Friday, October 19, 2007

Autumn Eats

With Thursdays's warm stormy weather, it felt more like spring than fall. But yesterday it was once again dark, breezy, cool and getting more and more colorful, and today bright, breezy, cool and even more colorful, much more as I envision autumn. In honor of the perfect football/tailgating/pumpkin-carving/cider-drinking conditions, I thought I would share a few of my favorite recipes for the season. Technically, I make most of them year round because they are so tasty, but they are particularly enjoyable when cold weather starts to roll in. I love fall!!

Easy Vegetarian Chili Uno-Dos-Tres

- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 small-medium onion)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup medium bell pepper (any color), diced
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 (14 1/2 oz.) can ready-cut tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper; saute 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add the water, chili powder, cumin, tomatoes, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; gently simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Ladle into a bowl and serve with cornbread if desired.

Baked Potato Soup

- 2 large baking potatoes
- 3 tbsp. margarine
- 1 large white onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 4 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups instant mashed potatoes
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. basil
- 1/8 tsp. thyme
- 1 cup plain soy, rice, or dairy milk or non-dairy creamer
- Bacon bits, shredded cheese (if desired)

1. Bake the potatoes at 4oo F for 1 hour. Allow to cool.
2. Melt the margarine in a large saucepan and saute the onion until transulcent. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Add the stock, water, cornstarch, instant mashed potatoes, and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Cut the cooled potatoes in half and scoop out the contents. Discard the skins. Chop the potatoes into bite-size chunks and add them, along with the milk or non-dairy creamer, to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until thickened.
4. Spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with "bacon" bits, cheese, etc., if desired. (Personally, I think the soup is great without either.)

There is something about fall that screams "soup!" Both of these are awesome. The chili is a lot quicker and easier, but the potato soup is also worth it if you have a little more time.

Love you all... have a great rest of the weekend!

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