Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thick and Creamy Potato Bacon Soup

We love to eat at Cheddar's restaurant in Mansfield.  When Baeleigh was little, she used to like to sit in the middle booths so she could watch all the fans whip around. (See cute picture below of her when she was 3!)

  Our favorite food at Cheddar's is their potato soup.  IT is very thick and creamy; not the least bit watery;  and it has BACON!! (Can't you just hear the Beggin' Strips Dog commercial??) I love bacon. The only thing bacon related that I haven't tired yet is the bacon sundae at Denny's.  But I have tried to concoct the Cheddar's soup recipe for years and I think I finally have it down to a science! 

Recipe for Thick and Creamy Potato Bacon Soup (Better than Cheddar's because I can have as much as I want, when I want.)

8 slices of bacon.
1 c. sauteed onion or 1/4 c. dried minced onion (have used both and it makes no difference!)
8 potatoes - chopped
1 c. water
1 3/4 cup whole milk (or if you use 2% no one will know but you!)
1 c. sour cream
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 - 10 3/4 ounce cans of cream of chicken soup
1- small can of cream of celery soup

Put large stock pot on the stove and bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Clean and chop potatoes into squares with the skins left on (or you can take the time to peel them).  I cut mine in half, then fourths but the chunks can be smaller if that is your liking.

Add spuds to boiling water and set timer for 17 minutes.

Meanwhile, grab a cookie sheet WITH SIDES (or you will have a mess) and line with foil.  Put the bacon on the foil. Set oven to 400 degrees and immediately put in the bacon. Do not preheat the oven. Bake for 15 minutes and let it cool in the pan until you are ready to cut them into bits.

If you are sauteing your onions, use some bacon grease in a small pan and saute until clear. I deleted this step and just added minced onion because I hate it when my hands stink like onion (I'm not an onion lover).

In a separate large mixing bowl, (I use a pancake batter bowl for easy and transfer) combine onion, water, milk, sour cream, salt, pepper, cream of chicken soup, and cream of celery soup.  Use kitchen shears to cut the bacon into fourths.  Reserve 2 pieces of bacon for garnish. Add quartered bacon to the pot.  In a small bowl, cut remaining 2 pieces into bacon bit sized pieces. 

Drain potatoes in a colander in the sink. Leave them there for a few minutes.  Carefully wipe out the pot for skin residue if you wish. Return the potatoes to the pot.  Add the soup mixture and stir well.  Simmer for 2 hours.

OR simmer for a half an hour, add to a crock pot, and put it in the fridge for the next day. Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours. (I also take out 4 servings and put in a tupperware container and put in the freezer. But there are only 3 of us...so if you have a big family, you probably can't take any out!)

Garnish your delicious soup with a few fingers full of triple cheese blend and your bacon bits.

**Note to self** Next time, try adding some garlic. Hubs bought a HUGE tub of garlic and it just might go well in this soup!**

Until the next time I cook,


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grilled Garlic Shrimp & Pasta Recipe under $10 by J.P.

I think this is the best dinner we have had in a long time. AND it was under $10.  Our Family Chef aka J.P. (aka Hubs & Daddy) is on a cooking kick. We (mostly me) are/is so sick of restaurant food. Especially...I hate to admit it... EVEN PIZZA. 

My very close and wonderful friend Wendy Lou and I had a discussion tonight and we compared some good recipes, including but not limited to, BBQ ribs, laundry detergent, and fabric softener.  She turned me on to Pinterest, which I think should have an add-title that reads "Pinterest...the reason we don't need college anymore."  Can you imagine all the $$ people would save on college loans?????

Seriously. Between Pinterest and Google, I don't know why I keep thinking I need to finish my Bacherlor's degree.  The Internet is much cheaper. And I can find an answer to EVERYTHING.

So, to celebrate my blog hiatus (almost 2 years of not blogging) let me include J.P.'s recipe that is WAY better than Red Lobster or Olive Garden, I promise, and costs under $10 for the both of us.  (My 10 year old has yet to try shrimp but when she does...we will be buying 2 pounds of shrimp I'm sure!)  

Ingredients for Garlic Shrimp: 
1 pound of uncooked shrimp (about 30 count)  ($7 at Gerwig's White Barn)
Skewers (.99)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1 TBS. dried parsley (more if it's fresh)
Black Pepper to taste

Directions: In a gallon size ziplock, combine all ingredients and marinate the shrimp for 30 minutes.
Soak skewers in water in a shallow baking pan if they are wooden.
Put the marinated shrimp on the skewers. You should have about 5 or 6 skewers full of shrimp.
Cook on a preheated grill until the shrimp are pink and no longer opaque.

While the shrimp are marinating,boil 8 oz. of angel hair pasta.

Ingredients for Butter Garlic Sauce:
1/4 olive oil
3 TBS Butter
7 cloves of mined garlic.
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt (it DOES make a difference than regular ol' table salt) 
Parmesan cheese

Directions: Saute in a skillet and sprinkle parsley and salt to taste.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

When the shrimp are done on the grill...add them to the top of the pasta... sprinkle with Sea Salt...H*E*A*V*E*N

It's Sunday and I have to do some meal planning for the week but watch for my laundry concoction recipe made from several other recipes and I have finally come to a recipe that is what I need it to be! After two weeks of making a million batches, I have a version that I like BETTER than Gain. I would have never believed me had I heard me saying this a few weeks ago!

Have a good week!

~ Natalie~