May 25, 2010

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

You say potato... I say creamy potato soup loaded with bacon, cheddar and green onion.

After the bacon & chipotle twice-baked potatoes left me with a tempting surplus of cheddar, bacon and russets, I decided to make this awesome soup in order to prevent a three-hour bacon-to-face-stuffing session.

And what a treat it was. This meal was simple, quick and quite dreamy. "But, can a soup really be dreamy?" you ask. I'll answer that with another question. Is it loaded with cheese and bacon?

To make this can't-believe-it's-light creation, I baked, peeled and mashed a few potatoes, and started the thick, creamy base with flour and milk.

Next, I added the potatoes, cheese and a little salt and pepper and let that cook, then mixed in a bit of sour cream and chopped green onion. And whaddya know, I had soup! 

But of course, it's not dreamy soup until you top it with the real stars of the dish – chopped green onion, sharp cheddar, a little cracked black pepper and of course, the aforementioned BACON.

The soup was absolutely delish. Ultra creamy, rich and definitely better than potato soup I've had at any restaurant. And the best part? Getting to eat a cheese and bacon-filled dinner while only putting back a mere 329 calories. Miracles in the kitchen do happen, friends.

And what about my Polish, potato-raised, soup-loving husband? Well, he remained speechless, head hovering over his bowl, with no time to spare on chatter. Even his spoon was abandoned in the end and replaced with bare hands in a last-ditch effort to let no drop escape.

A light soup that makes a man melt? Yeah...definitely dreamy if you ask me.

Baked Potato Soup
Ann Taylor Pittman, Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2007
Yield: 8 servings 
(serving size: about 1 1/2 cups soup, 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons onions, and about 1 tablespoon bacon)

4  baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3  cup  all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
6  cups  2% reduced-fat milk
1  cup  (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1  cup  reduced-fat sour cream
3/4  cup  chopped green onions, divided
6  bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Cracked black pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°.

Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes; coarsely mash.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour in a large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes). Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat.

Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 8 bowls. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons onions, and about 1 tablespoon bacon. Garnish with cracked pepper, if desired.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 329 (30% from fat), Fat:10.8g (sat 5.9g,mono 3.5g,poly 0.7g), Protein: 13.6g, Carbohydrate: 44.5g, Fiber: 2.8g, Cholesterol: 38mg, Iron:1.1mg, Sodium: 587mg, Calcium: 407mg.

May 19, 2010

Nathan's Lemon Cake

When one thinks of cake, "refreshing" is probably not the first word that comes to mind. Usually, what makes cake, well, cake, a good drenching in buttery frosting, an uber-sweet filling, and a hefty sprinkling of something yummy, like toasted nuts. In fact, a mouth full of cake will most assuredly leave you reaching for a glass of milk… wash it down so you can clear your gob and go back for more.

Unless, of course, your cake happens to be comprised of two super moist and lemony layers that are delicately iced with a light, sweet, lemon icing and sprinkled with tangy lemon rind. Then, I guarantee that "refreshing" will ring with every bite.

Enter, the lemon cake, a cake delicious enough to line the store window of a good bakery, simple enough to make quickly at home, and refreshing enough to enjoy on even the hottest days.

Cake lovers, rejoice! Now, amid the wide array of tortes, pies and ice creams that pop up this time of year, cake can finally stake its claim in springtime. Now, I'm sure there are plenty of other dainty, fruity cakes out there, but this was my first time making such a treat, so humor me, please.

This recipe starts with simple lemon layers, which I have to say, turned out to be some of the moistest cakes I’ve ever eaten. So buttery, sweet and packed with lemony punch, you won’t believe it’s light. Just be sure to keep an eye on them while they bake. Mine were done a bit early.

Once the cakes are cool, a quick whip of powdered sugar, fresh squeezed lemon juice, lemon rind and melted butter equal a finger-licking good frosting. Although, I must have been a little too distracted on the finger licking part, because I read “1 cup” of powdered sugar, when it clearly said "3 cups."

So at first, my frosting was a clear glaze, paling in comparison to the bright white icing in the Cooking Light photo. I sadly dripped the watery goo onto the first layer, watched it immediately soak into the cake, and knew something was wrong. But too frustrated and sticky to reach for the measuring cups, I just added more powdered sugar until I had the right consistency. That’s the great thing about this frosting. You can wing it.

And you'd never know that I messed up. Frosting has a lovely way of covering up any mistake, making my final product almost too pretty to slice into...

With a major emphasis on the almost part of that sentence, because while I love looking at pretty food, I love eating pretty food even more.

Thank you so much to Meghan, fellow Cooking Light blogger for suggesting this delicious cake! It's sure to become a springtime-summertime-anytime-staple around here.

So, when you get a hankering for something citrusy and sweet to wash down those cookout burgers and dogs, skip the overly sugared lemonade and reach for something even better. A big 'ol bite of cake.

Nathan's Lemon Cake
Nathan Coulon, Cooking Light, MAY 2008
Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)


Cooking spray
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
2  cups  all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1  teaspoon  baking powder
1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1 1/2  cups  granulated sugar
1/2  cup  unsalted butter, softened
3  large eggs
1  cup  nonfat buttermilk
2  tablespoons  finely grated lemon rind
2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
3  cups  powdered sugar
1/4  cup  unsalted butter, melted
1  tablespoon  lemon rind
1/4  cup  fresh lemon juice
Lemon rind strips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cake, coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray. Dust pans with 2 tablespoons flour, and set aside.

Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and nonfat buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon rind and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack; remove wax paper from cake layers.

To prepare icing, combine powdered sugar and the remaining ingredients (except lemon rind strips) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread half of icing on top of cake. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining half of icing over top of cake. Garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 317 (27% from fat), Fat: 9.5g (sat 5.6g,mono 2.6g,poly 0.5g), Protein: 3.6g, Carbohydrate: 55.7g, Fiber: 0.6g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Iron:1mg, Sodium:165mg, Calcium: 52mg. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 14, 2010

Bacon & Chipotle Twice-Baked Potatoes

While I may not have the well traveled taste buds of a true food connoisseur, I like to think I have pretty good taste when it comes to one particular class of cuisine. Bar food. Wings dripping in hot sauce. Heaping piles of hot, salty French fries. Gooey deep fried mozzarella sticks. If there was an expert in such a field, it would be yours truly.

So when I recently made an amazing bar-worthy cilantro turkey burger with a spicy chipotle ketchup, I needed the perfect accompaniment. And what better way to tame the heat of a spicy meal, than by serving an even spicier side dish? (We definitely like it hot around here. But to those with sissy taste buds, omitting the chilis will yield a milder, yet equally delicious potato.)

This was my first experience making a twice-baked potato, and the creamy, cheesy, bacony deliciousness left me fervently regretting all those wasted dinners with sub par burger sides. Sorry French fries, but I've moved on to greener, tastier pastures...that are covered in bacon.

And even better, these potatoes are extremely simple, too. First, wash and bake your potatoes for about 50 minutes, then cool, slice in half, and scoop out the flesh. You want to make sure you leave some of the potato in the shells. If you attempt to scoop it all out, the shells will loose their shape and could fall apart.

Next, mash the potato with a  potato masher to get the pulp nice and creamy, then mix in bacon, green onion, sharp cheddar, low fat buttermilk and spicy, flavorful chopped chipotle chiles.

And to really speed things along, it's pre-cooked bacon to the rescue. Just zap the strips in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Then stuff all that creamy, cheesy goodness back into the shells, top with more cheddar and bake for 15 minutes. (The perfect amount of time to cook your burgers.)

These potatoes were AWESOME. The skins were crisp and the filling, well, definitely didn't taste light. Heavenly is more of an appropriate adjective.

Luke and I majorly chowed down. Bite after bite, we stuffed our faces with delicious spicy cilantro burgers and creamy spicy potatoes, ignoring the fact that our tongues got no intermission whatsoever from the chipotle's heat. We didn't care. This meal was so good, we seriously felt like we were at a sports bar. (Note: The kind of sports bar that serves awesome bar food, not the kind that smells like a frat house.) 

So while our tongues definitely took a hit with this ultra spice-filled meal, it was worth it. You just can't beat the combination of bacon, chipotle, green onions and cheese. Spicy. Creamy. Cheesy. And gone in seconds.

Bacon & Chipotle Twice-Baked Potatoes
Lorrie Hulston Corvin, Cooking Light, December 2008
Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed shell)

Cookbook Note: If you don't care for the spicy chipotle chiles, omit them—these simple potatoes are good either way. Remember this side dish next summer; it is quite good with barbecue.

6  medium baking potatoes (about 3 pounds)
1 1/4  cups  low-fat buttermilk
1 1/4  cups  (5 ounces) shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/3  cup  thinly sliced green onions
2  tablespoons  finely chopped chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1  teaspoon  salt
4  bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (drained)

Preheat oven to 450°.

Pierce potatoes with a fork. Bake potatoes at 450° for 50 minutes or until done; cool slightly. Cut each potato in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Combine potato pulp, milk, 3/4 cup cheese and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Spoon potato mixture evenly into 10 shells; discarding remaining 2 shells. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over potatoes. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 241 (22% from fat), Fat: 6g (sat 3.1g,mono 2g,poly 0.3g), Protein: 9.6g, Carbohydrate: 37g, Fiber: 4.1g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Iron:1.9 mg, Sodium: 464mg, Calcium: 168mg.

May 11, 2010

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup

What you're looking at is one of the best burgers I've ever had. Now, I know what you're thinking. "But, Rachel! There's no cheese. No bacon. No special sauce. Not even any beef, for goodness sakes!"

I hear ya. As a child of health conscious parents, I grew up envying my friends not because their trunks were full of toys, but because of their plates full of white bread, nuggets and real beef. See, in our household, turkey was the meat of choice. Not necessarily the kid's choice, however.

I eventually came to love turkey. Turkey tacos. Turkey lasagna. Turkey sausage. With the right seasonings, you can’t even tell the difference. But turkey burgers? Those have always remained a thorn in my side. With so much of the spotlight on the meat, and no sauce to hide under, my poor attempts at turkey burgers have always fallen flat and remained dry, tasteless failures in the shadows of juicy beef. Even gobs of cheese and piles of veggies couldn’t cover the fact that I was, indeed, eating an impostor.

So I've always just stuck to what I can trust: A quarter pounder stacked with cheese and dripping with mayo. But this recipe gave me hope. Could cilantro put an end to the turkey burger discrimination? Could breadcrumbs and Parmesan save the day? Would a spicy chipotle ketchup change my mind forever? I think you know the answer.

Of course, anything with this much cilantro has got to be good, right? I doubled the recipe, so I used the entire bunch. After a few rounds in the food processor, I mixed the amazingly fragrant cilantro with Parmesan, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and ground turkey, rolled it all into eight balls and flattened them into patties.

Onto the pans they went, where they cooked perfectly at four-five minutes on each side. While they sizzled,  I rinsed the purple lettuce and chopped the chipotle chiles for the spicy ketchup. The adobo sauce is glorious. Like a hot bbq sauce. But you may want to taste as you go - these peppers have some kick!

To say the least, I was drooling as I put these burgers together. Luke was off yelling at some basketball player on TV and I was tempted to hide in the pantry and eat his portion, too. He'd never know! But, like a good little wife, I brought him his burger. And a bacon-chipotle twice baked potato (recipe coming soon). And a beer. Am I good or what? That there is dive bar service right at home, folks.

And the food? Well, to say the least it definitely tasted like something you would find at a good bar or restaurant. And not from the healthy section, either. The heat from the chilis was the perfect compliment to the juicy, flavorful burger. So, so good. You just have to make this. I know I will be all summer long. (I imagine they're even more fantastic on the grill!)

And seriously...this burger really doesn't need any cheese. In fact, while I loved the spicy ketchup, it doesn't even need that, either. Or the lettuce. Or the bun. Those are all great, but really just icing on the cake. The only thing this burger really needs to fully enjoy a fork.

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup
Cooking Light, APRIL 2002
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 burger)

1/3  cup  dry breadcrumbs
1/4  cup  minced fresh cilantro
1/4  cup  (1 ounce) preshredded Parmesan cheese
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
1  pound  ground turkey
Cooking spray
1  (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/4  cup  ketchup
4  (2 1/2-ounce) whole wheat hamburger buns
4  red leaf lettuce leaves

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/3-inch-thick patty.

Heat a large grill pan or large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add turkey patties, and cook 5 minutes on each side or until done.

Remove 1 chile and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can. Reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Mince the chile. Combine chile, adobo sauce, and ketchup.

Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun; top each patty with 1 tablespoon chipotle ketchup and 1 lettuce leaf. Cover with top halves of buns.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 406 (30% from fat), Fat: 13.6g (sat 4.3g,mono 4g,poly 3.7g), Protein: 26.6g, Carbohydrate: 44.5g, Fiber: 1.5g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Iron: 4.4mg, Sodium: 977mg, Calcium: 229mg.
Related Posts with Thumbnails