clam-chowder-ck-1227888-xLest you think we are fixated on our new Ninja cooking system, this clam chowder recipe from Cooking Light is the perfect stay-warm, nutrient-dense, quick and easy January meal, particularly if you live in a part of the country with freezing or below temperatures.

Ingredients
4 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
5 slices center-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
2 cups cubed red potato
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 1/4 cups evaporated fat-free milk
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions
Drain clams in a colander over a bowl, reserving juice. Add bottled clam juice to reserved juice to equal 3 1/2 cups. Set aside clams and juice.

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally (or in your new Ninja cooking system that also browns, if you, too, were lucky enough to get one for Christmas).

Reserve two teaspoons bacon drippings and add onion, celery and butter to Dutch oven or other cooker; sauté 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add clam juice mixture, potato, and next 4 ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in clams, evaporated milk, 1% milk, and sherry or white wine. Cook 5 minutes more or until piping hot, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

This is a fairly thin, but delicious clam chowder, so feel free to add more vegetables and a bit of cornstarch to the milk if you prefer your chowder on the thicker side.

Nutritional information
145 calories per serving. 12 grams of protein, 3.7 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbs, 6 mg iron, 476 sodium and 248 mg calcium.

Ellen Troyer with the Biosyntrx staff
Cooking Light credits this recipe to Patti Marsh, West Newbury, MA. Way to go, Patti! Our opinion is that it’s great for all of us who included weight loss in our New Year’s resolutions, but even better, it’s casual dinner party worthy. And, we so love our new Ninja because it combines slow cooking (like a Crockpot), baking, browning and roasting all in one machine; one pot to clean and cleanup is easy because the interior is nonstick.