and meat, all in one! No need to make a sandwich, just slice a piece off and you’ve got it made!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ham & Cheese Risotto

All you have is ham? Go back two spaces. Get away scott free after breaking the gym lights. Go ahead three spaces. Dramatically break your ribs on the first day of your honeymoon. Go back one space. How many board games do you know of that contain these particular cards? How many games can only be played in the presence of one person?  Have you ever played a game that it doesn’t matter how well you do, you might never win?



These playing cards all tell stories; they are glimpses into my friends life. This past weekend was a walk down memory lane and it was one hilarious walk. Boyfriend and I journeyed to Buffalo, NY this weekend for a surprise birthday party. It was a long trip, six and a half hours in the car, and we spent barely more time in town than we did in the car. Thankfully, the party was all worth it.

We were there to celebrate the 30th birthday of a longtime friend, T-. Many of us had come from far away, travelling in from New Jersey, Ohio and Washington, DC. We had all gone to high school and college together and this is the year that we all turn 30. So, in a sense, it was a celebration for all of us! (Happy birthday class of 1999!)

The night was topped off with a present, the present to end all presents! A board game. This was not just any board game, it was the Game of T-! To celebrate T-'s birthday, several friends got together and created a board game of his life. Since we’ve all been friends for the past fifteen years, there are many, many stories we share. This game brought all the memories back and I have to give major props to the friends that brought this game to life. We were up into the late hours of the evening playing this game, laughing and reminiscing. Stories were retold for the benefit of those who came into our lives at later points and oh yes, did I mention the laughing?


To continue the celebration, I decided to make some ham and cheese risotto. An homage to D-, who was disappointed by what T-‘s fridge had to offer one late night. Perusing the fridge, D- professed “All you have is ham?” Then he decided to open a can of tuna.
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