Sweet potato soup

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Using local produce is important to me. I can’t buy local all the time, year round, but I make sure that I push for it in the Summer and Fall months. It’s easy in North Carolina to get local apples starting in August and sweet potatoes almost all year long.  I’m not a huge sweet potato fan like the rest of my obsessed family, but with such a demand in the household I had to get creative! This soup takes a little prep time but with some effort, you’ll have a great big pot of soup to serve up and satisfy.

Yields: 6 big bowls

What you’ll need:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, baked and then skinned and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 2 leeks, washed and chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped and steamed
  • 16 oz. low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • salt and pepper, as needed
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, as desired

How to:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Place sweet potatoes directly on the middle rack. Slide a cookie sheet one level below just in case sweet potatoes leak. Bake for about 45 minutes, depending on size of sweet potatoes. Once done, take out of oven and let cool on countertop for 15-20 minutes. Once cool, peel and chop.

Next, over medium-high heat brown onions and leeks in butter and olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper. Once onions are translucent and leeks are soft, add cup of milk.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, carrots, chicken broth and water. Let simmer again for about 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender on the highest setting (I use a Bamix) blend until soup is a good consistency.  I like it a little chunky, but you may like it more smooth, so blend a little bit longer. It’s your soup, so make it the way you like it! If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could ladle it into a standard blender. But be careful; it’s hot. When done blending, serve in bowls and top with freshly grated aged parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin turkey chili with kale

Want an easy 20 minute dinner? This is it! Loaded with vitamins, protein and fiber, you’re certain that every person will be left satisfied from this hearty meal. Quick. Tasty. Period.
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Yields:4-6 portions

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (6% fat)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • splash of red wine
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 can navy beans, rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed
  • large bunch of kale with stems taken off and chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can organic pumpkin
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • handful of flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper as needed
  • goat cheese crumbles

How to:

In a large soup pot, brown onion and garlic with olive oil. When soft, add ground turkey. While cooking turkey, add chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil and bay leaves. Cook until meat is no longer pink and things in the pot are looking on the dry side. This is the moment to add a splash of red wine (I use Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec). This will hydrate everything and if any browned bits stick to the bottom of the pan, make sure you scrape it well so that flavor gets locked in! At this point, add the kale and stir, allowing the heat in the pan to wilt the kale down. After a minute or two, when kale decreases in size, add chicken broth and pumpkin. Incorporate and then add beans. When everything is up to the same temperature, throw in the green onions and parsley. Adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Discard bay leaves. Top each bowl with goat cheese crumbles for that tangy creamy goodness that will melt into your bowl of goodness.

topped with goat cheese!!!!

topped with goat cheese!!!!20131005_181518