Friday, August 31, 2012

Kitchen Sink Sweet Corn Soup with Bacon

What to make for dinner...Hmm… I’ve got some bacon, questionable freezer corn, wilted cilantro, can of green chilis…Corn Soup! That is about the thought that went into this supper. But what came out—SOUPER DELICIOUS! I hope you enjoy this easy summer soup. I bet you have these things lying in the back of your freezer and pantry somewhere. But if you have some fresh sweet corn, please substitute!

Sweet Corn Soup with Bacon
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
6 thick strips (about 5 ounces) good bacon
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
12 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup, I use Pacific Organic
4oz can diced green chilis
16 oz bag frozen sweet corn
½ diced red pepper
Salt and pepper
Green onion, cilantro and sour cream
Tortilla chips

In a bit of canola oil, saute onion with celery until translucent—about 10 minutes. Add bacon and continue to cook until the bacon is cooked through.  Empty the bag of sweet corn into the pot and sauté for 5 minutes. 
(You'll notice I didn't drain the bacon...that was on purpose. Yum.)

Stir in the broth, condensed soup and green chilis and bring to a boil. Add the diced red pepper and reduce the heat. Simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes covered until the corn is cooked through and begins to break down.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and allow to cool slightly. Stir in a tablespoon of sour cream, and a bit of green onion and cilantro. Top with crushed tortilla chips and serve. 

Time to eat! Enjoy!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Banana Bran Muffins with Walnuts

I love banana bread, muffins—you name it. Last week it was Banana Snack Cake, but this week with still more overripe bananas to spare, I’m all about muffins. I’ve adapted this recipe from Eating Well. If you haven’t heard of it, this magazine is definitely worth checking out. It is one of my favorite food magazines because it has lots of healthy ideas and each issue centers around what’s in season. 

I've made these muffins Finn-style. Viili is a Finnish cultured milk that is essentially a yogurt. If you would like to start culturing, I will give you some starter! But if you are far away, or you can’t wait, you can substitute the viili for plain fat-free yogurt. 

Banana Bran Muffins with Walnuts
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 medium super-ripe bananas
2/3 cup viili or plain (not greek) yogurt + 1/3 cup skim milk
1 cup wheat bran
3 Tbsp flax seed
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract
Dry ingredients:
1 3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour, such as Gold Medal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 400. Grease your muffin tin (12) with canola spray.

In a large glass bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, milk and viili until well blended. Mash the ripe peeled bananas in a small bowl. Add the bananas to the wet egg mixture along with the canola oil, vanilla, flax seeds and wheat bran. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon together with your fingers until fluffed and well combined.  Pour the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients and add the chocolate chips. With a rubber scraper gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until they are just barely mixed. The batter with be lumpy. Be careful not to over mix or the batter will become tough.

Spoon the batter into your muffin tins and fill until they are just barely to the top. The batter is heavy with bran, so these will not rise as high as typical muffins.  Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top of the muffins. The walnuts will get nice and toasted! Mmmm….

Place the muffins on the center rack and bake for 15-25 minutes until they are golden brown and spring back when touched.

I hope you enjoy this healthy treat! Go Bananas!

Tip: Ever wonder what to do with the left over muffin batter?
I have found that my muffin tins are small enough that there is always some left over batter. Rather than wait for the batch to cook and refill the tin, I found the thing for this very problem:  the mini-loaf pan. At a thrift shop a bit ago I found this adorable mini loaf pan. I have a weakness for anything milk glass, so I bought it and finally through this muffin making have found its calling. If you have one lying around, here is one way to get that thing dusted off and in use again!