Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snowed In (I wish!)

We had our first significant snow last night (about 4 1/2 inches). This was the first time that it was actually necessary to shovel the driveway before pulling out. Driving down our street was an adventure! It doesn't get plowed because it's a dead end. Good thing I have an SUV! It would have been so nice to have a snow day, but, unfortunately, I think we would have to get over a foot of snow for that to happen. I do prefer driving on snow to driving on ice, though. The hardest part was just that I couldn't see the dividing lines on the road, so I had no idea if I was in my lane or not.

For those of you who hear about all of the horrible weather in Chicago, I want you to know that our weather is not normally that severe. Chicago gets A LOT more snow because it is on the lake. And it is generally 10-15 degrees colder there. (Although, our high tomorrow is -1, with a wind chill of -25). Yikes!

There are some upsides to cold weather, though—one of them being the chance to eat a lot of soups and stews! I always plan our meals at least a week in advance, so usually in Abilene my soup plans would go something like this: We'd have a cold snap, and I'd think, "Ooohh, next week, I'm going to make soup for us." So I'd buy all the stuff the next time I was at the store, and by the time "soup day" came around, it was 80 degrees. Not so here! I can count on it being at least mildly cold, if not frigid, every single day. Perfect soup weather (and hot chocolate weather....mmmm)! Here's a new soup recipe I've fallen in love with:

Mushroom Corn Chowder
Adapted from Taste of Home
Serves: 4 (as main dish)

1-2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1-2 cups sliced white mushrooms
1 cup diced celery
1 1/2 cup frozen corn
2-3 green onions, chopped (optional)
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I like to use the low-fat, reduced-sodium kind, and it still tastes great.)
1 soup can milk
1/2 cup cubed ham (optional) Darby thinks every soup should contain meat, so this ingredient is not optional for us!
4 oz. Velveeta, cubed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Note: I don't ever measure vegetables. Just throw in whatever amount looks good to you or whatever you have on hand. I like my soups chunky, so if you prefer a more "brothy" soup, use less.

Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add veggies and saute 10-15 minutes or until desired tenderness. Stir in soup, milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer about 10 minutes. Add Velveeta and stir until melted. This is so easy and good and not too unhealthy for a creamy soup.

Now, if you're like me, you can't have soup without bread. It's a crime. But, since I work, I don't usually have time to make bread on weeknights. And I'm trying to get away from buying loaves of bread at the store because they're usually too big for two people, and I forget to freeze the leftovers and end up throwing it all out. What's a bread-lover to do? Enter my friend and fabulous chef Kalyn with a perfect quick, homemade bread solution. She made these little rolls for us when we went to visit, and I looked up a similar recipe online. They take no time at all and are really, really good!

Mayonnaise Muffins (sounds gross, but you can't taste the mayonnaise)

1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. mayonnaise

Stir together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Spoon into 6 greased muffin cups. Bake at 425 degrees 10-12 minutes. The rolls are little, so this amount is perfect for 2-3 people. It can easily be doubled to feed more.


Kalyn Gensic said...

Thanks for the soup recipe. I think I'm going to try that one. Although the cold weather is sometimes difficult to deal with, I do like the consistency. It makes planning for meals and wardrobe so much easier.

Mary Kay said...

Hi sweet friend! I was excited to see your update as I had wondered how you were surviving the weather! Brr. It is cold here today, so I have soup planned and I think I will try your muffins! They sound yummy! Stay warm!

Laci said...

Sounds yummy! Thanks for sharing! Your comment about Darby and his meat in soup rule makes me laugh because I've heard almost those exact words from a certain significant other! HA! Eric is in LA right now finishing up his training, and I've been holding out to make some yummy vegetable soup just for me while he's gone! I love all kinds of veges, I could easily be a vegetarian except for those I NEED A STEAK or juicy hamburger cravings!