Soup

Cauliflower Chowder

It’s been a cold and snowy last week or so in Chicago.  The weather is only about to get worse, unfortunately.   We are looking at more snow and super cold temperatures by the middle of the week.   I keep reading articles talking about coldest temperatures in 25 years.  I hope it doesn’t get that cold. However, what is better on a cold winter’s day but a nice bowl of a hearty soup.

Today I made cauliflower chowder.  It’s hearty but light at the same time.  I made this soup as a healthier alternative to traditional cream soups.  It’s very easy to even turn this into a Keto recipe. Check it out.  See cook’s notes below to make Keto.

Cauliflower Chowder

Ingredients:
3 T butter
1 T olive oil
3 T flour
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1  large red pepper, diced
1 cup gold potatoes, diced
3, 16 oz bags frozen cauliflower
3, 32 oz boxes unsalted or low sodium chicken broth
2 cups fat free half and half
8 oz reduced fat cheddar cheese (more for topping)
1 large bay leaf
2 t dried rosemary
2 t dried thyme
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
2 t chili powder
2 t salt (more to taste)
2 t pepper (more to taste)
1 t crushed red pepper

Toppings (optional)
Shredded cheese
Chopped Bacon
Green onion

Directions:

Heat a large soup pot on medium high heat.  Add in the olive oil and let heat a minute before adding in the garlic and onion.  Once garlic and onion are added cook about 3-4 minutes until the onion is translucent.   Next add in the red pepper and cook another 3 minutes until soft.

Add in the butter and let melt completely.  Slowly add the flour and mix well.  Cook the roux for about 4-6 minutes.  Add in the chicken stock, potatoes and frozen cauliflower and mix.  Add in thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.  Simmer on medium high heat about 45 minutes, stirring halfway through.   Check potatoes and make sure they are soft.  Remove the bay leaf.   Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to break up the cauliflower, but leaving some chunks.

Once blended put back on the stove and add in the 2 cups of fat free half and half and mix well.  Season the soup with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, crushed red pepper and chili powder.  Mix well. Let simmer 15 minutes once the cream is added.

Remove the soup from the heat and add in 8 oz of cheese and mix to thoroughly melt the cheese.  Make sure to put the spoon to the bottom of the pot to make sure the cheese isn’t all fallen to the bottom.

To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese, bacon and green onions.

Chef Notes:  For Keto recipe, replace 3 T of flour with ¼ t of xanthan gum.  Do not add in with the butter.  Make a slurry with the xanthan gum some liquid and add into the pot.  Replace fat free half and half for full fat heavy whipping cream. Omit potatoes entirely.

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French Onion Soup with Garlic Crostini & Swiss Cheese

Happy December! I made French Onion soup for the first time in years. It’s a super easy soup to make. You don’t need a lot of ingredients or time to make this. I almost feel like it’s healthier compared to most soups because there is no cream and yes there is butter but I cut back on that as well.

This is perfect for lunches or with a salad for dinner. It’s nice and warm for those cold winter nights. What’s better than soup and bread? This recipe has BOTH!

French Onion Soup with Garlic Croutons and Swiss Cheese

Ingredients:
5T butter
6 large sweet onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large bay leafs
6 sprigs of thyme
3 T flour
1 ½ cups wine (I used white)
2- 32 oz cartons beef broth, no salt added
3 t salt
2 t pepper

Croutons:
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 loaf crusty French bread
2 T olive oil
½ T parsley
2 t garlic powder
Sprinkle: salt and pepper

Toppings:
Swiss cheese

Directions:

In a large soup pot, melt butter on medium heat. Add sliced onions and garlic and mix well. Add in the bay leafs and 3 of the thyme sprigs. The other 3 sprigs, remove the herb and sprinkle in the mixture. Cook on medium low heat until onions are tender and caramelized. This may take 30-40 minutes for the amount of onions we are using. I covered the pan and let them cook down mixing every 10-12 minutes. They will cook down, don’t worry if they seem to take up the whole pot. (That’s what happened to me.)

After onions have cooked down and are soft and starting to caramelize remove some of the liquid and add to a small bowl and mix with the 3 tablespoons of flour. Mix well to remove lumps. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Add in the flour mixture and the wine and whisk well. Cook on medium heat about 10-15 minutes mixing half way through with a whisk. A whisk will help make sure the flour mixture gets broken up. Add in the beef broth and salt and pepper and stir, and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering make the croutons for the top of the soup. Slice the bread into ½ inch pieces. In a small bowl add oil, parsley, garlic powder, fresh garlic and salt and pepper and mix well. Single layer the slices of bread on baking pan covered with foil. Brunch the bread with olive oil mixture. Bake at 400° in the oven 12-15 minutes. It’s okay if they get hard, they will soften once added to the soup.

To serve ladle soup into bowl add 2-3 slices of bread and top with sprinkle of Swiss cheese. If you wish, you can add to an oven save bowl and put under the broiler for a few minutes to make the cheese brown and bubbly. I made this for lunches, so I just add in the bread slices and top with some cheese once the soup is heated through and the cheese melts perfectly. Enjoy!

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Bacon Corn Chowder

On the menu for my meal prep for the week is a healthy corn chowder. I love a good hearty soup. The problem is soups can be pretty unhealthy and usually are full of salt and fat.

I decided to try a chowder today and I made it healthier by using no salt chicken stock, light butter and fat free half and half. The only full fat ingredient in this dish is the bacon. I couldn’t bring myself to use turkey bacon. This is the first time I’ve made a Corn Chowder. I was pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about a corn soup but it was delicious and full of flavor. It’s a great quick soup that’s healthier than your average cream soup. Check it out!

Bacon Corn Chowder

Ingredients:
10-12 bacon slices, cooked
20 oz frozen corn
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 medium yellow peppers, diced
2 medium russet potatoes (about 10 oz total), diced
1 T butter ( I used a light stick butter)
2 T flour
1 T olive oil
40 oz chicken stock (no salt) (32 oz carton plus 1 cup)
1 cup half and half (I used fat free)
3/4 C reduced fat shredded cheese + extra for topping ( I used Colby jack)
1/2 T thyme
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions: Heat a medium size pot over medium high heat. Add in olive oil then add in the minced garlic and diced onion. Let cook 2-3 minutes stirring a few times.

Next add in 1 T of butter and 2 T of flour to make a roux (a roux is a fat and flour combined which makes a thickening agent.) Stir well to incorporate the butter and flour. Reduce heat to medium low Let cook 3-4 minutes.

Add in the chicken stock, frozen corn and diced peppers and potatoes. Mix well. Mix in thyme, garlic and onion powder. Cover simmer on medium low 20 minutes stirring halfway through.

Remove pot from the stove and use an immersion blender to blend half of the soup. What this means is don’t make the soup completely thin. You want the soup to still be slightly chunky. I did the immersion blender probably about 10-15 pulses up and down and in a circular motion.

Put back on the stove on low heat. Add in 1 cup of half half and mix well and gradually add the shredded cheese. Stir well and until all cheese is melted. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Top with crumbled bacon and sprinkle of cheese and enjoy!

Note: You can add the cooked bacon right to the pot of soup. I kept it out because I’m trying to keep track of the nutrients and it’s better to know I only used 1 slice of bacon vs not knowing how much is in each serving. . Feel free to add different color peppers, I just used what I had on hand. You can also use regular half and half in this soup. I used fat free to make it a little healthier. You may also need to add more salt than you think just due to the flavors in the soup.