January is long, people. Some days you really just need a steaming bowl of your awesome mama-in-law's baked potato soup.
If you don't have a mama-in-law, or if yours is a bad cook, I've posted Mama Steve's baked potato soup recipe below. I don't mind sharing, and I bet she doesn't, either. Food is meant to be shared.
Make it, and warm yourself up from the inside out.
Mama Steve's Baked Potato Soup
4 large baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, chopped and divided
12 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled and divided
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounces sour cream
Wash potatoes and prick several times with a fork. Bake at 375 for one hour. Let cool.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, scoop out insides, chop coarsely, and set aside.
Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring until smooth.
Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
Add potato, salt, pepper, green onion, half the bacon, and 1 cup of cheese.
Cook until heated through. Then stir in sour cream.
Serve with remaining green onions, bacon and cheese (or, as my MIL noted, you can put it all together at once like she does).
Eat, and enjoy!
To say we've been a little lazy lately has been an understatement. Some people get all fired up at the new year. In my opinion, September (aka back-to-school time) is the real new year, and January is just blah. Getting motivated has not gone exceptionally well - and cooking has been one of the casualties. We've gone for "quick and easy" over "good new recipe to post on blog." And the photography - forget it. All I can say is, don't judge me, please.
But I've had this new obsession lately: Trader Joe's French Truffle Chevre, a delicious goat cheese. They were sampling it at the store one Sunday afternoon, and the rest is history. I was wildly tempted to snatch the entire track of chevre on crackers and eat them ALL. This cheese, y'all. I can't even begin to describe the goodness of this cheese.
But it's not the kind of thing I would have picked up of my own accord, mostly because aside from eating it on crackers (or endive) what do you DO with it?
Put it in pasta, apparently. I Googled "recipes with chevre cheese" and a lot of pasta came up. This one looked good because it had all veggies and no meat, which I love (and hubby tolerates). But most important, IT HAD THE CHEESE. AND it was fast. Meatless Monday meal? I think so.
We tried it out last night, and it was pretty good. I think we went a little TOO overboard watering down the cheese, because it didn't have much flavor. If you've tried that cheese by itself, you know it's VERY strong. Next time we won't use as much water. We also added a LOT of freshly ground black pepper and parmesan cheese to thicken it up and add more flavor. After we ate dinner, we found some sun-dried tomatoes in the fridge and tossed them in with our leftovers. We also added red pepper flakes, but y'all should know by now we like things spicy.
It needed a few tweaks, but the more we ate, the more it grew on us. We will definitely make this again. It's one of those incredibly versatile recipes that you can throw in pretty much whatever veggies you have on hand and it would be good. It would be a great meal for "Clean out the fridge/pantry" night.
Check out the original recipe here, or see my version below.
Chevre pasta with spinach and mushrooms
12 ounces pasta (it called for cavatappi, but we used penne since that's what we have)
10 ounces fresh spinach (we used a whole bag)
1 lb mushrooms, quartered
1 leek, cleaned well and sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6-8 ounces chevre (I HIGHLY recommend TJ's Truffle Chevre)
1 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, grated
Put a large pot of cold water to boil.
While the water is boiling, add a slug of EVOO to a large pan on medium heat.
Cook mushrooms and leeks.
Once mushrooms start to sizzle, add the sliced garlic.
Stir for about 30 seconds, then add spinach.
Cook until spinach is bright green and slightly wilted, then turn off the heat.
Cook the pasta per instructions on the box.
When pasta is almost cooked, remove 1 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside.
Crumble goat cheese into a medium glass bowl.
Add a little of the hot pasta water, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it becomes a good consistency (it should be a little thin since it needs to coat the pasta evenly).
Add drained pasta over cooked veggies. Pour in cheese sauce and stir well until combined.
Serve immediately with lots of freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan.