As I sit here writing this column, dressed in the warmest clothes I own (even in Florida), I am wondering if you realize what the impact of the temperature has on your diet.
When the thermometer drops, we find ourselves reaching for the “soup” recipes and recipes heavy with carbs.
I really enjoy spaghetti and pasta dishes much more when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees. Why is that? Well I am not a psychologist or nutritionist but I would guess it has something to do with our bodies telling us that we need the extra carbs to fuel our body heat and, of course, we all know why we drift towards soups and chowders in cold weather — and it has nothing to do with the Campbell’s soup ads.
I personally love “cold weather” foods. It is amazing how we think we need meat, potatoes, salad and vegetables to make a complete meal, but there is nothing like a bowl of hot soup and biscuits to fill you up.
Of course a warm cookie or sweet dessert also sticks to the ribs on cold days. I am not one for leftovers, but soups are the one thing that I will eat warmed up and actually think they taste better the second time it is served.
On these days that we are going to be trapped inside, take time to explore your cook books and find some recipes that you haven’t tried before. I suggest you get out that soup pot and crock pot because I think we are destined to face some really frigid weather and snow for quite a while. I think it may be a long and hard winter.
Today I am going to give you a few of my favorite soups and a great dessert to warm up your family. Since I got so many great compliments on the “Crock Pot Cake” recipe that I have given you before, I am going to pass on another crock pot dessert. I have not personally made this one, but know it will turn out great too.
BACON AND CORN CHOWDER
¼# THICK SLICED bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” cubes
3 cups chicken broth
1 ½ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
3 cups Half-and-Half
2 cups creamed corn
3 tablespoons butter
Slice bacon, in small pieces about ¼” wide. Place it in your soup pot or large dutch oven that has lightly been sprayed with Pam. Cook over medium heat until bacon starts to “shrivel” and lightly brown. Do not overcook or brown until crisp. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and to the bacon and remaining fat, add the chopped onion, cooking for 3-4 minutes. Add potatoes, salt and chicken broth. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to medium, cooking uncovered until potatoes are tender. Add Half-and-Half, corn, butter and pepper. Cook on low heat until the chowder begins to steam, stirring constantly to prevent milk from sticking (about 5 minutes). Serve immediately in bowls, topped with cheese and crisp bacon if you desire.
CHUCK WAGON CHOWDER
I have included this recipe previously but get a lot of calls to run it again. It is so very good. This is not a soup but rather thick chowder which is great served with a salad and hot bread. Kids like it because it reminds them of chili! I prefer an electric skillet to make this dish.
1 1/2 – 2 lb Ground Beef
½ cup onion
½ tablespoon chili powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 ½ cups canned tomatoes (chopped or mashed) with juice
1 cup water
1 cup UNCOOKED ¼” noodles
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup American Cheese/Velveeta (cut in small cubes)
In extra large skillet or dutch oven brown the ground beef and onion. Add salt, pepper and chili powder. Stir in chopped tomatoes and water, stirring until well mixed. Add uncooked noodles and cover pan with lid. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings if needed and then add peas and cook for 5 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in cheese until melted and serve immediately.
NO FAT APPLE CAKE
Another great crock pot dessert. Great to put together on Sunday morning, go off to church and come back to a warm dessert for Sunday dinner.
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar (I sometimes use Brown sugar)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
4 medium sized Granny Smith apples, chopped in small pieces
½ cup walnuts (chopped)
2 eggs beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add apples and nuts and stir to lightly coat apples. In separate bowl, combine eggs and vanilla. Pour into apple mixture and stir until just moistened. Spoon it into greased slow cooker (regular sized, do not use large family sized). Cover and set pot on HIGH for 2 ½ – 3 hours. Turn off heat. Serve warm with whipped cream or Cool Whip and then sprinkle with cinnamon.
Until next week, stay in, stay warm and keep cooking!
Sheryl Sollars, a Clinton County native, is an accomplished cook and homemaker. She contributes her column “Welcome to My Kitchen” out of her love of homemaking and of sharing her thoughts with her readers. If you have cooking questions or a recipe you want to share, please contact Sheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org.