Smoky Corn Chowder

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It’s September! Thank God. That means that fall is right around the corner, and there’s not much I love more than Fall and Winter, ok and Spring. I guess I’m just really not madly in love with Summer. I do love it, what I don’t love is days this we had this past weekend, where its 100 plus degrees, humid, the air is thick, so thick and hot you dread going outside. So we didn’t. Most of the weekend we spent inside. We did have to leave and head to town Saturday morning for groceries, but besides that and a quick shopping trip Sunday, we enjoyed the air conditioning. Early Monday morning I heard the distinct pitter patter of rain and then another pitter patter of little feet wanting breakfast. I know its Labor Day Weekend and people were looking forward to long weekends on the lake and barbecuing, but I love a day off from work where the skies are dark and the weather calls for blankets, cuddles and a warm bowl of soup…So what if its 80 degrees outside, it seems like it should feel a lot colder.

Smokey Corn Chowder

serves 3-5

1 lb. bacon

1 very large or 2 average size onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 t. smoked paprika

1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes

30-40 ounces of corn, fresh, frozen or canned (if using canned, please drain)

2 c. chicken broth or stock

1 c. milk

Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Green onions

Whenever I’m going to need crumbled bacon, I start by slicing the bacon up first then frying, so I end up with the small pieces needed, plus they cook more evenly. To do this I slice a full slab of bacon across the slices, basically perpendicular to the slices, and then chop through my slices so I end up with small squares. Then I fry all the little squares up, draining on a paper towels. You don’t have to do it this way, but I highly suggest it. Either way, fry up the bacon so you have small bacon pieces. Once browned and crisp, drain and set aside.

Allow the grease to cool slightly and drain all up about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Return the pot with grease to medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring for an additional 2 minutes. 20130902-112008.jpg

Add the corn, broth, and milk, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender, being very careful to only fill the blender half way and placing a cloth towel over the cover when blending. Once blended to your desired consistency, stir in 1/2 teaspoon each, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

20130902-114623.jpg Serve soup, topping with bacon and green onions, warm French rolls would be perfect with this, check out my trick for having warm fresh French rolls ready at all times that only cost me $0.16 each by checking out Feeeding This Family’s Facebook page.

20130902-120307.jpg I’ve linked this post with some of my favorite weekly go to’s for recipes and ideas, The Weekly Potluck, Mandy’s Recipe Box’s “Totally Tasty Tuesdays!”, and Buns In My Oven.

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Pasta e Fagioli Soup

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I found this recipe on one of my late night recipe searches on Top Secret Recipes.

The ingredients include:

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can great northern beans (with liquid)
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 12-ounce can V-8 juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme(I didn’t have any so I used 1/2 tsp. of italian seasoning)
1/2 pound (1/2 pkg.) ditali pasta (I used a mini penne
(I also added 1/2 tsp. of cracked black pepper)

Start off my browning the meat in a heavy duty pan, I always make my meat into uniform pieces by mashing with a potato masher after it’s mostly browned.

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Drain the meat in this here handy dandy expandable colander

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Put the meat back in the pot along with the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Normally I would chop everything by hand because I overcomplicate things like that, but today my hands are very dry and cut up from finally taking down the Christmas tree yesterday, so I let the food processor do all the chopping for me. Sauté the meat and veggies for about 10 minutes or until fragrant.

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At this point add all the remaining ingredients excluding the pasta. My version has a few adjustments, the V8 juice I bought came in 5.5 ounce cans so I used two of those and then rinsed out the tomato sauce can with a little water, I also didn’t have any thyme so I added a 1/2 tsp. of italian seasonings and lastly I added a 1/2 tsp. of cracked black pepper.

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Let this simmer for 1 hour. In the recipe it says to begin boiling the pasta 50 minutes into the simmering. I let mine simmer for about two hours before added the al dente pasta.

Laddle it up and serve it along side some garlic bread. Dinner is served!

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The only adjustment I would make in the future is to add an additional 5.5 ounce can of V8 or maybe another can on tomato sauce.