Comfort. It can be hard to come by, especially when life gets busy. My last month or so has been pretty stressful. Like, “I ended up in the hospital” stressful.
It would have been awesome if people had cut me some slack, or work had calmed down. But pretty much the opposite happened. Work was crazy, and someone decided I needed an all-expenses paid guilt trip for a birthday present. Less than a week after I got out of the hospital.
(PRO RELATIONSHIP TIP: If you want someone to consider you a friend, try not dumping your emotional baggage on them when their emotional boat already resembles the Titanic.)
On the positive side, I didn’t get any writing done in November, but I did make a ridiculous amount of soup.
Like, seriously. Some people stress-eat. I stress-cook. And mostly, I stress-cook SOUP. Because nothing says comfort like a hot bowl of soup.
You may or may not want to hear the details of my behind-the-scenes drama, but you’re not getting them. What you are getting, is some recipes for a couple of kick-ass soups.
The beautiful thing about potato soup is that while it’s incredibly simple, it’s also really easy to step things up a few notches. You can make it with milk, mashed potato flakes and standard Idaho spuds. Or you can make what I like to call “Elite Level Potato Soup.” Here’s how it goes.
- One small bag of Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
- 2 quarts half-and-half
- One block of Velveeta, cubed
- 1/2 lb of country ham, cut into small pieces
You could boil the potatoes, but if you REALLY wanted to go all-in, they’re better if you roast them in the oven. If you don’t like Yukon Gold, small red skin potatoes are another good choice. Supposedly, Yukon Golds have a natural buttery flavor. I don’t know if that’s true, but cheap potatoes often have a weird acidic “burn” and bitterness, (like the funky acidic aftertaste of McDonald’s fries), which Yukon Golds entirely lack.
If you can’t get or don’t care for country ham, you can use whatever kind of ham you prefer. However, country ham has a very strong, salty flavor that keeps the soup from getting boring, and cuts some of the creamy richness.
Toss the potatoes and ham into the half-and-half, and slowly heat it up, stirring often to avoid scalding. Do not add the Velveeta until just long enough before serving for it to melt.
I know what you’re thinking. “Velveeta? Kinda lowbrow for a soup with pricey ingredients.” Yes. And that’s the genius of it. It melts perfectly, it won’t compete with the other flavors, it just makes everything MELD. Velveeta is the culinary equivalent of a soldering iron.
There you go. Four ingredients, one amazingly delicious soup.
Colorful Paleo Chili
My husband is diabetic, so no ultra-rich and creamy, carb-tastic potato soup for him. To compensate, I make this ridiculous low-carb paleo chili. Which I shamelessly stole (and modified slightly) from The Freckled Foodie.
- 2-3 lbs ground beef
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, diced – I used 1 red
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or heaping ½ tbsp jarred crushed garlic
- 1-2 small cans tomato paste
- 2 cans diced roasted tomatoes with green chilis 14oz
- Half jar of tomato or pasta sauce – (I struggle to find one that isn’t mostly HCFC, but I have good luck with organic tomato basil or marinara)
- ½ tbsp. chili powder
- ½ tbsp. cumin
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- ½ tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp Frank’s Red Hot – less if you are sensitive to heat
Like I said, I modified this somewhat from The Freckled Foodie. She called for grass-fed beef, and I’m not that picky. She also included sun-dried tomatoes, but I felt like there were already a lot of tomatoes happening here. And she included mushrooms, but the hubby does not eat fungi if he can help it.
It’s a slow-cooker recipe, but you can absolutely do it on the stove top if you’re pressed for time.
Tomorrow, I will have more excellent news. So, be sure and check back.