Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Slow Cooker Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Guys, this soup is so amazing. It is one that I will make over and over throughout the colder months because it is just so hearty, comforting and scrumptious. And, it's ultra easy to make.

I actually developed and spent time testing this recipe back in July and August. I often prepare recipes out-of-season/pre-season so that the posts for those recipes are "live" on the blog in-season. Since I prefer to test a new recipe several times before posting it, I often find myself making Christmas treats, for example, in October and November. In this case, it was soup in August.

Hot, sweltering August.

I am looking forward to enjoying this soup a lot more, however, now that cooler weather is upon us.

It's a soup deeply rich in flavor, but requires mere minutes of hands-on preparation.

The wild rice's chewy, hearty texture is enhanced here by the luxurious, creamy and silky broth while the mushrooms bring an earthy, deep flavor to the soup. Imagine cozying up on the couch with a mug of this hot, creamy soup during the blizzard-y, bitter cold months of winter. Pure comfort.

NOTE: You can use a variety of mushrooms or one type that you particularly like. I use basic button mushrooms.

Yields 4 - 6 servings.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Corn and Tomato Pasta Salad

For me, summertime fare means fresh, happenin' side dishes. Sure, barbecue chicken and burgers on the grill are fabulous. But, I really look forward to the sides when it comes to summer cookouts and gatherings. Potato salad. Crisp, sliced cucumbers paired with fresh dill and doused with vinegar. Buttery corn on the cob. Fresh fruit salad. A good guacamole. A crudité platter with creamy dip. And, pasta salad. Glorious, scrumptious pasta salad.

I make so many versions of pasta salad throughout the summer months. This one is a great recipe for showcasing fresh corn and garden tomatoes this time of year.

The vinaigrette-style dressing used in this recipe is light and simple. It really allows the fresh vegetables to shine and it doesn't compete with the other ingredients. (NOTE: A high-quality, store-bought Italian-style dressing can be used in place of the oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar dressing if you desire a more-robust, no fuss dressing.)

What's great about this salad is that it gets better with time. So, it's the perfect make-ahead side dish for your summer gatherings and parties. Gather up some just-picked vegetables, grab a box of mini pasta shells, break out that bottle of balsamic vinegar and make this before the summer is over!