Soup weather? You bet! But today, I’m introducing the one, the only, the inimitable… Dana! She’s also known as The Kitchen Witch, and she’s here with a delectable dish that’s ideal for the mid-winter blues. It’s a light potato and cauliflower soup, with a side of storytelling like only she can do it.
Dana is a former teacher, a writer, and personal chef. She is also a wife, mother of two young girls (the “minxes”), and a friend to many. I’m certain you will fall in love with her, just as I have.
When you visit her site, you will see that it is “an eclectic mix of recipes, food memories, family anecdotes, and a healthy dose of snark.”
I hope she’ll be dishing up some of her wondrous recipes and life lessons here. But for now a very special “lightened” recipe for potato soup with cauliflower – for those of you looking to encourage your kiddos to consume some veggies… without even realizing it.
So enjoy the story, and then – bon appétit!
First, A Story!
Greetings from Sick Bay! Yeah, you heard that right. We have been afflicted with S*%$storm Sickie this past week. While y’all in the East were shoveling the literal stuff from your driveways, we were snowed in with the icks.
I blame myself.
I remarked to my husband a few weeks ago that, to my astonishment, the girls have both been quite healthy so far this winter.
When< am I ever going to learn? A statement like that is suicide. Reveling in the health of your kids is asking for trouble and, true to form… Wham! Sh*$%storm Sickie.
And you know what gets me? My kids do the sickies in relay-fashion. Because it’s too easy for them to be violently afflicted at the same time, right? Nooo, these girls have to drag a good sick out for several weeks. Miss D. starts it, running strong, and then passes the baton to Miss M. just as I’m thinking the race is over.
You know those old Looney Tunes cartoons where an anvil hangs over the head of an unwitting Wile E. Coyote? Doesn’t take long for that sucka to fall, eh?
Dang, I’m dumb.
Just as the sickies were in gestational stage, I got an email from the PTO parent from Hades. You know, the one who wants to make teacher dinners interesting and creative and fun? Her. Alas, she is still in residence.
To my shock, most of the choices for this go-round were pretty dang sane. Hello, Super Bowl theme! Good to see you back! Why hey there, Soup and Salad Nite! You have been greatly missed, believe me.
But sandwiched in between those nights was the one fly in the ointment: BMES night. The initials of the Minxes’ school are BMES. Which of course makes a great, creative theme, don’t you agree? Thus, we were instructed only to bring food starting with a B, an M, and E or an S.
At first, this didn’t seem so troublesome, but then I clicked over the sign-up sheet and my heart dropped into my bowels.
Meatballs, meatloaf, muffelettas? Taken.
Spaghetti, salad and sloppy joes? Already gobbled up.
Baked ziti and baked beans and brownies… Gone
Eggs (deviled)? Ditto.
And of course napkins were already taken by the one freaking bull… snot lady who must have an inside edge with the PTO because she always scores napkins, and a few others in the bullsnot posse had eagerly scrawled their names next to plastic forks and spoons.
Shizzle. Stuck with an entree again.
So, I seethed a little and yearned to kick the cat but instead a tackled my Leaning Tower of Food Rags. Twenty minutes of flipping later, I found the solution.
Guilty, readers. But hey, this was a situation, here. The original name for this soup was “Creamy Light Potato Soup,” but the flavors in it were heckalotta like those in a concoction called “Baked Potato Soup,” so I went for it.
Take that, weirdo PTO parent! You haven’t beaten me yet, even if I had to cheat just a leeetle bit this time.
My victory was doubly sweet because this soup totally qualifies for SMAM food. (That’s Shrink My Ass Month, in case you’re wondering.)
Now I will admit that this recipe is a little high maintenance, but your backside is a worth a few extra steps, right? Of course right.
It’s also really dang delicious and I couldn’t discern any evidence of cauliflower when I sampled it, which was good news because cauliflower and I don’t usually hang in the same circles.
Make up a pot of this before the next snowstorm hits. You won’t be sorry.
Cheater’s Soup (a.k.a. Creamy Light Potato Soup)
from Cooking Light magazine
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
5 minced garlic cloves
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2)
1 lb. cubed Yukon gold potato
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, such as Swanson
salt to taste
1 bay leaf
1 pound cauliflower, cut into florets (about half of a big head)
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
2 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
4 slices of center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Heat a large Dutch oven (no hamster jokes!) over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add onion, thyme and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, chicken stock, a dash of salt and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 35 minutes, or until potatoes are very tender, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf.
While the potatoes are simmering, toss cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a little salt, and a little pepper. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread cauliflower evenly around. Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden, turning once.
Place roasted cauliflower and 2% milk in a blender. Blend carefully if the cauliflower is still hot! When the mixture is smooth, pour into a bowl.
Blend half of potato/broth mixture and pulse until coarsely chopped (about 5-6 times). Repeat with remaining potato mixture.
Place potato and cauliflower mixture back in the Dutch oven and heat through. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.
Just before serving, stir in fat-free sour cream and 1/2 cup green onions. Serve in bowls, topped with more green onions, cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles.