Quick Cream of Mushroom Soup

Every once in a while you just need a hearty, comforting bowl of soup, especially one that can be put on the table in under 30 minutes!  The great thing about this soup is that it’s #LactoVegetarian and #KetoFriendly so you can keep it as a #GoToRecipe for when you are hosting friends or family who may be making those lifestyle choices.

Once you’ve seen how quick and easy this soup is to make, and how great it tastes,  you’ll never stress about hosting Keto or Vegetarian friends for lunch or dinner again!

creamofmushroomsoup

Keto Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 24 oz Sliced Cremini Mushrooms (681 g)
  • 4 TBLS Butter (1/4 Cup)
  • 4 TBLS Olive Oil (1/4 Cup)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 3 Green Onions (Scallions) Chopped – Reserve 2 TBLS for garnish
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Brandy
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 Pieces Thick Cut Bacon (Cooked), Chopped – Leave out for Vegetarian
  • Sour Cream or Crème Fraîche (optional)

In a 5 qt Dutch oven, or large saucepan, heat the oil and butter until melted.  Add the garlic and  all but 2 TBLS of the chopped green part of the scallions to the pan.  Sauté for about 3 minutes.

Add all of the mushrooms and stir to make sure they are well coated with the oil/butter.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until mushrooms have released their moisture and are softened.  Add the vegetable stock and cook and stir for 5 minutes, or until soup reaches a boil.

Remove soup from heat and, using an immersion blender, process the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  I like mine to have pretty good texture, so I leave it kind of chunky.  If you like it really smooth, you can process the mushroom/broth mixture in batches, in your Vitamix or blender and return the blended mixture to the pan.  Make sure that you don’t over fill your blender container and watch your steam build up.

Once you’ve processed your soup, stir in your whipping cream and chopped, cooked bacon (if you’re not keeping it Vegetarian) and heat soup over low heat, but do not let it reach a boil.  Stir in the brandy for the last minute of heating and then turn off heat.  Keep covered until ready to serve.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Serving suggestions:

  • Top with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche
  • Top with chopped chives or scallions
  • Top with additional chopped bacon

Rainy Day Keto Veggie Chicken Soup

bssoupWhile veggies are admittedly limited during the most strict part of Keto, there are many ways to incorporate very flavorful options in moderation.  This soup, that serves 4 is one of them.  The higher #GoodFat to calorie percentage, from the olive oil, is perfect for Keto followers!

Keto Carmelized Veggie Chicken Soup

  • 1 Carrot chopped (About 1/2 Cup)
  • 1/ 2 Cup (about 3)  chopped Green Onion (green & white parts)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 8 TBLS Olive Oil, divided
  • 10 – 12 Raw Brussels Sprouts, cut in half
  • 6 Raw Asparagus Spears, chopped into about 1/2″ chunks
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Cooked Chicken Breast either shredded or cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 TBLS Italian Parsley, chopped

In a 2 quart saucepan, heat 2 TBLS olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add carrot, green onions, and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add another 2 TBLS olive oil and cook another minute while stirring.  Remove carrot mixture from the pan.

Add 2 TBLS olive oil, Brussels sprouts and asparagus and cook, stirring occasionally, 6-8 minutes.  Add last 2 TBLS olive oil and return the carrot mixture to the pan.  Cook an additional 3-4 minutes, or until green vegetables start to brown.

Stir in broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Add the cooked chicken.  Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Garnish each serving with chopped parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese (if desired).  We spiced ours up with Frank’s Red Hot sauce, but you could also add dried red pepper flakes if you like your soup spicy.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

** Vegetarian option:  Omit the chicken and swap vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

Nutrition Information:  330 Calories  40.5g Fat  21g Protein  1g Carbs

Refrigerator Soup

Nothing is worse than realizing that you have a refrigerator full of expensive groceries that are nearing the end of their freshness and it’s time to cook them or they’ll go to waste.

Unfortunately I found myself in just that situation today, with a ridiculous amount of post New Year’s ingredients that were past their ability to be frozen, so a week’s worth of meal prepping #BetterThanUsual meals began with a soup that my family usually boycotts.  I’m betting that, with a pound of filet mignon, they won’t be boycotting this one. 😉  The bonus for me is that it is #KetoFriendly

refrigeratorsoup

Refreigerator Keto Soup

  • 2 Pieces Thick Cut Bacon cut into 1/4″ strips
  • 1/2 Medium Onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp Fresh Thyme chopped
  • 3/4 Pound Uncooked Steak cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 Medium Zucchini chopped into 1/2″ chunks
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes chopped (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
  • 1 Can Campbells Condensed Beef Consommé + 1 Can Water or 2 Cans Beef Broth
  • Freshly ground sea salt & pepper to taste

Over medium heat, cook bacon until almost brown.  Add in onion, garlic, and thyme.  Sauté about 5 minutes then add the steak and cook over medium-low heat until just browned.

Add the tomatoes and zucchini and stir in.  Cook about 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper liberally.  Add the consommé and water to the pan and return the heat to medium.  Bring the soup to a boil then return to the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 30 minutes.

Serve with shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese over to top if desired.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Turkey Day Prep: Stock

TurkeyStockI have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my own family for the past 25 years, or so, and have never attempted to make home made stock.  I never saw my Grandpa (THE Thanksgiving GURU in our family) make his own stock, as far as I knew, canned stock was the only stock there was. #1970sCannedFoodKid 

This year, since I’m trying to keep the meal as clean (read: uncanned) as I can this year to try and keep close to my Keto goals, I thought I’d try to make my own stock ahead of time and put it in the freezer to have for basting the bird and making the (Not Keto) stuffing and gravy.

The biggest hassle with making turkey stock is the fact that you have to make a whole turkey first to have a turkey carcass on hand.  I did find a way around this: I use turkey thighs, because I like the moister dark thigh meat, which I buy at my local grocery store, in this case, the Gelson’s a couple of miles from my house.  I like the upscale Gelson’s Market because it offers antibiotic-free, fresh, organic, and kosher (if that is important to you) turkeys and turkey pieces.

While not an all day process, it is a two part process.  First you have to cook the turkey parts and then you can make the stock.  Luckily the pressure cooker makes both parts easy.

Pressure Cooker Turkey ThighsEasy-Roasted-Turkey-Thighs-3-688x1032

  • 4 turkey thighs
  • 4 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, and chopped into large chunks
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning
  • salt and pepper (if not using the Creole seasoning)
  • 24 oz low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  1. Set your pressure cooker to the “Brown” setting
  2. Add 1-2 TBLS olive oil to the pressure cooker.
  3. Season your thighs liberally.  I prefer to use Creole seasoning but you can use salt and pepper.
  4. Brown your thighs, two at a time, on all sides.  Make sure that the skin side is a deep, golden brown to ensure that the fat is rendered and the flavor is sealed into the meat.  Remove the browned thighs and set aside.
  5. Slip the skin off of the thighs and return to the pressure cooker to render as much of the fat into the pot as possible.
  6. Add the rest of the olive oil and the chopped onion. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic.  Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Add the thighs back to the pot. Stir the onion and garlic up onto the chicken then season with salt & pepper, add the red wine vinegar and the stock.
  8. Lock the lid and cook on high pressure for one hour.  When cooking is finished, allow to return back to pressure naturally (about 30 minutes).
  9. Remove thighs from pressure cooker and put on plate for removal of meat from the bones.  Leave everything else in the pot.

**To Use Thighs For Stock:  The meat will easily shred right off the bone, but don’t worry, plenty remains to flavor the broth.  Store the shredded thigh meat in a covered container or zip bag to use in sandwiches, add to soup or eat in other meals.

Continue Preparing the Stock

  • bones from cooked turkey thighs (retained from recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup chopped turkey thigh (from recipe above)
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly cut into about 1″ pieces
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and roughly cut into about 1″ pieces
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 5 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 2 tsp pink Himalayan Sea Salt (you can use any sea salt – I like this one)
  • 3 cups water
  1. Add the skin, bones, chopped meat, celery, carrot, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, and salt to the vegetables and cooking liquid already in the pressure cooker pot, then add water.
  2. Pressure cook on high for 60 minutes.
  3. Let the pressure come down naturally – about 30 minutes.
  4. Scoop the bones and vegetables out of the pot with a slotted spoon and discard.
  5. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids.
  6. After the stock is completely cooled, I portioned it into quart-sized zip lock freezer bags.  It can be frozen for up to 3 months.

**Tip – If you use glass jars make sure to leave about an inch of head room or your jar could break when it freezes. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

 

 

 

I like My Chowder Red

ClamChowderPlated small

I love seafood!  Cooked or raw, I love it all, so I was pissed when I developed an allergy to one of my favorites, scallops!  Lobster, crab, & clams are my first choices if available, so, thankfully, that was the only shellfish that I’m affected by or it would definitely be #HoustonWeHaveAProblem!

Because I actually like to taste the clams, and don’t want to have to dig through a murky sea of potatoes in search of a few scattered slivers, there are few places, outside of Ivar’s clemin Seattle & Atlantic Fish Company in Boston, where I choose the cream based New England Clam Chowder that most people are familiar with.  If given the choice, I much prefer the spicier, tomato, broth based, Manhattan Clam Chowder.

Because few places on the west coast offer a decent version of the chowder I prefer, I found a couple of recipes that I was able to pull parts from to create one that’s both satisfying and can be made with minimal effort.

Manhattan Inspired Clam Chowder

  • 48 little neck clams
  • 2 – 8 oz bottles clam juice
  • Quarter pound bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Pinch dried, crushed red pepper
  • 2 celery stalks, quartered & chopped
  • 2 carrots, quartered & chopped
  • 2 large white potatoes, cut into half-inch cubes
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 Cup dry white wine (Chardonnay is fine)
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 TBLS chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
  1. Wash the clams well under cold running water in colander.
  2. Place clams in a large pot, and add enough water to cover clams by 2 inches.
  3. Cover the pan and place over high heat.
  4. When the water comes to a boil, give the pan a good shake.
  5. Turn the heat to low, and cook clams another 30 seconds or so.
  6. Remove from the heat, and take out all the clams that have opened, using a slotted spoon. If any clams remain closed, put back on the heat, with the lid on the pan, and cook another 1-2 minutes.
  7. Remove remaining clams, reserve, discard any clams that have not opened.
  8. Pour the clam juice through a fine strainer and measure.  If you have more than 4 cups, simmer to reduce to 4 cups.
  9. Put the bacon into a large, heavy saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the bacon begins to brown. Pour off excess fat, leaving behind the bacon and about 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan.
  10. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and crushed red pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes.
  11. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up all of the brown bits
  12. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute more.
  13. Tie the parsley sprigs, fresh thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot.
  14. Add the reserved clam cooking liquid, the bottled clam juice, the potatoes, and the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  15. While chowder is coming to a boil, remove clams from their shells and chop coarsely. Add to chowder and reduce heat to low.
  16. Cook over low heat for another 5 minutes; check to make sure potatoes are soft and chowder is well seasoned.
  17. Remove and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Divide among warm soup bowls and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.

For a fancy touch you can leave a few clams in the shell and float a couple in the bowl.  Serve with crusty sourdough bread and butter and a salad for a hearty meal. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

You have a few wine options with this chowder:

  • (White) Partially-Oaked Dry California Chardonnay pairs nicely with the crushed red pepper, potatoes, thyme and onion in this dish
  • (White) Unoaked Medium-dry German Riesling is a nice compliment to the tomatoes, onions, peppers and potatoes in this dish
  • (Red) Oaked Italian Barbaresco pairs beautifully with the peppers, potatoes, onions and celery in this dish

WesterlyChardWesterly Wines 2014 Bentrock ChardonnayRated a 93 by Wine Enthusiast: Available at The Original Wine Club

DrHeidemannsBernkastelAuslese2016Dr. Heidemanns Bernkastel Auslese Riesling – Rated a 93 by Wine Enthusiast:  Available at Totalwine.com for $19.99.

RivataBarbarescoRivata Barbaresco – Intense, cherry spiced, medium bodied, and available at Totalwine.com for $21.99. #GirlsGoneWine

Tart & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

It’s finally cool enough in California, at least once the sun goes down, to justify getting the stock pot out to make a hearty soup that can serve as dinner with a big salad & crusty bread that can then live on as a couple of workday lunches too!  Great for the wallet AND the waistline!  This soup is so rich, and has such depth of flavor, that it seems like a cheat meal, which is a plus during the non-stop holiday feast season.

Tart & Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1  –  2 to 2+1/2 lb Butternut Squash (Peeled/Seeded/Chopped into about 1″ Cubes)
  • 1  –  Large Granny Smith Apple (Cut into about 1″ Pieces – seeds/core/stem removed)
  • 3  –  Large Ribs Celery Chopped
  • 3  –  Carrots (Peeled/Chopped into about 1″ Pieces)
  • 1  –  Medium Yellow Onion (Peeled/Chopped into about 1″ Pieces)
  • 4  –  TBLS Butter
  • 1  –  32 oz Container Organic Chicken Stock
  • 1+1/2 Cups Water
  • Freshly Grated Sea Salt (To Taste)
  • Freshly Cracked Pepper (To Taste)
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg (1/4 tsp)
  • Cinnamon (1/2 to 1 tsp)
  • Cayenne Pepper (Pinch to 1/8th tsp)
  • Chopped Parsley (if desired)

Melt the butter in a medium stockpot and add the onions, carrot and celery.  Sauté over low heat about 10 minutes.  When onions just start to brown, add the squash, apple, salt, pepper, chicken stock and water.  Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring just to a boil.  When bubbles appear at the edges of the pan, reduce heat to low.  Cover pan tightly and simmer soup for 45 minutes until squash is completely softened.

Remove soup from heat and either process soup until smooth using your blender (I use my Vitamix) and returning to the pan after processed or an immersion blender as shown in the video.

Once soup is smooth, add the Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Cayenne.  Adjust spices to taste.

I came across a video that uses the same technique I use to make my soup, with slightly different measurements, and it’s much prettier, so I’ll give the standard #ShoutOut and #HighFive to Simply Recipes for producing a great (and quick) video that I can also use to demonstrate how to assemble my soup!

I’ve already been remiss at keeping up with my blog, so not having to produce a video is a definite bonus! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

slow-cooker-chicken-cacciatoreNobody likes to worry about cooking dinner after getting home from work on Monday night.

The weekend was a non-stop whirlwind of activity.  Kids games, recitals, activities, parties, chores, and maybe some adult beverages have left you with no energy to plan a meal after your first day back at the grind of the work week.

Thankfully Cooking Light Magazine has come to the rescue with a YouTube video to guide us all through a “fix it and forget it” healthy and hearty weeknight meal that will bring the whole family to the table and make you look like a SUPERSTAR!

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 (6-oz.) boneless-skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken in half
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  1. Combine 1/2 cup water and flour in a 6-quart electric slow cooker, stirring with a whisk
  2. Stir in stock and next 8 ingredients (through mushrooms)
  3. Add chicken thighs to stock mixture; submerge in liquid
  4. Cover and cook on LOW 7 1/2 hours
  5. Remove chicken
  6. Add oil and pasta to slow cooker
  7. Cover and cook on HIGH 15 minutes or until pasta is done
  8. Stir in spinach until wilted
  9. Divide pasta mixture among 8 shallow bowls
  10. Top evenly with chicken
  11. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

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