Chicken Corn Chowder

Healthy chicken-corn chowder

I am so excited to share this recipe with you today.

Not just because it is delicious, and the perfect warmer-upper for a cold, snowy (yes, we had snow here again this week) evening meal, but also because it is accidentally quite healthy.

I wasn’t looking to make a healthy soup, I was aiming for a hearty one that tasted good.

The healthy, low fat, high protein thing is just a bonus.

healthy chicken corn chowder 3

A really, really nice bonus.

It contains Greek Yogurt and plenty of roasted chicken, so yeah, lots of protein.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s so easy to make?

For me, today is the second and final day of chicken corn chowder leftovers for lunch.  I’m a little sad that it’s over… but not so sad to see the cold weather leave us.

healthy chicken-corn chowder 2

 

Chicken Corn Chowder
Author: 
Recipe type: Healthy soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 cups shredded chicken (I used a pre-cooked, 2 lb rotisserie chicken and shredded the meat off of it)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cans creamed corn
  • 1 package frozen sweet corn
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chilis (drained)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in large soup pot over medium heat.  Add scallions, cook for about 2 minutes, add garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until scallions become transluscent (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add
  3. can of creamed corn, all of the greek yogurt, and half of the chicken stock (2 cups).  Stir over heat until evenly mixed.
  4. Transfer contents of pot to blender and puree for about 1-2 minutes, and then return contents to the soup pot over medium heat.
  5. Add to the soup pot the remaining chicken stock, shredded chicken, second can of creamed corn, 2 cups frozen corn, chilis, black pepper, salt, and ground red pepper.  Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through (about 15 minutes, though the longer it stews, the better).
  6. If desired, top with greek yogurt and garnish with additional chopped scallions before serving.

 

Note:  I recommend using organic chicken stock if you can find it.  I only ever bought this for the first time because it was on sale, but a quick comparison of organic vs. non-organic (Wegmans brand, anyway) revealed that the organic has a much lower sodium content yet doesn’t sacrifice any flavor.

Note 2.0:  You could definitely substitute the Tablespoon of butter for olive oil if you’re reallyreally trying to be healthy (not my original goal when making this recipe, or I might’ve tried it), I haven’t tried it but I’m sure it would be fine.  I will say, though, that cooking the scallions and garlic in this small amount of butter went a long way and lent a fantastic flavor to this dish.

I am so excited to share this recipe with you today. Not just because it is delicious, and the perfect warmer-upper for a cold, snowy (yes, we had snow here again this week) evening meal, but also because it is accidentally quite healthy. I wasn't looking to make a healthy soup, I was aiming for a […] Read More

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Mint Chocolate Andes Brownies

Brownie on display-1

Happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day!  One thing that I love about where I work now is that potlucks are a quite common occurrence… we are very, very good at finding excuses to bring in food.  Since I LOVE any excuse to bake, this works out pretty well for me.

St. Patrick’s Day is a fantastic excuse for a potluck, and so a holiday-themed potluck was planned for Monday.  One of my coworkers very generously prepared corned beef, cabbage and potatoes for everyone.

Zach’s birthday was on Saturday and we celebrated by taking a trip to Dogfishhead Brewery in Delaware (where some of his favorite beers are brewed).  We also made sure to celebrating the holiday in the bars of Rehoboth Beach (where he consumed a very unique jalapeno margarita… the smell alone made my eyes water).

At the beach-1

Because of this, I was away most of the weekend, but I still wanted to contribute something that wasn’t too time-consuming but would still fit the theme of the potluck and I finally decided on mint-chocolate brownies (mint, of course, for the green color).

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Andes Candies and they met my color criteria (that thin pale green mint in the center is enough for me) and so I molded a dessert idea around them.

Brownie in hand-1

Yes, I know my nail polish is chipped, but that’s not the point .  The point is that these brownies are SO fudgy (especially if you’re patient enough to allow them to cool completely, which I wasn’t for the first few photos) and they have just the right amount of mint to them.  Not overwhelming, just… perfect.

Did you do (or make!) anything special to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie-1s

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • BROWNIES
  • 1¾ sticks unsalted butter (14 Tablespoons), softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2½ Tablespoons milk
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons Hershey’s Special Dark Hot Fudge
  • CENTER
  • 28 Andes individually wrapped candies (1 box)
  • ¼ cups Hershey’s Special Dark Hot Fudge
  • ICING
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter (softened)
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup chopped Andes candies pieces to sprinkle on top (optional)
Instructions
  1. BROWNIES
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F
  3. Line 13×9 pan with non-stick foil (or regular foil and spray with non-stick spray)
  4. Cream together butter, sugar, and milk using electric mixer.
  5. Add in eggs and vanilla, stir.
  6. In separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  7. Stir dry ingredients into wet ones until combined.
  8. Measure out your hot fudge sauce into a microwave-safe container and microwave about 15 seconds, or just long enough so that it is liquid enough to easily mix in to your brownie mix.  Add to brownie mix and stir.
  9. Dispense half of the brownie batter into 13×9 pan and spread even layer over bottom.  Unwrap Andes candies and break in half.  Layer the brownie batter in the pan with candies, spacing them about ¼ inch apart.
  10. Allow brownies to cool completely.
  11. TO PREPARE ICING:
  12. Cream together butter and milk.  Add vanilla.
  13. With mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl to be sure that icing is well-mixed.  If icing is too dry, you can add more milk (1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached), while if it is too runny you can add more sugar (1 Tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached).
  14. Spread over brownies once they have cooled completely.  Sprinkle with chopped Andes candy pieces, if desired.

 

Happy (belated) St. Patrick's Day!  One thing that I love about where I work now is that potlucks are a quite common occurrence... we are very, very good at finding excuses to bring in food.  Since I LOVE any excuse to bake, this works out pretty well for me. St. Patrick's Day is a fantastic excuse […] Read More

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Raspberry Lemon Scones

On tray.2

Well, with temperatures up near 70 degrees in northern Maryland yesterday I thought that winter had finally loosened its (unreasonably firm) grasp on us.  Then, when temperatures dipped right back down to 20 degrees overnight I realized that Mother Nature is actually just a cruel mistress that enjoys toying with my emotions… dangling springtime weather in front of me like a cupcake in front of a hungry toddler (a perfect vanilla cupcake, at that, too).

We’re supposed to have warm weather here again over the weekend… only for  winter to creep back and threaten snow on Monday.  What!?  Snow!?  Ugh, I’m so over it.

I need sunshine, warm weather and bright colors.  Green grass (not the wilted, dead and soggy stuff that’s been buried under inches of snow and ice for what feels like the past 6 years) and fresh seasonal fruit.  And if Mother Nature denies me these things, well then, I’m just going to seek out springtime in whatever form I can…

Enter these Raspberry-Lemon Scones:

Close up 2.2

Mmm… sunny flecks of yellow lemon zest in bright, pillowy-soft scones.  And let’s not forget about the raspberries–those juicy, bright, beautiful raspberries (though of course…these raspberries were frozen, just like Mother Nature’s heart).

Made with heavy cream, these scones are so soft and light inside and make the perfect springtime breakfast partner.  Or… would, anyway, if winter would ever just move on…. but I digress.  Let’s get back to the scones.

Close up.2

That’s more like it.  Springtime in pastry form.

Here’s what you do:

(Inspired by my favorite Taste of Home scone recipe)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Combine 4 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar,  4 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl.  Using a pastry cutter (or just a fork and knife, as I did for years before obtaining a pastry cutter) cut in 3/4 cups cold butter and combine until your mixture resembles coarse crumbles (there will be small pieces of butter throughout, but the dough will not cling together at this point).  You will want to use cold butter and not softened in this recipe because cold butter will yield lighter, flakier scones.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs, 3/4 cups heavy cream, the zest of one lemon (this came to about 2-3 Tablespoons for me) and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but a very good option).

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones until just mixed.  As with most baked goods, you do not want to over mix or you will end up with a too-tough end product.

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it in half.  Using your hands, fold in 1/2 cup of raspberries into each half of the dough.  You can use either fresh or frozen raspberries, though you need to be a bit more careful with fresh (juice everywhere).  I used frozen since (as I mentioned) raspberries aren’t in season right now.

The first few times I made these scones I folded the fruit in very carefully to try to avoid untidy swirls.  Now, I’ve decided that I really like the colorful swirls and think they gives the scones a more rustic look.  Plus, it’s easier that way.

Shape each half of the dough into a circle, like so, and cut each into 8 wedges:

Pre-cooked dough

Transfer wedges to parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Using remaining heavy cream brush tops of wedges and then sprinkle with granulated sugar (I used raw turbinado sugar, which is why the sugar looks almost brown in the photos).

pre-cooked on pan

Bake on 375F for 18 minutes.  Allow scones to sit for about ten minutes (until cool, or at least not so hot that they burn the inside of your mouth.  That might have happened to me, I have no patience when it comes to these things) before eating.

Lemon-Raspberry Scones
Author: 
Recipe type: Scones
Serves: 16 scones
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cups
  • cold
  • butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cups +2 Tablespoons heavy cream,
  • divided
  • Zest of 1 lemon (2-3 Tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup raspberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.  Cut in cold butter and combine until mixture resembles coarse crumbles.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, ¾ cups of the heavy cream, lemon zest, and almond extract.
  4. Add wet ingredients into dry and combine until dough is just moist.
  5. Transfer dough to clean, lightly floured surface and divide in half.  Add ½ cup raspberries to each half and fold in berries by hand.  Mold each half of the dough into about an 8-inch wide circle and cut each into 8 wedges.
  6. Transfer wedges to parchment paper-lined baking sheet and brush with the reserved 2 Tablespoons of cream.  Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar.
  7. Bake at 375F for 18 minutes.  Allow scones to cool on baking sheet before eating.

Well, with temperatures up near 70 degrees in northern Maryland yesterday I thought that winter had finally loosened its (unreasonably firm) grasp on us.  Then, when temperatures dipped right back down to 20 degrees overnight I realized that Mother Nature is actually just a cruel mistress that enjoys toying with my emotions... dangling springtime weather […] Read More

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Stacked Cookies

Yesterday was one of those days.  One of those crazy, busy, go-go-go workdays that leaves you just feeling wiped by the end of it, while at the same time wondering what you even accomplished after it all.  I’m sure you know the kind.

Sure, going to the gym is a great way to unwind and get your mind off of the stress of the day… but you know what an even better way is?

Making these:

stacked cookies2

Sometimes, when I’m baking, I get recipe anxiety.  I worry over every little detail of what I put into the mix,.  Am I going to ruin everything and have to start all over if I use 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder instead of just 1 teaspoon!?  Do I use butter, or shortening!? How many chocolate  chips are too many?! (That last one is a trick question–you can never have too many chocolate chips)  Too many anxieties that come with decision-making (Zach can vouch for the fact that I’ve never been very good at making decisions… just choosing where to eat for dinner when we go out can end up seeming like an impossible task).

When making these I just sort of went with what felt right, and somehow it all turned out perfectly.  I’d had enough stressing for one day.  This recipe was inspired by the contents of my kitchen cabinet.

 You might notice that this is another non-butter recipe.  I take no issue with butter, I LOVE baking with it (mmm… that flavor…), but I also know that sometimes, even though butter may be king, another fat may serve your recipe better.  Using shortening here gives your cookies a more airy texture, and the (ample amount of) Peanut Butter is more than enough to ensure you still have a great flavor.
And do they look like they’re lacking anything?
PB marshmallow chip cookies cooling
Nope, I don’t think so.  Enjoy.
Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup shortening
  • ¾ cups brown sugar
  • ¾ cups white sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In your mixer, cream together shortening, brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter.  Add in eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition.  Add in vanilla and stir.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Gradually, with mixer on low-medium, add the dry mixture to the wet until combined.
  5. Stir in marshmallows and chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon cookie dough by 1½” portions onto prepared cookie sheet.  Using the tines of a fork, gently press to create a criss-cross pattern on cookies and slightly flatten them.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for several minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Yesterday was one of those days.  One of those crazy, busy, go-go-go workdays that leaves you just feeling wiped by the end of it, while at the same time wondering what you even accomplished after it all.  I'm sure you know the kind. Sure, going to the gym is a great way to unwind and […] Read More

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Perfect Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes

I have a confession.

Even though I LOVE making recipes from scratch, I have truly always preferred the taste of cake made from a box-mix than cake made from scratch.

And you know what? I don’t think I’m the only one.

Most cakes made from scratch seem to turn out much denser than those that originate from a box. They’re dry and heavy, a little bit like edible bricks… which are not really my favorite things to eat.

That is why I am so, so, beyond happy with this recipe. I wanted to create a cupcake that would not be so dry that it broke apart into crumbly pieces when you bit into it, I wanted something springy… dare I say fluffy, even? That shouldn’t be too much to ask for from a cupcake!

perfect cupcakes close up

Well now it’s not. To top it all off, this recipe is easy to make; it hardly took me any more time than if I were assembling from a box.

Also to top it all off: Caramel Flavored Icing. While I’m so obsessed with these cupcakes and they are the real star of this post, I think you’ll find the icing is even easier to make and compliments these fluffy little beauties perfectly.   Try out both together, or top them with your own favorite frosting.

What to do:

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350F and insert liners into cups of cupcake baking pan.

In a medium sized bowl, combine 2 ¼ cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt and set aside.  Likewise, measure out ½ cup sour cream and set aside.  You will add these to the liquid portion of your batter later on.

In stand-alone mixer (or using an electric mixer), cream together 1 ¼ cups white sugar, 1 cup canola oil, and ½ cup milk.  I specifically chose to use oil rather than butter in this recipe for a number of reasons, the primary one being that oil does not contain water as butter does, and therefore oil will yield a fluffier, less-dense cake, so I can’t promise you will get the same results if you opt to substitute butter for the oil.

Cream these ingredients in your mixer for about 1 minute on medium speed—the liquid will be a hazy, yellow-ish color.

Add 3 eggs (you can add them all at the same time, no need to do one at a time here) and stir for 1 minute on medium speed.

Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and stir until combined into liquid batter.

Now your dry ingredients (and sour cream!) come in to play.  Remove your bowl from your stand-alone mixer, you will do the rest of the mixing by hand (I used a rubber spatula) to ensure that ingredients are not over-mixed (which can lead to a less fluffy and too-dense cake, and can also hinder the function of the sour cream, which serves to make the cupcakes fluffy as well).  Alternate between adding a portion of the flour mixture and a portion of the sour cream, stirring after each addition.  You will really be folding the ingredients in until they are evenly incorporated more than you will be stirring.  Stir just enough so that all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the batter (no dry pockets of flour or lumps of sour cream), but be conscious that you do not over-mix.

Spoon your batter into cupcake pans, filling the cups about 2/3 full.  For regular-size cupcakes bake for 18 minutes, and for miniature cupcakes bake 14-15 minutes. Cupcakes should be baked until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (with only a few crumbs).  Remove the cupcakes from their pans immediately (they’re done cooking as soon as you have a mostly clean toothpick) and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting them.

For the Frosting:

Now comes the really easy part: making the frosting.  My favorite, go-to icing is a basic cream cheese recipe.  I jazzed up the flavor just a bit by adding some caramel to it, and I think the flavor really helps bring out the (delicious) taste of the cupcakes.

Soften 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter and 1 package (8 oz) of cream cheese.  Cream them together in your stand-alone mixer.  Add 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract and stir again.

With your mixer on a low setting, gradually stir in 4 cups of flour.  Do this slowly or you’re bound to end up with sugar all over your countertop and possibly yourself.  Finally, for a subtle caramel flavor, stir in ¼ cups + 2 Tablespoons caramel sauce, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that all ingredients are well-combined.

Pipe your icing on top of (completely cooled) cupcakes, and top with sprinkles if you so desire.  I used a large-sized Ateco “closed star” tip for my cupcakes.  Also, if you’re unfamiliar with using large piping tips I highly recommend checking out this website.

And that’s it!  Enjoy!

2 perfect cupcakes

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes with Caramel Flavored Icing
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Cupcakes
Serves: 24 regular OR 48 mini cupcakes
 
PERFECT VANILLA CUPCAKES
Ingredients
  • CUPCAKES INGREDIENTS:
  • 2¼ cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 8 oz (1 package) cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioner sugar
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons caramel sauce
Instructions
  1. PERFECT VANILLA CUPCAKE INSTRUCTIONS:
  2. Makes 24 regular-sized or 48 mini cupcakes
  3. Preheat oven to 350F and insert liners into the cups of cupcake pans.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Likewise, measure out ½ cup sour cream and set aside.
  5. In stand-alone mixer, combine sugar, oil and milk. Blend on medium speed about 1 minute until ingredients are well combined (liquid will be a hazy, yellow-ish color).
  6. Add eggs and stir for 1 minute on medium speed.
  7. Add vanilla and stir again.
  8. Remove the bowl from your stand-alone mixer. Gradually, stirring by hand using a spatula now, add in flour mixture and sour cream, alternating between the two. Gently stir/fold in ingredients; they should be mixed
  9. just
  10. enough so that the sour cream and flour are evenly incorporated through the batter, but be careful not to over-mix.
  11. Spoon batter into cupcake pans, filling cups about ⅔ full. For regular-size cupcakes, bake for 18 minutes. For miniature cupcakes, bake 14-15 minutes. Cupcakes should be baked until toothpick inserted in center comes out
  12. mostly
  13. clean (with only a few crumbs).
  14. Remove cupcakes from pan immediately and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
  15. CARAMEL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INSTRUCTIONS
  16. Cream together butter and cream cheese, add vanilla and stir.
  17. With mixer on low speed, slowly add powdered sugar.
  18. Stir in caramel sauce until combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed to make sure that all ingredients are well combined.

 

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I have a confession. Even though I LOVE making recipes from scratch, I have truly always preferred the taste of cake made from a box-mix than cake made from scratch. And you know what? I don't think I'm the only one. Most cakes made from scratch seem to turn out much denser than those that […] Read More

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