A cooking and baking journal

Mary's Potato and Cheese Soup

4/27/11:  Potato and Cheese Soup

My recipe searching usually ventures down one of three roads: internet, magazine, or cookbook. AllRecipes.com, sure. TastyKitchen.com, been there. Cook's Country magazine, yep. And we mustn't forget our dear Betty Crocker cookbook.

So where did the Potato and Cheese Soup recipe come from? I am happy to report that it didn't come via the sources above. It came from Mary H. from California (the Quilting Bibliophagist), who is my sewing/quilting buddy. Whenever either of us have a sewing or quilting related question, we email each other for advice. One of my emails strayed off into the realm of cooking and I asked her if she had any good, easy, and quick recipes she could share. And that is how the Potato and Cheese Soup was found! Here it is:

Potato Cheese Soup

  • 8 cups of peeled and sliced potatoes 
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 10 sprigs parsley
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter or margarine 
  • 1/4 teaspoons pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 pinches of garlic powder

Cook the potatoes in the water with the salt until tender. While the potatoes cook, saute the onions in the oil until soft. (I use a nonstick frying pan. If you're using a regular pan, you might have to use a little more oil.) When the potatoes are done, puree the potatoes, onion, and parsley in a blender. If you wish, you may leave some of the cooked potatoes un-pureed.

Be careful. Do not fill the blender more than half full at a time. You must also use a blender which has a glass container, not a plastic one, to puree the hot soup. If you run out of cooking water while pureeing your batches of soup, just add a little of the pre-measured milk. If you do not have a blender, you will need to chop the onions instead of just slicing them, and you will need to finely chop the parsley and either mash the potatoes or run them through a food mill. This all takes more time which is why I love using the blender.

Return the potato puree to the pot. Add milk, pepper, garlic powder, and butter. Stir. Add cheese. Heat and stir over a very low flame just until the cheese melts. Caution: High heat will cause the cheese to become a rubbery mass. Check the seasonings and adjust if necessary. (A thick pan is ideal for soups like this. I have a soup pot that is made of porcelain covered cast iron which I love. It's also great for rice or beans.)

If you need to prepare this soup very quickly, wash your parsley and slice your onions the night before and store them in the refrigerator in a tightly-covered container or zip lock bag. Peel and slice your potatoes and store them in the 'fridge covered with the water so they don't turn grey.

I like to serve this with cornbread or whole wheat Irish Soda Bread. Or just regular whole wheat bread. Adding a salad to the meal makes a little more well rounded nutritionally, though my husband was perfectly happy just with soup and bread. And potatoes are very nutritious anyway. Serves 5-7.


I tried to stay true the recipe as well as I could. The only thing I changed was using dried parsley instead of fresh. So this is how the kitchen time unfolded:

I cleaned the potatoes:

Peeled them:

Measured the amount of potatoes by using my large, 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. No home should be without it. :)

Placed the potatoes into our 6 quart pot. (Oh, by the way, I doubled the recipe. That's the reason for all the potatoes! I had freezing leftovers in mind.)

While the potatoes were coming to a boil, I sliced the onions thin:

Pureed everything together and then added the milk, cheese, and seasonings:

The end result was a creamy, flavorful bowl of soup that everyone loved--even the soup haters. Yay!

And because bread and soup is like Astaire and Rogers, I made some biscuits using my tried and true recipe.

Even though I made this soup way back in April, I wanted to say a thank you to Mary for sharing this recipe with me. I will be making more once our new red potatoes are ready to harvest, which is not too far from now come to think of it. There is only a few weeks between the time our potatoes from the previous year are spent and the time we harvest the new crop. But how long those weeks seem!

What about you? What is your favorite potato recipe of all time? How about soup? Send some recipes to me at herlittleway at gmail dot com.

The Colorful Side of Brown Food

3/30/11:  Quesadilla Casserole

I remember watching an Iron Chef America episode when there was a discussion of "brown food." Oh, there is nothing wrong with brown food in most cases--nicely browned pork cutlets or a dark, rich chocolate ganache is always a good thing, but not all dishes should showcase that shade. And that is exactly what happened during the episode's judging. A dish came out and it came with a very unappetizing shade of brown, a brown similar to a cardboard box.

So the three judges searched for their inner Andrew Zimmern stomachs and went in with their forks. Mind you, I do not recollect who was challenging who, what the secret ingredient was, or which tie Alton Brown was wearing, but what I do remember is the look on their faces. They loved it and the dish went over with flying colors.

A very similar scenario happened in my house. I made this Quesadilla Casserole, a recipe I found in the October 2009 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray, and I substituted the black beans with refried beans because I was out of the former. Yeah, you can see where this is going. The casserole came out browner than brown.

But because of my Iron Chef capabilities (yeah, right), the dish turned out to have great flavor. I guess brown food isn't all that bad.

When I made it again and decided to make it just as flavorful but add a bit of color, I did this simply by making a couple cups of homemade enchilada sauce and using that as a layer. I also made sure I used a can of black beans; they add color and contrast to the casserole.

So here is the casserole all spruced up:

What about you? Have you been cooking any Mexican inspired dishes? Which is your family's favorite that you cook again and again?

Home Cooking

In all appearances, my dear old Sabbath Supper has been totally neglected since the last post was published, which was. . . Let's see. . . In APRIL! Gosh, how did that happen? Did I stop cooking or something?

Au contaire! There has certainly been lots of home cooking and baking around these parts but because I've been diligently working on my crafting blog (St. Gemma's Art and Needlework), all last month to try to achieve my May-Every-Day enterprise, Sabbath Supper fell to the wayside. It is a very sad thing, too, because talking recipes and ingredients is something I enjoy and I've already found that I'm forgetting some important tips from past recipes I did. I try to write down notes and such right in the cookbook or recipe print out, but sometimes I feel tuckered out once the dishes are clean and not one scribble of guidance is left.

So the May-Every-Day project has come and gone and now I will be able to concentrate some of my energies on posting to this blog.

Before I left Sabbath Supper alone and forgotten, I did put some future posts on file but didn't have the time to finish them. Now I will. Expect to see them today and tomorrow! Here are a couple sneak previews of what is to come: