Thursday, May 16, 2019

Loaded Baked Potato Soup


Loaded baked potato soup … sounds decadent, and certainly can be, if made in the traditional manner. This soup uses every trick in the book to lighten it, yet still retains the flavors from the original soup so that it is delicious and everyone asks for more.

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 C chopped onion
1/4 C chopped celery
1 tsp minced garlic
4 cups water
1 Tbs low sodium chicken bullion
4 baked russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

toppings:

1/4 cup shredded  cheese or shredded cheese alternative
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped green onions or chives
1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain soy yogurt, or low fat sour cream

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Add onion, celery, and garlic and saute until the onion begins to turn translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the water and the chicken bullion to the soup pot, then add the potatoes. Cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 10 more minutes. Transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth. Taste soup and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour soup into bowls. Let each person add their toppings of choice.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: This soup is relatively low fat when it is plain. The original recipes for loaded baked potato soup include bacon, butter, cheese, and sour cream right in the soup. These tastes haven't been eliminated from the final version of this soup, they've just changed position from being part of the soup to being on top of the soup. In fact, that's the secret to success for this recipe. Because the portion size of the toppings is limited to approximately 1 tablespoon per serving, the caloric and fat increases are minimal. Original recipes would increase the amounts of what are now toppings to about 4 times that amount. Also, because they are on top of the soup, their visual appeal and taste appeal is increased. What you see is so convincing to what you taste! Your taste buds will think you are experiencing the full fat version of loaded baked potato soup, and only the cook knows that it has been trimmed down into a substantially healthier version!


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Valencia Style Paella

I had the most wonderful paella at a restaurant in Scottsdale called Tapas Pappas Fritas. Their seafood paella has not only shrimp, but also clams and mussels. In addition to sausage, they include tender pieces of chicken. It's a dish to savor and clamor over. Here's my (much simpler and quicker) rendition. This has much of the same flavor and taste, but is somewhat easier, and certainly less expensive, to put together as it includes cooked rice and only shrimp and sausage.

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
12 large shrimp
1 link chicken andouille sausage, thinly sliced
1 tsp better than bullion low sodium chicken broth, mixed in
1 cup hot water
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp saffron threads
1-1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup frozen peas
lemon wedges for garnish
sea salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning

Directions:

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed skillet or enameled cast iron pan. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and sausage and continue to cook until the shrimp turns pink, about 5 more minutes. Add the broth in the water, the paprika and saffron, along with the cooked rice and peas. Stir and cook until the rice is heated through and the peas are hot, about another 5 minutes. Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed. Serve.

Serves 3
Stealthy Cooking Tip: This includes cooked rice. I used quick cooking Brown Basmati Rice by Seeds of Change. It cooks in the microwave in just 90 seconds! It's also low in sodium, but high in taste. And, it's one of the (stealthy) ways this recipe becomes ready in under 20 minutes.