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Sausage and Corn Chowder

This is one of my favorite soups right now and perfect for a cold, rainy day like today.

I picked some of the vegetables used in this recipe up at the farmer’s market this morning. When I left my house it seemed like the storm was finally subsiding with little peeks of blue skies and sunshine. Boy was I wrong. It started sprinkling when I arrived with Sprout and was in a full on downpour complete with lightning flashes and peals of thunder.

I didn’t have my front-pack all weather cover so Sprout was getting soaked. One of the vendors let me borrow an umbrella so I bought some pita bread from him. At one booth whenever the thunder boomed, the lady selling apples to me would put her hand on her chest and freak out. We don’t get much weather in Southern California so I guess some people are really thrown off by it.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this hearty soup (preferrably in a cozy home with a sweater and some fluffy slippers on or maybe the fireplace going).

-1 package sweet Italian sausage
-1 bag frozen corn (I used the roasted kind they have at TJs because that’s what we had in our freezer, but regular corn is just as good)
-2 red potatoes, chopped
-2 medium carrots, chopped
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1 onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
-1 box chicken broth
-1 bay leaf
-1 cup milk
-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 tbsp corn starch
-salt and pepper to taste

Cut sausage links into bite-sized pieces. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add sausage to brown. Remove sausage from pan and place in soup pot.

Add onion, garlic, carrots, and potatoes to pan that sausage was just cooked in. Cook vegetables until tender. Add to soup pot.

Add bell pepper, corn, chicken broth, bay leaf, to soup pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Remove 1/2 cup broth and mix with corn starch until smooth. Return to pot and cook until thickened. Stir in milk. Remove from heat.

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Gourmet Lisa: Hearty Beef and Vegetable Chili

Just in time for the Super Bowl, one of our neighbors decided to have a chili cook-off.

I used to have this really great vegetarian chili recipe, but I lost it somewhere. I really like a chili with lots of stuff in it like vegetarian chili tends to have. I scoured the Internet and my recipe books for ideas and then cobbled together what is essentially a meal in a bowl.

So, this was my entry:

1 lb ground beef
24 oz chunky salsa of your choice (you want one that is chunky, but also saucey or you can use a Pico de Gallo and a can of tomato sauce)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 tbsp dry rub seasoning 
2 tsp hot sauce of your choice (I used Chalula)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped carrots
2 yellow squash, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chicken stock
1 bag Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn (you can also do this yourself, but I’m lazy)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400.

Salt and pepper beef. Brown with, onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Drain excess fat.

In large stock pot combine remaining ingredients except squash and olive oil. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, place chopped squash on cookie sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven until crisp-tender (Stephen hates mushy squash). Stir squash into chili.

Serve with corn bread and shredded cheese.


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Pumpkin Soup

I am all about the soups when the fall weather hits. Chicken, split pea, chili, hearty vegetable and pumpkin, just to name a few. Sometime around the first day of Autumn (weather permitting or not) I just start craving big bowls of steaming soup.

This is my recipe for pumpkin soup from scratch. It really isn’t very hard to make this way, but you could probably also substitute a couple cans of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) if you don’t want to bake your own fresh pumpkin.

• 1/2 cup milk (you can also use half & half or cream if you want something richer)
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 1/2 cup apple cider
• 1 sugar baby or pie pumpkin
• ground cinnamon
• ground cloves
• 1 tbsp butter
• salt and pepper to taste
• water

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Cut apart pumpkin and remove pulp. Make sure you use a sharp knife for this step and that you are very careful. Pumpkin rinds are very tough and it is easy to slip.

3. Place pieces, flesh side up, on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cloves and cinnamon.

4. Baste pieces with a little bit of water and place in oven for 45min to an hour or until flesh is tender. Test with a fork. You’ll want to baste the pieces again about halfway through.

5. Use a spoon to separate the flesh from the rind and place in a saucepan.

6. Add chicken broth, cider, salt, pepper, and butter to saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.

7. Add milk and simmer for an additional 3 minutes.

8. Remove from heat. Blend until smooth. Serve.

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