Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New England Clam Chowder

This is my favorite recipe of chowder I've tried. I like it really thick and velvety, not runny. This one delivers. Yum. Loved it. Now I want to make bread bowls.

New England Clam Chowder
Yield: Serves 6
  • 5 cans (6.5 ounces each) chopped clams (I added one more just because I needed to use it up)
  • 2 bottles (8 ounces each) clam juice
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and small diced (about 3 medium potatoes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 4 medium stalks)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  1. Drain the clams, reserving the juice. Set both the clams and juice aside.
  2. In a 5- or 6-quart pot, combine the clam juice (just the bottled stuff, not what you've reserved), broth and potatoes (the potatoes will just barely be covered with liquid; it's important they are diced small). Bring to a simmer, add the bay leaf, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. While the potatoes cook, in a second pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the butter is melted. Stir in the onions, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, 5-7 minutes.
  4. Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and half and half, stirring quickly to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture has thickened, 4-5 minutes.
  5. Stir the creamy mixture into the potatoes, whisking quickly until combined (take out the bay leaf if it's getting in the way). Stir in the salt, pepper, vinegar, and reserved clams. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Stir in any of the reserved clam juice to thin the consistency, if desired (I usually don't but we like it thick). Serve.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Butternut Squash Soup


By far the best butternut squash soup ever, with the help of those crisp bacon bits blended right into the soup!


  • 1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or more, to taste
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Place butternut squash, onion, bell pepper and bacon in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine.
  3. Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender, stirring at halftime.*
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  5. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add butternut squash mixture and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in chicken stock and puree with an immersion blender.
  6. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with bacon, goat cheese and chives, if desired.

recipe found here http://damndelicious.net/2014/12/10/roasted-butternut-squash-bacon-soup/

This is so so good! I left out the bacon and goat cheese, but only because I didn't have any on hand. I will maybe add it next time. Either way, this is delicious!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Curried Lentil Soup

If you like curry, make this soup. I loved it. It's not super pretty but it's really tasty. Rob loves Mulligatawny, but I think this is much better. We didn't have enough leftovers. I wish I would have had enough to freeze.
from Mel

Curried Lentil and Sausage Soup with Toasted Almonds
I feel like I'm a bit redundant about curry powder but I'll just say it again: my favorite curry powder is the Sweet Curry Powder from Penzey's spices. You can use any type of curry powder here (yellow, red, hot) just make sure you like the flavor as it will come through in the soup. 
Also, you can play around with the type of sausage used. If using an uncooked, crumbled variety, brown it first (before the vegetables) and remove to a plate before proceeding with the recipe (and then stir it in at the end with the beans). The color of the finished soup will largely depend on what kind/color of curry powder and lentils you use. I used a blend I found with red, black, yellow and green lentils. Also, scale back on the broth if you want an ultra-thick soup; conversely, add a few more cups if you want it to go a bit further and don't mind a thinner consistency. Keep in mind it will thicken a bit off the heat (after 10 or so minutes).
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1-2 large carrots, peeled and small diced
  • 1-2 stalks celery, small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (see note above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 can white beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I used beans)
  • 1/2 pound precooked chicken sausage, diced (see note above) (I used 1 pound of Jimmy Dean Country Mild. Browned it first, then drained and threw it in at the end)
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Slivered almonds, toasted, for garnish Loved this
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
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  1. In a 4- or 5-quart pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, curry powder, salt and pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften, stirring often.
  2. Add the broth and lentils. Bring to a low simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender (but not mushy).
  3. Stir in the sausage and beans and heat through. Stir in the heavy cream, if using. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. The soup will thicken slightly upon standing.
  4. Serve warm with slivered almonds and cilantro.

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe sent to me by Tamara B. (thank you!)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pizza Rolls

I make these frequently.  I don't make my own dough, I just buy it from Trader Joe's (they have good pizza dough).  I make a double batch and freeze half.

Homemade Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
I've made these pizza rolls (and our favorite pizza dough) with all types of flour. Bread flour, all-purpose unbleached flour, and white whole wheat flour. My favorite combo is probably half bread flour, half white whole wheat flour; the dough is extremely versatile!
    Pizza Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour (see note above)
  • Filling:
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups pizza sauce (homemade recipe here)
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 5 ounces pepperoni, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet (about 12X18-inches) with parchment paper.
  2. For the dough, in an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (you can also do this by hand in a large bowl with a spoon), stir together the water, honey, olive oil, yeast, salt and 1 cup of the flour. With the mixer on low speed, continue adding the flour until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and forms a soft, smooth ball. Knead for 3-4 minutes (add a few minutes if using whole wheat flour). Let the dough rest, covered, in the bowl for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Separate the dough into two pieces. On a lightly greased countertop, press one portion of dough into a thin rectangle, about 14X10-inches.
  4. Spread 1/2 to 3/4 cup pizza sauce evenly across the top. Sprinkle evenly with half the mozzarella cheese and then half the pepperoni. Starting with on long side, roll up cinnamon-roll style, pinching the seam together to seal.
  5. Place the cornmeal in a bowl or shallow dish. Cut the dough into 1-inch sections. One by one, press the bottom of each pizza roll into the cornmeal and then place on the prepared baking sheet about an inch apart.
  6. Repeat with the remaining half of dough.
  7. Once all the pizza rolls are placed on the baking sheet, sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
  8. Warm the extra pizza sauce, and serve the pizza rolls immediately out of the oven with the pizza sauce for dipping.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe is from Andy's mom.  Not sure where it came from originally, but they have it every Thanksgiving and I made them when we were home just last month.

***that 1 package of cream cheese should be 8oz***

When I made them, I only kind of followed this recipe. I was quadrupling the recipe, but didn't have enough cream cheese and somehow I added more bread. So really, you can just adjust everything to how you like (or to what you have). I also didn't have green pepper.