Monday, October 22, 2012

Improv Soup: Loaded Baked Potato

I am somewhat of an improvisational cook.  Sometimes this results in amazing, one-of-a-kind meals, and sometimes it results in somewhat of a failure.  Some soothsayers may say that nothing I cook is a fail, but case in point of a less than successful dish was last week's Sunday dinner.    I was pretty tired after my long day in the kitchen, and I may have made some shortcuts that didn't pay off when making cornmeal-breaded chicken tenders and buffalo dipping sauce.  My sweet boyfriend ate it anyway, but his confused tone when he asked, "So what is in this breading?" was a clear tip off that it was not tasty.
Anyway, this Sunday's foray in the kitchen was much more successful, and for once I remember what I did to construct such a lovely meal!

After two entire weeks of more acid reflux than anyone should ever experience (no more coffee for me!) I was craving simple yet tasty foods, so a potato soup came to mind.  However, my usual potato soup is pretty acidic with vinegar and mustard to spice it up.  Not feeling an acidic dish, I decided to try a loaded baked potato soup without making another trip to the store.  I threw all of this into my crock pot:

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
serves 6-8

5 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups almond milk (any milk or milk substitute would work)
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter (had I used actual dairy or a milk with a higher fat content I would have reduced the amount of butter)
onion powder (an actual diced onion would be fab, but I didn't have one)
1 clove garlic, crushed
dried chives
black pepper
salt to taste

I set the slow cooker on low and left it for about 6 hours.  Then I used an immersion blender to blend most of the soup, leaving some chunks of potato.  Next I cooked about a half pound of bacon in the oven (425 degrees for 15 min--thank you pinterest!)  and diced it after it cooled.  Once I stirred in the diced bacon and a little bit of bacon fat, dinner was ready!  Instead of unconvincingly reassuring comments and quizzical looks, this time my boyfriend said something along the lines of "This soup is bangin'!  You nailed it!" (This was not a direct apology for threatening to put me back into the binder of women when dinner was not ready promptly at five, but I chose to take it as an indirect apology ;-)) With a nice texture and bacon in every bite of the soup, I had to agree--I nailed it.  Even my mostly vegetarian sister had some...although she had just run a marathon.

Albeit delicious, this is NOT shaping up to be a low fat week.  Tomorrow I'll tell you about the gluten free peanut butter banana cupcakes I engineered!  Perfect for marathon recovery, don't you think?

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