Potato and Corn Chowder with Chicken Ceasar Salad

At Martha’s Market a few weeks ago I discovered Frontier Soups. It is a company that makes dry soup mixes and they are wonderful! You can order them online or you can look at local retailers. I know that Whole Foods carries the soups. Tonight I am making perhaps the simplest meal you can make. It is Illinois Prairie Corn Chowder with a chicken Caesar salad (which is a salad bag mix).

All you have to do is get the soup mix and a Dole Caesar salad bag (I think Dole has the best dressing and I particularly love their Ultimate Caesar salad mix).

I basically followed the directions on the soup mix but I changed a few things. I used 1 ½ cups of half and half and ½ cup 2% milk, instead of the 2 cups of cream that it calls for. I also added an extra 2 cups of frozen corn (since fresh isn’t in season). The directions say to peel the potatoes, but I left the skins on mine. I also wanted my soup a little thicker so I added a little extra milk that I mixed with cornstarch. Also, I added garlic powder, lots of salt and pepper to the soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Dole Ultimate Caesar salad mix
  • 1 chicken breast
  • A few shakes of each: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper
  • Olive oil (about 2 tbsp.)
  • 1 bag of Frontier Soups Illinois Corn Chowder Mix
  • Extra ingredients that the soup calls for: 2-3 white potatoes (I used about 5 small ones), 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, 2 cups cream or milk, 8 cups low sodium chicken broth.
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup milk
  • 2 -3 tbsp. salt (I know it’s a lot but you have to flavor the potatoes and the corn)
  • 1 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded (for garnish)

Directions

Wash potatoes and cut them into ¼ inch pieces. Put them into a large (at least 12 cup) pot. Pour in 8 cups of low sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 5 minutes and then add the ingredients in the soup mix bag. Lower heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.

Marinate the chicken in paprika, garlic powder, olive oil, onion powder, salt and pepper. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

In a sauté pan, add a little olive oil (maybe 1 tsp.) over medium high heat. When pan is hot, add the chicken breast (I cut mine into half lengthwise, so it will cook and cool more quickly). Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until the chicken is browned and then flip the chicken and repeat. Set aside and let cool.

Add the 2 cups of cream (or milk and cream mix) and the fresh or frozen corn kernels to the soup. Let cook on low, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, until slightly thickened. I found that mine did not thicken as much as I had hoped, so I mixed 1 tsp. of cornstarch into ¼ cup cold milk and added that to the soup and stirred.

Cut the chicken into thin slices. Pour the contents of the salad bag into a bowl and toss together. Put chilled chicken on top and serve alongside the soup.

Remove the bay leaf from the soup before serving. Garnish with cheddar or Monterey jack cheese.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Cottage Cheese

I first had this salad at a thank you lunch that the teacher I was working with made for all of the assistants. It is light, simple, and healthy and very hard to resist. It is wonderful for lunch or dinner and pairs nicely with panko pan-fried chicken. Normally, the salad is made with feta cheese, but I was out of feta so I threw in 2 heaps of cottage cheese in its place. I can’t decide which I liked more. You can also add walnuts to the mix as well. The dressing is key in this salad.

I have just listed the ingredients, not the amount. As with any other salad, make the portions that you think would be best for your taste buds (I used 2 huge spoonfuls of cottage cheese for 2 handfuls of spinach and about 4 strawberries, quartered).

Ingredients

  • Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Strawberries, quartered
  • Small curd cottage cheese, or crumbled feta cheese
  • Walnuts, optional

The delicious vinaigrette that I think is the most crucial ingredient – it pairs so wonderfully with the spinach and strawberries.

Directions

Combine all ingredients and top with dressing.