Tag Archives: creamy

Chowder Fries

Besides the scents, visuals and tastes of pumpkin, nothing says Fall more than a warm bowl of soup!  Especially a creamy bowl of New England’s favorite, the clam chowder!  Now yes, I know I live in the south, but I’ve had reoccurring dreams of visiting the east coast to watch the leaves change while sipping on hot cider and bobbing for apples.  Maybe sneak in a visit to ‘creepy’ Salem too…basically every east coast Fall cliché IS on my bucket-list.  One day….

So for now, I light a spiced candle and get out my candy apple red Dutch oven to reinvent the classic into our family favorite, Chowder Fries!  …quick toying with me Fall and just get here already!!

*You can absolutely use vegetable broth instead, but I find that the chicken stock brings a richer flavor.

The Starting Lineup

  • French fries (frozen or scratch made), Old Bay seasoning optional for tossing with
  • 5 Strips bacon, diced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried/ or ground thyme
  • 3 Tbsp flour, all-purpose
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock/ or vegetable broth
  • 1 10oz can clams, juices reserved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Flat leaf parsley (chopped) or green onions (sliced), garnish

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Heat a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven to med-high heat and add in the olive oil and bacon and cook until crispy.  Transfer the crisped bacon to a paper towel lined dish and set aside.  Keep the bacon grease in the pot.

Next, melt the butter into that bacon grease and then add in the onions, stirring often, followed by the garlic.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent and finally sprinkle in the thyme and stir together.

*Meanwhile, if making a bag of frozen fries, preheat the oven and line a baking tray with parchment or foil for easy cleanup.  Whether frozen or not, I like to lightly coat my fries in a bit of oil and dusting of cornstarch, toss together.  This creates a great crispy exterior!

To the sautéed butter, onions and garlic, whisk in the flour for about 1 minute till everything ‘clumps up’ and is lightly browned.  To that, slowly whisk in the chicken stock/ or broth, milk, the juice from the clams and toss in the bay leaf.  After a couple minutes of whisking to incorporate, stir in the diced potatoes.

Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes; potatoes are tender.

**Fry or bake your fries during this time.

Once time is up, stir in the half & half, the clams and add in your salt & pepper to taste (I am pretty heavy-handed with that myself).

If eating family style, season the French fries with salt or even better, Old Bay, and transfer to a serving platter.  Ladle the warm and creamy clam chowder over top the hot fries and top with the crisp bacon crumbles and parsley and/or scallions!  Sooooo good!  Enjoy!

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Creamy Mushroom Prosciutto Fettuccine

I was craving a hearty, but not heavy meal, which isn’t easy to do with Italian food.  Usually I end up with meatballs, parmigiana, cheesy manicotti…but not this time!  The fettucine is coated in a light, buttery cream sauce that isn’t too rich and the mushrooms really fool you into having a hearty meat-filled meal.   However, since I cannot fix my hubby’s brain into believing mushrooms can substitute as meat, the prosciutto had to happen!  Frankly, I’m ever grateful for it!  The thinly sliced Italian charcuterie and mushrooms make for such Umami flavor!!

*Umami:  delicious, savory taste.  One of my favorites of one’s five basic taste buds.*

**A nice addition in the Springtime is to add blanched sweet peas or even asparagus to this pasta dish!  Great flavor, freshness and vibrant color!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 slices thinly cut prosciutto, crisped
  • 1 lb mushrooms (mixed with any variety of mushrooms.  I used baby bella, portabella and rehydrated shitake)
  • 3 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup chicken stock (not broth, but stock)
  • 1 pckg fettuccine noodles
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Garnish

  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh thyme

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Begin by heating the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Place the thinly sliced prosciutto in a single layer into the hot oil and fry up (similar to bacon) until crisp.  I prefer mine super crispy, but cook to your liking!  Once crisped, transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

In that same pot, heat the now prosciutto flavored oil to high heat and add in the 1lb of assorted mushrooms, cooking for 7-8 minutes.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and add in the shallots, 1 tsp of fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté all together for a couple of minutes, till shallots soften.  Finally, reduce the heat to low and pour in the chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer and allow to cook down for 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.  You want the fettuccine to be quite al dente, so boil about 3-4 minutes less than package directions.

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Transfer the very al dente pasta, using tongs, to the pot of mushroom mixture.  Ladle 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into the mix as well.   Crumble half of prosciutto into pot.

Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is now perfectly al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add the butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.

Transfer to your serving bowl(s) and top with the remaining prosciutto, parmesan cheese and fresh thyme!  Enjoy!

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Italian Sausage and Gnocchi Soup (slowcooker)

It’s beginning to (finally) feel a lot more like Fall around these parts!  Goodness, the weather’s been in the 90’s, in November, in Texas!  Though the lone star state definitely has its fair share of warm weather..it usually doesn’t last THIS long.  So when we finally dropped temp and it was a cool 60 degree high, you know I just had to bust out my slowcooker for a warm soup dinner!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package Italian sausage (if links, remove from casing)
  • 1 package gnocchi
  • 2 cans diced Italian style tomatoes
  • 1 80z block cream cheese, cubed
  • 32oz chicken broth (4 cups)
  • 1 bag spinach leaves
  • 1 zucchini, sliced & quartered
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 

Begin by simply spraying your crockpot with a bit of non-stick spray, followed by the rinsing and chopping of your vegetables and heating a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Once the pan is nice and hot, add in the Italian sausage.  After it is about halfway cooked through you can then add in the chopped red bell pepper, onion and garlic.  Allow the sausage to cook the all of the way through and the peppers and onion to soften.

Now you can either drain the grease from the sausage mixture or just use a slotted spoon (Like I did) and scoop the cooked sausage and vegetables straight into the crockpot.

Pour in the two cans of Italian-style diced tomatoes, chicken broth, the sliced zucchini, spinach leaves and cubed cream cheese.  *The spinach may seem like there’s no way it can fit, trust me…it will wilt pretty darn quick!    Cover and turn on low..you can now step away for 6-7 hours.  Yes!!

The hour before you’re planning on eating, add in the gnocchi.  That last hour will soften and cook it for you.  No need to boil it separately first!  Score!

See how simple all of that was?  It’s done!  Serve this creamy, flavorful, hearty soup alongside a piece of buttered crusty bread and you have yourself a meal!  Finish with a snuggly blanket on the couch ;).

King Ranch Mac n’ Cheese

King Ranch Casserole is as Texas comfort food as chicken fried steak and gravy.  The difference is, if you’ve never been to this giant state, you may of never heard of it.  Legend has it that the name comes from the “King Ranch”, one of the largest ranches in the United States…now no one knows the truth and every family and restaurant recipe varies, but they’re generally all made with the same few ingredients: chicken, diced tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and a creamy soup.  

Now here’s my tweak on it, instead of the normal layering of torn corn tortillas (lasagna style), I amped up the comfort level and made it into a ooey, gooey mac n’ cheese!!  Sooooo good and still Texas approved!

*A rotisserie chicken from your local grocer would work great for this as well.

**You can use a casserole dish to bake if you do not have an oven proof pan.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb chicken, cooked and chopped (2-3 cups)
  • 8oz macaroni noodles
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis (I like spicy)
  • 8oz block velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 8oz container sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if cooking your own chicken)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ancho/new mexico chili powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded 

Garnish

  • Tortilla chips (I fried up my own, but I’m crazy like that)
  • Cilantro, fresh   

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If you’re cooking your own chicken (not a store bought rotisserie), heat a 10″ oven proof pan to medium heat and add in the olive oil.  Once hot, add in the chicken and cook through.  *Since I made my own, I seasoned with a bit of cumin, salt & pepper.  

 Meanwhile, in a large stockpot of salted boiling water, cook your noodles.  Boil for about 2 minutes less than package directions, strain and set aside.  Also, prep the vegetables! 

  

After the chicken is cooked through, set aside.  Once cooled you can chop up into 1″ pieces.

In that same pan that you cooked the chicken in, melt the 2 Tbsp’s of butter and add in the onion, garlic & bell pepper and saute for a few minutes. 

 Next add in the can of diced green-chili tomatoes and cubed Velveeta cheese.  Stir till creamy.  

 Now whisk in the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chili powder, cumin.  Add in the chopped, cooked chicken.  

 Finally, carefully fold in the cooked pasta noodles and then top with the shredded cheese.  

   Move to the preheated oven and let bake for about 30 minutes, until bubbly.  *If you do not have an oven safe pan, here is where you can pour into a casserole dish, top with cheese and then bake.  **Make sure to place a foil lined baking-sheet on the bottom rack to catch any oozey cheese!

Remove and top with the cilantro and crushed tortilla chips.  

  

  

  

 

Frozen Blueberry Buttermilk 

Wait, no ice cream maker needed you say??  Yes, it’s true!  This summer hybrid of ice cream & frozen yogurt (that tastes just like cheesecake!!) can be made with just the help of your mixer!

It’s fantastic for these hot & humid summertime months..especially as a great memory making activity you can enjoy with your family!  Think about upcoming 4th of July, simply add some strawberries to the mix and there’s your red, white & blue dessert!!  You’ll be everyone’s favorite guest!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Let’s begin!  In a saucepan over medium-heat, bring the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to a simmer and allow the sugar to melt and berries to slightly break down (about 10 minutes).  Remove from heat and cool.

 Onto the base of it all!  In a stand mixer or with your hand mixer, combine the buttermilk, heavy cream and pinch of salt to a bowl.  Beat together on high speed just till medium stiff peaks form.  Slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk and the Greek yogurt till combined.

Pour half of the cream mixture into a loaf pan.  Next, pour in half of the cooled blueberry compote and create a swirl effect with a spoon, etc.  Repeat with the remaining half of cream & blueberries, again, slightly swirling together.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours…enjoy!!

Roasted Poblano Mac n’ Crema

This is the bomb!! (Do people still say that anymore?….ehh, I don’t even care). This pasta salad is my mexican spin on the classic backyard bbq staple and it’s a lot better!  It’s light, but still creamy and has just a bit of heat without overpowering.  Plus, let’s not forget that roasted flavor from the poblano peppers and cumin!  

However, the best part about this dish is that it’s equally delicious served either warm or cold!  Truth!  We’ll often eat the side dish warm on the first night I prepare it and serve the leftovers cold (if there are any) the next day!

*This can be made with gluten-free noodles if desired.

*I prefer to keep the seeds in my jalapeno or serrano pepper, as this makes a large batch, but to each their own.

*I prefer to use the traditional macaroni noodle here, but any short noodle can work in a pinch..as you can see from my rotini below.  Oops! 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 16oz elbow noodles (any short noodle can work)
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (or a serrano for more heat)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup+ Mexican crema 
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flake
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • Kosher salt & pepper (pinch of each) 

   

 
We’ll start by roasting our poblano peppers for this yummy side dish!  You can do this 1 of two ways…either A. Cook the poblanos directly over a gas flame till charred on all sides or B. Place on a baking sheet under your broiler (turning as needed) to blacken.  Onced they’re charred you can place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to steam for about 10 minutes…*When ready, remove the blackened skin, seeds and stems.  Dice the poblanos up! 

   While the poblano peppers are steaming, go ahead and bring a large stock pot filled with salted water to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, cook the noodles to package directions, drain and set aside. 

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add in 2 Tbsps of oil and sauté the chopped onions for 3-4 minutes.  Next add in the roasted poblanos, minced jalapeño (or serrano) followed by the garlic, cumin, chili flake, oregano, salt and pepper.  Turn the heat down to low (or remove pot completely from stove top) and stir in the noodles and Crema. 

     Serve as a side at your next shin-dig and reap in the compliments!  Again, this can be served warm OR cold.  It’s that dang good!

    Chorizo & Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

    Just about everyone loves scalloped potatoes, but often times they can be a bit bland.  They could be lacking salt or just using a less flavored cheese, but this is sure to get you on all levels!

    After watching one of my favorite shows recently (The Chew), they had a very similar recipe on and I just had to try and tweak it for myself.  Boy am I glad I did!  This hit all the right notes and it wasn’t too spicy AT All..just great, great flavor!  

    The Starting Lineup

    • 3 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced (I use a mandolin..be careful)
    • 12oz chorizo, removed from casing and cooked
    • 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided, 1:1
    • 1 1/2 cups half & half
    • 4 Tbsp butter, divided 3:1
    • 3 Tbsp flour
    • 1 Tsp Louisiana style hot sauce
    • 1 Tbsp sour cream
    • Pinch each of salt, pepper & nutmeg      

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 2-quart casserole dish with 1 Tbsp of the butter (bottom & sides). *You may not need an entire Tbsp, but better to have easier cleanup than slaving away…

    In a skillet, cook the chorizo over medium heat until browned, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove the meat to a paper towel lined bowl or plate to drain. 

       Next, in a different saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 Tbsp butter.  Once melted, whisk in the 3 Tbsp of flour, followed by slowly whisking in the half & half until it is no longer lumpy, but smooth. 

     Next add in the salt, pepper, nutmeg & hot sauce while reducing the heat to low.  Stir in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese and the Tbsp of sour cream.  Once combined remove from heat. 

         With the buttered casserole dish ready to go, place 2-3 layers of potato slices down (overlapping just slightly).  Next add 1/2 off the cooked and drained chorizo along with a 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese and one-half of the cheese sauce overtop.  Repeat these layers once more, while reserving about 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. 

         We’ll now place this casserole into the oven (uncovered) for about 45 minutes.  Once time is done, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese overtop and bake for another 10-15 minutes till bubbly.

    Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. 

     I like to serve ours as a side to a whole roasted chicken or ham alongside fresh grilled veggies!  Enjoy!!

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