The Ultimate Bacon Creamy Bowl of Happiness

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This is the ultimate creation of creamy, bacon, curry happiness. Unlike the rest of the nation, I haven’t given in to the bacon craze. I enjoy it, but can live without it. However this is one of the recipes that always makes me whistle a different tune. All it took was one taste and I was sold. For those of you who are already bacon fans, be prepared to enter a state of bliss.

My husband introduced me to this recipe when we were dating. I had managed to catch a whopper of a cold and was stuck on the couch feeling miserable. He came over to my apartment with juice, medicine and the ingredients for Bonfire Warmer Soup. I absolutely loved it. Now whenever it’s gloomy outside, one of us gets sick or we can think of any other excuse, we make this recipe. It’s the best comfort food you could ask for. Serve it with a roll of crunchy bread and you’ll be converted as well.

I always double the recipe, but somehow never get a chance to freeze any of the leftovers. The soup disappears from the fridge too quickly. I’ve made it with turkey bacon and haven’t noticed a difference in flavor. It’s still delightfully savory.

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Bonfire Warmer Soup

Ingredients
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 Tablespoons plain flour
2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons milk
2/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Directions
1.) Gently sauté the carrot, onion and bacon in the butter for 10 minutes until softened.
2.) Stir in the curry powder and flour, cook for 2 minutes.
3.) Gradually add the milk and stock stirring continuously until the soup thickens and boils.
4.) Serve with crusty bread.

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Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Sweet potato2

Fall is the ultimate excuse for comfort food. Everything about the season calls for you to have something delicious roasting or baking in the oven. It’s time to break out your sweet potatoes, apple pies, pumpkin bread and cranberries!

I’m always on the lookout for different recipes to try. Normally, this starts with my random cravings, but this delicious find came from the magazine Everyday with Rachel Ray. I have no idea how I got a subscription, but I always glance at it when it arrives. I enjoy the Food Network, but rarely make their recipes because they normally call for several ingredients that I don’t keep in my pantry.

I was intrigued when there was a section dedicated to budget meals that actually looked really good. It was a fall dedicated magazine so one recipe used applesauce and the other used mashed sweet potatoes. Needless to say, I was game. I collected my recipes for the week and got to cooking.

Here’s my intriguing tidbit for the day – I made four Rachel Ray recipes: three budget meals and one 30 Minute Meal. I picked the 30 Minute Meal because I wanted to make something special. My husband and I loved two of the budget meals, liked the third and didn’t care for the 30 Minute Meal. It just proves that you don’t need fancy ingredients to make an amazing meal.

We have made this recipe twice already – the magazine only came out in September – and I keep telling myself that I’m going to set aside half and freeze it. Sadly, it hasn’t made it there yet. The only changes that we made is to use ground turkey instead of ground pork. Because turkey is so bland, we had used more seasonings than the original recipe called for. My husband, who seasons like a pro, made this the first time and we devoured the pot. I made it the second time and was hesitant with the seasonings. It was good, but was so much better when I added a bit more cumin, garlic, salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to give this a little kick.


Sweet potato

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Recipe by Rachel Ray with Creative Campbell additions

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp. cayenne powder, depending on preference
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 bag frozen corn kernels, thawed

Cook sweet potatoes in oven or in the microwave if you are pressed for time. Remove orange innards and place in a mixing bowl. Add butter, salt and pepper and maple syrup. Mash together and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Dutch oven, toast the paprika and cumin over medium-high heat, stirring 1 minute. Add the turkey, garlic and cayenne powder. Cook 6-7 minutes breaking turkey apart with a spoon. Add wine and cook 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer turkey to a separate bowl and discard all but 2 Tbsp. of the liquid. Set turkey aside.

In the Dutch oven, cook the onion over medium heat, stirring until softened about 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook 1-2 minutes. Add the turkey and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Flatten turkey mixture to create a layer. Add mashed sweet potatoes on top and smooth to create a second layer. Bake for 15 minutes, then broil 3-5 minutes to brown the top.

Homemade Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin soup

Everyone has their Halloween traditions. Some people fill their evenings with candy, scary tales or simply sit by candlelight sipping apple cider. I prefer to be somewhere in the middle. I like to watch a scary movie by candlelight and eat something that reminds me of Fall. In the past, my recipes have been limited to a creepy crawly dessert. This year I wanted to try something I little different.

I am a sucker for Pinterest. I know, the reality of what you can create vs. what is advertised are always two separate things. But, they had this adorable image of homemade pumpkin soup that I couldn’t resist. (As seen above) I managed to find baking pumpkins in South Florida, which is a miracle unto itself, and took it as a sign that this pumpkin soup was meant to be.

I stayed true to my bad habits and didn’t read through the recipe before starting. I had baked my beautiful pumpkins and then realized I was supposed to fill them with the apple, onion and chicken broth so the ingredients could cook at the same time. Whoops! I adjusted the recipe a little bit and combined everything on the stove top. It tasted good, but it had the consistency of custard, not soup. I thought about adding some more chicken broth, but was afraid it would take away from the flavor.

My husband and I tried the pumpkin soup the first night. It was ok. Definitely not worth the hassle and precious goat cheese. The only problem, we had a lot of leftovers with very little desire to consume any of it. I looked online for recipes to salvage the soup. The best I could find was pumpkin mac and cheese. My only problem, I’d have to use even more cheese and precious ingredients with only a slight hope of improvement. My husband, being the brilliant man that he is, had another solution. He recommended that we mix the soup with Campbell’s tomato soup. This way it stops being a custard and blends with the tomato flavors. It was delicious! The pumpkin was a nice subtle flavor that made the soup very filling and healthy. From my leftovers, I had enough to make three cans worth of tomato soup.

If I had to make it again, I’d cut the recipe in half and serve it with the tomato soup. It’s a great way to hide the healthy ingredients from your little ones and add a hint of fall to a classic meal. So here’s my take on pumpkin soup with my many adjustments.

Pumpkin tomato soup

Pumpkin Soup with a Creative Campbell Spin

  • 1 small sugar pie pumpkin
  • 1/4 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 small green apple chopped
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans Campbell’s tomato soup
  • Milk

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice pumpkin in half. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, scrape out the seeds. Brush the pumpkin innards with 1 Tbs of oil. Place on a baking dish in the oven for 30-45 hour. Test pumpkin by poking with a fork or knife. If it’s soft, then set your pumpkin aside and let cool.

Fill a medium pot with the onion, garlic, apple, butter, chicken broth, half and half, salt and pepper and turn heat to medium low. Don’t let it boil. Once onions are soft, turn on low.

Remove pumpkin from shell with a spoon. Scrape into the pot and add the goat cheese and thyme. Use an immersion blender or food processor to combine the ingredients and make it the same consistency. Set aside.

In a separate pan make Campbell’s tomato soup with milk instead of water. Once the soup is ready, add a ladle full of the pumpkin soup. Taste. Add more and adjust as needed.

Enjoy!

Skinny Baking Made Easy

baking

Every one of us has had cravings for cake, cookies, brownies and breads and thought twice about it once we looked at the fat content. The best part about making your own baked goods is that you can make healthy substitutes to reduce the calories and the guilt without losing any of the flavor.

These are all simple subsitutes that you can try. My co-worker swears by the 7-UP cake and I love using apple sauce in my breads and cakes. It makes them moist and delicious. Give one of these a try and I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Baking Fat Substitutions

Provided by Jillee and edited by Creative Campbell

Cakes and Cupcakes –

Replace the fat with ½ light sour cream and ½ natural applesauce.

Cookies –

Switch out half of the butter for mashed avocado. This simple change will reduce the fat cut and the number of calories by 40%.

Brownies or Breads –

Oil Substitute – mash up canned beans and add enough of the bean juice to make it liquidy.

Shortening Substitute – mash the beans up without the bean juice.

If you are baking brownies, use black beans, if you are making banana bread or zucchini bread, use pinto beans. The basic rule is to use whatever colored bean would match your final product.

Box Cake Alternative –

Combine 1 boxed cake mix, 1 cup plain greek yogurt and 1 cup water.

Mix and bake according to directions on the box. Works best with Devil’s Food Cake mix. The texture is similar to a cross between a cake and a brownie. Use a 9×9” pan for a thicker cake.

Diet Soda Cake –

1 box Yellow Cake Mix and 1 (12 oz.) can Diet 7-Up
OR
1 box Chocolate Cake Mix and 1 (12 oz.) can Diet Coke or Diet Cherry Coke

Mix the soda and cake mix until smooth. Bake according to directions on the box. Test with a toothpick to ensure that the cake is cooked in the center.

Diet Coke Brownies –

1 box fudge brownie mix and 1 (12 oz) can Diet Coke

Mix the soda and cake mix until smooth. Bake according to directions on the box. Test with a toothpick to ensure that the cake is cooked in the center.

Lemon Cool Whip Cookies –

1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip, 1 box lemon cake mix and the juice of 1 lemon

Mix the lemon cake mix and Cool Whip (you could also use Lite or Fat Free). Squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Spoon onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

Optional: Mix lemon juice and powdered sugar to make a glaze. Drizzle over cookies while still warm.

I just used applesauce in my zucchinni bread recipe and it tasted delicious. My husband loved it better than the original. Half the guilt and plenty of flavor. How can you lose?

Easy Panera Bread Soups

It’s that time of the year when all you want to do is snuggle up under a blanket and savor a warm bowl of soup. Some of the best soups I’ve had came from Panera Bread. Sadly, the price is more than I can afford on a regular basis. So, I did my research and have added these two recipes as my household staples: Panera Bread’s Cheddar Broccoli Soup and Creamy Potato Soup.

They’re simple, they’re easy and they’re delicious. They also don’t cost a lot to purchase the ingredients and I can promise you that there won’t be unwanted leftovers. Another wonderful part is that you can easily adjust some of the ingredients to cut some of the calories.

For instance:

  • In the Cheddar Broccoli Soup, use fat free half and half.
  • In the Creamy Potato Soup, use low fat cream cheese.
  • In the Creamy Potato Soup, use turkey bacon.

Make a loaf of french bread and I promise you’ll have an amazing meal!

Panera Bread’s Cheddar Broccoli Soup

by CDKitchen.com

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

Panera Bread’s Creamy Potato Soup

By AmyZoe on January 01, 2011

Ingredients  

    • 6 cups chicken broth
    • 6 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
    • 8 ounces cream cheese ( cut into chunks, at room temperature)
    • 4 slices bacon ( cooked and crumbled)

Directions

  1. Combine broth, potatoes, and spices.
  2. Boil on medium heat until potatoes are tender.
  3. Smash a few potatoes to release the starch for thickening.
  4. If you like it chunky just smash a small amount of potato, but if you want it smooth smash more potatoes.
  5. Reduce to low heat and add cream cheese.
  6. Heat, stirring frequently, until cheese melts.
  7. Ladle into bowls.
  8. Sprinkle a little bacon over each bowl of soup.