Winter-friendly meal: slowcooker chicken chowder

A bowl of crockpot chicken chowder topped with crumbled bacon.Although it’s a little warmer out today, I know it’s just a matter of time before the winter cold sets in again. Time for soup! But not just any soup: chowder. Now, I know that chowder is more traditionally made with fish, but I’ve made corn chowder more than once. This time, I’m going for a chicken chowder with lots of veggies and I’m trying out Campbell’s Stock First (TM) Cream stock. I got two boxes to give them a try. Earlier this weekend, I made a mac and cheese with one of the boxes (and it was pretty tasty!). So, today, I used the second box to make the chowder.

I will warn: this is not that thick, gloopy type of chowder that is more traditional. This is a thinner broth. If you prefer a thicker broth, you might want to switch to cream instead of skim milk. I’ve heard of some folks who make it with heavy whipping cream. I might consider using two boxes of the cream stock next time, cutting out the milk and sour cream entirely. I just used what I had on hand.

Here’s what I did… Continue reading

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More Winter-Warming Comfort Foods: Sausage Bake

Sausage bake with full sausage links.So, winter is finally here because we got snow. Everyone around us has gotten pummeled but we just got a light dusting — still, it’s the white stuff, so winter is here. With winter, as I’ve said previously, I crave comfort foods. Now, for me, comfort foods aren’t necessarily foods I had as a child, but things that are just… comforting. Some, yes, are childhood favourites and some are newer favourites that have made their way into my kitchen in more recent years.

My hubby brought home a double-pack of honey-garlic sausages from Walmart, as they were on sale for really cheap. Typically, we’ll throw those on a pan in the oven and bake them off then serve on hotdog buns. I wanted to do something else. Something not relying on the bready-buns would be preferable. So I kind of poked around the internet, didn’t find what I was looking for, then went looking through the cupboards and fridge to see what I could concoct.

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Summer Solstice Warming Vegetable Soup

"Summer Solstice" vegetable soup with garlic cheese bread

I’ve recently found out that onions are generally a bad idea for me.  If I don’t want to end up having certain health issues that I won’t discuss here, I need to generally avoid them like the plague.

To say the least, this has really put a cramp in my cooking-style.

Almost every recipe out there involves onions of some description or another. Sliced, diced, chopped, minced, pureed… somehow, it’s present in everything from soups and stews to burgers and meatloaf. What’s an onion-avoiding girl to do??

With the recent rainstorms and cooler summer weather, I’ve found myself craving a good, hearty, warming soup. Yes, soup in the summer — I’m not crazy, I promise! But again: soup = onions. Right? Well, not exactly. I’ve found  that I have no adverse effects from onion powder. There’s hope yet! Based on this and wanting to get something equally tasty and nutritious into me, I went out to buy some veggies I haven’t had in recent days: cabbage  and sweet potatoes.

Sure, I’ve got potatoes in my pantry but the  sweet potatoes are generally so much better for you and they just have a different taste. So, today, after I had gotten up from a short afternoon nap, I started chopping and slicing and  whipped up this yummy little number. I’ve dubbed it Summer Solstice Warming Vegetable Soup because I created it on the Summer Solstice and the flavours are warming without being “spicy”. Feel free to play with the seasonings to make it more to your taste, but  I have to say that this turned out better than I originally imaged!

This also makes a huuuuuuuuuge pot of soup/stew, so feel free  to cut these measurements in half to make a dutch oven’s worth of soup. This one took my large stewing pot, just as a warning.  (See the end of this posting to see the “leftovers” after hubby and I both had two full bowlfuls!) Also, this was an instant hit with my hubby, though there was no meat in the soup. Woo! Here’s what I did…

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A Review: Black Forest Inn

You Gotta Eat Here at the Black Forest InnRestaurant: Black Forest Inn
Address: 255 King Street East, Hamilton, Ontario
Phone: 905-528-3538
URL: www.blackforestinn.ca

Recently, my mom, hubby and I decided to go out for lunch. It was a chilly, rainy day. We could have gone to any chain restaurant, as we have in the past, but we were all craving something a little different. A few years back, my mom and I had gone to the Black Forest Inn. She had been several times but that was my first visit. I fell in love with the food but hadn’t had the opportunity to go back since then. My husband had never eaten there and was keen to try it based on seeing it on You Gotta Eat Here. So, I made the suggestion: how about lunch at the Black Forest Inn?

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Experiments in soup-making: fake minestrone soup

A bowl of soup, showing sausage meatballs, vegetables and spiral pasta.I’m feeling a little lazy but I really want to share my latest creation. Normally, I would describe what I threw together in the pot to get to the final product and not post the actual recipes but I think this is going to change. For my friends on Facebook and Google+ who have already seen this recipe, I do apologize for the reposting/blatant plagiarizing of my own FB/G+ post. Hehe. I just think this soup is too good (if I do say so myself) to not post here. Not only that, but I think that based on next-day tasting, I’m going to make a couple of measurement adjustments as well.

It rained last night and had cooled off considerably outside (YAY!!). As such, I suddenly got in the mood for soup. I don’t know why, but rain and soup and things like hot chocolate go well together, imo. So, I started yanking things out of the fridge and cupboards to see what I could come up with.

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Broccoli & cauliflower curried soup

A bowl of broccoli & cauliflower curried soupWith all the rain that we’ve had this week, I’ve had a real desire for comfort food. What says comfort more than soup? So I cracked open the fridge to see what I had. Luckily for me, I had some really great ingredients such as fresh broccoli, cauliflower, onions, celery and light cream (5%). I thought to myself, “Why not make a pureed soup??” So I did!

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