Fresh Corn Chowder with Bacon & Barbecued Shrimp

IMG_3090“Man, this soup is delicious.” That was my better half’s reaction to this soup.

IMG_3079 This soup contains everything you should love. Bacon, Corn and Shrimp. I mean…IMG_3080

I’ve been fighting off a cold, so I was in the mood for soup. This isn’t exactly what I would consider a close cousin to Chicken Noodle Soup, but when you’re sick, it’s a great comforting soup. IMG_3082 When you’re not sick….it’s just a delicious, tasty soup. To me, it’s a win-win.IMG_3084 And then there’s barbecued shrimp. I made a major error….I underestimated the amount of shrimp we had on hand. 7 little (jumbo) shrimp. 7. Who left only 7 shrimp in the bag? That might of been me…it may not have been. The jury is still out.IMG_3088At any rate, some delicious, juicy shrimp, and some nice, crispy apple wood smoked bacon on top….Amazing. 

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. It was so good! IMG_3089 Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup of diced potatoes
  • 4 cups of fresh corn cut off the cob (frozen works well, also)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 pound of raw peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the bacon slices and cook until crispy and golden brown. Remove bacon and let drain on a paper towel. Add onions and peppers to the pot with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Whisk in the flour, cooking for 1-2 minutes or until flour becomes golden in color and smells a bit nutty. Add chicken stock, potatoes, and corn. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  2. While soup is simmering (or before or after or whenever is convenient for you), heat your grill on the highest setting. You could also use a saute pan on medium high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, brush with a thin layer or barbecue sauce, then cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from grill and toss with remaining barbecue sauce.
  3. Once soup has slightly thickened and the potatoes have started to break down, stir in milk and cream. Add 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, then season according to your tastes. Serve in bowls topped with the crumbled bacon and shrimp. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to one week.

IMG_3091Adapted from How Sweet Eats. Originally from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Italian Chicken Bake and Creamy Parmesan Quinoa

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There are many things we love in this world. A few of those things include Parmesan cheese, chicken and quinoa. This dish is all of those things!IMG_3026There are two more things we love. Delicious meals and easy meals. This meal is a two-for-one. It is both easy AND delicious.

IMG_3030Most people might think of this as a “one pot meal.” However, it’s cooked in the oven, so I like to call it a “one pan meal.” IMG_3032And we paired it with a quinoa. I cannot say enough about how much we love quinoa!IMG_3038We currently have more quinoa than we know what to do with, and I am not upset about that in the slightest. What does that mean to you? More quinoa recipes to come!IMG_3040One thing I will say about quinoa….always cook it in chicken broth. Always. It’s still good in water, but the chicken broth adds such a great level of flavor. However; if your recipe calls for water and salt, pare back on the salt, the chicken broth will provide its own salt. IMG_3057We paired this easy Italian Chicken Bake with Creamy Parmesan Quinoa, and it was amazing! We hope you enjoy it as well! IMG_3068

Italian Chicken Bake:

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 roam tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts (in water), drained and quartered
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2/3 cup mozzarella
  • fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Core and chop Roma tomatoes.
  2. Place tomatoes, artichoke hearts, salt & pepper (to taste), sugar and flour in a large bowl. Mix.
  3. Place the tomato mixture in a 9×13 pan, and place the chicken breasts on top of the mixture.
  4. Place in a 350 degree oven, and cook until done; about 35 minutes; or until chicken is almost done; about 160 degrees.
  5. Top each chicken breast with mozzarella cheese. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and vegetables are caramelized.
  6. When cheese is melted, pull from the oven and sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.

This can be served as is, or over pasta.

Adapted from Aaron & Jill.

Creamy Parmesan Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1-3/4 cups chicken broth (could use vegetable broth)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Rinse quinoa very well under cold running water in a fine mesh sieve then drain well and set aside.
  2. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat then add garlic and saute until barely golden brown, stirring constantly (watch closely as it can go from golden brown to burnt very quickly!).
  3. Add quinoa then toast for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add chicken broth then turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Place a lid on top then turn heat down to medium-low and cook until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in Parmesan cheese then serve.

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

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Spinach Artichoke Dip

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I cannot take full credit for this post…my cousin Gwen was actually the chef on this one; however it is a favorite recipe of mine that I passed on to her.

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For those who may not know; Bucky and I became engaged a little over a month ago. This past weekend, we went to my hometown for the first time since being engaged, any my parents threw an “unofficial” engagement party, if you will. That being said, I requested Gwen make the Spinach Artichoke Dip.IMG_2919

Who can’t get excited about cream cheese, parmesan cheese, spinach and artichokes? All of those are things I love. Mix them all together, bake them, add tortilla chips….and I’m all over that. IMG_2932

This dip is pretty much amazing.IMG_2933This dip could most definitely be served with something healthy, like carrots, celery, radish slices, etc. However, I prefer tortilla or pita chips. With something so indulgent; I don’t mess around with healthy dippers.
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What I also love about this dish is that it’s so simple….Mix together and press into a baking dish….and bake. Then eat copious amounts of this. Who could disagree with this.
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People who don’t like spinach and/or artichokes could disagree. But I don’t care to associate with people who don’t like spinach or artichokes…just kidding (kind of).

Ingredients:

  • One 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained very well
  • One 14-oz. can artichoke hearts (packed in water), drained very well and chopped
  • One 8-oz. container cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat parmesan-style grated topping, divided
  • 3 tbsp. minced shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and 3 tbsp. of the parm-style topping. Add the salt and cayenne pepper, and then stir until smooth.
  2. In a pan sprayed with nonstick spray, cook the shallots and garlic over medium heat until soft (1 – 2 minutes). Set aside.
  3. To the large bowl, add spinach, artichoke hearts and garlic/shallot mixture. Stir well.
  4. Transfer to a casserole dish, top with the remaining parm, and then bake for 30 minutes (or until bubbly).

IMG_2946I meant to take an “after” shot post-baking; but I couldn’t get a shot before it was eaten in full…..

Adapted from Hungry Girl.