Sunday, June 7, 2015

Creamy Bacon Onion Soup

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a soup-a-holic.  And definitely not in recovery.  I love soups of all kinds!  There is just something so comforting about snuggling up with a warm mug of soup. Especially one that is creamy, rich, and full of my favorite things.

Well today I was noodling around the internet checking out recipes and came across this one.


My little brain started working. My tastebuds needed this to be low carbed!! 

Every year the Shriners in the area sell 10 pound bags of Vidalia onions.  I get one every year.  And I just happened to have a pound or so of some really lean and tasty bacon in the fridge, and a variety of cheeses.  So the old gears started grinding!

I got out my Papa Smurf and started cooking bacon.  Diced some onions, Grated some Swiss Cheese and I was off to the races!!

Here is how I low carbed the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 to 1 ½ pounds of bacon
2 cups large diced onion (I like it left big so you get the chew of it)
4 cups of chicken broth (I used a base that I keep on hand, but you can use homemade or canned)
¼ to ½ teaspoon Xanthum Gum or thickener of your choice (Optional)
½ cup Heavy Cream
½ to 1 cup grated cheese of choice (I used swiss but next time I think I’ll use a smoked cheddar)
1 tablespoon of dried parsley, or you could use chives but I didn’t have any.
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Salt to taste

Method:

Start cooking up the bacon till very crispy. Remove to a paper towel to drain excess bacon oil. When the bacon is cooled, crumble it up. Once the bacon is cooked, throw in the onions using the bacon oil in the pan. (my bacon was very lean so there wasn’t but a tablespoon or so in the bottom of the pan. Probably could have used a bit more).  Cook the onions about 10 minutes until soft and just starting to take on some color.  Add the broth and allow to simmer for 10 or 15 minutes.  sprinkle in the thickener, whisking the entire time. (next time I may leave this out and just add a couple tablespoons of cream cheese)  Add your spices and parsley and allow to simmer a few more minutes. TASTE BEFORE ADDING SALT!  This batch is a bit too salty.  Add in the cream and the cheese and allow to heat up.  Add a handful of the crumbled up bacon.  Serve it up!!!  Add some more bacon on top as a garnish and for a bit of crunch texture.

Hope you give it a try!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ain't-No-Pasta e Fagioli

Ain't-No-Pasta e Fagioli  Updated!!!   

Hi y'all! it's been a while, huh?  I haven't really had anything new to share for a while until now!
Last month my dad and I went out to eat at Olive Garden and then to a movie.  Well, I can never resist Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli.  I love love love that stuff.  Then last weekend my buddy Jackie and I were talking about how to low carb it, and she came up with a great idea to sub out the pasta.  Zucchini!! And that set my creative wheels in motion big time.  They have been dead for so long it seems.

So we looked up a recipe on line for a copy cat and we came up with this one. TopSecret Recipes.  Other than the beans and the pasta, it looked fairly low carb friendly so I decided to go for it!  Here is what I did:

Ingredients:

1 to 2 pounds ground beef or 1 pound sweet italian sausage and 1 pound ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot (optional)
1 cup diced celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can red kidney beans (optional)
1 cup small diced cauliflower (or you can cube up some fresh mushrooms, 8 ounces)
2 cups homemade V8 Juice(cut way down on the sweetener, see below)
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 to 2 cups cubed peeled zucchini (about 1/2 inch by 3/4 inch)

Brown the ground beef and drain most of the fat off.

Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes

Add all the rest except the zucchini and cauliflower and let simmer 45 minutes to an hour.

Add the zucchini and cauliflower to the pot and let cook another 10 to 15 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Serve this with this Cheesy Garlic Bread from my buddy LeeAnn's blog at Cutthewheat.com and you will think you are sitting in the dining room at the Olive Garden!  Her recipe is purely awesome!

Now, first you say, where are the pictures?????  I forgot!  I'm gonna be making this again this weekend so I'll try to grab some decent pictures to add.

And I thought I'd share this too. As Seen On TV Chopper is what I used to cube the zucchini.  I peeled them and then ran them through this thing to cut them into strips and then diced them about 3/4 inch long.  They really resembled the pasta in the original dish. But if you have crazy good knife skills you could get the same results.

Also, that V8 recipe that I linked to, is REALLY good!  But way too sweet. Next time I'll leave out the sweetener and see how it does.  I've never been a big V8 fan but I might be now!

The cauliflower was a decent substitute for the white beans, but I'm sorry, I had to add one can of kidney beans to this.  It's just not the same without it, but if beans aren't your thing, definitely leave them out and up the amount of beef you use.  That's why I put 1 to 2 pounds ground beef in the recipe.

So, what do you think?  Now that I have this recipe in my files, I think my draw to the Olive Garden will be curbed.  As my brutha of anutha mutha  George Stella would say, "Don't do without... REINVENT"  

5/21/16 Update!!!  I  made this today using 1 pound of sweet italian sausage and a little over a pound of ground beef.  Instead of cauliflower I used diced up white mushrooms.  Even better than the first time I made it.  Used fresh thyme picked out of my patio garden.  It's always so satisfying to get your herbs from your own yard.  Also, I will add that this makes a LOT of soup! My Papa Smurf is almost full (Ninja 3 in 1 cooker).... so unless you want to feed the entire neighborhood, you might want to cut the recipe in half...  Oh and one more thing... that recipe for the v8 juice makes 3 cups, and I used all of it in the soup.    That's all for now!!  Gotta go make some garlic bread to go with this!