Potato Cheese Chowder

potato cheese chowder 3Rain is in the forecast! Not that I really want it to rain because that means I have to clean a total of 8 Boxer paws whenever they go outside and need to come back in (which will be immediately after exiting the house), but I just really want to comfortably wear long sleeves and boots. I’d prefer cool comfortable weather, but one day of rain, I’ll take it.

As for the lack of pictures for this recipe, I apologize. This meal came about because I literally had no meat at all in the freezer. But I did have some bacon. And some potatoes. And it was slightly cool out so I decided to make some soup with what was laying around. I wasn’t sure if it would be that great so I didn’t take very many pictures. Well lo and behold, my favorite man told me that this soup may have surpassed Corn & Cheese Chowder! *gasp* That is a huge compliment because Corn & Cheese Chowder is by far my favorite soup, EVER. And he thoroughly enjoys it too. So that big of a statement means it’s good.

I know the rest of you are probably already cold and long overdue for a comforting recipe. So here you go!

Potato Cheese Chowder

  • 6 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • dash cayenne pepper

In a stock pot of Dutch oven, heat on medium. Add bacon and cook until almost crisp. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes, then add the garlic and potatoes. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add in broth and all of the seasonings. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 12-15 minutes. Turn all the way to low and with an immersion blender, pulse 2-3 times. Mix together the flour and half & half, using a whisk (this is a slurry). Add into the soup and bring back up to a boil. At this point it will thicken. Once thickened, reduce heat, add in cheese and stir. That’s it!

potato cheese chowder 2potato cheese chowderGreat additions to this soup would be extra bacon crumbled on top or even some chives. Like I mentioned above, I was really limited on what I had on hand in my kitchen and this soup as is was delicious! Also, if you don’t have an immersion blender, a hand masher or even putting a portion of the soup into a blender will do. Using the immersion blender will smooth out the soup but just pulsing it a couple times ensure texture.

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Skillet Cinnamon Apple Cobbler

cobbler 10I told you I’d be cooking up a cobbler with those cinnamon apples! And lucky for you, it’s just in time for Thanksgiving. There’s always the traditional pumpkin, pecan and apple pie but this dessert would be a great detour from your standard Thanksgiving sweets. And it’s cooked and served out of a cast iron skillet. Rustic perfection!

So I altered my standby cobbler recipe that was given to me many years ago and turned it into THIS. I’ll explain to you how much I enjoyed eating this. Typical night in my house goes like this. After the kids are in bed, my hubs and I cuddle on the couch, watching TV and eating dessert. Together, alone, nice and quiet, no interruptions. Well, of course, I happened to let the dog out before I sat on the couch and just as I’m digging in and going “yum”, she’s scratching at the door to be let in. Hubs says he’ll get up and let her in. I pause the DVR, he lets her in, and goes upstairs to close her crate. By the time he gets back, I have ONE bite left. And not only was there cobbler in my bowl, but I also had a scoop of vanilla ice cream and milk poured all over it. Yes, I’m a glutton. But the plan had been to eat dessert while watching TV. That really didn’t happen but I’m happily blaming that on this delicious cobbler, and not the fact that I’m a sweet tooth pig. But seriously, it’s good. And don’t save it just for holidays because although it will make everyone ooh and ahh on Thanksgiving (it’s pretty in that skillet!), you’ll get that reaction any day of the year. YUM.

P.S. I reduced the cooking time on the apples since they’ll cook in the oven, omitted the alcohol and held off on adding the nuts until the cobbler was assembled. Aside from that, the apples are the same 🙂

Skillet Cinnamon Apple Cobbler (uses a 12″ cast iron skillet)

  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced in thin slices (any variety apple will do)
  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. chopped nuts of your choice (I used almonds, but pecans are screaming at me to use them next time)
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. Bisquik (I used the Heart Smart)
  • 3/4 c. milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a 12″ cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. butter and let melt. Add in apples and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir. Remove apples into a bowl and set aside.

Add in the remaining 4 tbsp. butter. Reduce heat to low and let melt. Once melted, turn heat off and add in the sugar, milk and Bisquik. Stir together until combined, but leave slightly lumpy. Evenly spoon the apples from the bowl over the batter. Sprinkle with the nuts and then sprinkle with a little bit more cinnamon. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven, making sure to use a pot holder or something on the handle since it will be HOT. Let cool and serve with your favorite vanilla bean ice cream.

cobbler 8cobbler 7cobbler 6cobbler 5cobbler 4cobbler 3cobbler 2cobblerWasn’t that easy? And your first bite will make you think….. apple pie alternative. cobbler 9

Cold Leftovers Suck

thermos 2With cooler weather ahead, and it may have already cooled down for some of you, but still, we’ve experienced hot weather here. It’s finally cooling down a little but I’m just waiting for Mother Nature to say PSYCH! and out comes the 85 degree weather again. In November…. Anyways, as I was saying, with cooler weather, a nice hot lunch hits the spot! Especially for the kids who have to eat outside at school. Here, there is no cafeteria for the kids to sit in. Nope, they sit outside on benches and the only time they eat inside is when it’s exceptionally hot out, or raining. On those colder days, I like to send my kids leftovers in their thermos. Soup, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, I’ve even sent teriyaki chicken and rice. And they are always so excited when they get to take their thermos to school!

When my oldest first started taking her thermos, she’d come home and tell me the food was not very warm. Hmmm… there went the happy thought that she was able to have a hot, homemade lunch. So a little trial and error came up with this tip to keep your thermos lunch nice and hot until lunchtime….

Let your kitchen sink water run on HOT for a few minutes. Until it’s super hot. Then fill up your thermos with the hot water, put the lid on and let sit for about 10-15 minutes. Heat up your leftovers in the microwave until they are also very hot. Dump out the water, add in the hot food and quickly screw on the lid. There you go. Hot leftovers for whatever time your kids take lunch. And my oldest doesn’t have lunch until 1:00 this year, so that’s awhile to sit in the thermos. But she swears it’s nice and hot by the time she eats.

thermosthermos 3And don’t think thermos lunches are only for kids at school. I used to send my husband leftovers for his lunch when he was a truck driver. He was so busy he barely had time to eat so opening up that thermos and having a homemade, hot lunch was a lifesaver for him.

But really, any way you put it, kids or adults, cold leftovers suck. Not a problem anymore though. At least not in a thermos.

Easy Cinnamon Apples

cinnapp 5Fall is here. But where I live, it really hasn’t felt like fall at all. Part of my weekend included wearing a tank top and shorts, wishing for a cool breeze as I sat watching my daughter’s softball game. It was downright hot in the sun! But a gloomy morning came to be the following day and desperately craving fall comfort food, I decided to whip up these apples. Hopefully to speed along the fall weather as well. Although it’s just wishful thinking, since the weather forecast shows 90’s midweek. This just doesn’t seem right for late October. But these apples tricked me a little into feeling like fall was in the air.

Easy Cinnamon Apples

  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced in thin slices (any variety apple will do)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. chopped nuts of your choice (I used almonds)
  • 2 tbsp. whiskey, optional (I used Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey)*

Heat a pan over medium heat. Add butter and let melt. Add in apples and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes or until tender. *Now here’s the optional part if you choose to do so. Remove the pan from the heat. Like away from the stove. Pour in the whiskey. Place pan back on heat. It will most likely flame up so stand back and BE CAREFUL. If it doesn’t flame up, slightly tip the pan towards the flame and it will then catch and flame up. The flames will die off very quickly.  But please make sure you NEVER EVER pour hard alcohol straight from the bottle into a pan that is sitting on the heat. You can very easily catch the entire bottle AND yourself on fire. If you don’t want to use the alcohol or are afraid of setting yourself on fire, just skip this entire step.

Then at this point, add in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir. Then add in the nuts and stir to combine.

This recipe makes a smaller serving so if you’re wanting extra, you can easily double it.

cinnappcinnapp 2cinnapp 3cinnapp 4Now you have these delicious, incredibly simple cinnamon apples to do with what you will! I used them on top of a shortcake to make my very own Cinnamon Apple Shortcake. But a few other suggestions to put these apples up on top of:

  • Vanilla bean ice cream
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Pork chops

They’d also be great used in an apple crisp. But I will definitely be trying them in a Cinnamon Apple Cobbler. Look for that upcoming blog post soon!