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I am hoping we have seen the last of the really cold winter weather – I’m ready for Spring and the joys of a warmer season.
However, I will definitely make the best of the remaining chill in the air and enjoy the pleasures that come with it – lighting the fire in the dining room and eating dinner in front of its warm glow, and cooking hearty fare.
These soups aren’t too heavy, but have enough depth and vigor to stand up to the still cool weather.

SPICY CHICKEN AND CORN CHOWDER

2 cups chicken stock
2 chicken breasts
6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans corn
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup half and half
cilantro

In a saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add chicken and just enough water to cover, simmer, covered until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a plate and reserve broth. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces, set aside.
Cook bacon, onion and garlic in a pot over medium heat, until the bacon is crisp and vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.
Add corn, jalapeño, salt, pepper and red pepper to taste, and reserved chicken broth and cook a further 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in half and half, chicken and bacon and cook just until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Serve topped with cilantro.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, July 2012
ww.nwaonline.com/…/2012/…/icebox-cake-recipe-still-provides-chi…

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER POTATO SOUP

1 head cauliflower, core removed and cut into florets
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped shallot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup cream
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup buffalo sauce
blue cheese crumbles

Heat oven to 400F. Prepare a rimmed baking tray with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower and potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, saute shallot in remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and thyme, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Pour in chicken stock, roasted cauliflower and potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered.
Puree in blender in batches. Add puree back to the pot and warm the soup to a slight simmer. Add cream, cheese and buffalo sauce (I made this soup for the whole family, so left the buffalo sauce on the side). Stir until cheese is melted and soup is warmed through.
Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles and drizzle a little buffalo sauce on top for an extra kick.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Noble Pig
http://noblepig.com/2013/01/cheesy-buffalo-roasted-cauliflower-potato-soup/

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