Cheesy Veggie Chowder

***UPDATE 11/11/2014: I’ve moved! My new site is www.lovecreatenourish.com, so anyone here from Pinterest can head over there! ūüôā

 

I have another meatless recipe for you! You’d almost think we were vegetarians around here, but we’re most definitely not. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a vegetarian, buuuut we love our chicken and beef and steak. I just like to only cook meat two or three times a week and keep the grocery bills down, so I’m always on the hunt for yummy meatless meals. As I’ve said before (in this post) I grew up hating all vegetables except potatoes and lettuce, and even then I’d only eat lettuce in salads. Never, ever on sandwiches. I actually still never eat lettuce on sandwiches — something about the watery, crunchiness of it grosses me out. I do heap a pile of spinach on my sandwiches, though . . . which is healthier than iceberg anyway! So there!

Anyway, now that I cook almost every night, I eat vegetables way more often. I don’t know if my taste buds have changed or what, but I like broccoli now. Kind of. Only if it’s cooked thoroughly in a dish with lots of other flavors, or thoroughly soaked with a dressing in a salad. I think my extended family would drop dead to read this . . . I get teased a lot about my weird food tendencies. If it helps at all, I still hate eating plain fruit. Apples are the only fruit I can stomach happily. Seriously. Everything else¬†tastes good, but the texture . . . ick. I can’t handle it. That’s why I make myself a smoothie almost every single day. I typically put in a banana, a lot of frozen fruit, spinach, a little yogurt, and water or milk. It’s the only way I can deal with fruit. I know, I know. It’s weird.

But this chowder has tons of veggies! Lots of nutrition, right? Right.

Before_VeggiesNow, this recipe called for most of the veggies to be sauteed, potatoes + broth added and cooked till tender, and¬†then the broccoli added. Well, I decided to be extra productive on my day off last Monday, and I actually chopped up all the veggies I needed that week for various recipes. I separated them into ziplock bags by meal before realizing the broccoli was supposed to be added later. I wasn’t going to pick it out piece-by-piece now. And you know what? It turned out perfectly. It was still great. Having slightly crunchy broccoli in this soup would’ve ruined it for me anyway, so I think I’ll stick to doing it this way any time I make it!

After_VeggiesThis recipe is so good and extremely versatile. You could probably do any vegetable your heart desires. I wanted to add in a zucchini, but my grocery store was out. I did add in a red bell pepper and extra carrots and potatoes. It was so good, and after the hubby and I had two full bowls, we were left with three more servings. That was my lunch the rest of the week!

VeggieChowderI made some easy-peasy garlic cheese biscuits to go with these, recipe found here. It was the perfect dinner on a nasty, rainy night.

Cheesy Veggie Chowder (adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 c. finely chopped carrot
  • 1 c. finely chopped celery
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 c. chopped broccoli
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 4 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 2 large potatoes, chopped
  • 1 T. flour
  • 1/2 c. cold water
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 2 heaping c. shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Melt butter in large pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, red bell pepper, and broccoli. Cook until mostly tender.
  2. Add garlic; stir well and cook 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add broth and potatoes; bring to boil and cook till tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Whisk flour into water. Slowly stir the mixture into the soup and simmer until slightly thickened.
  5. Add milk; stir well and simmer 1-2 minutes while stirring.
  6. Add cheese and stir well.
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Mexican [Meatless] Lasagna Cups

Today I’m sharing a favorite recipe of mine. I’m kind of proud of myself, because this one is 100% my creation. I’m sure others have done this before me, but I haven’t ever seen this exact recipe.

The very first blog I ever read was Kevin and Amanda. It was right after we were married in 2010 and I was always scouring the internet for recipes. That blog popped up, and it started my journey into reading blogs every day. I’m addicted to a lot of food blogs and DIY blogs. Maybe in a future post I’ll talk about my favorites, but for now I’ll just say that there are some awesome bloggers out there who are incredibly talented.

A little while after I started reading Amanda’s blog, she posted this recipe for Lasagna Cups. I think I made them the next week. They were a hit! The hubs and I both love them. There’s something about the wonton wrappers . . . they bake up crispy and golden brown on the edges, soft in the middle . . . they’re just really, really good. So that recipe got me thinking: what else can I put in these wonton wrappers? The possibilities are endless! Pretty much my first thought was something Mexican. I grew up in a Mexican-food-loving family and was pretty spoiled to have authentic Mexican restaurants minutes from my house. Even now, I probably make one or two Mexican dishes a week. I knew I could whip up something delicious with those wonton wrappers in a muffin tin,¬†and keep it relatively cheap by going meatless!

If you’ve never done this before, you have to try it!

photo_2You just place the wrappers in a sprayed muffin tin and layer from there! These would be fabulous as a party appetizer if you just did one layer. When I make these for a dinner, I always do two layers like the original Lasagna Cup recipe.

photo_5Mmm, mmm. They are so good with a little sour cream on top. These are incredibly easy to make and only use seven ingredients!

*Side note on the photography: Yes, I would love to take amazing pictures like so many food bloggers do. But in this season of life, I work during the day and am typically making dinner anywhere from 6:15-7:30 pm. Up here in New England, it’s dark by then. So maybe someday I’ll have naturally-lit, beautiful photos. For now, I’m choosing not to be hindered by the light and I’m sharing what I love!

Without further ado, the recipe:

Mexican [Meatless] Lasagna Cups

  • 1 15-oz. can black beans (or any bean of choice)
  • 1 c. frozen corn
  • 3/4 c. salsa
  • 1 t. garlic powder or 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (more or less depending on your preference)
  1. Combine beans, corn, salsa, and seasonings in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir well and heat through.
  2. Spray a 12-tin muffin pan. Place one wonton wrapper in each cup.
  3. Place one large spoonful of the bean mixture in each cup. Top with a bit of cheese.
  4. Place another wrapper on top; layer bean mixture and cheese again.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-15 minutes until edges are golden brown and cheese is melted.