Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Potato & Crab Chowder



I’m doing a good job making my little batches of soup. I’m learning that when you cut recipes down, you don’t have to use absolutely all the original ingredients.  This recipe is an amended version of Potato Seafood Chowder.  “Seafood” became just crabmeat. The original version had shrimp, oysters, crabmeat and scallops in it.  The original version also calls for seafood stock or a bottle of clam juice.  I substituted those flavors by adding a teaspoon of Ranch Dressing mix.  Different flavors, but I didn’t miss the seafood stock.  There are so many spice blends available now.  When I started cooking 45 years ago, we had to stock all kinds of dry herbs to make our own blends.  Cooking from scratch has become much easier and that’s a good thing.  Young families don’t have time to cook like at home moms of the 1960s did.  Use whatever makes your job easier.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a fall vacation my husband and I took years ago.  We had scheduled an October vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC months in advance.  Then Hurricane Ophelia started her way up the east coast.  We hesitated.  We cancelled.  We changed our minds when the hurricane just swirled off the cost, and we rescheduled.  Off we went and as soon as we reached Myrtle Beach we loaded up on fresh seafood and groceries.  We figured we would be ‘stranded’ in our corner suite for a few days.  That is exactly what happened.  We cooked, ate, and enjoyed watching the storm from our 6th floor ... floor to ceiling windows.

This chowder is a simple reminder of that exciting vacation.  I enjoyed my chowder with a couple slices of orange infused beer bread.  I love the Pampered Chef beer bread mix.  I made it using orange LaCroix,  and a Tablespoon of orange infused olive oil.  I added 1/3 cup of Feta cheese chunks. I baked in three small bread pans so I could easily store portions. The truth is, I love it too much so I have to hide a portion for later.   So delicious and so easy.



Potato Crab Chowder

1 big Idaho potato, peeled and chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 ½ cups water
a sprinkle of onion powder
1 teaspoon Ranch Dressing Mix
½ teaspoon celery flakes
½ teaspoon parsley flakes
1 cup of frozen corn kernels
1 small can of crabmeat
1 ½ cups Half and Half
Thicken with instant mashed potato flakes

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high until the potatoes are done.  Add the corn and 30 minutes later add the crabmeat and Half and Half.  Stir in instant mashed potatoes a Tablespoon at a time until the chowder reaches the desired thickness.  Add a generous sprinkle of black pepper and a little salt before serving.

 

 

 

 

Gnocchi Soup


I’ve decided to try some new soup recipes as I teach myself to convert recipes to small batches.  As I’ve written before, I love soup … once.  I don’t want leftovers and I don’t want to fill the freezer with little containers that never get used!  I’m looking for a nice Saturday supper and a weekday lunch that I can take to my office and heat in the microwave. Nothing more.

I’m happy to use my 1.5 quart crockpot to make Saturday soups.  It is the perfect size and forces me to make a little batch.  I almost always have small portions of cooked chicken in my freezer.  Those are little packages that I tolerate! 


Gnocchi Soup

To make this soup, add the following ingredients together in the crock pot and cook on high for 2 hours:


4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of these vegetables all combined – chopped onion, celery, red pepper, broccoli and carrot
½ cup chopped cooked chicken
¼ teaspoon of dried thyme
A dash of dry mustard, a dash of pepper and a dash of salt

After this has cooked for 2 hours, add about 4 ounces of miniature potato gnocchi and cook on low for another 30 minutes.  The gnocchi is precooked, so you are really just heating it through. It will thicken the soup a little.

Stir in a Tablespoon of butter and serve.

 

Soup has always been a part of fall and winter weekend life for me.  My mother always had a pot of vegetable soup and sometimes a second pot of chili ready for lunch on Saturdays.  This was after the family had a big early breakfast and left the house for any of a variety of projects.  My brothers and my dad knew that a big warm bowl was waiting for them at lunchtime.  Dinner, or supper as we called it, was usually on the lighter side, but always included a delicious piece of pie or cake.  Mother baked on Saturdays for her big Sunday dinner.  We always had something to sample on Saturday evening.

I carried on this tradition when I was making my own household.  Soups or chili seemed to be the foundation for college football weekends, local festival parades and antique shopping jaunts.  We always returned home to that warm bowl!

Today, one of my brothers can duplicate our mother’s vegetable soup.  He cans his own tomatoes and for years has raised a nice vegetable garden.  My chili is as good as Mama’s, but it is really made from my husband’s recipe! What remains the same is that whenever we make either, they warm our souls as we sit together around the table.







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