Hot Potato Soup

Even though the summer heat is sneaking into our weather pattern, I still enjoy a bowl of potato soup. It is a comfort food with a comfortable budget cost. Fresh garlic bread, although it adds to the carb cost for that day’s diet, is always a tasty addition. A simple salad can round out the meal.

Hot Potato Soup

1/4 cup bacon drippings
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups milk
4 cups peeled, finely diced new potatoes
1 cups grated Swiss cheese (Mild or sharp cheddar is a good alternative)
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a large kettle, heat bacon drippings. Saute onion and celery, until soft. Blend in flour over medium heat until golden brown. Stir in chicken broth and milk. Add potatoes, stirring until soup bubbles and thickens slightly. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cheese one handful at a time until melted and smooth. Season with mustard, salt, and pepper. Serve with a sprinkle of crispy bacon pieces and finely chopped parsley.

(For an interesting taste treat, try using baked potatoes instead of raw ones. Just cut down the simmering time as the potatoes are already tender!)

Re-Invite Your Leftover Potatoes to Dinner

My Last-Minute Recipe for Potato Cakes

About 3 cups of cold, mashed potatoes
2 eggs
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon onion powder
Tablespoon freshly chopped parsley (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Use your hands because I won’t tell!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I use an ice cream scoop to divide the mixture into even mounds directly on parchment paper.

Freshly grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese
Granulated onion
Granulated garlic

Grate about a tablespoon of your chose cheese on top of each mound of potato. Dust with the onion and garlic. With the bottom of a glass, press down to about 1/2-inch thick.

Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until starting to get golden around the edges.

*These go well with a meal having a beef gravy and are a nice change from baked potatoes.

End of the Long Weekend . . .

End of the long weekend and before we can even turn around, Thanksgiving is coming up all too soon. My ever-present spiral notebook is at hand for jotting down notes, groceries lists, and unseen corners of the house that will be cleaned whether guests will see them or not. The first thing I might consider getting on the grocery list is a turkey!

We splurged a bit on treats this weekend as the schedule was out not followed as usual and we often got home from shopping or just browsing too late to go into full meal preparation mode.

One of my treats for the weekend was potato chips. However, my version of potato chips is about 60% less fat but still as crispy and crunchy as any bagged portion. I don’t have the smoke of fried oil hanging in the air and it takes me about two minutes to clean up and then enjoy my chips. It just takes me, a couple of medium potatoes, a can of vegetable oil spray, parchment paper, salt, pepper, and a microwave. The only hard part is slicing the potatoes as thin as possible but some food processors can do that. If they are cut a bit too thick, you can still get a chip-like snack.

Once I have my potatoes sliced, I lay them out on sheets of parchment paper that will fill in the microwave. I give the whole sheet of them a quick spray of the vegetable oil spray, dust with salt, pepper and microwave about 5 and a half minutes. The timing is dependent on your own microwave so go four minutes and increase until you get some golden chips. Before I put mine in the microwave for baking, I like to sprinkle them with some Parmesan. There are other options, too. There is smoked salt, chili powder, etc.

What amazed me about making my own chips was the cost savings. Imagine, two medium potatoes makes the equivalent of a large bag of store brands . . . for a lot less money, salt, and fat.

The Lowly Potato . . .

Since we have cut back the carbs in our diet drastically, potatoes aren’t often on the dinner menu. However, when we want to splurge on our Sunday meal, you might just find some sort of potato dish in the vicinity of the dinner table.

This evening, I made a new favorite. It is super simple, fun to make, and there have been rumors of altercations over the last serving up for grabs. Thought I’d confess before it came out on Wikileaks!

Not sure what you would call this dish which is why I remembered to take a picture.

Basically, you sort of thinly slice up three for four large Russet potatoes. How much you use depends on how many are at your dinner table. Put all the slices in a large mixing bowl and toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, very thinly sliced onion, and bacon bits. Now, the fun part! Get out your trust cupcake tin and spray each cup lightly with vegetable oil spray. Now take up three or four slices and stand them up in the cupcake tin adding more so they are all sort of upright. Make sure each serving gets their fair share of bacon and onion tucked between the slices. Give them all a quick spray of vegetable oil spray and put into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes. Keep an eye on them, however, as it will depend on how thinly/thickly your slices came out.

The finished result is usually a browned top with crisp edges and the part in the tin is usually browned and sort of creamy in texture. There are always a variety of outcomes but I hope you find this a handy idea and your family enjoys it. It is a recipe open to lots of creativity. I put in a couple teaspoons of chia seeds and some finely grated Parmesan or cheddar takes it to another level.