Tag Archives: comfort food

You’d Never Guess it’s Vegan Potato Soup

Not long ago I was strutting about with the perfection of my Best Ham and Potato Soup Ever.  Oh how I loved the ham hock that slow cooked with the potatoes, surrounding them in rich, smoky wonderfulness.  The tender pieces of ham.  The sprinkling of cheese melting into the top.  Yup.  Then Michael and I decided to be vegan for health reasons.  But baby, it’s cold outside!  I wants me some comforting potato soup!

Challenge accepted.

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The changes: milk–becomes unsweetened almond milk, broth becomes “No Chicken Broth”, butter becomes broth, ham hock becomes Hickory Grill Shaker.  Vegan.  Fat-free.  Yummy.

ingredients

  • secret weapon2 -3 TBSP hickory flavoring (I used Hickory Grill Shakers, which also contain salt–add 1 TBSP at a time and taste after to avoid over-salting)
  • 6-7 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 1 celery heart, chopped, leaves too
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 quart no-chicken broth or veggie broth
  • pepper to taste
  • 5 TBSP broth
  • 2 TBSP flour (Make this gluten-free by using rice or garbanzo flour, or by using corn starch.)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or soy or oat milk….)

Place 1 quart of broth in large pot over medium high heat.  Mince the garlic, chop the celery, onion and carrots and add them to the pot.

chop onion carrot celery garlic

Then chop the potatoes and add them to the pot.

dice potatos

Add hickory flavoring and season with black pepper to taste.  Add water or additional broth to cover the ingredients if needed.

all in the pot

Cover and cook for half an hour, then transfer everything to a crock pot.  Cook on high for an additional four hours.  This is when your house will have that warm and inviting comfort food aroma.  Mmmmmmm!

Place 5 TBSP broth in a pan over medium heat.

roux

Whisk in flour until it forms a “roux.”  Continue cooking for a minute to cook the “rawness” out of the flour.

Whisk in the almond milk, one cup at a time, and continue whisking until it comes to a boil.

add almond milk

Add milk mixture to the crock pot.

add thickened milk

Ladle up a nice big bowl-full and garnish with a bit of nutritional yeast (nice cheesy flavor, thickening) and fresh chopped green onion.  Maybe toast  a couple pieces of a nice crusty bread.  Now there ya go.

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A wonderful creamy, smoky, comfort-food-yummy soup.

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Both Michael and I were super pleased with how this soup came out.  Mr18 gave it an 8 out of 10, with 10 being the potato soup with ham.  Like most soups, it’s better and thicker the second day.  We had soup and “burgers” tonight–perfect!

We discovered and unexpected bonus while doing dishes.  The crock pot essentially wiped clean!  When I make the soup with ham, regular skim milk and chicken broth, I have to soak and scrub to get the crock pot clean.  This makes me wonder what I’ve been adding to my arteries all these years, and see how a fat free, vegan diet might just clean them all out–just like the studies say!

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Filed under comfort food, crock pot, dairy-free, dinner, Gluten-free, lunch, Potluck, recipe, Vegetarian

Perfect Bread Pudding

I have to thank my sister for this post.  (Thanks Sissy!)  This week, she texted me for a bread pudding recipe.  I hadn’t made this in ages, but thought she’d enjoy the recipe with pictures, ala Somethin’ Yummy, rather than an emailed recipe.  So happy she asked, because now I have a whole muffin tin full of perfectly portioned bread puddings that filled the house with the yummy aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.

I had everything I needed:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups 1/2″ day-old bread cubes
  • 1 cup chopped/crumbled spiced pecans (Mom’s recipe–to be blogged soon!) or pralines

Wisk eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla together.

Wisk in cream and milk.

Fold in bread cubes and pecans.

Tap floating bread cubes with a spoon to submerge them as much as possible into the custard.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Generously butter the 12 wells of a muffin tin with 1 TBSP butter.

Spoon bread and custard evenly into the 12 wells.

Bake for 30-35 minutes; until the centers are firm.

Serve with a spoonful or two or three of melted vanilla ice cream.  If you want to be all fancy, call this melted ice cream Creme Anglaise.  (They are essentially the same thing!)  The tops are crisp, the centers creamy and soft and yummy, with a lovely pecan crunch.

Michael and I enjoyed the fresh, slightly tart flavor of red raspberries with the yummy just-sweet-enough, cinnamon-y bread pudding.  I’m also loving the perfect portions created using the muffin tin; just enough to have that comfort food pampering, not enough to sabotage the efforts to eat more healthily.

I think just a bit of butterscotch or caramel sauce would also be yummy…or a scoop of ice cream….or strawberries….or with a late harvest riesling….or maybe just a quick zap in the microwave later for a midnight snack!  Hope you enjoy these, Sonia–did you notice Aunt Katrine’s plates?!  ❤

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Turkey Pot Pie

If you cooked a turkey this Thanksgiving, chances are you’ve got leftovers.  There are lots and lots of options for using leftover turkey, but I’m here to tell ya–try turkey pot pie!!!  Now, I’m not talking bland and boring Swanson-style (no offense, Swanson fans), I’m talking super flavor-y, spicy, warm, gooey little pots of turkey yumminess that you’ll plan an extra pound of turkey to have leftover for next year!

Gather up some turkey and a few other items:

  • 1 premade, rolled pie crust
  • 1-1 1/2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 2 small potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bag frozen corn
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 lb or so turkey, shredded into bite-size pieces  (I used dark meat; I like the heavier flavor in soups, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350F and assemble eight 4-oz ramekins on a cookie sheet.  (Really, any oven-safe container will work.  I just got these little ramekins, and am still enamored by them!)

In a medium sauce pan, combine soup along with enough milk or half and half to get a thick but workable consistancy.  (Keep the milk handy in case you need to thin it a bit later.)  Add the green chiles.

Add corn and turkey, stir to combine.

Meanwhile, cube and boil the potatoes until fork tender.

And saute the onion and garlic until translucent and aromatic.

Add potatoes, onion and garlic to the pan.

Add shredded cheese, stir to combine.

Divide filling evenly between your containers.

Divide pie crust into eight sections (or how many you need for the containers you’re using) and roll into circles 1/2 inch larger than your containers.

Mix 1 egg and 1 TBSP water to make an egg wash.

Brush egg wash onto the rim and top part of the sides of each container.  Place pastry on top, press to adhere and cut 3 slits to let steam escape.

Brush the tops and sides of all the pastry with egg wash, sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bake 25-30 minutes (or possibly a bit longer if using a larger container), until tops are golden brown and inside is bubbly.  You’ll be able to hear the filling bubble, even if it is not escaping through the slits.

Use a spatula and an oven mit to transfer warm pies to plates.

Doesn’t that look yummy?

Break the top, let it cool a bit and have a bite….mmmmmm!

The salt and pepper on top of the pastry seasoned the filling perfectly–no need to add salt and pepper to the filling before you put it into containers.  I love how cute these little pies are and love, love, love how they taste.  Ooey-gooey comfort food-o-rama!  Yummy!

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Quick and Easy Tortilla Soup

Winter weather warning….winter weather advisory…..freeze warning….windy….. chance of rain, 90%.  Quoted from the current weather and forecast for Western Colorado and the surrounding high country this week–Ack!  What to do when Fall decides to be Winter?  Soup!  Here’s a quick, easy and yummy soup perfect for the first chill of Fall (and also uses up some of the summer squash sitting on your counter).

 Mmmmm!  Hot, flavor-y and spicy.  Gather up a few staples; you’ll have soup in under an hour!

For the soup:

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds chicken (thighs, breasts or combination)
  • 2 boxes chicken stock
  • 2 cans Rotel tomatoes
  • approximately 1 pound EACH zucchini and yellow squash, sliced into half-moons or quarter moons
  • 4-5 tomatillos, chopped

Garnishes:

  • tortilla chips
  • avocado, chopped
  • green onions, chopped
  • shredded cheese–I like a Mexican Blend
  • sour cream
  • red or green salsa
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • squeeze of fresh lime

In a large pot, poach the chicken in chicken stock and Rotel tomatoes until completely cooked and tender.

While chicken cooks, chop the squash and tomatillos. 

When chicken is cooked, remove from broth and shred, using two forks to pull the meat into bite-sized pieces.

Add chicken back to broth, along with squash and tomatillos.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Set up garnishes so each person can jazz up their soup to their own taste.  I like ALL of them!

How easy was that?!  Change into somethin’ comfortable while the soup simmers, serve yourself a bowl with your favorite garnishes and watch the chilly weather stay on the otherside of the window.  Inside, it will be warm, toasty and yummy!

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Celine’s Sausage with Peppers and Onions

We just got back from a visit with my mom and dad in Deming, New Mexico.  Mom is a great cook, always trying new things.  Every time we visit, she has new recipes to share.  (How nice is it to have your mom cook for you, right?)  This is my first visit since starting this blog, so I whipped out a little notebook and started snapping pictures every time she started cooking!  Today, we’re having sausage with peppers and onions–how yummy does this look?!

Gather a sausage and some fresh, colorful ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 lb smoked sausage  (this is turkey/pork)
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 bell peppers–all different colors!
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Thinly slice the onion, break into half-rings and add to the pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinly slice the peppers, add them to the onions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saute peppers and onions until they start to soften.  Use a garlic press to add both cloves of garlic. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add salt and fresh-ground pepper.  Simmer for a minute or two to let the flavors meld.

Cut sausage on the bias into 1-inch pieces.  Add to the pan and stir to combine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While sausage heats, rough chop the tomatoes.  (No need to skin or seed them.)  Add them to the pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stir to combine, reduce the heat and let the pan and all of its colorful, fragrant yumminess simmer for about 20 minutes.

While that simmers, I thought I’d share a couple pictures of my mom, Celine.  ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 minutes up?  Time to serve!  Spoon it all into a pretty bowl, bring it to the table and serve family style.  Mom made salt potatoes to go with it this time (recipe coming soon!), but says it’s super yummy over rice or noodles as well.  I’m thinking polenta would also make a yummy accompaniment!

5 of us shared this meal and there were no leftovers!  (Except for a few salt potatoes that I hid in the fridge for later! Hee hee!)  So yummy, so pretty, so good for you!

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Comfort Food–Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

It seems the intersection of garden season, music performances and working at the greenhouse has put the kabosh on my blogging!  Take-out food has been a lifesaver lately, but I have had time to cook a bit.  The weather has been chilly here, and made me crave hot, creamy, cheesy scalloped potatoes and ham.  Mmmmm!

This is basically how my mom makes them, with a few changes–instant potato flakes instead of flour as a thickener, cream instead of milk, and cheese added to bring up the yummy factor.

  • 6 or 7 potatoes, peeled or not, thinly sliced
  • 3 TBSP butter, divided between layers
  • 1 1/2 cup instant potato flakes, divided between layers
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided between layers
  • 1-2 cups pre-cooked ham, cubed, divided between layers
  • salt (just a bit) and pepper
  • 2-3 cups cream or half and half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 7×12 inch pan.

Peel potatoes if desired.  I like to leave peels on for the nutritional and flavor value.  Slice thinly.

Make a layer of potatoes using 1/3 of the potatoes (enough to cover the bottom of the pan), then 1 TBSP butter (cut into little bits to divide it over the potatoes evenly-ish) 1/2 cup potato flakes, sprinkled evenly, 1/2 cup cheese, sprinkled evenly, 1/3 of the ham divided over the surface, salt and pepper and about 2/3 cup cream.  (Ham helps salt the potatoes, so you won’t need much more than a pinch per layer.  I like lots of pepper in scalloped potatoes–adjust pepper to your taste.)

 Make 2 more layers.  Place on the middle rack of the oven with a sheet pan on the rack underneath to catch any overflow.  (I have yet to get the cream just right so it doesn’t boil out of the pan!)  Bake 45-55 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender and entire pan is golden and bubbling.

Yummy!  Uber-creamy as any proper comfort food should be!  Leftover scalloped potatoes will wait in your fridge to welcome and comfort you the next day at lunch or dinner.  A quick turn in the microwave and they’re just as good (or maybe even better!) as the night before! 

Make them vegetarian by leaving out the ham.  Intensify the flavor by using a sharper cheese.

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