Posts Tagged ‘Soup’

If you thought I was going to bring you another recipe from a Chicagogrammer today, you were right!! Today we have Kate from The Gingerlist bringing us the most amazing-looking butternut squash soup. Oh, it’s got crab on it, because any time you put crab on something, it makes it even better. Ok, so Kate does things a little differently, and she’s an Instablogger, so she shares her recipes in her Instagram. You really have to check her feed out and give her a follow, because she makes the most gorgeous food!

Creamy Butternut Squash and Crab Bisque

Creamy Butternut Squash and Crab Bisque

To make: 

Chop 1 butternut squash, 1 large yellow onion, 2 celery stalks and 2 large carrots and sauté in a mixture of olive oil and butter in a large dutch oven. 

Meanwhile, roast a head of garlic. After 5-10 minutes, add 3-4 cups of chicken stock and simmer for 30+ minutes until the veggies become soft and tender. Add 4-6 cloves of the roasted garlic, one cup of cream, salt and pepper and purée until very smooth. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Plate by spooning soup into a bowl and topping with jalapeño oil (jalapeños puréed in olive oil, heated and strained) and a large spoonful of lump crab meat. Enjoy!!

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Aloha, fellow blog readers! Thanks for following along, even though it’s been a minute since I’ve truly sat down to write a long post. Thanks to my number one (or possibly only) fan, my Mom, for always saying things like, “I sure wish you’d blog soon so I have something to read.” Point taken, yes, bloggers need to blog occasionally, and to my other loyal readers (still probably just Mom) – don’t worry, Mom has plenty of other available reading options, but I figure it IS time to let you know what I’ve been up to this fall, including three very memorable events: The Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce Dinner Crawl, Tony & Tina’s Wedding & the opening of True Food Kitchen.

The Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce Dinner Crawl

Let’s start with the Dinner Crawl, shall we? In September, the fabulous Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce reached out to me to see if I had any interest in attending their Fall Dinner Crawl. Let’s just say I had a high to quite high level of interest, and before long, I’d secured two tickets for Main Squeeze and I to crawl along the Knife Route, which included the following restaurants:

The Pasta Bowl  |  Urbanbelly  |  Dove’s Luncheonette  |  Dimo’s Pizza  |  Feast Restaurant  |  Goddess & Grocer  |  Urban Icing  |  Coast Sushi Bar |
Red Door  |  Club Lucky

Excited didn’t even begin to cover how…excited…I was to be a part of this extravagant food tour of Bucktown/Wicker Park. While some of these are old favorites (Coast Sushi, anyone?!?!), a few were new to me, so that made the anticipation level even higher.

The gist of the crawl for any of the routes is that participating restaurants offer at least two small menu portions for crawlers to sample. Participating restaurants can also pair this with drink deals, but alcohol is not included in the price of the ticket. Please note the price of the ticket alone is WELL worth the money, as we got to try so many different restaurants and left totally stuffed. But, naturally, we also participated in the drink deals at most (all) of the restaurants.

First up on our tour was The Pasta Bowl. I’d been to their location on Clark, but had actually never made it to their Bucktown/WP shop, which opened about two years ago. I was slightly nervous about making The Pasta Bowl our first stop, because there was a long night of eating ahead of us, and I felt pasta would be A TRAP!!! so that I wouldn’t be able to eat as much as I wanted to, which was everything at every restaurant. We were greeted quickly, and served a lovely mini caprese salad, and YES!, a plate of pasta. The pasta was their signature dish, Farfalle Pollo, with grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic-buttered mushrooms, plum tomatoes, basil, parmesan, and their world famous house cream sauce.

The Pasta Bowl Chicago

The Pasta Bowl in Chicago

I vowed to eat only a few bites of it. I knew it was a trap.

…I ate all of it…and wished I could have had more. Damn, I’m the worst at dinner crawls.

Next up on our crawl was Dove’s Luncheonette. Have you been to Dove’s? It’s fantastic, but expect a wait during busy times, like brunch and weekends, as it’s pretty small inside. Despite being packed for the crawl, we managed to be seated immediately, and were served two delicious items. I wish I could tell you with 100% certainty what these items were, but it’s been awhile, and I’ve (of course) lost the evening’s menu.

Dove's Chicago

This was some type of zucchini/squash combo with a mole sauce. Yum!!

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….annnnnnnnd the torta with ham and cheese, pickled onion in a spicy sauce. Yes, I was beginning to feel stuffed.

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What to do when you’re feeling stuffed? Have a beer with your fried rice at Urban Belly, of course!! This was an exciting foamy treat!

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Continuing the drinking over at Feast, we tried the Mini Pimm’s Cup (how have I not had a Pimm’s cup before?!). It was outstanding!! We also had caprese skewers and salmon dip on rye baguettes.

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Then we went to Dimo’s and had the Mac n’ Cheese pizza. Cause calories be damned!

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And scarfed down some buffalo tots at Goddess & the Grocer…

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At this point we were supposed to go to Red Door and Urban Icing, but we were running out of time. We made the executive decision to unfortunately skip those two, and instead went to Coast where we were absolutely delighted to find that my FAVORITE SUSHI ROLL OF ALL TIME from Coast, my FAVORITE SUSHI RESTAURANT OF ALL TIME, was being featured. The White Dragon from Coast is easily one of my most craved foods ever!

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Last on our stop, but certainly not least, is neighborhood favorite Club Lucky. I could barely look at food at this point into the crawl, but Main Squeeze happily tucked into a giant plate of pasta, potatoes and chicken. Sigh.

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All in all, we had a ball on the dinner crawl, and we’ll DEFINITELY be doing it again next fall! Hope to see you there!

Tony & Tina’s Wedding

Next up on the list of must-see events is Tony & Tina’s Wedding. No, not just a random couple’s wedding we were invited to, Tony & Tina’s Wedding is an Off-Broadway completely interactive theater experience where the guests (audience members) participate in the wedding (play). We went on a Friday evening a few weeks ago and had a COMPLETE BLAST. We truly felt like we’d been to a wedding afterward!

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Here’s the scoop – Tony and Tina are two fictional Italian-American lovers from Queens, determined to be married in spite of more than a few crazy family members and friends. You, the audience, are invited to their big, dysFUNctional wedding, complete with church service and reception. The wedding service takes place at Resurrection Church in Lakeview, and the reception is at “Vinnie Black’s Coliseum,” just around the corner on Belmont. To be clear – Tony & Tina’s Wedding is a comedy in every sense of the word, and pokes fun at many Italian stereotypes. From Tina’s indomitable mother, to Tony’s spitfire “mother-in-law,” you run the gamut of big personalities. Tony & Tina’s wedding runs into February, and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Oh look, here I am, dancing with Tony!

Oh look, here I am, dancing with Tony!

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True Food Kitchen

Next up – the opening of True Food Kitchen in River North. I was extremely lucky to have my parents along with me for their friends and family opening, and the extremely gracious and attentive staff made sure we tried a wide selection of their amazing, healthy menu. For those that aren’t familiar with True Food Kitchen, it’s a restaurant concept from Dr. Andrew Weil, as my Mom would say, the guy who helps make the shoes she wears (Vionics, for people with plantar fasciitis). He’s into clean, healthy eating and a proponent of the anti-inflammatory diet. True Food offers a wide variety of paleo friendly and gluten-free dishes, prepared with anti-inflammatory ingredients. Their slogan is “Honest food that tastes really good,” and yes, trust me, everything is SO fresh and amazing! Below is a brief sampling of what we had, and it is all OUTSTANDING. Mom and Dad loved it just as much as I did!

True Food Kitchen

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Ok, so now on to a recipe for today. Let’s end with a clean-eating soup from Dr. Andrew Weil. Just tuck this one away for the new year, if, like me, you’re basically on the pro-inflammatory diet for the next 2 weeks…

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Immunity Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 2 1/2 pieces astragalus root  (about 15 inches total)
  • 10 cups mushroom stock
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • Salt
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • ½ cup chopped scallions1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the shiitakes, carrots, astragalus root, and Mushroom Stock. Bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
    2. Add the tamari and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed. Add the broccoli florets and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.
    3. Remove the astragalus root pieces. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the scallions before serving.

And one last note – do this!!

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It may come as a shock to you, but Americans don’t have the lock on Christmas. Apparently, it’s celebrated all over the world, and the good people of Greece get into the spirit by eating lemon chicken soup, which I have to say, sounds incredibly delicious. I actually made a crockpot full of chicken soup today to feed my poor sickie boyfriend, who is currently looking a bit like an Ewok on the couch, or at the very least, a heavily bearded Obi Wan Kenobi. He favors brown, and blankets are no exception. Poor kid. He needs fluids. Where’s a moisture farmer when you need one?

Anyhoo, this lemony soup recipe comes from JJ at the very cool blog Urbane Nomad. JJ’s a fellow Chicago blogger, and is borrowing other culture’s Christmas traditions this year. Avgolemono is traditionally made in Greece on Christmas Eve, making it not just another soup recipe, but a Christmas soup recipe!!

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Avgolemono – Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons of Dill
  • 3 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Quarts of Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Orzo

For the full recipe and instructions, swing on by Urbane Nomad, and say hello to JJ! 

Green Chicken Soup Recipe

 

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Smart Soup? You might as well just call this soup brilliant. At the beginning of the year, the wonderful people at Smart Soup reached out to me to see if I would be interested in trying their line of flash-frozen soups in conjunction with their (also brilliant) campaign to donate “Meal for Meal” to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Until February 28, 2015, Smart Soup will donate the cost of a meal to the GCFD. Great soup for a great cause – of course I was excited to try it.

And just like that, a box of soup arrived to my office!

Smart Soup Variety Pack

Yay soup! Soup is great, but what I noticed right off the bat is how amazingly low in calories these soups are. For the consistently “on a lifestyle change” blogger, low-cal lunch options are my favorite. All of the varieties of Smart Soup are 160 calories or less, and are 3 grams of fat or under. The line of soups was created by Anne Chong Hill, who was inspired by her childhood in Brunei where she grew up eating flavorful ethnic dishes. As an adult, Chong Hill was diagnosed with hypertension and sought to change her lifestyle by creating healthy meals she and her family would enjoy. Each flavor of Smart Soup is inspired by Anne’s childhood and travels, and all of their products are vegan, gluten-free, all-natural with no preservatives and are American Heart Association Certified. Definitely smart.

The first flavor I tried was the Vietnamese Carrot Lemongrass.

Smart Soup Vietnamese Carrot Lemongrass

The soup has sharp, layered flavors with vegetables – potatoes, carrot, edamame, ginger and coconut. The flavors are fantastic, and unique – I wish I could cook like this at home for so few calories and fat. I paired this with a side salad, but the portion is generous enough to eat as a lunch alone. The pureed soup is thick and satisfying. Definitely zippy, zingy, and I didn’t need to use my trusty salt shaker.

The next flavor I tried was the French Lentil:

Smart Soup French LentilThe lentil had definite curry undertones, and didn’t have the zip of the carrot soup, but was still flavorful and also didn’t need the salt shaker.

The next flavor I had was the Greek Minestrone:

Smart Soup Greek Minestrone

Totally delicious, super low in calories (110!) and full of veggies and flavor.

Next up was the Santa Fe Corn Chowder:

Smart Soup Santa Fe Corn Chowder

This soup has so much flavor, and was my personal favorite. I love Mexican-inspired food, and I think this would be even better with a touch of cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

The last flavor I tried was the Thai Coconut Curry:

Smart Soup Thai Coconut Curry

Really bright flavors in this red curry soup made with coconut water. The bamboo shoots and water chestnuts give it great texture and crunch, and the bits of mini corn on the cob will remind you of the movie Big (or at least they always do for me).

I highly recommend this soup for anyone watching their weight. In fact, because these soups are all vegan, they fit in seamlessly with the Weight Watchers Simple Start plan! So eat up, Simple Starters, and calorie-counters alike!

Smart Soup is available in Chicagoland at Costco. Remember, for every unit purchased until the end of February, they’ll donate the cost of a a meal to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

To learn more about Smart Soup, visit their website or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

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I’ve reached the point in my December diet where macaroni and cheese, hot dogs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch make a grand reappearance in my life, after being basically banned through months 1-11. Oh, and I blog about turning dips into soups.

This Spinach & Artichoke Dip Tortellini Soup looks so delicious!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Tortellini Soup 800 2261

 

Coming to you from Closet Cooking, this soup looks pretty easy and I’m guessing tastes wonderful!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip Tortellini Soup

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces cheese tortellini
  • 4 ounces low fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 8 ounces spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne to taste (optional)

For the rest of the instructions and full recipe, please visit Closet Cooking.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Tortellini Soup 800 2247

Images courtesy of Closet Cooking

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Ok, December 3, 3 blog posts AND I’ve actually made this recipe, so we’ve got 2 out of 3 that I can personally endorse. This post is brought to you with love from Nashville, the city where my bff lives. She signed up for a CSA box this year, and was apparently up to her ears in butternut squash this fall. She found this delicious and healthy soup recipe, and fed us for days on a recent visit. We ate soup for lunch, soup for snacks, and late night soup instead of late night drunk food. Yay us!

Butternut Squash Turkey Chili

I was so impressed with this tasty soup that I turned around and made it when I got home. It really is healthy, and would actually qualify on the Weight Watchers Simple Start program, if you’re into that kind of a thing.

A few quick notes – super kudos to the bff for peeling, scooping and cutting up the squash from the CSA box – thank you for all your hard work! I bought my squash peeled and cut, cause I’m lazy. Also, she found the fresh sage the recipes calls for – I did not, so I just threw in a bunch of dried. I added a can of butter beans – a mistake. Their skins peel off and get a bit weird – stick with Northern white beans. One other note – I do have a hard time calling this chili. It’s definitely more of a soup, but if you want to make it chili, just add some chili powder (that’s what makes chili chili, right?).

Per my honor system, I’ll direct you over to Foodie Crush for the full recipe, but here are the ingredients to get you started:

Roasted Butternut Squash & Turkey Chili

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups butternut squash, bite size dice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained, I like great northern variety
  • 4 cups chicken stock (32 ounces)
  • 3 pasilla peppers, roasted, seeded and sliced into 1/4” ribbons
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, cut into ribbons with scissors or diced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

Directions: for the rest of the directions and full recipe, please visit the full recipe on Foodie Crush.

Butternut Squash White Turkey Chili

Images courtesy of Foodie Crush

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