March 22, 2012

Cool Spring Rain....Perfect for Soup and Muffins

A Rainy Spring Day in Maine

This was taken from the front door of The Maine House last  year during a windy, spring downpour. I love looking back at pictures of the neighborhood, which I often referred to as "Normal Rockwell Drive!" We had a lovely view out of every window. Days such as this, are ideal to have a good homemade soup simmering on the stove as Darling comes in from work. The aroma of homemade cheddar muffins can lure him into the dining room in no time at all. Warm all thy soul with lovin' from the oven!

This soup will warm your heart and your tummy

1 tablespoons extra virgin oil
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart half and half
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1 cup onion, finely diced
2 minced garlic cloves
2 )14 ounce) cans of chicken broth if you enjoy thick soup, use one can
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 cup chicken breasts, cooked and diced (you can use a rotisserie chicken)
1 package gnocchi, cooked (you can find these in gourmet/pasta section of the grocery store - you may want to cut the gnocchi in half if it is large, or purchase the mini size if available)
1 cup of fresh spinach coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. Add the flour and make a roux. Let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding 1 quart of half and half. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Into the roux, add in the carrots and chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick, add the chicken broth. Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasoning; simmer until soup is heated through. Before serving season to taste by adding additional salt!

Estelle's Bacon Cheddar Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ¼ cups milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tins. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cayenne pepper in a large bowl; blend well. Add milk, oil and egg; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in bacon and cheese. Fill greased muffin tins three-quarters full. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm!

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