Eleventh day of Christmas and, baby, it’s cold outside!

What this weather does to every creature's appetite (except bears that are already hibernating!).
What this weather does to every creature’s appetite (except bears that are already hibernating!).

My pipers piping are the redpolls (purple finches) at the bird feeders. Wikipedia says they’re native to the arctic tundra so they should feel right at home in the Carolina Piedmont this morning. Also mentions they “migrate erratically,” which is funny to think about. I guess I’ve done that throughout the holidays — from the cookie tins on the dining room table to the recliner and back again, getting more erratic with each additional infusion of sugar and fat.

But it’s a New Year, right?, time for a new beginning, even though both ideas are artificial constructs. It is, however, really, truly hot soup weather and this chowder is not only easy to throw together, inexpensive to make and tasty — it’s good for you. You can use no-fat evaporated milk, light butter and reduced-fat Cheddar. Even with full-fat cheese, though, if you make it 8 servings as suggested, that’s only 1 ounce Cheddar in each (about 100 calories).

I tweaked the allrecipes.com offering a bit: halved the salt and omitted the dill. I don’t believe in dried dillweed so would use dill only when we have it fresh from the garden. You needn’t peel either carrots or potatoes as long as they’re scrubbed clean.

We love the salmon in the foil packets, but I believe  canned salmon may be “greener,” and those little bones just dissolve with cooking, giving you an extra dose of calcium. (The environmental defense fund agrees.) So enjoy those omega-3s and warm up your tummy while getting used to the idea that this isn’t a diet; it’s a healthy lifestyle forever, not just for January.

Salmon chowder

3 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups diced potatoes

2 carrots, diced

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill (or none!)

2 16-ounce cans salmon

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1 15-ounce can creamed corn, un-drained

8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded

Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat. Saute onion, celery until tender and translucent. Stir in garlic powder, potatoes, carrots, broth, salt, pepper and dill, if using. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in salmon, milk, corn and cheese. Warm through.

hallowienie 081
Happy 2014!

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