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Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Satisfying Seafood Chowder

Seafood chowder

Hi there! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of friends, family and food. We had our first road trip with Baby E to spend Christmas with my husband’s family in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan. It’s a 3.5 hour drive from Regina so I was a little nervous about the trek, considering Baby E nurses every 3 hours. But I nursed her right before we left the house and she slept for the entire car ride!

Christmas was fun and chaotic. My in-laws have 7 grandsons and 2 granddaughters. Baby E is the youngest granddaughter at 2.5 months, and the oldest granddaughter is 16. The 7 grandsons range in age from 3 to 14, and the little toddlers make for quite a noisy environment.

Poor Baby E, who is used to quiet days at home with me with political TV shows droning in the background, was clearly overstimulated most of the time. At home with me, she usually stays awake for 1.5 hours before needing a nap, but over Christmas she would last about an hour being doted on by everyone before she started fussing and needed a nap. Side note: I recently put Baby E on a schedule and it has been a lifesaver. My days are easier to plan and manage and she is a much happier baby. I realized that prior to discovering this schedule, I was keeping her awake for way too long and she was not napping enough. But that will be a post for another day where I will provide some details of her schedule and give you “A Day in the Life of Baby E”.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the Christmas dinner that my mother in law made. Let me tell you, no one makes a turkey dinner better than a small town mother. Her stuffing is to die for, and although she’s shared the recipe with me, I can never seem to get it just right. I couldn’t get a decent shot of the meal because 1) I was busy nursing Ella when dinner was ready and 2) with 22 family members for dinner, there wasn’t really a plated, sit down dinner that I could capture. Everyone just dished up and found a spot to sit and eat and socialize.

We are back home in Regina now and my husband still has a few days off from work. He’s currently watching TV and cuddling the baby while she naps, so I have some time to myself to relax on the couch and blog. Today’s recipe is a hearty and satisfying seafood chowder. I love clam chowders and seafood chowders (especially from Earl’s), so I am quite proud of this recipe that I’ve honed to make my own. This chowder can be served with some pan bread for a heartier meal, but I usually just eat a huge bowl by itself.

The recipe below is pretty straightforward, but I wanted to make note of the type of shrimp that is used. My mom has drilled it into my head that black tiger shrimp is the only type of shrimp that is worth using in Vietnamese cooking. It’s the shrimp that she uses in her spring rolls and fresh rolls, and they are bigger and juicier than Pacific White shrimp. And they are also more expensive, around $20-ish for bag of a 26-30 shrimp. I happened to buy the bag of shrimp for this recipe when Sobeys had a coupon in their flyer for 20% off an item of your choosing. The bag of shrimp was the most expensive individual item in my cart that day, so I chose to get a 20% discount on it!

Anyway, Baby E should be waking from her nap anywhere between 15-45 minutes from now and will need to nurse, so I’m going to try to catch up on some reading. I’m currently reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and it is taking me forever to finish. I was so naive prior to having Baby E, thinking that I could just devour tons of books on my maternity leave. What I didn’t realize is 1) it’s impossible to focus on a book while she is awake and playing because you’re always looking at her or engaging with her 2) it’s impossible to read while she’s napping because you either need a nap yourself or there’s housework to be done and 3) when she’s in bed for the night and you have a choice of reading or going to bed yourself, you’ll choose to go to bed every single time!

Enjoy this seafood chowder recipe everyone, and enjoy the rest of your holidays!

Seafood chowder

Satisfying Seafood Chowder

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 6 celery sticks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 4 small red potatoes, cubed
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp dill flakes
  • 2 cans baby clams
  • 12 large shrimp, pan fried and chopped
  • 1 can of crabmeat
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 cups corn niblets (I like a lot of corn in my chowder, so I use 2 cups)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley to garnish

Instructions

1

Fry up your bacon strips, chop, and set aside.

2

Fry up your shrimp in some butter until they are pink, chop, and set aside.

3

In a large soup pot on medium heat, add your oil and butter. Toss in the white onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the celery and garlic and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.

4

Add the flour slowly and coat the contents of the pot. Add in the potatoes, cooked bacon, salt and pepper, sugar and dill flakes.

5

Stir in all the seafood, including the seafood juices. Add the chicken broth and continue to stir on medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

6

Add the milk, cream, Worcestershire sauce and corn niblets. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes.

7

Garnish with some chopped fresh parsley and enjoy!

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Comforting Butternut Squash Soup

It is -42 degrees Celsius with the windchill in Regina today, and it’s one of those days where you have to bring out all the things that bring you warmth and comfort. So far today, I’ve relied on a steaming mug of coffee, some baby snuggles, my thick reading socks from Chapters, and a hot mug of Pumpkin Spice tea. And that was just for this morning.

Now for lunch, I am bringing out two of my other secret weapons to combat the cold – carbs and soup! I’m going to make some pan bread and a big pot of butternut squash soup.

The prep work for this soup is a little time consuming because there are a lot of veggies in it. Take a look at all the chopped veggies that go into it:

But I’m telling you, the nutritious punch that this soup gives you is well worth the time and effort. Throughout my pregnancy and now that I’m breastfeeding, I’ve been constantly trying to get more fruits and veggies into my diet. There are some nights where I’ll reflect on what I’ve eaten that day, and I’ll feel so guilty when I realize that I’ve only had one or two servings of fruits or vegetables.  There will be no guilt tonight (and tomorrow when I eat leftovers) though! This soup is jam packed with nutritious orange, beta-carotene-filled vegetables such as the butternut squash, carrots, and yam, and loads of garlic to fight off any cold or flu bugs!

Just a word of warning: this soup has a slight kick due to the 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in it. It’s quite amazing what a mighty kick 1/4 teaspoon brings to the soup! So if you don’t like spicy foods or if you’re going to be feeding this to your kids, I would recommend omitting the 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper altogether. I’m eating a bowl of it as I’m typing this, and I’m actually sweating a bit despite the frosty weather outside.

Well, the husband is off to his work Christmas party tonight and I’m staying in with the baby. With this soup, some baby snuggles, and one last season of The West Wing to finish, there is no reason for me to leave the house in -40-something weather!

Stay warm everyone!

Comforting Butternut Squash Soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 medium butternut squash (or 1 large one), peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yam, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

1

In large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and saute all the vegetables (butternut squash, yam, onion, carrot, celery and garlic) for about 10 minutes.

2

Add the 4 cups of chicken stock, turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil.

3

Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot with a lid, and let simmer for about half an hour or until all of the vegetables are soft.

4

Turn off the heat, and using a hand blender, puree the contents of the pot until it is smooth and lump-free.

5

Turn the heat back on to medium-low and whisk in the curry powder, cinnamon, sugar, cayenne (optional), and salt and pepper.

6

Mix in the heavy cream and let simmer for another 10 minutes, making sure it doesn't boil.

7

Serve with a side of pan bread and it will warm you right up!

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Fresh Cream of Tomato Soup

Hello everyone!

It’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been feeling a little lazy lately. With this gloomy and cold weather, all I’ve wanted to do is cuddle up with my baby and binge watch The West Wing (Martin Sheen For President!). I was a little too young to appreciate this show when it was on TV years ago, but man, I am addicted now! The writing is quick, intelligent, witty and at times, emotional. The characters are so relatable and believable, and the acting is so good I forget that they are actors. I’m on season 6 of 7, and I can already feel the depression setting in for when I’ve finished the DVDs. Does anyone have any other intelligent, political show recommendations? I’m already caught up on House of Cards but I might rewatch all of the seasons after I finish The West Wing.  Anyways, I digress…

My baby slept well last night so I also have some extra energy today to make a nice homemade soup. This creamy tomato soup is perfect for cold snaps like today. It’s full of fresh vegetables and vitamins which will help you stave off all the cold and flu germs that are going around. There are so many recipes out there that use canned tomatoes in the soup, but this recipe uses fresh whole tomatoes. Trust me – the taste difference is unreal.

Can we also talk about how economical it is to make this fresh homemade soup? You can get all the ingredients to make a big pot of this soup for under $15 – even less when the broth or tomatoes are on sale (which they often are at Sobeys or Safeway).

Give this soup a try this week and I promise it will warm you right up. Serve it with this pan bread or with a grilled cheese sandwich for a heartier meal.

cream-of-tomato-soup

Fresh Cream of Tomato Soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 large tomatoes, chopped and deseeded ( when you chop tomatoes most of the pulpy seeds fall out so I just discard them)
  • 1 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.

2

Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

3

Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken broth, salt and pepper and stir well. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.

4

Then lower the heat and let the soup simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.

5

Add the cream to the soup and puree using a handheld immersion blender.

6

Remove from heat and enjoy with a grilled cheese sandwich, crackers or croutons.