Friday, January 28, 2011

Healthy Dinners: Shannon's Spicy Corn Chowder

Shannon, Aaron, and beautiful Taylor.
Winter weather calls for warm, thick soups, don't you think?  I certainly do, and soup is one of our 'budget stretchers' and 'clean out the pantry' types of foods.  I would say here at my house (Sara Rose here), we eat soup at LEAST once a week, and always have left overs to eat or freeze.  There's nothing better that sitting down, after a long week, and spending time together over warming bowls of soup.

This recipe is courtesy of my dear friend Shannon.  We've been friends for years now and we have such busy schedules that we really, rarely get to see each other.  But we try to find time to at least drop off treats, some magazines, and a friendly wave to each other once a month.  Shannon is married to a great guy, has a terrific relationship with her step daughter, Taylor, and is a fellow pug lover!

We really should see each other more often but we simply have totally opposite work and life schedules!  We daydream about all those girly things we'd love to do together- spa days, trips to resorts, shopping sprees, but what we really have in common is our love of FOOD.  We love eating together, baking together, cooking together, and also doing those three things FOR each other!

Shannon is one of the most accomplished cooks I know, but she still finds a way to cook things down to earth and relatively easy to make.  For my birthday, when I turned 27 (and ended up having my son, Owen the very next day) she stopped over with the most wonderful treat a girl could get- a beautiful birthday cake made with my two favorite things in a dessert EVER- orange pound cake, and dark chocolate frosting!!! I AM SO LUCKY!!!

When Shannon and I first met, we bonded fast over our love of a variety of cuisines, how much we love cooking for our loved ones.  We both really love soups and we both adore soup recipes that are easily adaptable.  Which now leads me to my next point.  This is spicy corn chowder, but it does NOT have to be too spicy for your tastes.  You can substitute milder peppers, less pepper, other veggies, etc.  Use your pantry!  The recipe is quick, easily adaptable, and can be left in a crock pot to pull together while you are a busy with minimal work from you.  That's a soup that deserves lots of attention, right.

Thank you, Shannon, for your years of friendship, love, and recipes!

Spicy corn & potato chowder
Serves 8-10 large bowls
2 10-oz. packages frozen whole kernel corn (or 8 fresh ears of corn, with the kernels sliced into a strainer and gently rinsed)
3-4 red potatoes peeled and diced (I am  lazy and often don't peel my potatoes.  Personal preference, I honestly like potato skins.)
1 finely chopped onion (I use red onion)
2 4-oz. cans chopped green chili peppers
1 red bell pepper finely chopped
1 jalapeno very finely chopped (You may sub in a chipotle pepper and a few teaspoons of adobo sauce. Or milder poblano peppers, or perhaps green chilies- whatever your spicy level tastes prefer!)
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
salt to taste
3 cups whole milk (or half & half - personal taste on thickness)
small handful of snipped cilantro or parsley
1.  Gently saute first 6 ingredients in a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil for about five minutes.  Meanwhile, bring bullion, milk, salt and pepper to a low boil.
2.  Add the sauteed ingredients to the simmering milk mixture.  Cook together for roughly 30 minutes at an even simmer.
3.  Serve, garnishing with cilantro or parsley.

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