Chipotle Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder

Sometimes I get a dish in my head and I just have to make it.  That’s the way it was with this.  Southwestern-flavored corn chowder is nothing new, but it popped into my mind and stewed there for a few days until I just had to make it.  I love making soups and chowders because they’re a great way to clear out the fridge of last week’s vegetables, but this time I actually went out and bought ingredients especially for the soup.  The beauty of this, as with any soup, is that it’s endlessly customizable to whatever you happen to have on hand, though.  So here’s what I did.

Chipotle Corn Chowder

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, large diced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 package new potatoes, halved or quartered (I used a combo of yellow, white and purple baby potatoes)
1 tsp chipotle chili powder (or other chili powder), or season to taste
1 package frozen yellow corn kernels
2 cups milk (at least 2% – I actually bummed some of Peanut’s whole milk)
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
1 tsp Better than Bouillon vegetable soup base
1/2 jar chipotle salsa (Muir Glen Organics makes a good version)
3-4 large handfuls chopped fresh kale
1 can black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican mix cheese
Additional cheese and Greek yogurt or sour cream for serving (optional)

  • In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over a medium-high burner, heat up the coconut oil until oil has melted.  Add onion, sprinkle with salt, and sauté.
  • When onion is just beginning to soften and take on color, add new potatoes.  Season with chili powder and sauté until potatoes are slightly browned.
  • Add corn and sauté just until it has thawed.  Add milk, water, and vegetable base, turn heat down to low, cover and simmer until vegetables have cooked, at least 30 minutes.  (You can go longer.  I simmered the soup for about 2 hours before we ate it for dinner and it took on a nice complex flavor.  But if this is a weeknight dinner, not the end of a lazy Sunday, 30 minutes is fine.)
  • About 10 minutes before you plan to serve, wilt the kale into the soup.  (If you’re adding beans – I didn’t – this would be the time to stir those in and let them warm up.)  Stir in the salsa and cheese and allow to simmer a few more minutes, just for the flavors to meld.
  • Serve with an additional sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (I used yogurt) if desired.

Yield: serves 4 for dinner, 8 for appetizers
Source: please credit Covered In Flour

Creamy Potato-Vegetable Soup

“Creamy” might be a misnomer here, since there’s no actual cream in this recipe.  Or, actually, well darnit, this soup IS creamy, without the cream!  I’d been craving potato soup for awhile and really, really, really wanted to have it for dinner.  But I also knew that I needed to find a way to put more nutrition into the recipe, and some protein too, or it wouldn’t be much of a dinner.  Enter cauliflower, fennel and cannellini beans – the cauliflower and fennel to add vitamins (and bulk up the volume without also bulking up the calories), and the beans for a kick of protein.  The fennel adds a sophistication to the soup – it doesn’t taste like regular old, plain-Jane potato soup, but at the same time it’s reminiscent enough that you could easily pass it off as “potato soup” to vegetable haters and they’d be none the wiser.  There are no vegetable haters in my house (I’ve figured out how to get hubby to eat any vegetable except beets – the trick is in cooking them in a way that flatters them best, which means roasting in most cases – and he’s finally accepted fennel in the crisper drawer; all it took was me accepting that he won’t eat it raw).  But still, it’s nice to be able to turn a craving for something that isn’t all that virtuous (I know potatoes are healthy, but potato soup usually isn’t) and turn it into a dinner I’m really proud to serve.  Next time, I think I might make it as a “loaded baked potato soup” by leaving the skins on and serving it with my favorite baked potato toppings – plain Greek yogurt (healthy sour cream swap) and chopped scallions, and maybe even Bac’un bits.  Oops, now I’m craving this soup all over again.

Creamy Potato-Vegetable Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 white onion, diced
kosher salt
6 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold is my fave), peeled and chopped
1 fennel bulb, thickly sliced
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
freshly ground black pepper

  • Heat olive oil in large stockpot over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add diced onion and a sprinkling of kosher salt (not too much!), and saute until onion is translucent-golden.
  • Add potatoes and fennel; continue to saute for 3-5 minutes, until beginning to soften.
  • Add cauliflower and toss well to combine.  Pour in vegetable broth and stir to get any bits from the bottom of the pot.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and cooked through (keep an eye out for boil-overs; if you have any, just take the top off the pot and crank the heat up a little bit to compensate).
  • Add beans and allow to cook about 3 minutes, until softened and warmed through.  Transfer soup in batches to a blender (or use an immersion blender to puree in the pot).
  • When soup is blended to the consistency you like, return it to the pot and season to taste with additional salt (if necessary) and black pepper.  Thin with water if soup appears too thick.  Serve on its own, or with baked potato toppings.

Source: Covered In Flour

Nota Baker: This soup keeps well in the fridge for several days to a week, but it will become extremely thick and a little congealed.  Don’t worry about that – just dump it into a pot, add a splash of water, and reheat, and it will be great.

Bean Chili with Quinoa

All right, all right, I know I’m about a week and a half late with this one.  You’re all shaking your heads – yes, you, I see you – saying “Where was this recipe for Superbowl Sunday?”  Yeah, sorry about that.  I was behind with recipes.  But the good news is twofold: (1) it’s still cold out, so you have plenty of opportunities to eat chili before spring sets in; and (2) this is a really good way to use up extra quinoa.  Because I know you always have extra quinoa lying around!  (No?  Just me?)  Actually, this is a great pantry dinner for those meals you have to put together when it’s been awhile since you made it to the grocery store and you’re looking for something healthy.  You could easily do canned beans with this, or you could use some Slow Cooker Beans for extra deliciousness.  Either way, this protein-packed entree is definitely going to be one of my staples from now until spring.  Enjoy!

Bean Chili with Quinoa

1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 batch Slow Cooker Beans (or sub two cans of black beans)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro, grated cheddar and/or plain Greek yogurt for optional garnish

  • In a large cast-iron pot over medium heat, warm olive oil until shimmering.  Add onion and saute until golden.
  • Add beans, quinoa, and tomatoes and stir to combine.
  • Add spices, salt and pepper and taste.  Adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, then serve with “fixins.”

Source: Covered In Flour

Veggie-Full Soup

Well, it’s December.  Month of card-writing, gift-wrapping, cookie-baking and party-attending.  Not to mention all those loose ends you’re probably trying to tie up at work before the end of the year.  Are you completely overwhelmed yet?  Ready to throw in the towel?  Or still trucking along with some holiday spirit?

If you’re feeling a little bit under the gun, you’re not alone.  I know the feeling.  I know it well.  I’ve had some dark moments where I’m pretty sure that my to-do list is longer than my driveway.  And I’ve learned from experience – there’s only one way to get through the month with sanity intact, and that’s to make a priority of taking care of myself.  Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean that I stop mattering.  I still deserve yummy, healthy, nutrient-rich meals and time to exercise.  I still deserve to practice basic self-care, and dangit, I WILL practice basic self-care.  The cards will get written, the gifts bought, and the house cleaned and decorated.  But at the end of the month, I’ll still be smiling.  Because that’s what I deserve.  And so do you!

Here’s a good place to start: a light and delicious soup packed full of nutritious fresh vegetables.  You can follow my recipe or adapt it to whatever happens to be knocking around your crisper drawer.  The more veg, the merrier!  So go to town on those beans and veggies… and I promise you’ll feel nourished, loved, and ready to take on those holiday-shopper crowds.  Veggie power!

Veggie-Full Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
~1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, washed and diced
2 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 cup diced haricots verts
1 1/2 cup frozen yellow corn
1 can chickpeas or cannellini beans, drained
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

  • Heat olive oil until shimmering in a large saucepan or stock pot.  Add onions and salt, and saute until translucent.
  • Add carrots and celery and saute with onions until slightly softened.
  • Add remaining vegetables, chickpeas and dried thyme, and saute until thyme is fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes and broth and stir to combine (and deglaze pot, if necessary).  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer 25-30 minutes until flavors are melded.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Source: Covered In Flour

Spiced Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup

I’ve been on a bit of a soup bender lately, kids.  It’s the weather.  This fall has been cooler, greyer, and rainier than it usually is in D.C., and I find myself dreaming of homemade soups to take away the chill.  I came up with this one while watching the rain pour down outside my office window one afternoon a couple of weeks ago and let me tell you, it’s a keeper.  Packed with protein and fiber from the lentils, vitamins from the butternut squash, and heady flavors from a complement of Indian spices, it’s just the thing to warm you through and perk you up when the thermostat drops and the clouds roll in.

Spiced Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large white onion, diced
1 tablespoon Indian curry powder (plus additional to taste)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 small-medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water

  • In cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat, warm olive oil until shimmering.  Add diced onion and cook until translucent.
  • Add spices and toss to coat onion pieces.  Cook until spices become fragrant.
  • Add butternut squash and lentils and toss to coat thoroughly with onion and spices.
  • Add vegetable broth and water and stir thoroughly.  Using a spatula, scrape browned bits from bottom of pot and stir to incorporate.  Bring mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook 30 minutes, or until squash and lentils are softened.  Working in batches, transfer to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and velvety.  (Or use a stick blender, if yours isn’t dead like mine.  Boo.)  Return soup to pot and adjust seasonings to taste.  Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

Nota Baker: You can keep this soup in the fridge, but it will probably solidify.  It’s no big deal – just loosen it up with a few splashes of water while you reheat it over the stove, and stir vigorously to make sure the newly added water blends in.

Source: Covered In Flour

Italian Sausage and Veggie Stew

Sometimes I just get an idea in my head and I have to run with it.  The fall weather is slowly starting to creep into the mid-Atlantic region – mornings are darker, temperatures are cooling down, and we’ve had a fair amount of that grey fall rain.  I guess I need to let go of summer.  With the change in the weather I’m starting to feel the long-dormant itch to get into the kitchen and prepare warm, nourishing foods.  This stew is one of them.  I had pasta e fagioli on the menu and wasn’t quite feeling it.  I wanted something a bit greener.  Then the idea popped into my head for a hearty, healthy stew with kale, Field Roast Italian sausages and tubetti pasta.  I thought about it on the entire commute home one of the first cool days and as soon as we pulled into the garage, I made a beeline for the kitchen to whip it up.  Like I said, sometimes I just get an idea in my head and I have to run with it.

Italian Sausage and Veggie Stew

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3/4 cup fresh green beans, diced (optional)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 Field Roast Italian veggie sausage links, sliced (sub other sausage if desired)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/2-3/4 box small pasta shape (I used De Cecco tubetti)
1 package frozen kale (sub spinach)
pepper to taste (optional)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

  • In a cast-iron Dutch oven, warm olive oil over medium heat until shimmering.  Add diced veggies and season with salt.  Saute until golden and softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add sausage slices and saute with veggies until sausage slices are warmed through and beginning to acquire some color, about 3 more minutes.
  • Pour in vegetable broth and water, stir to ensure nothing sticks to bottom of pot.  Bring liquid to a boil, then add pasta.
  • Boil pasta for the time required on the box (for tubetti it was 10 minutes), stirring frequently to ensure no sticking. 
  • Add frozen kale and stir to heat through.  Test pasta for doneness – it may take an extra minute or so because it’s competing with lots of sausage and veggies!
  • If desired, season with pepper and top with grated Parmesan.  (Italian sausage has lots of flavor so I didn’t find I needed this step.)  Serve hot and enjoy!

Source: Covered In Flour

Three Bean Pumpkin Chili

I don’t do this very often – maybe I never have – but I’m giving you a recipe that comes almost entirely from cans.  I know, I know.  You can certainly freshen this up with greens, either on the side or cooked in, or a nice salad.  But if you’re in a pinch for dinner one night… or trying to cut back on the spending… here’s something you can pull together with just pantry ingredients.  And it’s pretty healthy and darn tasty, if I do say so myself.

Three Bean Pumpkin Chili

1/2 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1 14-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 14-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
ancho chili powder to taste
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or other hot sauce) to taste
salt and pepper to taste

  • In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until shimmering.  Add onion and cook until translucent, then add a generous sprinkle of chili powder and stir to coat.  Continue cooking until chili powder is fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes, pumpkin, and beans and stir to combine well.
  • Season to taste with additional chili powder, hot sauce, salt and pepper.  Turn heat down to low and allow dish to simmer for 30 minutes before serving.

Source: Covered In Flour

Chickpea Soup for the Soul

This is a food blog, not a life blog.  I try very hard to keep this a positive space and to maintain some separation between my life and what I post here.  Although I will use a personal story or anecdote to lead into a recipe sometimes, this is not a space where I air my private feelings.  And while I don’t plan to start now, I will say that I’m aware of the idea that food bloggers’ lives are perfect and we all live in a storybook land of sun-filled kitchens and dreamy apple pie aromas.  Not so.  I’m a real person with feelings, and I hit rough patches like everyone else.  I was recently on the receiving end of some very hurtful remarks and while I’m trying to bounce back, it’s not easy.

I’ve never been a “comfort food” person.  In fact, if you were to ask me what my personal “comfort food” is… well, I don’t actually know.  I’m not one to drown my sorrows in a bowl of mac ‘n cheese or a pint of ice cream.  If I’m upset you’re far more likely to find me at the mall (holla back, DSW!).  But I do know that in times of trouble, it’s especially important to take care of yourself.  My Chickpea Soup for the Soul is a great way to start the healing process.  It’s full of nutrients and fiber, with a great protein hit from the chickpeas.  Because when we’re at our lowest points, that’s when we’re most in need of good nutrition.  After all, we need to be strong so we can stand up for ourselves.

Food is just food.  It’s not a hug or a friend.  Fortunately for me, I have hugs and friends aplenty, and I’ll be fine in the end.  In the meantime, I’m being kind to myself by giving myself chickpeas and leafy greens.  Not because they’re comforting, but because they’re giving me fuel while I try to shake it off, smile, and get back to the business of being my best self.

Chickpea Soup for the Soul

4 stalks celery
3 carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot (optional)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Better Than Boullion vegetable base*
1 cup vegetable stock
4 cups water
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 cups chopped kale
salt and pepper to taste

  • Prep celery and carrots: thinly slice celery, peel and dice carrots.
  • Heat olive oil in large stockpot until shimmering.  Add celery and carrots and shallots (if using), stir to coat, and saute briefly until veggies are beginning to soften.  Sprinkle with thyme and stir well.
  • Add broth, water and vegetable base.  Simmer all together for 15 minutes.
  • Add chickpeas and kale.  Stir to wilt kale and simmer soup together for 15 more minutes.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary (you probably won’t need salt because the vegetable base is salty, but you may want some pepper).

*If you don’t have Better Than Boullion vegetable base, you can substitute 5 cups of vegetable broth instead of 1 cup of vegetable broth, 4 cups of water and the vegetable base.  I just did it this way because I only had 1 cup of vegetable broth in the house!  But you can feel free to sub some or all of the water.

Source: Covered In Flour

Spring Green Soup

Spring is the most glorious season of the year in DC.  There are flowers, literally, everywhere.  For a few weeks, it seems like there isn’t a tree in the mid-Atlantic region that’s not in bloom.  Dogwood, cherry trees, and my favorite redbuds are on every street corner.  And then there are the fields of daffodils, the flowers blooming up and down every street in the city, and you should see my neighborhood – gardens in bloom everywhere.  It’s gorgeous.  I love it.

Unfortunately for me, spring in DC also brings epic amounts of pollen – obviously – and every year my body completely revolts.  I usually spend several weeks of the spring holed up indoors and even that isn’t enough to keep me from coming down with a miserable case of spring allergies.  In the worst years, I’m virtually unintelligable.  This year I thought I was getting off easy and I got cocky and went out for a run on Sunday morning.  I waited until the worst pollen time (5:00-10:00 a.m.) was over, but I was out the door at about 10:05 and apparently I didn’t wait long enough, because I am a mess now.  Yesterday I spent the entire day sneezing and rubbing my eyes.  Fortunately, my office is well acquainted with my allergy woes and they know I’m not contagious!  Still, by the end of the day I was a pretty unhappy girl and desperately in need of something soothing and nourishing.  I knew exactly what I wanted – green soup.  Between the leeks, potatoes and spinach, I enjoyed each and every nutrient.  Now, I’m not delusional – I know that green soup isn’t going to cure my allergies.  But it’s a nice way to celebrate the season while I stare wistfully at the gardens outside my window.  Here’s to a few days of low pollen counts…

Spring Green Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned
3 potatoes, large-diced
kosher salt
5 cups water
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon vegetable base
4 large handfuls baby spinach
freshly ground pepper to taste

  • In a large cast iron pot, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Chop leeks and add to oil.  Season with a pinch of kosher salt and stir to coat with oil.  Allow leeks to cook down for about 5 minutes.
  • Add potatoes and season with another good pinch of kosher salt.  Stir potatoes and leeks together.
  • Add water and Better Than Bouillon and bring to a boil.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
  • Add spinach and stir into soup until spinach is wilted down.  Blend soup in a high speed blender or in the pot with an immersion blender until it reaches the consistency desired.  Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.  Garnish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

Source: Covered In Flour

Simple Gazpacho

Believe it or not, this was my first time making gazpacho.  I’ve been eating it forever, it seems like.  I don’t remember how old I was when gazpacho first made an appearance at our summer dinners, but I remember being absolutely enamored of it right from the beginning.  Seriously, what’s not to love?  Cool, refreshing, with a little bit of crunch… Plus, it has cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes – my three favorite vegetables!  But I never felt the need to make it myself, because I could always count on my mom to whip out a bowl of gazpacho when I really needed to scratch the itch.  She even made it for me and a group of my friends before we went out for my bachelorette party.  Now, that’s love.

Simple Gazpacho

2 cups tomato juice or V8
1 cucmber, large-diced
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, large-diced
2 bell peppers, large-diced
1/2 yellow onion, large-diced
splash red wine vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

  • Combine all ingredients except for the vinegar, salt and pepper in blender.  Pulse blender until soup reaches desired consistency; I like it a little chunky, but not overly so.
  • Season to taste with vinegar, salt and pepper.

Source: Loosely adapted from Love Soup by Anna Thomas, and messybaker’s tidy mom