September 1 has come and gone … what happened to the summer anyway? With Sept bring thoughts about “Back to School” (is anyone else singing “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” in their heads when the phrase Back to School is spoken?) Back to school, back to routine, and back to the basics – and there is nothing more basic than a nice bowl of soup. Perhaps my mind in stuck on soup because I have a wicked head cold
and the medication has me all drugged up and creative everyone knows that soup is a great comfort food when you are sick…. or on a cold day …. or when you don’t feel like cooking …. take your pick.
Over the weekend I catered my parents 45th Anniversary Party/BBQ and we hosted a Baked Potato Bar. Never heard of one? They are awesome – so many people commented that it was such a great idea! Easy to do – wash, wrap potatoes in tinfoil and roast for an hour at 400 ahead of time (we roasted more than 75!!) (hint: split them in half first or partially so they are easier to dress later), then remove from oven and put in insulated cooler to keep hot.
When you serve – take some out of the cooler and throw them into a big bowl for people to choose (we made smaller ones as we were serving tons of food and appy’s ahead of the meal). Toppings can be placed in bowls and let people dress them as they want – we used: shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, fried onions, fresh salsa, sour cream, chipotle sour cream, (real) bacon bits, butter, margarine etc. Other things I have included are chili or vegetarian chili etc.
Now what has all this got to do with soup you are wondering! Ha! Wfell let me tell you! We ended up having a lot of extra baked potatoes (just due to the amount of food we had not anything to do with the taste!) so we made some hashbrowns with with left over sausages, fried onions and some potatoes (added some rosemary and sage and baked them in the oven for brunch the next day), made a bit of potato salad, and still had some left over…. what to do, what to do…. Now I LOVE (yes in all caps! LOVE) Baked Potato Soup but traditionally it is made with bacon, bacon fat, sour cream and heavy cream so I thought I would rehab it and make it a little more appealing to my lifestyle (and health style!).
Here’s what I came up with:
Joy’s Baked Potato Soup Makeover
- 6 Large Baked Potatoes
- 4 green onions white part only – chopped, reserve green part for garnish later
- 5 -6 c vegetable stock (I make my own)
- 4 organic carrots – shredded (if using organic just scrub them – if non organic, peel then shred them)
- 3 cups 1% milk
- 1-2 TB Basil
- 2TB minced garlic (to taste)
- 1/4 tsp salt(to taste)
- 1/2 tsp pepper (to taste)
- dash hot sauce (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 pieces peameal bacon
- 1/3 c all purpose flour
- 1/3 c EVOO or butter or margarine
Use 6 large (or in my case 12 or 13 small) baked potatoes, use a spoon to scoop out the inside. Place in bowl and chopped into small pieces (I chop it right in the bowl – it doesn’t have to be pretty!)
Add shredded carrots.
carrots, potatoes, green onions
In dutch oven or deep saucepan, fry peameal bacon.
Remove to cutting board and dice.
Add to pan (there will be very little fat so don’t rinse it) green onion and garlic saute for a minute add other spices (you can use whatever spices you like – I used bay leaves, garlic, basil). Mix, remove to bowl or plate while you make the roux.
In the hot pot, add flour and EVOO (or butter or margarine), and cook stirring until thickened. Do not let it burn!
Add milk slowly, while mixing.
Once all the milk has been added in, add 3 cup of vegetable broth, the bacon, potatoes and carrots back into the pot, stir and let simmer for 30 mins (it will thicken even more) or longer. Add more vegetable stock as desired. ( I kept 1 c out and added it the next day). If you plan on freezing the soup, add a bit of extra stock and mix before freezing.
Add salt and pepper as desired.
Top with cheddar cheese, green onions, and (if desired) sour cream).
Serve with fresh cornbread muffins (not the sweet ones the real southern cornbread muffins).
The upside – besides tasting awesome – you have a comfort food that pumped up the veggies by adding the carrots, reduced the saturated fat, by using peameal bacon and 1% milk, and punched up the taste without adding too much salt (using the spices) – don’t be afraid of people adding salt at the table – then at least they have a choice of how much salt to add.
Makes about 8 cups
Breakdown: Calories: 319.3, Fat 10.6 g Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 4.6mg, Sodium 180.7mg, Carbohydrates 46.7g, Fiber 4.7g, Sugars 8.1 Proteins 7.2g.
From my kitchen to yours …. Happy & Healthy Eating!