This is your favorite Mid-Westerner relishing these warm sunny days and cool nights. The weather the last week or so has been the best of the best.
I have to share a picture from our trip up into the Hills Sunday afternoon. That foggy-looking stuff in the air? That's snow! There's nothing like snow in the air and the sound of wind in the pines to make my day perfect :)
Although you ladies from the south may think temps in the 50's during the day and in the 20's at night a bit extreme, it's perfect weather for homemade potato soup and bread.
Here's the great thing about soup: you can use whatever you have on hand! Go back to Missy's post on Friday. See what I'm talking about? Start with a basic idea and add and subtract from there to make your favorite soup.
Last week, I made Potato Cheese Soup for my family. Super easy, in the crock pot so I can put it together in the morning and not think about it until supper time, and tasty.
It's comfort food to the max. Especially if you add in homemade bread!
So, here's the basic recipe:
Homemade Old Fashioned Potato Cheese Soup...your way
Start with basic ingredients.
I always throw in an onion for flavor.
Peel and dice all those potatoes and onions...
Just for color and added flavor, I peeled and diced a few carrots, too.
Dice all those veggies so they're a uniform size. There's room for a bit of individualism here, but you want them to cook nicely.
The next major ingredient is broth. You want those veggies to simmer all day long in flavor.
I had some ham broth in the freezer from our Easter ham, so I used that. You could also use Vegetable Stock, Chicken Stock, or even plain water.
But you really want the flavor a good stock or broth will give you.
Cover that lovely mixture and let it simmer. I turn my crock pot on high for about an hour to get things started, then turn it down to low for 6-8 more hours.
About 30 minutes before you're ready to serve your soup, it's time to really dress it up. This is a nice, thick creamy soup - but it sure doesn't look like it yet.
The first step in dressing it up is to mash your potatoes. I have one of those old fashioned potato mashers that looks like a "W" gone crazy, but it works great. I use that to gently mash most of the potatoes against the bottom. It doesn't have to be all mashed - just not so chunky.
Now add milk, half-and-half, or cream. I didn't have any of those on hand, so I used some evaporated milk I had in the pantry.
Shhhh...don't let ANYBODY know I keep these in the house!
But instant potatoes are perfect for thickening all kinds of dishes, without worrying about lumps from using flour.
I used 1 cup of this secret ingredient for 8 cups of broth...it was perfect.
In the last 10 minutes or so of cooking time, add shredded cheese to your soup. I added 2 cups of cheese to mine, but I wish I had added more to make it cheesier.
Other tasty things you could add are ham, or bacon, or different cheeses. Steamed greens (kale or spinach) would be a great addition, too.
And there you have it! Good Old Fashioned Potato Soup - done your way.
Just remember the basic ingredients: potatoes, onions, broth, milk and cheese.
So, tell us, what will you add to your potato soup to make it your way?
And before I'm done, be sure to remember to pray for those affected by that old Sandy Storm last week. From inconvenience to tragedy, so many people were impacted by that storm.