Friday, November 9, 2012

Baked Potato Soup

I'm part of this lovely small group that has decided to start sharing meals together when we meet. Since I'm on a rather strict budget, I have to use what I already have at home or what I can buy cheap. My goal is less than $5 spent each week on what I choose to bring. I just made that goal up as I was typing. 

Awesome buy of the week: a 5 lb bag of russet potatoes for 69 cents!!!!

I also bought a pound of bacon: $3.99 and a bunch of green onions: 59 cents. We had leftover cheddar cheese from lunch on Sunday, so I shredded that up, too. If you didn't do the math, I only spent $5.27 on my ingredients.


6 medium Russet Potatoes
5 cups of chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon pepper (more or less to taste)
1/2 pound bacon
Sour cream (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Green onions (optional)

Scrub the potatoes well and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes. You want them cooked thoroughly, so a fork can pierce them. Allow the potatoes to cool.

Cook bacon in a skillet until nice and crispy. Dry on some paper towel and then crumble. Set aside. Keep the bacon grease.

After the potatoes have cooled, peel them and chop them into cubes. You want them to be bite sized pieces. Then throw half of the potato pieces, along with all of the broth into a blender or food processor. You can also add about a tablespoon of bacon grease to this mixture. I have a magic bullet, so I had to break it up into smaller batches of about a cup of broth to a quarter cup of potatoes.  You want to blend it until it is smooth.

Throw a little more than half of the bacon bits in a pot. Then pour in all of the broth/potato mixture. Put in the pepper and mix it well. If you're going to serve it right away, pour in the rest of the cubed potatoes and let it warm on low heat. I'd give it a good half hour to get nice and warm.

Remember, everything has been precooked, so you're just getting it warm before you serve it. You do not want the soup to boil.

Use the sour cream, cheese, green onions, and extra bacon as a garnish, if desired.

Here's the recipe I used to help me out on amounts. Baked Potato Soup I looked at so many different recipes that I just made my own (dairy optional) version based on all of them.


Other variations: 
*Cook a cup of chopped onion in the bacon grease and add the onions to the soup. 
*Add 1/4 C. sour cream before you heat it. 
*Whisk in cheese while heating until it becomes melted. 
*Add other vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots) 
*Use heavy cream, milk, or canned coconut milk to make it creamier. 

***I haven't tried these variations, but if one works, let me know! :) *** 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Potatoes and Farms

I am so very blessed by so many different people and I often forget to thank God for these blessings. So, lest I forget, thank you Jesus for being blessed by those around me!

A friend of the family is part of a farm co-op thing and she always brings home way more veggies than she can use, so she often shares with my sister, which is awesome because that's one less thing for my sister to buy. Well, about 2 weeks ago, my sister and I went to the farmer's market and she stocked up on veggies, only to receive a huge donation from said friend. At the beginning of this week, my sis decided to share her bounty of veggies, mainly potatoes.

I love potatoes, in all their starchy goodness, mainly because they can be made sooooo many ways. I decided I need to find some potato variations. I came upon another food blog and found this potato recipe. I am currently using mom's kitchen to make a large batch of potatoes. Shhhh...

Maybe one day I'll share a recipe that I actually created? Potatoes are baking, potatoes are boiling, this girl's tummy is waiting to eat!

So, my spin...

I used garlic powder on some.

I used some thyme on some.

I plan to make one or two like a potato jalapeno popper... basically, I chopped up some jalapeno and I'm putting that with a dollop of cream cheese on the potato... it sounds delicious, right?

I bet they would delicious with some cheesy broccoli over the top...

So, since I don't want the potatoes to go bad and I'm making a large amount, I'm putting some into freezer bags, in a glass container, in the freezer. I hope to be able to just warm them in the microwave or oven when I'm ready to eat them!

Here are my tips:
1. Don't be shy with the herbs/seasoning if you want flavor.
2. Use smaller potatoes... mine were quite large and just didn't smash as well.
3. Don't despair if you try to smash them and they just break apart, mine did the same thing. I just used smaller portions then.

Do you know how hard it is to not eat the plate of potatoes that are waiting to be frozen??