Lighter Creamy Mushroom Soup

mushroom soup 2

It’s December.  So I shouldn’t really be too shocked that it’s freezing cold and dreary outside. But every year about this time, I find the cold jarring.

Fuzzy slippers and hearty soups are all that are keeping me from hopping a flight to Florida.  In a few weeks, I’ll settle in and remember that I enjoy crackling fireplaces and hot bubble baths, and pristine snow falls, and steaming cups of cocoa. But for now, it’s all about soup. A big bowl of soup, a piece of crusty bread, and maybe a simple green salad, and I’m about as happy as I can be in early December.

This creamy mushroom soup is actually more mushroom than cream.  Even so, the texture is still lovely and rich from the pureed mushrooms and the small amount of reduced fat cream cheese.  I happen to like the meatiness of mushroom bits in my soup, but if you prefer, you can fully puree all of the soup.

I’ve made this soup with a variety of mushrooms, and it all works.  This time I went for a combination of shiitake, crimini and regular old white button mushrooms.  Use what you like, though, or what you can find at the store.  I’ve never tried using reconstituted dried mushrooms, but I imagine they might add another level of flavor and texture, so that could be worth a try. I use beef stock, because I think the flavor combination of mushrooms and beef is lovely. You can certainly use vegetable stock – or better yet mushroom stock – for a vegetarian soup.

mushrooms

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

4 cups chopped mushrooms, mixed variety

3 cups beef stock

4 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese (not fat-free)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh fennel fronds for garnish (optional)

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Published in: on December 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm  Comments (7)  
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Auntie Jo’s Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

dessert party dip

You know those bright orange nut covered softball-sized balls of cheese that make a terrifying appearance around the holidays?  Well this is not one of those.

cheesecake ball with cookiesThis is creamy, sweet, chocolate goodness.  This is a deconstructed cheesecake.  This is your chance to skip the cake and just eat cream cheese frosting with your fingers.

I love dessert parties.  Why don’t we have more dessert parties?  Spiked cocoa, mocha truffles, white Russians, caramel apples, Champagne, carrot cupcakes, mulled wine, macaroons.  And Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball. What better way to spend Halloween than inviting a few friends and getting sugared up, adult style?

Beautifully retro, this Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball is a serious crowd pleaser. Which, I’m sure, is why Jeff’s Auntie Jo picked this, of all her recipes, to share with me. She tucked her cute little recipe card right in with a wedding shower gift. Auntie Jo suggests spreading it onto graham crackers, but I like Nilla wafers myself.  Jeff is a big fan of the Nilla ‘wich, with plenty of creamy goodness smeared inside.

cookie sandwich with cream cheese filling

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

1/2 cup salted butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups mini chocolate chips, divided

1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Nilla wafers or graham crackers for serving

Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in the sugars, vanilla, and half of the chocolate chips.  Divide the mixture in two.  Using plastic wrap, roll each half into  a ball.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Remove from the fridge and roll one ball in the remaining chocolate chips, and the other in the chopped nuts.  Refrigerate for another hour.  Remove from the fridge a few minutes before serving with the wafers or graham crackers.

Published in: on October 28, 2010 at 7:24 pm  Comments (22)  
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