Savory Sundays: Loaded Baked Potato Chowder

Hi everyone, and Happy New Year! Since it’s a new year, I’m going to share some fun facts about 2012!

Fun Facts!

  • 2012 is the year of the Dragon — I don’t personally know anything about Chinese Astrology {other than I was born in the year of the Snake}, but I thought it was interesting!
  • December 21, 2012 is supposed to be the “end of the world” according to the Mayan calendars — I don’t buy that for one second. My history professor last semester was talking about it when we were studying the Mayans and I have to agree with him. The Mayans had certain times on the calendars that were bad luck {or something like that, an omen or something}, and December 21, 2012 is one of those times. So yeah, something “bad” may happen {maybe something as bad as a whole bunch of people fail tests or trip simultaneously or something, I dunno} but I think we’ll all still be around to see Christmas and New Years. But maybe I’m just crazy??
  • July 27 – August 12, 2012 are the Summer Olympics, hosted in London — I’m more of a Winter Olympics type of girl, but it’s cool to know that the Olympics are just around the corner!

So… I ran out of fun facts that I could easily find on the internet. Sad day… But, I s’pose that means I can tell you about my super fun/exciting way I spend New Years Eve?

And by “super fun/exciting” I really mean “really lame because I have no life”. :)

TJ and I stayed home, just the two of us. My Dad is still out in Texas until tomorrow, and I didn’t have any awesome parties to go to because my life is just that exciting at the elderly age of 22 apparently.

{*sarcasm* jealous yet?}

He made yummy Chicken Alfredo while I read Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz {the first in his Frankenstein series}. While we ate, we watched Storage Wars: Texas, because as I said, I’m a super LAME-O. Then we headed back to the office and continued to level our characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Exciting, right?

Then, when it was midnight, TJ and I kissed. It would have been romantic except for the part when I started sobbing like a baby on his shoulder. I don’t even know where the sadness about my mom came from. It completely blind-sided me and turned me into a blabbering baby…

But that quickly passed and we returned to our game.

It was New Years Eve though, and being 22, I decided I was going to drink! So I did.

Throughout the night I had three Smirnoff Ice {the new Cherry Lime ones, not too bad}, finished up some of my Rated X drink thingy, and then some of my Caribbean Rum pouch drink mix.

Holy. Cow. I was giggly and having a grand old time!

That is, until we decided to try to go to bed. That’s when I had to run to the bathroom and throw up.

Twice.

And let me tell you, I hate throwing up. With a passion.

Hell, it should probably be one of the passions of my blog.

“Hi, welcome to my blog, Passion for Life! I have passions about many things, from music and gaming, to cooking and baking, and of course, not throwing up!”

Hmm… that doesn’t seem to have quite the same ring to it, now does it? Yeah, I’ll probably just leave that part of my “passions” out :P

But in all seriousness… I was SO sick last night, it was awful. There is nothing worse than feeling like you’re going to throw up, because even though I was exhausted, I couldn’t lay in bed because my stomach was churning.

I still don’t know how I managed to fall asleep, but TJ said he helped me get into bed once my tummy had settled around 3AM.

No wonder I slept in until almost 1PM! It also explains the massive headache I have and why it feels like someone beat my entire body with a baseball bat while I slept.

Ugh.

On top of waking up with the above, I noticed that my tongue was black/dark green.

WTF?

I have no idea WHY it was black/dark green, and neither does TJ. But after lots of scrubbing/awful mouthwash, I think I’ve gotten it all off my tongue. I just wish I knew what it was!

Why oh why must my life be so exciting?!

But anyways, enough about my fabulous woes/complaints {which are a great way to start off the New Year, amirite?}, let’s get to the YUMMY stuff shall we?

You know, the stuff that you came here for? Because you probably didn’t come here to read about my black tongue or me throwing up {I know I wouldn’t have!}.

A few months ago, as the weather started to get chillier, I made this Loaded Baked Potato Chowder by Pampered Chef. It’s not very… chowder like in the sense of thick soup {at least that’s what I think of when I think of chowder}, but it really is yummy and you make it in the microwave, which means you can have this homemade potato chowder when you’re short on time!

This chowder is one of my Dad’s favorite meals, and now that I’ve posted this, I’m sure he’ll be bugging me to make it when he gets back home :P

I hope you all enjoy this delicious recipe, and that you have a wonderful New Years!!

♥ and harp strings,
Kate

Loaded Baked Potato Chowder [click to print]

Serves 6 (recipe by Pampered Chef)

Ingredients

3 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2lbs total)
3 1/2 cups milk, divided
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter
2-3 green onions, with tops
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Optional toppings such as chopped cooked bacon, sour cream, or broccoli florets

Method

1. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, and place in Deep Covered Baker (or other 3-qt. microwave safe dish). Pour 1/2 cup of the milk over potatoes. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 11 minutes. Remove baker from microwave. Move center potatoes to ends of baker and outer potatoes to center. Cover; microwave on HIGH 8-11 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Remove baker from microwave. Coarsely mash potatoes with Mix ‘N Chop (or a regular potato masher, just remember to mash them coarsely!).
2. Meanwhile, whisk cream cheese until smooth in Classic Batter Bowl (or any ~2-qt bowl you have). Slowly add remaining 3 cups milk, whisking until smooth. Add cream cheese mixture and butter to baker. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 3-5 minutes or until mixture is hot. Slice green onions using Chef’s Knife (or whatever knife suits your fancy).
3. Carefully remove baker from microwave. Grate cheddar cheese over chowder using Rotary Grater (or you can use a bag of pre-shredded cheese); add green onions, salt and black pepper and mix using Small Mix ‘N Scraper (any spatula you have on hand will do the trick too); until cheese is melted. Serve with toppings, if desired.

Photo Walkthrough:

Here is everything you’ll need for this recipe.

I usually start off by peeling the potatoes, but you can omit that step if you’d prefer to have the skins in the soup. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, in place them in the baker. I placed mine that way because it was the only way I could get them to fit, but if you can fit them a different way, go for it!

Add the 1/2 cup of milk to the baker, and put in the microwave. Microwave, covered, on HIGH for 11 minutes.

While the potatoes are in the microwave, whisk the softened cream cheese until smooth. I always have trouble with it because I forget to leave mine out to “soften”… whoops! After it’s smooth, whisk in your milk slowly.

When the potatoes are done with the first 11 minutes, rotate them using a fork so that the center potatoes are on the outside, and vice versa. I also flip them too so the bottom of the potato (the part that was touching the bottom of the baker) are facing the top. I don’t know if it does anything, but I want to make sure they cook evenly. After this is done, recover the baker and microwave on HIGH for 8-11 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.

When the potatoes are done, mash them coarsely. I used the Mix ‘N Chop by Pampered Chef, but a standard potato masher should do the trick if you make sure to do it coarsely.

After the potatoes are mashed, pour in the milk/cream cheese mixture and add the butter. Microwave, covered, on HIGH for 3-5 minutes, or until mixture is hot.

After everything is nice and hot, add your shredded cheese (or grate fresh over it), salt and pepper, and combine everything until the cheese is melted. Before I combined everything, I also added my onions and bacon because I wanted them mixed in as well, but they can be set aside to use as a topping if you prefer (or if you have a picky eater).

Voila! Dinner is served! Add a dollop of sour cream if you wish, and the toppings of your choosing and enjoy! I have also made this with steamed broccoli florets (I mixed them in when I added the cheese) and it was really good too!

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