Well, it’s official, as of yesterday, Minnesota has had it’s first snow storm.  Welcome winter, I guess.  It’s really fine with me if I’m going to be stranded inside as long as I have warm, comfort food to keep me feeling cozy and satisfied.  Growing up, I don’t have a single memory of my mom using a crock pot and therefore, I don’t have a whole bunch of slow cooker recipes in my repertoire.  But I have been trying to change that lately because it gives me so much more freedom when I get home from work if dinner is already done, smelling wonderful and just waiting for me to serve up.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili {satisfymysweettooth.com}

This Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili made in the crock pot really blew me away.  I couldn’t believe how wonderfully tender and easy to shred the chicken was and the flavor of onions, garlic, green peppers with chili powder and cumin after the chili had been simmering away all day is really something special.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili {satisfymysweettooth.com}

The intensity of flavor that ingredients acquire after cooking on low heat for a long time is so much greater than if you were to just throw this soup together on the stovetop for example.  This Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili could be modified to include any of your favorite ingredients.  Corn and green chiles are top on my list of what I might add next time, although I loved this soup so much, I might not want to change it.  The chili powder and jalapeño give the soup just a subtle low burn of heat and the fresh lime juice added at the end together with the cilantro garnished on top of the chili is just perfection.

Easy Chicken Chili (Crock pot)

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I use low-sodium broth)
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lime
  • lime, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, cheese for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place chicken into crock pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place onion, green pepper, garlic, jalapeño, and tomatoes into crock pot.
  3. Add chicken broth, chili powder and cumin.
  4. Turn crock pot on low heat and cook for 7 1/2 hours.
  5. Add black beans and juice of half of the lime and cook for another 1/2 hour.
  6. Serve with garnishes.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili {satisfymysweettooth.com}

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Four Things I'm Loving This Week

I made soup twice last week.  I am fairly certain that I could eat soup every day.  I love how it warms me up and keeps me feeling full and satisfied for hours.  I made a brothy farro vegetable soup (farro is my new grain of choice by the way) early in the week that was so healthy and delicious.  Then later in the week I made an also healthy and simplified version of one of my favorite soups, Simple Potato Leek Soup (only 5 ingredients).  As I was making this Simple Potato Leek Soup, I realized that I was utilizing some of my favorite kitchen tips for making things healthier and easier to manage in the kitchen and I decided to share them with you in this post.

I love lists.  Do you love lists?  I hope so because here we go with my list of 3 kitchen tips for you:

  • Sauté vegetables in stock rather than butter or oil.

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When I am sautéing vegetables for soups or a side dish, rather than dousing them with oil or drowning them in butter, I simply open a can of stock (I use low sodium chicken stock but you could also use vegetable stock without either option affecting the flavor too significantly) and pour about 1/8 cup at a time into the pan with the vegetables.  I don’t measure, I simply make sure there is a little bit of liquid in the bottom of the pan so that the vegetables don’t burn.  I watch it and pour a bit more when the liquid has evaporated/steamed off.  I find that this technique results in soft, tender vegetables without any added fat.  I want to save my oil and butter for when I need it to add flavor.  I will usually sprinkle some fresh ground pepper into the veggies, but don’t add extra salt because the broth does that for me.  Once my vegetables are cooked, I can continue with them as I wish whether that be turning them into fajitas or adding other things to make them part of a soup.

  • Clean your potatoes with a manicure/pedicure nail brush (an unused one silly).

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This one does not need much explanation.  I was cleaning out my bathroom and had a never-been-opened pedicure kit with a nail brush and I was about to discard the whole kit when I realized how convenient that brush would make cleaning potatoes.  I scrub my potatoes with the brush while running them under cold water to remove excess dirt.  Simple idea, but it helps me be more efficient and effective.

  • Clean your leeks quickly, but effectively.

Oh leeks, how I love you.  I used to fear and avoid cooking with leeks because they seemed like a pain to deal with because of all of that dirt hiding between their layers.  Here are the simple steps that I now use to avoid sand in my dinner:

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}

cut the root ends and the dark green parts off each leek

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}

cut the remaining leek in half lengthwise

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}

run the leek under water while fanning out the layers to remove dirt; flip leek over and repeat from the opposite end

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}

cut into thin strips (and sauté in chicken stock-see first tip of this post)

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}

How to clean and prepare leeks {satisfymysweettooth.com}I hope that you find these simple kitchen tips helpful when you make this Simple Potato Leek Soup!  You would never guess that this soup is only 140 calories per serving based on how rich and creamy it is!  Add additional salt and pepper to your taste.

What is your favorite, most helpful kitchen tip?

Simple Potato Leek Soup (only 5 ingredients) {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Simple Potato Leek Soup (only 5 ingredients), plus 3 helpful kitchen tips

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Rich, creamy and flavorful soup that is light and healthy and simple to make

Ingredients

  • 3 large leeks, white and light green parts only (about 3 cups sliced leeks)
  • 5 medium yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans low sodium chicken stock
  • 1-2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream, plus more for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium/large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add 1/8 cup chicken stock.
  3. Cut root end and dark green parts off of leeks. Cut in half lengthwise. Run under water while fanning out layers to clean and remove dirt.
  4. Slice into strips, sprinkle with regular salt and pepper and add to pot and cook until softened 5-10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, clean potatoes and dice into 1-inch pieces. Add to pot with remaining chicken stock and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover pot and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.
  6. Puree soup using immersion blender or regular blender. Add 1-2 tsp celery salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Stir in sour cream.
  8. Serve with additional sour cream.

Notes

Per serving: Calories: 140 Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 29g

Simple Potato Leek Soup (only 5 ingredients) {satisfymysweettooth.com} Simple Potato Leek Soup (only 5 ingredients) {satisfymysweettooth.com}

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I feel a sense of urgency to squeeze in as much summer produce as I can before all of the perfectly ripened tomatoes, peaches and corn are gone.  Sometimes I wish we had summer produce year round, but then I wonder if we would still appreciate how good and refreshing watermelon tastes during the few months we can get it, for example.

Corn on the cob is prime right now, and it is good in it’s own rite, but another one of my favorite ways to enjoy corn is in a thick and creamy soup.  I especially love when I can make a creamy and satisfying soup without actually using heavy cream and multiple sticks of butter.  This soup will give you just that.  I added dill because I love the way that dill can lighten the richness of a dish and add a whole other flavor profile.


Dilly Corn Chowder with Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Soup, Main dish, Healthy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Hearty, yet light corn chowder
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill weed
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • ½ cup fat-free half and half
  • salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
Instructions
  1. In a medium stock pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir occasionally until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in thyme, bay leaf, dill, salt and pepper and broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Add potatoes and continue to boil until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and add corn. Cook until corn is tender, about 2 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to low and stir in milk and half and half.
  7. Serve sprinkled with the shredded cheese and more salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Recipe adapted from Sunset.

Which summer produce do you wish you could enjoy year round?

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When you think of spring, which ingredients are you excited to cook or bake with?  Leeks and lemons immediately pop into my mind for some reason.  I love the traditional vichychoisse.  Such a simple soup of potato and leeks yet it so so beautiful and fun to dress up with croutons or sour cream.

I am kind of a Food Network junkie and a couple of my favorites to watch are Ina Garten and Giada.  It seems like no matter what they make, I am printing out the recipes 5 minutes later and adding as many of the recipes as I can to my weekly menu.  Ina made this soup a couple of weeks ago and she really turned up the flavors on the traditional potato leek soup.

It’s amazing how roasting vegetables low and slow in the oven really brings out a depth of flavor you never even knew was possible.  The preparation for this soup begins by roasting yukon gold potatoes, lovely spring leeks and peppery arugula until they are tender and caramelized and I finished it with rich, tangy sour cream.  Serve the soup with a crusty baguette so you can sop up all of the goodness.

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place chopped potatoes and leeks onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes, or until tender

place arugula on top of roasted vegetables and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until arugula is wilted

place roasted vegetables into stock pot

pour in chicken broth and use immersion blender to blend until smooth

stir in half and half

then sour cream and salt and pepper to taste

serve with warm, crusty bread

Which flavors or ingredients make you think of spring?

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Lightened up Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

By now you probably know how much I love soup.  One of my favorite soups that my mom made growing up is Cream of Mushroom.  This soup can be made quickly and usually without an extra trip to the grocery store.  I love that it is creamy and satisfying and yet there is no heavy cream or whole milk!

The meatiness of the mushrooms is even enough to keep those carnivores happy.  To me, the flavor of this soup is as comforting as chicken noodle, but more sophisticated due to the richness that the half-and-half and sherry add.  With the ingredients listed in this recipe, the portion is perfect for feeding two.  I recommend serving it with warm, soft bread.

Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored byKitchenAidRed Star Yeast and Le Creuset

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sautée onions and celery until tender, then add mushrooms

add chicken stock and sherry

whisk flour, chicken stock and half-and-half

whisk this thickener into the soup until combined then add remaining ingredients

serve with warm, soft bread

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