Tag Archive: onions

A Tale of Two Corn Chowders

Meals and Memories is what this blog is all about.  So, it is not at all surprising that a slight tinge of coolness in the air makes my family think of soup.  It is also not surprising that a certain meal or menu comes to mind.  My daughter and I made each of our versions of corn chowder on the same cool fall day (for Texas) by coincidence.  Not at all shocking to me.  I taught her how to think appropriate for the season!  So, you pick.  My recipe isn’t too bad health wise.  Her’s is a healthier version.  Is your good diet angel or bad diet angel picking dinner tonight?  Fix a salad or a grilled cheese and get your spoons ready :)

Lightened Up Corn Chowder

When fall is in the air I can’t help but see soup.  Soup, soup,  soup. (see my Mom’s note above)  The kind I usually like has tons of cream, potatoes and butter in it.  That warms my soul.  I can do this though.  Here is a corn chowder that is lightened up and has a little zing to it.  It is based on the Weight Watcher’s recipe but I made some adjustments to thicken and spice it up. How did that cheese get in there?

  • 1 medium yukon gold potato
  • 1 spray cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup uncooked celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup  uncooked onion , chopped (or 1 large shallot)
  • 2 cups corn frozen, canned or fresh
  • 1 cup  sweet red pepper , diced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
  • 4 1 ounce slices uncooked Canadian-style bacon, diced
  • 2 cup  fat-free skim milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • tsp hot pepper sauce, or to taste

Pierce potato in several places with a fork; microwave on high power until tender, turning over once, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool; peel and mash.

  • Meanwhile, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray. Add celery, onion, corn and red pepper; sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Stir bacon and milk into saucepan; stir in mashed potato and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; stir to combine. Cover and simmer 10 minutes (do not allow to boil). Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.
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Quick Southern Corn Chowder with Bacon

A good Sunday Supper is a bowl of soup for me.  I am always looking for soups to make fast that have a good flavor.  What better way to satisfy a hunger than by adding bacon to something.  This one doesn’t even require frying the bacon.  It’s already fried, chopped and waiting to be used.  It is a 2.8 ounce package of Hormel Black Label Real Bacon Pieces (50% less fat).  I used about ½ the package for 2 servings.

My Sundays usually start early with church at 8:00AM, followed by reading the paper, doing laundry while working some in the garden and maybe a shopping trip to the outlet mall and trying to squeeze in some time to take a nap.  Since this food blog began naps don’t usually happen if I want to get ahead for the week, I try to do some of my cooking/photographing on the weekend.

I decided to try my hand at a chowder after reading about several.  This one is basically the vegetables I had in the crisper drawer and freezer.  Now what could be simpler than chopping a few veggies and adding some flavorings?

  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½  onion, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ½ cup half and half (low fat is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Put the olive oil in a sauce pan large enough for your soup.  Have all the veggies prepared and diced about the same size for even cooking.  Heat the olive oil and add the veggies (except the corn).  Stir to coat.  Add salt and pepper and cover and allow to steam for about 5 minutes.   Put in the thyme (whole stems).  Add just enough water to cover the veggies.  Cook until the veggies are tender.

At this point add the corn and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the half and half and butter.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Remove the thyme stems.  Heat just to a simmer. Do not boil.

It’s ready to serve with a salad.

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Sharing this week with:
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Mid-Week BBQ

I guess I am still hungry for Fourth of July festivals as I woke up this morning craving BBQ.  Good thing that I know just the quick fix to cook all day while I am at work.  I’ll set up my crock pot and let it cook dinner.  Throughout the day I began to elaborate on the Tuesday night party.  Maybe I want some Mexican and something fresh and fruity too.  How am I going to get this all in one dinner?  That is how my kitchen experiments start.  I began to imagine the recipe below.  It was good.  Real good.  I have leftovers in case I need some more this week.

Pulled Pork Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

For the pork:

  • 1 pork tenderloin fat trimmed
  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 1 16 oz bottle of Dr. Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chipotle chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Corn or Flour tortillas
  • Cheese and/or toppings

In the morning place all the ingredients through the salt and pepper into the crock pot and set to low.  Leave to stew for 6-8 hours.  Before removing from the pot fix the salsa (see below).

When ready to eat remove to pan and finish the shredding.  This should be very easy and almost done for you.  Serve with warmed tortillas, salsa and your favorite cheese.  I used Cotija.

 

 

For the salsa:

  • 2 pineapple rings
  • ½ of a red onion finely diced
  • 2 jalapeños finely diced
  • 1 cup of tomatoes finely diced  (I take mine as I get them from the garden, today’s crop was cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons of cilantro finely chopped
  • Juice from ½ a lime
  • Salt

Pre-heat your grill or grill pan to medium.  Spray with cooking spray and add pineapple rings.  Spray the top side with cooking spray and let cook for three minutes or until deep grill marks appear.  Flip.  Cook 2-3 minutes more to char the other side.  Remove from pan to a plate and put in the refrigerator to chill.  When they are about room temperature, cut into small pieces.

Add all of the fruits and vegetables to a bowl and pour lime juice in and stir.  Salt to taste.  Serve over tacos.

I grilled a few extra pineapple rings for dessert!

Sharing Salsa!

Sharing this week with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

I think a lot of people have wonderful family recipes that they never write down.  It takes a lot of time to explain how to make something you have made forever and make it clear and correct so someone else can make it.  This is one of those recipes.

I have a friend at work who has the most wonderful mother.  She is a dedicated mom, grandmother and great-grandmother.  She sounds like a lively lady and makes her daughter laugh a lot.  She cooks dinner for Nelda and her boys a lot of days.  I never had the pleasure to come home to a home-cooked meal, unless I got up early and got things started in the crock pot.  That is such a nice thing to do.  I always hear them talking about dinner as the day goes on, so I check out their menu selections.  Sometimes I get a good idea.

One day she shows up at the office with a jar of salsa her mom made.  I immediately had to come up with a meal to serve this with.  So I made enchiladas, rice, tostados and a salad.  I shared some of the salsa with my daughter too.  It was so good, and so much better than the bottled stuff off the shelf.  Very fresh and you know what is in it.

This would be easy and good to make for your party snacks.

Grama Jo’s Salsa 

  • 10 jalapenos
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 –  8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 -4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup water (maybe a little more)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt

Boil the jalapenos in a pan with a lid until they are soft.  Cut off the stems (leave the seeds in) before you put them in the blender.  Add the onion chunks, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic cloves, the water, salt and garlic salt.  If you want to cut back on the salt you can eliminate the 2 teaspoons of salt, but not the garlic salt.  Blend until chunky.  Don’t make it into a puree or you will have a salsa smoothie, Grama Jo says.

Put in clean jars with lids and store in the frig. (It won’t last very long around hungry spicy food lovers.)  It makes a lot.  Everyone is addicted to it.  Enjoy!

Thanks, Jo for sharing your secret recipe with us.

Hooray for the Red, White and Blue!

I’m rather patriotic.  I tear up at the Star Spangled Banner unless some twit is singing it on tv at a football game or NASCAR.  A certain amount of dignity is required, I think.  I love 4th of July parades, fireworks displays and bands.  The Boston Pops can keep me in tears. My high school band was a very special group of students.  We all felt pride when it came to the National Anthem and our school song.  I’m going to get to be a part of that in September at a high school reunion at homecoming.  (Hanky alert!)

I had to come up with a food for the 4th and chicken is my “go to” food.  Plus it is white.  Blue potatoes.  I never thought I would cook blue potatoes, but what better opportunity to use some of those little things.  Paula and I agree – potatoes are one of our favorite foods.  These little tiny things can’t have too many carbs in them.  Red is for tomatoes and red onions.  This is a simple recipe.

Red, White and Blue Chicken Skewers

  • 1 package of chicken tenderloins cut in half or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in strips lengthwise
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 large red onion, cut in 8ths
  • 8 small blue potatoes, left whole
  • Salt and pepper
  • Low-fat salad dressing or your favorite marinade

I pre-cooked the potatoes in the microwave for about 4 minutes on a glass plate. Spread  the chicken with low-fat Italian salad dressing.  You could certainly make your own dressing.  Then I used metal skewers or you can pre-soak some wooden skewers for the kabobs.

To assemble the kabobs:

  1. Onion
  2. Chicken
  3. Tomato
  4. Chicken
  5. Potato
  6. Chicken
  7. Tomato
  8. Chicken
  9. Potato

This should make 4-5 kabobs depending on the length of your skewer.  Mine were about 10” and it made 4 very full kabobs.

After assembling salt and pepper and add an additional herb.  I chose a garlic/herb seasoning with no sodium.

I put these on a hot grill and cooked for about 7 minutes on one side and about 6 minutes on the other.  Only turning once so the tomatoes don’t fall apart.  Use tongs and turn them by using a piece of the chicken to hold on to as you turn.

Additional salad dressing can be added to one side before you turn and on the other side after turning.   Remove to a platter and allow to rest while you assemble your salad.

Sunday Night Garden Supper

Almost too pretty to eat....ALMOST!

Sunday Night Garden Supper

This blogging has really stirred up memories of the good food my momma used to make.  That and the bumper crop of tomatoes, squash and peppers I have this year.  Meals and Memories is what it’s all about with me some days.  Nothing is more pleasurable than picking squash, green peppers and tomatoes and then deciding what to do with them all.  Tonight it caused a walk down memory lane with my momma’s black cast iron skillet, yellow squash, corn meal, a bell pepper and onion.  Next was some pepper steak with some browned round steak, bell peppers, onions and the rest of the tomatoes I have picked this week.  My momma always had tomatoes on the window sill above her kitchen sink in various stages of ripeness.  I have a corner of my kitchen counter in the same shape.  With the heat they were all about to be too ripe.  So I diced them up and made a rich pepper steak with them.  Now if I could just get my hands on a Pecos cantaloupe I’d be perfectly fine.

It has been so hot I don’t think I’ll have too many more tomatoes for a while.  The weather man is forecasting rain, but I won’t quit watering until I see it for myself.  Probably on the 4th of July parade we will have a shower or two.

Pepper Steak

  • 1 small round steak tenderized
  • Olive oil
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bell pepper, medium dice
  • 1 yellow onion, medium dice
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes, medium dice
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups water or beef broth

Cut the meat in 1” pieces (I have mine tenderized at the butcher).  Lightly toss in flour to coat and brown in the olive oil.  I used about 2 tablespoons.  It depends on how much meat and flour you use.  Once browned on both sides remove and add the onion, bell pepper and red pepper flakes to the pan.  When they have started to soften add the tomatoes, water or broth, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.

Simmer this on medium heat until all the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly from the flour.  You may want to thicken it a bit more with some corn starch and water.  Serve over rice.

Skillet Squash with a Corn Meal Crust

  • 3-4 medium yellow squash
  • 1 bell pepper
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • Corn meal
  • Vegetable oil

Slice the squash into bite-size slices.  Dice the bell pepper and onion into about the same size pieces.

Heat the oil in the cast iron skillet and just before adding the squash toss them in a little yellow corn meal.  This won’t form mush of a breading on the squash, but it does form a crust that browns in the skillet.  Don’t turn it until it begins to brown.

Drain on paper towel and serve on a warm plate.

Happy old fashioned eating from my memories to your table.

Dusting this one off for: