Monday, September 26, 2016

Creamy and Spicy Corn Soup

I have always been a huge fan of corn soup.
I love the sweetness of fresh corn, and truthfully, all of the cream and butter in the recipe.

Whenever we have a choice between a cream-based soup and a broth-based soup, we usually choose the cream-based soup.

So I decided that I was going to makeover Creamy Corn Soup, healthier, without using any actual cream in the recipe.  Instead I added vegetable broth and potato for that “creamy” feeling, warm spices like cumin and chili powder, and fun toppings like tomatoes and cilantro for some texture and flavor.

It was a huge success.
This soup is great for summer – when you can get wonderful fresh corn and tomatoes. But fresh frozen corn is still delicious.  And with the warming spices, I’d say this soup transitions really nicely all year round.

You can add just about any toppings to this soup and it will still taste great. For a twist on this recipe, try adding avocado, guacamole, or crushed tortilla chips.

We ate so much of this soup we didn’t have any leftovers!
And the best part is, it took less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish.

The Ingredients
Serves 3
  • 5 ears fresh sweet corn
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 a medium yukon gold potato, chopped
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock (the more stock you add, the thinner your soup will be)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
The Directions
Step 1: Cut the onion, potato, and trim the corn kernels off the 5 ears of corn.

Step 2: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, saute for 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the potato and broth, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are very soft – about 10 minutes. Then add the fresh corn and cook through for a couple minutes more.

Step 3: Add a bit more vegetable broth if your soup mixture looks too thick. Add all of your spices (cumin, chili powder, cayenne, black pepper). Then puree with an immersion/hand blender, or with a regular blender/food processor. Your soup will go from this…

To this:

Step 4: Top with a variety of toppings: cilantro, tomatoes, fresh corn, crushed corn chips, avocado, or anything else you can think of!

This soup is so rich and flavorful, it tastes like it was made with a ton of butter and cream, but you can enjoy it totally guilt free!

To Recap;
Thanks to The Picky Eater for this recipe!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Chocolate Pumpkin Magic Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Magic Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Magic CakeJUST last night, my very good friend, Theresa, served this cake to us for dessert.  I was hooked.  I knew I would share it in my weekly newsletter.  It is amazing.  ~Shelly

She told me this triple layer dessert is extremely easy to make, and comes out in perfect layers each time!

The bottom layer is a delightful pumpkin pie, the middle is a rich chocolate cake and then it’s topped off with a vanilla pudding frosting that is to die for.

The secret to this magical cake is how you bake it.
First you pour in the chocolate cake batter and then the pumpkin pie batter over the top.

Since the pumpkin pie filling is heavier, it will sink to the bottom and the cake will rise to the top.

Now… I get asked a lot, “Why don’t you just put the pumpkin on the bottom to begin with?” 
The pumpkin needs to bake longer in order to set, this little trick makes it so both the cake and pie come out perfect!

On the original pumpkin magic cake, the frosting had a hint of pumpkin pie spice, but you can opt to sprinkle some crushed gingersnap cookies on top.

Chocolate Pumpkin Magic CakeOnce your family tastes this cake… they’ll be hooked and asking for it all the time!

Grab a fork and dig in to this chocolate delight!

For the Cake:
1 box of devil's food cake mix PLUS ingredients needed to make (eggs, water, oil)
For the Pumpkin Pie:
1 (15oz) can Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
For the Frosting
1 (4 serving size) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup cold milk
8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
4 to 5 gingersnap cookies, crushed into crumbs
    Chocolate Pumpkin Magic Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare box of cake mix according to package instructions, then pour into a lightly greased 9"x13" cake pan. DO NOT BAKE. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl whisk together the ingredients for the Pumpkin Pie (pumpkin, evaporated milk, cream, eggs, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice), until smooth. Slowly pour the pumpkin pie mixture all over the cake mix.
  4. Carefully place cake into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly, and a toothpick inserted into cake mix comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. For the Frosting:
  6. Place the vanilla pudding mix into a large bowl and pour in the cold milk. Whisk until combined and starting to thicken. Gently fold in the Cool Whip until it's completely combined. Spread on top of the cooled cake then sprinkle with the crushed gingersnap cookies.
  7. You can serve now, or chill the cake, and serve when chilled. Either way tastes great. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Baking Ideas for a Boneless Pork Butt Roast

A boneless pork butt roast comes from closer to a pig's head than its tail. This meaty shoulder-cut, usually between 3 and 6 pounds, is striped with some intramuscular fat, and, unlike a number of slenderized cuts of pork, still requires a good old-fashioned long cooking until tender. Dressed with Latin, Southern or Asian flavors, its succulence makes it well worth the wait.
Herb Paste
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
10 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (6-pound) boneless pork shoulder Boston roast 
Preheat oven to 275°F.
Blend together sage, rosemary, garlic, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper in a food processor until a thick paste forms. With motor running, add wine and oil and blend until combined well.
If necessary, trim fat from top of pork, to leave a 1/8-inch-thick layer of fat. Make 3 small incisions, each about 1 inch long and 1 inch deep, in each side of pork with a small sharp knife, and fill each with about 1 teaspoon herb paste. Spread remaining herb paste over pork, concentrating on boned side, (tie roast with kitchen string at 2-inch intervals, if not yet tied).
Put pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan and roast in middle of oven 6 hours. Transfer roast to cutting board and let stand 15 minutes.
Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder: Step-by-Step
Start at High Heat, Finish at Low Heat

For the spice rub, mix up the following ingredients in a small bowl:
1 Tbsp dried crushed red peppers
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt (NOT sea salt or table salt)
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
These precise measurements and ingredients aren't critically important, but what we're doing is creating a blend of sweet, salty and spicy.
Mix everything together to form a paste and smear it all over the roast.
Roast the pork at 500°F for the first 20 minutes. We start at a high temperature so that the outside of the roast will turn all brown and crispy and delicious. You might see a bit of smoke inside the oven, but that's OK — don't panic!

After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 250°F and cook for another 2 hours or so. This lower temperature prevents the meat from drying out. The roast is done when the outside is nice and brown and the internal temperature reaches 145°F as measured with an instant-read thermometer. 

Resting the meat before slicing it results in a much juicier roast. That's because cooking tends to drive all the meat's natural juices into the center of the roast. Resting it before slicing gives the protein molecules a chance to reabsorb some of that moisture, so those juices don't all spill out onto your cutting board

Pan Roast

In spite of its size, boneless butt can be traditionally dry-roasted in a shallow pan. This skinless, fat-capped roast is rolled and tied, then placed on a rack to prevent dripping fat from soaking the bottom of the meat. Slow-roast it between 275 and 325 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing at least 45 minutes per pound. You can both season this thick cut and help seal in juices by coating the roast with a paste of garlic, aromatic herbs and oil or mustard. When the meat has come to 180 F when tested with an instant-read meat thermometer, it's ready to come out. Let the roast sit for 10 minutes before carving, so that meat will be juicier and not shred when sliced.

Pot Roast

A rolled, tied pork butt can be browned lightly in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed roasting pan, then braised in liquid and finished with the addition of vegetables. Brown all sides of the meat in a little oil, season as desired and add 2 to 3 cups of water or broth. Add onion slices and other aromatics as desired. Cover the roast, and cook at 350 F for approximately 3 hours for a 5- to 7-pound roast. Take the pan out of the oven, and add potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables, cut into chunks. Recover the pan, and bake for another hour, or until vegetables and meat are tender.

Ultra-Slow Roast

This is a favorite method for cooks who want meat tender enough to create pulled pork. While boneless butt is often sold with skin removed, slow roasting begins with a skin-on cut. Some cooks prefer a bone-in butt, but the goals of ultra-slow cooking are tender meat and uniquely crispy skin, which can be achieved with a boneless cut as well. For an ultra-slow roast, seasonings can be as simple as salt and pepper, or as complex as your favorite barbecue dry rub. Set your oven to 250 F, allow up to an hour per pound and remove from the oven when the internal temperature reads 180 F. Add barbecue sauce to individual servings, or shred the meat and skin, then stir in sauce.

Boneless Butt Flavor Profiles

Whatever your roasting strategy, boneless pork butt works particularly well with tart and fruity flavors. For a pre-cooking marinade, choose the Portuguese mixture of vinegar and garlic known as vinha d'alhos, a simple salt brine or a mixture of wine and citrus juices, in imitation of the sour orange juice used in Spanish and Caribbean cooking. Allspice, fennel and peppers add flavors that blend well with and cut through the fattiness of the meat. Vary with Asian barbecue sauce or one of America's tomato-based classics. Boneless pork butt travels serenely through the thorny thickets of barbecue opinion, benefiting equally from red, white and brown variants. Vary the classic buns for pulled pork with corn muffins, spoonbread or rice. Corn on the cob or corn pudding and dark leafy greens, from steamed collards to spinach-orange salad make your meal a feast. Leftovers go great in whole grain wraps with coleslaw and a bit more sauce.
by Janet Beal, studioD

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cheeseburger Soup

I am SO excited for fall foods.  I love soups.
This soup looks really delicious!  With all the fresh ingredients and topped with shredded cheese, I'm certain I will make it often! ~Shelly

1 pound Harter House Ground Chuck 
¾ cup chopped onion
¾ cup shredded carrots
¾ cup diced celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 cups of Velveeta processed cheese cubed (16 ounce) OR 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1½ cups milk
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup sour cream
  1. Brown the ground beef in 3 quart saucepan. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan add 1 T butter and add onion, shredded carrots, parsley flakes, basil and celery. Saute until tender.
  3. Add the broth, potatoes and beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In small skillet melt remaining butter (3 T) and add the flour. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Stir in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream.
Recipe Adapted from Taste of Home

Brie and Cheddar Apple Beer Soup with Cinnamon Pecan Oat Crumble.

This is a perfect soup for a cool mid September evening. Not too heavy, but still just cozy enough.

I love the combo of apples and cheddar. I think the two are a perfect match.  The honeycrisp apples at Harter House are so good right now.  And finally, the Cinnamon Pecan Oat Crumble really enhances this recipe.  Give this recipe a try and tell me what you think.  ~Shelly



Cheddar Apple Beer Soup with Brie
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2/3 cup apple cider
2 apples, chopped (I used honeycrisp)
2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 (12 ounce) beer (I used pumpkin beer)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup flour (may sub gluten free blend if needed)
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces brie, rind removed + cubed

Cinnamon Pecan Oat Crumble
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups whole raw pecans
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

To make the Crumble
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Working on a greased cookie sheet or pyrex dish, add the oats, pecans, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the softened butter and use your fingers to crumble it into the oats mixture until everything is moist and the butter is evenly distributed. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crisp is golden brown and smells amazing. I like to serve this warm, so I make it while the soup simmers.

To make the Soup
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and a pinch of brown sugar. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. At this point, slowly add in the apple cider, let it cook into the onions, add more and continue to cook. Do this until the onions are caramelized. Add the apples and thyme to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes. Add in any remaining apple cider, the beer, chicken broth and cayenne. Bring to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes or until the apples are tender. (This is when I bake the crumble)

Meanwhile, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Set aside.
Once the apples are soft, puree the soup until chunky smooth or completely smooth (whatever you like). Return the soup to the stove and bring to a low bowl. Whisk in the milk mixture and boil until the soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the cheddar cheddar cheese and brie until melted and smooth. Simmer the soup 5 minutes or until ready to serve.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the cinnamon pecan crumble. Plus maybe some extra cheese too!! Happy slurping!