Fall is just around the corner, so when the weather gets colder meals get cozier! One of my favorite cozy night-in soups is my own take on Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana! Loaded with garlic and potatoes, you can’t go wrong with this delicious recipe.
A couple weeks ago, I was in North Dakota for work and on the trip home, I mentioned to a colleague that I needed to learn about clam chowder so I could write a blog post for National Clam Chowder Day on February 25th. Considering I had never even tasted it before, I knew I had some research and sampling ahead of me. Just then, my chuckling colleague pointed at a billboard inviting visitors to New England, ND. He wondered aloud if the locals there celebrate Clam Chowder Day just for the namesake.
Since that silly observation in the middle of North Dakota, I have learned that New England Clam Chowder is one of many different kinds of clam chowder, although it appears to be the most common. The different types of clam chowders vary by region and some are quite different from one another.
New England Clam Chowder, as the most popular, is what I would call comfort food. It’s thick, creamy potato base and stew veggies make it perfect for this ever-lasting cold winter. Many recipes include crumbled bacon in this variety.
Manhattan Clam Chowder is again made with stew vegetables, but instead of a creamy potato base, it’s made with tomatoes. A little zingier and lighter, this variety is wonderful for dunking a grilled cheese sandwich.
Hatteras Clam Chowder isn’t on the radar of most of us Midwesterners. It comes from North Carolina’s Outer Banks and features a clear broth, with no cream and no tomatoes. Truly, the clams are the center of the show.
Minorcan Clam Chowder is a tomato-based chowder, similar to the Manhattan version, with the addition of corn and the spicy Florida-grown pepper, Datil. This is the next variety I’m going to try.
After reading lots of history and dozens of recipes, I decided to reach out to my friends on Facebook to find a sure-fire recipe. My friend, Carolyn Bertsch, shared this one and most of my family loved it!
Carolyn was quick to shell out one of my favorite kitchen truths: “Bacon makes everything better.”
- 2 Cans Minced Clams with Liquid
- 1 Medium Onion
- 3 Stalks Celery
- 4 Slices Bacon
- 3 Carrots
- 3 Potatoes
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Pint Half & Half
- Fry bacon and then add celery and onion.
- Fry until tender and then add clams and clam juice.
- Simmer until half the liquid is gone.
- Boil carrots and potatoes in a separate pot for about 10 minutes.
- Drain and mash (remember, just like post-baby bodies, lumps add character).
- Mix mashed mixture into clam mixture and add half & half.
- Heat to boiling and serve hot.
- The night I made this, the chowder was tasty.
- I added some dill to the leftovers (because you should add dill to everything, in my opinion) and sent the pot back into the refrigerator.
- The next day, all the flavors came to life and the dish was fantastic!
Coborn’s, Inc. Communications Manager
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I’m a Vikings watching, meat-and-potato eating, Minnesota girl. However, not to my surprise, the Vikings cease to make it to the Superbowl, or even the Playoffs yet again. Well, I still enjoy a good Superbowl party and great food. This year, I will be serving some hearty eats, including, but not limited to, loaded twice-baked potatoes, chili cheese dogs and a barbecue chicken spread. Here are my recipes, be sure to pin and save for later!
First let’s start with the spread. Honestly, when I first read this recipe it didn’t sound the best, but trust me, it is delicious and you will not be able to stop at just one, or two, or three. I serve this dip with Ritz Bacon crackers, because… everything is better with bacon, right?
- 8 Oz. Cream Cheese, softened
- 8 Oz. Sour Cream
- 9 - 10 Oz. White Chunk Canned Chicken Breast, drained
- 8 Oz. Finely Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Barbecue Sauce
- Snack Crackers
- Green Onions (Optional)
- Mix together cream cheese and sour cream and spread onto platter.
- Pour barbecue sauce over cream cheese mixture and evenly spread.
- Sprinkle chicken breast evenly on top of barbecue sauce.
- Top with shredded mozzarella and serve with snack crackers.
Chili Cheese Dog
I have to be honest with you, I had never eaten a Chili Cheese Dog before I decided to make them for my Superbowl party. As I made them for this blog, I was excited to give them a taste. Well, let me tell you, this will not be the last time I eat them. I honestly think the key is the kind of “dog” you use. I chose the Coborn’s Signature Smokehouse ground course wieners. To put it lightly… delicious! I made it easy with canned Hormel Chili, but you could certainly make a chili from scratch. I topped my chili with chopped onion and Food Club chipotle shredded cheese. The chipotle shredded cheese is my go to – whenever I make a taco dip or baked potatoes with cheese, I like to use the chipotle cheese just to add a little extra flavor. It’s not too spicy, but just adds a little something more. Of course, I used the Coborn’s Own Hot Dog buns. These buns are made fresh in our own bakery each day. They are fresh, fluffy and delish!
- Coborn’s Signature Smokehouse Course Ground Wieners
- Coborn’s Own Hot Dog Buns
- 2 or 3 Cans Hormel Chili with Beans
- 1 Red Onion, chopped
- 1 Bag Food Club Shredded Chipotle Cheddar Cheese
- Heat wieners and chili on stove-top or in microwave to desired temperature.
- Chop onion.
- Fill hot dog bun with wiener and top with chili, onions and cheese.
Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes
Like I said, I am a meat-and-potatoes girl, so what better than topping your potato with meat? You could simply make baked potatoes and top with Hormel Chili, or you could take it a step further, like I did, and make a twice-baked potato by removing the filling, adding cheese and butter and baking again with chili and cheese. Serve with sour cream and your guests will love it!
- 6 Russet Potatoes
- ¼ Cup Butter
- 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 2 Cans Hormel Chili with Beans
- 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- Sour Cream
- Bake potatoes in 350° oven until soft, about one hour depending on size.
- Remove from oven and slice off a lid and set aside.
- Remove potato pulp from 4 potatoes and place in a bowl, keeping skins in tact.
- Remove potato pulp from 2 potatoes and reserve, keeping skins in tact.
- Add ½ cup cheese, butter and salt to 4 potato pulp mixture and mash.
- Season potato mixture with pepper to taste.
- Refill potato skins with potato mixture, pressing it into the bottom and against the sides, leaving a “bowl” to add the chili.
- Set filled potatoes back onto baking sheet and place lids skin side down on baking sheet as well.
- Fill potatoes with Hormel Chili with Beans and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake in oven until heated through and cheese is melted and browned, about 12 minutes.
- Remove potatoes from oven and transfer to a platter, top with a dollop of sour cream and place lid on top, if desired.
- Serve immediately.
This year at your Superbowl party, forget about the popcorn and chips and fill those bellies with hearty, meaty and delicious food!
Coborn’s, Inc. Social Media/Creative Specialist
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“It looks like a green onion”, but it is a leek.
We hear that all the time in the Produce world. Leek is slowly growing in popularity, but still remains in the category as somewhat of a gourmet type item. They have been around for many, many years, yet many people have never heard of them. Availability is year round and prices do not fluctuate much. The fall/ winter season seems to be when people use them the most. My favorite way that I have enjoyed leek is in soup, specifically Potato Leek soup. I love the mild, creamy onion flavor that it offers. Very simple, and easy to make. Leeks can also be sliced as a relish, eaten with a dip or raw, braised in the oven, diced, or added to a salad which adds a crunchy onion flavor.
Some of the health benefits known about leeks are that they are high in fiber and potassium. They are also known to help lower cholesterol and have many other vitamins benefits as well.
Leeks grow in the ground like a regular onion. The root and the white part are underground with the green tops sticking out. Because of this, the most important thing is to make sure that they are cleaned properly before using. Cleaning them is quite easy. Cut the roots off of the bottom and chop off the top part between green and white. Then cut again lengthwise, and rinse under cold water. The dirt in there comes out pretty easy. Once they are clean, you are ready to dice up the leek. The white part is the part that is typically eaten. They are the most tender and have a mild flavor. The all green part is quite tough, with a strong flavor.
Potato Leek Soup
This is very simple and easy to do. You could add more ingredients if you so choose. Other things I may add from time to time might include diced carrots as another vegetable or diced ham or cooked chicken if you are looking for meat in yours. If you’re looking to try a different kind of soup, give this one a try. It is different, but oh so good.
- 3 Large Leek, cut lengthwise, separate, and clean. Pale white and white part only, dice, and chop.
- 2 T. Butter
- 2 Cups Water
- 2 Cups (1 can) Chicken Broth
- 2 Lbs Potatoes, peeled, and diced
- ¼ Cup Fresh or Dried Parsley
- ½ tsp. Dried Thyme
- Cook diced leek in butter with salt and pepper in a medium sauce pan.
- Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes checking often, as you do not want leeks to brown at all.
- Add water, broth, and potatoes.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Take about half of your soup mixture out of the pan and put in blender to puree it. This will still give you some soup that will have some chunks. You could puree all of it; if you want it real smooth and creamy with no chunks - your call.
- Return mixture to pan, add thyme and parsley.
- Season with more salt, 1 to 2 teaspoons, and ground pepper to desired taste.
Coborn’s, Inc. Produce Merchandiser
Click Here for more blog articles written by Mike.