New England Clam Chowder

Fall is a time for new beginnings and a breath of fresh air. The cool, crisp air finally seems to have reached Massachusetts. I love making soup any time of year, but there is something about fall in New England that makes me crave clam chowder. This is a family favorite.

The key to making this recipe is preparing all the ingredients and cookware before you start. Organization really helps when you make any recipe and the bonus is that you can pretend you have your own cooking show…or wait, that’s just me 😉. Preparation also is key to getting kids in the kitchen. If they are not old enough to chop, they can add ingredients and stir. Be their sous chef for the day and do the chopping before you try to involve them.

Gluten- Free New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients

About 4 pounds of large Quahog or Cherrystone clams, cleaned

Water

7 sprigs of fresh thyme

6 slices of bacon, diced

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic minced

4 cups of liquid/stock (usually about 3 cups of cooking liquid from the clams and make up the rest with seafood stock).

5 medium sized butter potatoes, peeled and diced

5 sprigs of thyme

¼ teaspoon of black pepper

Pinch of white pepper

1 cup heavy cream

Juice of ½ a lemon

Directions

Add clams to a soup pot over medium high heat and pour in enough water to cover the clams. Place thyme sprigs in water and put the lid on the pot. Bring to a low boil and cook about 10 minutes until all the clams open. Drain and save cooking liquid. Set clams aside to cool, rinse out pot. Place pot back on the stove and add bacon, onion, garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add cooking liquid, potatoes, thyme, black pepper and white pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes are soft. Mash potatoes to thicken the soup. Add the heavy cream and lemon juice. Stir, simmer for about 5 minutes and serve!

I haven’t yet found an oyster cracker that is gluten free, so I serve this with gluten-free Schar Table Crackers, Glutino Premium Rounds or with a gluten-free corn bread.

 

What is your family’s favorite soup? Follow this link for my favorites from 2016.

One pot meals

My husband is always happy when I make a one pot meal. He is the one who does the dishes 🙂 A one pot meal can be anything from soup to chili to pot roast to pasta. Fewer dishes means less time in the kitchen and more time for the many other tasks you have to accomplish or maybe (gasp!) even give you 5 minutes to take some time for yourself.

One of the favorite one pot meals in my house is my Hot and Sour Soup.

It only takes about 20 minutes to prepare and is the recipe I chose to display when asked to be one of the featured blogs on Wayfair.com’s Stock, Soup and Multi-Pots page. Check it out!

If you don’t like hot and sour soup, try my French Onion, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato Coconut Curry, Potato Leek or Carrot Ginger soup. One pot can also make amazing chicken stock or healing chicken noodle soup

Another flavorful meal you can create in a snap, is my One Pan Roasted Chicken.

Serve it with some zoodles and you have a tasty spring-like meal!

Chili is a one pot meal that can either be made in your slow cooker or in one pot on the stove. My Crowd Pleasing Quinoa Pumpkin Chili can easily be made, simmering on the stove in 2 to 3 hours.

Quinoa risotto is a decadent and healthy one pot meal for dinner one night on its own or you can serve it with some leftover chicken or steak.

One pot meals are versatile and easy. Try one of my recipes above! Let me know how it turns out. Let me know if there are other recipes you want to see.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Even though the weather seems to be getting warmer (wishful thinking that spring is near!) soup is still a great comfort. Especially, this light, delicious soup (which is vegan and gluten free if you need it to be). It is a great lunch with grilled cheese or perfect starter for you Easter dinner.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

½ teaspoon of sesame oil

1 large sweet onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch of fresh ginger, minced

5 to 6 large carrots, diced

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

5 ½ cups of chicken or vegetable stock

Sour cream or plain greek yogurt, optional

Directions

Heat oils in a stock pot. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Stir and cook until the onions are translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add carrots, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Add the stock and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Blend with a handheld blender or allow to cool and transfer to a blender or food processor to puree. If there are lumps, run through a sieve. Keep in stock pot on low heat or in a crock pot on warm or low until ready to serve. Top with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt if you like.

Spring will be here before we know it! With a slight chill in the air, soups make an easy, healthy lunch, served with a salad or sandwich. Let me know if there are any recipes you want to see for the spring!

Here are some of my other soup recipes if you are in the mood for something different.

 

French Onion Soup

Every time I go to a new restaurant and they have French Onion Soup on the menu, I try it. I have made many, many batches of my own and finally wrote down the recipe! I make it at home now for my family, so that I can use gluten-free bread to make the toasted cheese crouton on top. It is perfect for a cold winter night.

French Onion Soup

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

6 to 8 small sweet onions

5 cloves of garlic

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

5 sprigs of thyme

2 sprig of rosemary

2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

4 cups of broth (I like to use 3 cups of beef and 1 cup of chicken broth)

Bread (I used gluten-free bread)

About 2 cups of shredded mozzarella

Directions

Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions, herbs and spices. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir and add balsamic vinegar. Stir for a minute or two then cover and cook covered for another 5 minutes. Repeat until onions are soft and fragrant (about 20 to 30 minutes). Add the broth and stir. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Toast bread with cheese and place on top of each mug or bowl of soup or place soup in oven safe bowls and add toast with cheese and put under broiler for a minute or two.

Serve this up on a snowy day with some mussels  or a salad, then you have a very easy fancy dinner.

If onion soup is not your thing, you can find more of my soup recipes here:

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup and my favorite soups from 2016

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup and my favorite soups from 2016

Soup is warm and comforting especially on crazy cold, rainy/snowy and windy days like we seem to be having here south of Boston. Coming in from shoveling, walking the dog or just your hectic day, having a bowl of soup is a great way to slow your day down and unwind for even 5 minutes, while you enjoy it.

Here is a great recipe for one of my favorite soups which happens to also be naturally vegan and gluten-free.

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup

Ingredients

½ of a large sweet onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 6 cups)

2 Tablespoons fresh grated ginger

3 cups vegetable OR chicken stock

13.5 oz can coconut milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Cook onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat, until tender. Pour into your crock pot and put the crock pot on high. Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, ginger and stock. Cook on high for about 4 hours. Once all the potatoes are tender, puree the soup, either with an immersion blender or allowing to cool and then carefully pour into your blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Add the coconut milk, salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 minutes in crock pot and then serve.

Here are my other favorite soups from 2016:

Butternut Squash Soup

Potato Leek Soup

Hot and Sour Soup to Warm your Soul

Chicken Noodle Soup

Any of these would be a great addition to your New Years feast! I am making French Onion soup 🙂 Recipe will follow in 2017!

 

 

 

Butternut Squash Soup

This is my signature soup. When I started cooking a lot, as my stress relief in law school, I made this soup based on a recipe from the Food Network Kitchens. I have adapted it over the years and tried different flavors. This one come out phenomenally!

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1/4 teaspoon dry rubbed sage

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 medium butternut squash peeled and chopped

8 ounces of tomato sauce

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 1/4 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a stock pot on the stove at medium heat. Caramelize onions and garlic with the herbs, probably about 15-20 minutes. Add butternut squash, stir and cook for about 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce, vinegar and stock. Stir and cook for about 20 minutes, until squash is soft enough to mush with a fork against the side of pot. Blend with hand blender in the pot or cool and transfer to a blender to blend until smooth.

People will not believe that this soup is dairy free and gluten free and if you use vegetable stock, vegan. Gasp! It is phenomenal, warm, comforting and so good with grilled cheese. Which yes, you can make gluten free. Gluten free bread is best when toasted and covered in melted cheese, in my opinion 🙂

Happy Night before the night before Christmas and the night before the first night of Hanukkah!

Here are some more soup recipes if you are in the mood for a different flavor:

Hot and Sour Soup to Warm your Soul

Chicken Noodle Soup

Potato Leek Soup

 

 

 

Potato Leek Soup

Soup is the perfect warm and comforting lunch for a blustery winter day. Great  with a grilled cheese sandwich for when you come in from a walk in the cold, or skiing or sledding.

I love to make potato leek soup around this time of year. It is so velvety and delicious. You can even make it for an elegant New Years Eve dinner with mussels and a nice loaf of gluten-free bread 🙂

Potato Leek Soup

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 large leeks, cleaned and diced

8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves taken off stem

2 teaspoons of salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/8 cup of white balsamic vinegar

About 2 lbs of potatoes, peeled and diced

4 ½ cups of stock (I like to use chicken, but vegetable will work too)

¼ cup of milk or heavy cream, optional

Directions

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, leeks, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add potatoes and stir. Pour in stock and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.  Either blend with an immersion blender or allow to cool and pour carefully into a blender. Add more stock or some milk or heavy cream if too thick for your liking. Serve.

You can make this ahead of time and pour it into a crock pot on warm or low to keep it warm until you are ready to serve.

If you are in the mood for another type of soup, check out these other ideas:

Hot and Sour Soup to Warm your Soul

Chicken Noodle Soup

Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup

 

 

 

 

Hot and Sour Soup to Warm your Soul

This is one of my favorite soups of all time! It is warm, comforting and absolutely delicious! I could eat this every day, especially now that the weather is cold. I was turned onto hot and sour soup when one of our local take out places brought me a free one. Their ploy worked! I was immediately hooked and had to add it to our order each time. To make it more cost effective I had to figure out how to make it at home. I looked at various recipes online but couldn’t find one that replicated that comforting flavor, so I played with it on my own and this is what I came up with! Enjoy!

Hot and Sour Soup

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil

¼ teaspoon of sesame oil

About ½ pound of shiitake mushrooms, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon chili paste (I use Gourmet Garden)

Pinch of white pepper (add more if you want it to be spicy, careful though a little goes a long way)

1/3 cup soy sauce (make sure it is gluten free, if making this GF. I use La Choy Low sodium)

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 cups beef stock

2 cups chicken stock (or you can use all vegetable stock or all beef or all chicken, it tested best with the mixture )

3 Tablespoons corn starch

3 Tablespoons water

1 egg, beaten

7 ounces (about half of a package) of extra firm tofu, diced

3 green onions, sliced

Directions

In a large soup pot over med-high, heat the vegetable oil and sesame oil. Add the mushrooms, garlic, chili paste, white pepper and stir. Cook for a couple of minutes, until fragrant then add soy and vinegar, stir and allow to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add stock and simmer for another 5 to 6 minutes. In a small bowl combine corn starch and water then pour into the soup and stir. Cook for another couple of minutes and add beaten egg while stirring. Add tofu and green onions. Stir and then serve!

Note: This is a mild version, not very spicy. Add more chili paste and/or white pepper if you want more heat. Careful with the white pepper!

The first time I made this, I made a batch every week. I could not get enough! And I don’t even like mushrooms or tofu 😉 This is a healthy and satisfying meal that is gluten-free and can easily be made vegetarian or even vegan!

It is the perfect snack or meal to have on hand for family arriving for the holidays. I know I would want some after being on an airplane or in a car all day.

Take some time out of your hectic schedule this weekend and make some soup. Eat it in front of the fire. Realistically you might make it at 10 pm, after the kids are asleep, then eat it standing in the kitchen or hopefully in bed binge watching Netflix. Still, you should try. More soups to come each Friday! Here are the links to some past soups in case your in the mood for something else. (Just remember that if the post is before April 2014 it might need to be adapted to be gluten free – contact me! I can help)

Chicken Noodle Soup

Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup. It is one of those soups that can make everything better. Grandmother’s swear that it will heal any cold. My kids definitely buy into that  🙂 Whenever they are sick, and I never know when that is going to happen, they ask for my chicken noodle soup. They don’t know the joy of Cup o’Soup or Top Ramen because our house has to be gluten free. I haven’t really found an already made gluten-free brand that works, so I make this recipe at home and freeze it. Then when someone is sick, I can just pull it out of the freezer and instant comfort.

You can easily make this soup with store bought chicken stock, so go right ahead. I do it all the time. Especially when one kid after the other is sick and then I’m sick and my freezer supply has been depleted.

Chicken Noodle Soup

chicken-noodle-soup

Ingredients

6 ounces (1/2 box) of small pasta (I like the gluten-free Schar Bonta d’Italia anellini), cooked

5 cups of stock

¾ cups diced carrots

1 ½ cups cooked diced chicken

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

chicken-noodle-soup-ingredients

Directions

Heat through and serve or freeze (equals about 8 cups of soup).

In my fantasy world, I would always have homemade chicken stock in the freezer, but that is not reality.  That said, it is so deep in flavor! You have to try it at least once!

Homemade Chicken Stock

chicken-soup-prep

Ingredients

3 to 3 ½ pounds of drumsticks and/or chicken thighs

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

2 stems of fresh rosemary

1 cup of chopped celery

1 cup of chopped carrot

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 large onion chopped

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 Tablespoons of peppercorns

12 cups of water

chicken-stock-cooking

Directions

Pat chicken dry and rub the salt, pepper and thyme all over each piece. Chop the vegetables and garlic. Pour olive oil into a large soup pot. Brown chicken on all sides and remove from pot. Add chopped vegetables, garlic, rosemary stems and peppercorns into the pot and cook while stirring for 3 to 5 minutes. Pour 6 cups of the water into the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom until you get all the cooked bits off. Return the chicken to the pot and pour the rest of the water in. Stir. Let simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours until meat starts to fall off the bone. Remove chicken and set aside. Pour the  rest through a strainer lined with cheese cloth. Set aside of the carrots and celery to add to the chicken noodle soup if you are making some. Allow everything to cool. Either freeze or use stock for the soup. Shred the chicken and either freeze or use for soup or mix with bbq sauce for bbq chicken sandwiches.

You will not regret making this. Your family will love it and your house will smell amazing!

For the next month, every Friday I’ll be posting a new soup recipe for you and your family to enjoy! Everyday you will see something different holiday treats, meals for a crowd and easy dinners that no one will even know it is gluten free! Enter your email on the side in the subscribe box so that you won’t miss one! Happy Friday 🙂

 

Fall, Football, and Tailgating

Those who know me, know that I am not a big football fan but I have been known to host Super Bowl parties just to make the food 🙂 Fall is the season where many spend their weekends tailgating outdoors or in front of the TV cheering on their favorite teams. I was recently asked for ideas for recipes for “football food.” Here are some finger foods, slow cooker foods and grill recipes for your fun fall weekend with or without football!

Finger Foods and Dips
Cheeseburger Egg Rolls (top left of photo below)

These egg rolls were delicious! They are from Rachel Ray. Easy to make but a little time intensive to roll each one up. I served it with ketchup, mustard and bbq sauce for dipping rather than spending the time to make the sauce. The kids went nuts over these!

Corn Dog Muffins (top right of photo above)
These are from a blog called Iowa Girl Eats. I saw them on Pinterest and ran with her idea. I made them in regular muffin tins and made the Jiffy box of corn bread 🙂 and added about 1 cup of shredded zucchini and 1 cup of shredded cheddar and about 1/4 tsp of chili powder (add more if you want more chili flavor or a little cayenne if you want a kick), salt and pepper. Pour the batter into lined or greased muffin tins. I found for the regular sized muffins I cut the hot dogs into thirds and put one piece in each muffin and bake until ready. I found that these took a little longer than usual until the dough around the hot dog in the center was fully cooked.

Pigs in a Blanket with honey mustard dipping sauce. This is one of my favorites. The link is back to one of my previous blog posts about appetizers that has this recipe and the one for Spinach and Artichoke Dip and more!

Slow Cooker foods

Chili
I can’t wait to have my house smell like chili while it cooks away all day! I’m planning to make some on Monday. Its a full meal if you add those corn dog muffins above. Make it vegetarian by making black bean chili and zucchini corn muffins. I like to make my chili in the crock pot these days, which becomes a great vessel for keeping it warm while serving or bringing to a potluck or tailgate party. Throw a can or two of your favorite beans into the crock pot with a can of diced tomatoes, dice a couple of carrots and or zucchini or use whatever leftover vegetables you have on hand (corn, squash, eggplant, parsnips – so many veggies can work), an onion, garlic clove, palmful of chili powder, salt and pepper to taste.Cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you want to add meat, cook it first before putting it in the slow cooker, unless you are using stew meet, then you could throw it in and cook it all day. I have found that ground beef or turkey is mushy if you cook it in the slow cooker with the other chili ingredients.

Short ribs

I can cross short ribs off of my Cooking Bucket List now! So if you are making a meal for friends over the weekend or for Monday night football, these are sooo good! I used the ingredients for my favorite meat marinade as the cooking the liquid, equal parts balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce with garlic and shallots.  

I made a quick dry rub for the short ribs with salt, pepper and thyme and then browned them in the pan. before putting them in the slow cooker for about 8 hours (I had about 2.5 – 3 lbs of meat).

Then I took them out when there were practically falling off the bone and poured the liquid into a sauce pan and reduced it by about half. Add a little flour, 1/2 tsp of brown sugar and a little pepper and whisk together. Add more flour if you want it thicker.  Use as gravy or dipping sauce. Serve with mashed potatoes or risotto or polenta.

Butternut Squash soup – My classic fall go to!

Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Soup – My new fall favorite!

Meatballs  – standard go to for any gathering!

Grilled Food
Pizza – Great for an appetizer or a meal!

Your favorite Steak, pork, ribs, BBQ Chicken or sausages always are a crowd pleaser. I recently made some chicken on the indoor grill. I made a dry rub with brown sugar, salt, pepper and African Smoke spice blend from Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have that spice blend, go buy it immediately! or just use smoked paprika or chili powder. It was delicious! I served it with a beet barley risotto and some steamed carrots, not exactly tailgating food, so I’ll give my recipe for that later 🙂