Recipes Archives - Percolate Kitchen

Smoked Kielbasa, Beer, and Vegetable Chowder (Cold Weather Comfort Food!)

Literally the most perfect cold weather comfort food! She gives instructions on how to use different kids of ingredients too, like changing up the veggies and using different meats and what to do if you have no cream. Made this easy chowder when we were snowed in last week and it was really good!

Literally the most perfect cold weather comfort food! She gives instructions on how to use different kids of ingredients too, like changing up the veggies and using different meats and what to do if you have no cream. Made this easy chowder when we were snowed in last week and it was really good!

In the cold weather, there’s no better dinner than comfort food.

I mean, the idea of this is nothing revolutionary: a big bowl of any comfort food on a wintery day makes the whole house feel cozy and warm.

But there’s only so many times I can make a pasta or casserole, or toss something in the crockpot.

So this time, I got a little creative. And the result is this smoky kielbasa, beer, and vegetable chowder!

The reason this beer and kielbasa chowder works well as a cold weather comfort food is obvious once you look at the ingredients: there is cream, and potatoes, and thick slices of smoked kielbasa, with the earthy flavor of a hoppy beer underneath.

And I threw in some potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions to, you know, healthify it.

It helps that I know I’m not going to be pouring this winter body into a bikini anytime soon, you know? We can afford to live a little with a smoky, beer-y chowder.

You can let yourself go a little loose here with the ingredients; this is a soup, after all. Soups are made to let you stretch out a little in the kitchen.

After all, cold weather comfort food has another quality; you didn’t have to leave the warmth of your home to make it.

In this recipe, I used carrots, onions, and celery. But you could also throw in a handful of spinach, some frozen or canned corn, chopped rutabega – basically, whatever you’ve got on hand.

And if you’re short on cream? Make a separate pan of toasted roux by cooking together butter and flour until they’re light brown, then slowly whisk in milk and add the finished product to the soup after the stock/broth.

It’ll have a similar texture, though not as creamy as using cream. I mean, obviously. But if it doesn’t mean you have to run to the grocery store in a freaking blizzard and pick up a carton of cream, then that’s a good thing.

No kielbasa in the house? Use bratwurst! Or any kind of smoked or cured sausage, really. Every year my dad gets a smoked venison summer sausage that would be banging in this soup. Pick a sausage that has a bit of body and a good amount of flavor.

This is a bossy soup and it needs building blocks that speak loudly, if that makes sense!

And as for the beer – use what you’ve got. Try not to go crazy dry or hoppy here; something with a smooth and nutty flavor, like a brown ale or a mellow IPA. Think of something that would complement whichever sausage you would use, and go from there.

Literally the most perfect cold weather comfort food! She gives instructions on how to use different kids of ingredients too, like changing up the veggies and using different meats and what to do if you have no cream. Made this easy chowder when we were snowed in last week and it was really good!
Print
Smoked Kielbasa, Beer, and Vegetable Chowder
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
I love this chowder because it’s a great cold weather comfort food. Full of hearty ingredients and served bubbling hot with crackers, it’ll make you forget how cold it is outside.
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large russet or golden potatoes diced (about 1 pound)
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 pounds smoked kielbasa sliced into coins
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 3 cups chicken or pork stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions and cook until the vegetables have started to soften, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the beer and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to release any brown bits that are stuck there.
  3. Add the kielbasa and stir to combine with the vegetables.
  4. Add the stock and cream and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Cook 15-20 minutes on low, stirring occasionally, until the soup has reduced and thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and serve hot.

Chili-Lime Tuna Salad Pita Pockets (Low-Carb Make-Ahead Lunch Idea!)

My new year's resolution is to spend less money during the week, so I've been packing lunches to take to work. This chili lime tuna salad in a pita is a great lunch! It's literally four ingredients, counting the pita, and it travels really well, too. A++ pin.My new year's resolution is to spend less money during the week, so I've been packing lunches to take to work. This chili lime tuna salad in a pita is a great lunch! It's literally four ingredients, counting the pita, and it travels really well, too. A++ pin.

I was sent free product from Safe Catch, and I loved it, which is why I’m sharing it here. There was no other compensation, and all opinions expressed are my own. Affiliate links are included in this post below. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission in return. For more info on my disclosure policies, click here.

If you’re trying to find a low-carb make-ahead lunch idea, your options can sometimes seem pretty limited.

But you know what’s not a limiting low-carb make-ahead lunch idea? Tuna salad.

Yeah, you heard me right. Tuna freaking salad.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Tuna salad!? So boring. And I don’t need any more boring ideas. I need GOOD ideas.”

And hey, trust me, I get it. I was raised on a steady diet of canned tuna fish in any number of iterations. It was a Midwest staple in our home growing up.

But those flavorless gas-station/snack stop/homemade tuna salad sandwiches ain’t got nothing on a Chili Lime Tuna Salad Sandwich, stuffed into a pita and bursting with actual flavor.

It’s the perfect low-carb make-ahead lunch idea.

And it is anything but boring.

Thanks to that aforementioned Midwest canned tuna diet, I do have a natural affinity for the stuff. So when Safe Catch contacted me and offered to send some of their low-mercury high-quality tuna my way, I was intrigued.

You guys know I don’t review a lot of product on this website. That’s not for lack of offers! I get quite a few every day, in fact- but very few pass the test for me to actually spend time talking about.

But what I read about Safe Catch sounded different, so I agreed. And I was so impressed by what they sent!

 

First off, the thing I really liked about Safe Catch is that their tuna has the highest amount of omega-3’s than any other canned tuna brand.

How? Most tuna companies double-cook their tuna, losing a lot of the healthy natural oils in the process. Safe Catch, however, slow cooks their hand-cut tuna steaks, sealing in those oils.

That’s why they recommend not draining the oils from the can after opening; because the tuna is so well taken care of prior to packaging, it’s actually healthier to eat the tuna this way!

Plus, the tuna they sent came in an array of cool flavors; along with their plain tuna, they sent me Chili-Lime (used in the pictures and this recipe), Habanero-Mint, and Citrus-Pepper.

They also included a jar of Chosen Foods Avocado Mayonnaise, which makes this sandwich even lower in carbs, full of healthy fats, and bursting with flavor.

It means I made this chili-lime tuna salad with only three ingredients: their flavored tuna, celery, and the avo mayo. But, if you can only get your hands on plain ole’ albacore tuna and you want to jazz it up to be chili-lime, that totally works as well – I’ve included the measurements to do so in the recipe below.

So you see? Tuna Salad as a low-carb make-ahead lunch idea.

It’s a thing.

You’re gonna love it.


Where you can find Safe Catch Tuna: 

Safe Catch website (and sign up for a 10% off coupon!) 

Amazon 

Thrive Market

Print
Chili-Lime Tuna Salad Pita Pockets
If you'd like to make the chili-lime tuna salad from scratch, substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes and 1 tablespoon lime juice to plain tuna, celery, and mayonnaise, then mix well.
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 5 ounce can Safe Catch Chili-Lime Albacore Tuna
  • 2 celery stalks rinsed and trimmed on either end
  • 1/4 cup Chosen Foods Avocado Mayonnaise
  • 1 pita bread sliced in half
Instructions
  1. Finely dice the celery and place in a large bowl.
  2. Open the tuna and add to the bowl, then add the mayonnaise.
  3. Stir to combine well
  4. Slice open the insides of each pita, and stuff with the tuna mixture.

Homemade Chocolate Pudding made with Salted Dark Chocolate

I've only ever made pudding from a box lol so I wasn't so sure about this homemade pudding recipe, but I was really surprised at how easy it is! he says this recipe is for dark chocolate with sea salt (so yum) but she also includes instructions for making just regular chocolate pudding from scratch, too. Made for a great Valentine's Day dinner dessert!

I've only ever made pudding from a box lol so I wasn't so sure about this homemade pudding recipe, but I was really surprised at how easy it is! he says this recipe is for dark chocolate with sea salt (so yum) but she also includes instructions for making just regular chocolate pudding from scratch, too. Made for a great Valentine's Day dinner dessert!

I've only ever made pudding from a box lol so I wasn't so sure about this homemade pudding recipe, but I was really surprised at how easy it is! he says this recipe is for dark chocolate with sea salt (so yum) but she also includes instructions for making just regular chocolate pudding from scratch, too. Made for a great Valentine's Day dinner dessert!

I know what you’re thinking: homemade chocolate pudding is WAY too complicated to make, especially when the out-of-the-box stuff exists!

To that I say: watch this. You will not only love how easy this from-scratch homemade chocolate pudding comes together, but you’ll be amazed at how much better it tastes than the boxed version!

This from scratch, salted dark chocolate pudding also a fun dessert that feels kinda fancy, which makes it the perfect end for a special occasion dinner (like Valentine’s Day or an anniversary dinner!)

This homemade chocolate pudding recipe is a version of the one my grandma once gave me over the phone.

She was the queen of “then add a little of that but not too much” in recipe instructions, which, as a copywriter who’s way too Type A about recipe writing, used to drive me insane.

But now you know what? I cook a lot more like her these days than I used to. I think it’s because I spend so much time triple checking recipes and testing them over and again, staying in the lines, that it feels good to just loosen up in the kitchen.

Although the homemade chocolate pudding recipe I’ve included below is actually a triple-checked, multiple times tested recipe.

Because let’s face it, old habits die hard.

Also, I couldn’t in good conscience give you guys a recipe that calls for “I don’t know, 3 or 4 egg yolks” and “some cornstarch”, which are exact quotes from my Grandma.

You’re welcome.

What I do love about this recipe is that it’s super quick– I always look at the list of ingredients and think it will take me longer than it does. And then I’m pleasantly surprised!

The longest part is waiting for the pudding to chill and set, but even that only takes ~20 minutes or so.

I made this homemade chocolate pudding with dark chocolate and a sprinkling of sea salt (pink salt, for Valentine’s Day!) but you don’t have to go that far.

If you want to use regular milk chocolate and skip the sea salt, that totally works, too. Just decrease the sugar by those 3 extra tablespoons; they’re there to even out the bitterness from the dark chocolate, but scaling the sugar back that amount won’t change the final consistency of this homemade pudding.

I think my grandma would be proud. Specific ingredient measurements, and all.

 

I've only ever made pudding from a box lol so I wasn't so sure about this homemade pudding recipe, but I was really surprised at how easy it is! he says this recipe is for dark chocolate with sea salt (so yum) but she also includes instructions for making just regular chocolate pudding from scratch, too. Made for a great Valentine's Day dinner dessert!
Print
Salted Dark Chocolate Pudding
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chilled whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut into peices
  • 3 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate chopped or chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon pink salt flakes, divided
Instructions
  1. Balance a fine mesh sieve over a large mixing bowl and set aside. 

  2. In a medium-sized stainless steel pot, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt, milk and egg yolk until smooth and combined. Set the pot over medium-low heat.

  3. Cook, whisking often, until the mixture is thick like mayonnaise, about 3-5 minutes. 

  4. Remove the pot from heat and press the mixture through the sieve with a spatula. 

  5. As soon as all the mixture has been pressed through the sieve and while it is still warm, add the butter, vanilla and chocolate pieces. Stir until the butter and chocolate have melted and the mixture is smooth.

  6. Divide the mixture into ramekins, teacups, bowls - any vessel is fine.

  7. Press plastic wrap directly against the top of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to overnight.

Winter Salad with a Pomegranate Citrus Vinaigrette

This is such a tasty, crunchy winter salad! I like how there's pomegranate seeds both in the salad and the dressing. PLUS she has a GREAT video on how to open a pomegranate without getting juice everywhere- really helpful!

This is such a tasty, crunchy winter salad! I like how there's pomegranate seeds both in the salad and the dressing. PLUS she has a GREAT video on how to open a pomegranate without getting juice everywhere- really helpful!

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean your winter salad has to be drab or out of season!

Make this winter salad recipe with the best of the season’s produce, all topped with a tangy pomegranate vinaigrette.
Here’s how I eat vegetables when it’s cold outside: they’re either roasted with olive oil and salt, or they’re tossed together with a slightly bitter salad mix and topped with some sort of vinaigrette.

Is it boring to eat vegetables only one of two ways?

 

Hell no!

Is it creative?

Ok, no. It’s not.

But it means I get to eat in-season produce that tastes good and fresh. And it can happen even when the temp outside is hovering in the negative digits.

I love this easy winter salad recipe in part because pomegranates are just so dang tasty.

They’re like little jewels of tangy sweetness, and winter is their seasonal time to shine.

Never had pomegranate seeds before? I gave them to my ultra-picky daughter and to my surprise, she popped one in her mouth. Her eyes got wide and she quietly took the whole bowl away from me and carried it away to eat on her own. It was a winter fruit miracle!

I’ve even got a quick tutorial on how to best open a pomegranate fruit and get those sweet jewels out.

If you’re not gentle with fresh pomegranates, the juice tends to go EVERYWHERE, making your kitchen look like the final scene from Macbeth.

But those delicious seeds are trapped beneath a honeycomb of bitter white pith. How do you get them out without tweezers?

Here’s how (it’s so easy, you’re gonna love this)

On top of the pomegranates, I've also got this delicious salad topped with crisp, fresh fennel, sweet tangerines, and sugared bacon.

Never done the sugared bacon thing before? There's a reason people call it 'bacon crack'.

If you layer bacon strips with a little brown sugar and then bake, the sugar melts into the rendering bacon fat. Once cooled, the sugar becomes a thing, sweet, hardened layer on top. It's essentially bacon candy, and I dare you to eat just one piece!

All in all, this winter salad is layered with more goodness than you could imagine. It's the best of cold weather produce (uh, plus hothouse lettuce) tossed with tangy vinaigrette. I'm making it for our Valentine's Day spread- but you could give it to someone you love anytime the wind's a-blowin' outside and you feel like tucking into something fresh and delicious.

This is such a tasty, crunchy winter salad! I like how there's pomegranate seeds both in the salad and the dressing. PLUS she has a GREAT video on how to open a pomegranate without getting juice everywhere- really helpful!
Print
Winter Salad with Fennel, Pomegranate, and Tangerine with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Servings: 4
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
for the salad:
  • 4 cups your favorite salad mix
  • 1/2 fennel bulb green stalks, and woody end removed
  • 2 tangerines
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds divided
for the vinaigrette
  • 1 lemon or 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
Instructions
  1. Add the salad mix to a large bowl.
  2. Slice the fennel bulb half into strips, then add to the bowl with the salad.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut away the rind and pith of the tangerines. Slice each into thin rounds, and add to the salad bowl.
  4. Add half the pomegranate seeds (1/4 cup) to the salad bowl.
  5. Pour the other half of the pomegranate seeds into a container with a tight-fitting lid.
  6. Add the remaining vinaigrette ingredients to the container, then cover and shake until completely combined and emulsified, about 1 minute.
  7. Serve the vinaigrette with the salad.
  8. The salad will keep, undressed, for up to two days. The vinaigrette will keep, separate and tightly sealed, for up to 1 week.

3 Easy Make-Ahead Smoothie Bags for the Freezer (for #SundaySupper)

It is so easy to just pull a smoothie bag from the freezer in the mornings or after I get home from the gym! I love how she's got a couple easy ideas here, plus added 'extras' to add so it's not just fruit. GREAT smoothie combo ideas list, she has some really yummy combos here. I saved it to my phone so I can pull it out in the mornings.

It is so easy to just pull a smoothie bag from the freezer in the mornings or after I get home from the gym! I love how she's got a couple easy ideas here, plus added 'extras' to add so it's not just fruit.

Busy mornings are much more manageable when you’ve got make-ahead smoothie bags stashed in the freezer!

I first got hooked on make-ahead smoothies when I was pregnant with my youngest (more on how they saved me is below).

I love customizable recipes, as you know, and smoothie bags are pro at being customizable to what you’ve got going on. They can be seasonal (right now I’m all about cantaloupe and citrus) or they can be totally out-of-season, since they’re frozen.

Few things brighten up a gray, cold, dreary morning in January than a smoothie of bright summer fruits. They totally get me through busy mornings with my kids! They go to a nanny a few days a week for a few hours, so I can work in peace. And every ‘work’ morning tends to go the same dang way.

Here’s how mornings usually tend to go in my apartment:

First, my daughter climbs into bed with me around 6:30 and wakes me up by stealing my pillow.

Coffee is made, a show is watched (We’re on a Doc McStuffins kick here lately), my 18-month old who loves sleeping in (for now) wakes up around 7:30.

Breakfast for the kids. I wash any dishes left from last night, pack lunches (and curse myself for not doing this the night before). NPR on the radio, toys scattered across the living room that I JUST PICKED UP LAST NIGHT.

Fight with my daughter that she can’t wear a bathing suit out of the house because it’s December.

Chase my 18-month old with a pair of socks.

Send the kids into my bedroom to say goodbye to their sleeping Daddy (who likely got home from work around midnight).

Zip coats, secure hats, tie shoes, switch out mittens when my son uses the first pair to wipe his runny nose.

Pop the 18-month old up onto my back in the baby carrier, tell my daughter for the thousandth time that no, she can’t bring a tub of Legos to the nanny’s house.

Head down the stairs of our walk-up apartment, out the door to the street, and drop the kids off before heading back home and going to work.

Notice anything missing there? MY BREAKFAST. I always have high hopes for sitting down and eating breakfast with my kids and every morning, it gets pushed by the wayside.

Enter a make-ahead smoothie bag. It makes my life so much easier, healthier, and I can drink it in the mornings on the go.

Likely, I’ll be guzzling it down in between wrestling a preschooler into a pair of tights and slicing kiwifruit for lunches.


Want more smoothie ideas? This list has 21 new combos! Print it out and hang it up, take a screenshot with your phone, whatever works. Leave your name and email address below and I’ll send it to you right away.

I can create make-ahead smoothie bags from fruit I’ve got that’s starting to go bad, frozen fruits on sale at the grocery store, fruit that’s in season. Sometimes I’ll make it so all I have to do is dump the bag in the blender and away we go – the rest of the time (most of the time), I make the ‘bones’ of a smoothie and then add almond milk or yogurt to the blender to combine.

Below I’ve got three variations on my favorite make-ahead smoothie bags this time of year! I tend to switch it up depending on the season, and I don’t go out of season if I can help it.

One more thing before I share the smoothie recipes- these little babies SAVED me during my last postpartum period. Granted, I had my son in late May so the weather was much warmer than it is now in December and January, but they were a godsend.

Not only did an icy smoothie cool me down in the mornings (postpartum sweats are real, yo) but they were grabbable, easy, and – this is the best part- I could pour them into a large cup with a straw and drink one with one hand while I held a breastfeeding baby with the other.

Each make-ahead smoothie bag I had premade before the baby came was like a little fist bump from my pregnant self to my postpartum self. They’d make a great gift for the pregnant moms you know!

Ok- on to the combinations!

BLUEBERRY

APPLE (peeled and diced)

CHIA SEED

YOGURT

KIWI

MANGO

SPINACH

ORANGE JUICE

PEACHES

BANANA

STRAWBERRY

COCONUT MILK

Here are all the recipes featured in this week’s roundup for Sunday Supper. Click through and give the other contributors some love- and stock your freezer while you’re at it! 

Healthy Make Ahead Freezer Meals

Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Preparing Some Proteins

The Sunday Supper Movement is committed to bringing our readers delicious recipes that encourage them to gather and eat together around the family table. Search for your favorite ingredients on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Sunday Supper Pinterest boards for plenty more ideas and inspiration.

Want more smoothie ideas? This list has 21 new combos! Print it out and hang it up, take a screenshot with your phone, whatever works. Leave your name and email address below and I’ll send it to you right away.

Homemade Beer Pub Cheese Spread (just 6 ingredients!)

Love how easy this pub cheese spread is! She says it's 6 ingredients but there's really a 7th if you want to add it. Saving this one for an easy party appetizer.

Love how easy this pub cheese spread is! She says it's 6 ingredients but there's really a 7th if you want to add it. Saving this one for an easy party appetizer.

Love how easy this pub cheese spread is! She says it's 6 ingredients but there's really a 7th if you want to add it. Saving this one for an easy party appetizer.

An easy, 6-ingredient recipe for pub cheese spread that’ll be sure to upstage the rest of the appetizers at your party.

There’s something about the cool, creamy, spreadable allure of cheese spread, especially when it’s homemade. I mean, I got nothing against the bright orange ‘cheese’ in a can, but when homemade beer pub cheese is this easy to make, it’s hard to say no to.

Now, for someone who develops her share of party recipes for finger food and apps (it’s a weakness), I know a thing or two about what makes a party spread the bomb dot com. But there’s really nothing to compare to spreadable cheese.

Especially cheese with freaking beer in it. Can I get an amen!?

One thing I love about this easy pub cheese is that it’s – you guessed it – pretty customizable. I LOVE recipes that aren’t stuck in their ways. Recipes that do great when you play around a little with the ingredients.

It’s not a go for all recipes, that’s for sure. But when you’re a busy person who’s trying to just hang on to your every day, being able to stretch a little when it comes to cooking? I’ll take any breathing room I can get, some days.

You know what I love most about this spreadable homemade pub cheese?

Actually, there are two things:
It lasts for like, a million years in the fridge (ok, more like 2 weeks)
You can make it nice and spicy or have it be smooth and sharp tasting considering the cheddar you use.

One thing I will say is important: don’t get tempted to try a fancy beer here, especially one that’s too hoppy. Something mellow in flavor, like a pilsner or a lager, really works best. Hoppier beers tend to give this cheese spread a dryness that overwhelms the cheesy cheddar flavor.

You’ll love this easy party appetizer at your next get-together, and so will your guests!

Love how easy this pub cheese spread is! She says it's 6 ingredients but there's really a 7th if you want to add it. Saving this one for an easy party appetizer.
Print
Homemade Pub Cheese Spread
Make this smooth and tasty homemade beer pub cheese with just 6 ingredients (7 if you add some spicy heat!) It's a simple snack that's perfect for parties.
Servings: 6
Author: Ruthy Kirwan
Ingredients
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • cup light beer pilsner, lager, etc
  • optional 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and secure the lid.
  2. Pulse the ingredients until mixed, then blend on high until smooth.
  3. Spread will keep in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 2 weeks.